Wrapping up Winter

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A couple of gulls. On a Rail.

A couple of gulls. On a Rail.

This weekend we dropped my father off at the airport, following a wonderful two-week visit. It’s always nice having him around, and we did quite a bit around the house: we made a raised garden bed, cleaned out a lot of junk left over from the prior tenants under our back deck, and a whole bunch of odds and ends.

We also did a lot of fun stuff, including a failed trip to the Parkville lanes for duckpin bowling, a successful one to the Brunswick Zone, and a couple of movie marathons when we were stuck inside due to wintery weather (the Nolan Batman trilogy, a few Star Trek movies, etc). Perhaps the highlight of this entertainment extravaganza was introducing dad to Hot Fuzz, though we also let him in on Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian.

Unfortunately, the nicest day of his visit was the day we was departing. We spent the morning at the Rawlings Conservatory and then met his brother Daniel in Ellicott City for coffee.

Dad and I in Ellicott City.

Dad and I in Ellicott City.

Alas, he was on his way back to New Mexico sooner than we all would have hoped, but Meredith thought she’d try to brighten my afternoon a bit by exploring a place we’d never been to before: the Middle Branch Park.

I was hoping for a better sightline to the city itself, but the view down there was dominated by I-95. There was a nice little section of the Gwynns Falls Trail there, however, and we spent an hour walking along, laughing at the gulls and feeling bad for the ducks walking around in the piles of garbage. It was a nice day, and a reminder of what we can look forward to in a few weeks when Spring finally shows itself.

2014 — In Review

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In 2013, I reflected on the year by posting my favorite photos. This year, we’re going to mix it up a little bit by adding a few thoughts and links. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole thing — I promise it won’t take long (and there will still be lots of photos).

Life Events

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

This year was a big one for your humble blogger. I became an uncle, was laid off, moved across the country and then got engaged!

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I was sad to be among 40+ people laid off by the National Wildlife Federation this year, but I’m also excited to help lead the Silver City Daily Press as it enters its 80th year of serving Grant County.

Unfortunately, with that opportunity came the difficult decision to temporarily live apart from Meredith, who remains in Baltimore with Nutmeg and Squishy. But we’re close to settling on a fall 2015 date for our wedding, and I think I’ve convinced her to come visit in February before we come up with a more permanent plan next summer.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

A Big Year

It was also a year of firsts. This summer, I opened my first solo photography exhibit at Paula Geisler’s Common Ground Gallery. I also traveled to Canada for the first time, visiting Niagara Falls.  And I finally attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

Back in New Mexico

Golden Hour in New Mexico

Golden Hour in New Mexico.

Of course, being home in the Land of Enchantment this autumn was amazing. For the first time in 20+ years I visited the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (three times), and was able to photograph the cranes, ducks, geese and other waterfowl there (see the photo at the top of this post). It was an amazing experience, and one I hope to replicate this winter.

I’ve also reconnected with friends and family, including some high-school buddies I hadn’t seen since the 1990s.

Finally, I’ve fallen in love all over again with the trails, parks and wilderness around Silver City.

One of the many sunsets I've been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

One of the many sunsets I’ve been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

Fun Photography

It was a good year for my camera: we photographed a president, went to a few weddings, and saw America from the beach to the mountains, the desert to the city, and a lot in between. I also opened a print shop. But there were two events in particular that stood out.

The Star-Spangled Spectacular

The Diamond

Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore — which Francis Scott Key witnessed before penning his famous poem — the Spectacular featured naval vessels and tall ships from around the world, and some aerial performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

I spent a few days in downtown Baltimore looking at the ships and awaiting the Angels’ performances, and on the final day of the Spectacular I boarded the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica clipper ship, for a cruise off of Fort McHenry. It was pretty awesome.

Waterfowl at the Bosque

I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves some additional attention — the spectacle was just too incredible. As much as I enjoyed the Blue Angels, they had nothing on the aerial display at the Bosque. I thought I knew what I was doing as I setup my camera one afternoon in early November, but when I saw a few thousand snow geese take flight I realized I was totally unprepared.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

Of course, the real delight was the sandhill cranes, with their graceful silhouette and distinctive call. They’re quite a treasure for New Mexico, and something everyone here should see.

Some other favorites

Here are some other images that had some special meaning to me this year.

 Looking ahead

The Road Ahead.

The Road Ahead.

Of course, this isn’t just a time to reflect, but also to plan for the future. And knowing what I do, but realizing so much is up to fate, I think this photo might sum up my feelings on 2015: I can’t see what’s immediately around the bend in the road, but the horizon certainly looks promising.

The Loneliest Street in Baltimore

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Last Sunday, after I watched the Navy’s Blue Angels perform over Fort McHenry, I found myself stranded at the end of Frankfurst Ave. I had spent the afternoon aboard Pride of Baltimore II, and after we docked I called for a ride via Uber. Unfortunately, the Uber driver decided not to wait for a train crossing some tracks up the street. And, since I’d been out on the water for a few hours, my phone was dead.

I eventually walked about 2 miles to a gas station. I managed to convince the clerk to call me a cab, and I made my way home.

But yeah, Frankfurst Ave: don’t ever get stranded, because there’s nothing out there.