The lawn really needed mowing, and I had to get over to town to register some photos for the Art Festival scheduled for this weekend, but the weather was just too inviting to ignore. Papa was thirsty for gas, and it doesn't take all that long to hop over to MadCo to let him feed at the trough, so off we went.
Very little wind, but what little there was made itself known in my landing at MadCo. I needed a little right wing down to hold the runway centerline against the light crosswind from the right, and the touchdown was smooth enough, but I somehow ended up riding the left wheel like a unicycle down the runway. Tiring of the rather quickly, I planted the right wheel back down where it belonged with some right aileron. Not satisfied with the overall quality of the arrival, I taxied back and took off for another try. For some reason, Papa tried the same trick on the second landing, but this time I was ready for it.
Papa took 24 gallons at $4.47 per, and I marveled at the fact that this somehow felt like a reprieve. $5.00+ a gallon will do that to you, I guess.
The ride back was nice, with the clear, clear air making the barns and cars and other objects on the ground so sharp and well-defined that it almost looked like a gigantic HO train set. Papa was far better behaved back on his home runway, and we patted ourselves on our respective backs for pulling off such a greaser.
The next hour and a half was spent bouncing around the yard on my single-seater, grooming the grass back to an appearance of civility. Finished with just enough time to gather up my photos and head into town, I even managed to get the registration for the festival done.
Each entrant is limited to three photos, which makes the selection very difficult. I try to find a balance between pictures I just plain like and pictures that I think will appeal to the judges. There's money involved, after all. Last year was the first time I had entered anything, and I actually came away with an Honorable Mention, aka 4th place. Oh well, $10 is $10, and the competition was pretty tough.
Here are the photos that I finally selected for this year:
(And remember: click on the picture to see a larger version)
I titled this one "Grand Solitude." While it's a picture that I really like, it was entered primarily because the wife really, really, really likes it. I don't know whether the judges will like it, though. For all I know, it's just a picture of a bird. But I like it a lot. If you didn't know that he was sitting in a tree no more than 5' from the edge of the canyon, you'd think I had to hover in a helicopter to get a shot like that, and even then you'd need a huge lens and a gyro stabilizer.
This one I called "Mid-life Reflections." I think this is the most artistic of the bunch, in that I think there is a pretty obvious metaphor in it, at least from the point-of-view of a 46 year old. The reflections in the two mirrors present a couple of ways of looking at what's behind me (the long road behind is a little fuzzy, but the closer view is still clear), the crispness of the mirror itself represents the sharpness and clarity of today, and the blurry graveyard shows that while I have a pretty good idea of where I'm headed, the path is still unclear.
It's also a picture that the wife disparagingly calls "a picture of a mirror." Hey, she got to pick the bird picture, right? I'm not saying that I entered it out of spite, mind you, but if it were to actually win something, well, I'm not above a little "I told you so." Plus the fact that the taking of the picture was a completely unplanned, purely impulsive act as I was just driving along would lend a delicious touch of irony if it were to win over my carefully crafted pictures. And I just love irony!
This is one I selected 1) because the B&W category was under populated last year, and 2) because my friend Guy, who himself is a photography and airplane aficionado, really liked it. And you know what? I like it too!
In case you're wondering what didn't make the cut:
Hey, Van's turned it down for the calendar, so it must not be that good.