SOUNDINGS

Musings from a long flight home

April 11, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

I just returned from photographing the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and the long flight home gave me lots of time to think.  Here are a few reflections that I want to share. 

First, I love driving in Antigua. Though I have adjust to driving on the opposite side of the road, it is a much more relaxing experience. There is no road rage—the bumpy, narrow roads means the maximum speed is limited. And besides, where are you rushing to anyway? You are in the islands, after all! Nobody in a pick-up truck runs up your tail, using their vehicle as a weapon and putting your life in jeopardy.  That gets really old, doesn’t it? Instead, in Antigua (and some other islands I have visited), the rule of the road is common sense. If there is a person walking in the road—and there are always lots of people walking in the road—you slow down and shift lanes when there is a clear opening against incoming traffic. There isn’t the “zero sum” attitude we see with aggressive American drivers. Horns are honked constantly—but these are not warnings or expressions of anger. Instead, short taps are used to say hello to friends in other vehicles, or to thank someone for letting your car proceed first. I’ve never seen anyone use their car as a weapon. And let’s face it, a car is an expensive and valuable resource, and there probably isn’t a fat insurance check arriving to replace your damaged car if you live in the Caribbean. So people drive with an entirely different attitudes than those aggressive American drivers that annoy us all.

Second, I missed my photographer buddy Ed. After a day of shooting or flying in a helicopter, we would grab dinner together in Antigua.  We’d discuss all kinds of things, from photography to investments and even his love of watches. He always knew the little, out of the way local places to eat.  One of our favorite places was on the front porch of a home that had no menu but served great West Indian curry. Earlier this year, news came from England that Ed had a brain tumor and the whispers around the yacht club in Antigua weren’t terribly hopeful. I loved being back in Antigua but I kept looking for Ed, and found myself praying for his health.

Lastly, the ocean has a way of unifying people. I wouldn’t call it an enemy, but the ocean is a worthwhile adversary that challenges us, and forces us to work together. It is amazing to watch the sailboat crews—men and women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and nationalities—working as a team. Twenty year-old women pull halyards alongside 60 year old men. Experience isn’t a function of age, but of time at sea, of mistakes already made, of disasters avoided. In Antigua, I’ve seen young members of the permanent crew direct guests twice their age crewing for the race weekend. It is one of the things I love those aspects of sailing—people working in unison, sliding along on the wind using the energy of Mother Nature alone to carry them to their destination.


Ever Hear of Jimmie Monteith?

February 12, 2022  •  Leave a Comment
Lately, I have been spending a lot of time reading about the men who have received our highest military award, the Medal of Honor.  Army 1LT Jimmie Monteith was one of three men to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on Omaha Beach. After guiding two tanks THROUGH MINEFIELDS ON FOOT as enemy fire rained down on Omaha Beach, he re-crossed the bloody beach to join his men. Under his leadership, L Company of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, flanked the Germans, and punched a desperately-needed hole in their formidable cliffside defenses. A German counter-attack several hours later managed to surround L Company. Monteith crossed open ground to fight with his men, inflicting casualties on enemy forces, but was eventually killed by German fire which hit him from the rear. You can read more about this great American at: MoH 1LT Jimmie Monteith

Quote from Rick Steves

January 01, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

On podcast #660 of "Travel with Rick Steves," the famous travel author says (10:20 mark):

"The world is filled with love and joy and beautiful people. If you are going to be at odds with the world, you are probably a person that doesn't have a passport and lets commercial news media shape your world view.  Because if you can get out there, you gain an empathy for the other 96% of humanity." 


Camera Predictions for 2022 from PetaPixel

December 24, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

This is an interesting article from PetaPixel about what they expect in cameras for 2022.  At some point we are all going mirrorless.  After doing some research, I was disappointed to see the Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera actually weighs more than my d800 DSLR. 

Camera Predictions 2022 from PetaPixel


National Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29th

March 29, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I've had a lot of conversations with Vietnam Vets over the years, but the reality is, I can only try to imagine what it must have been like for them. Their treatment upon returning from war is a scar on our national conscience.  As a Gulf War veteran, I believe the good treatment we have received (including treatment for mental health/PTSD) is attributable to the sacrifice, commitment, and courage of our Vietnam vets. To them, I say, "Thank you."

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