My first hummer

In memory of Jack Brock.

FOR A FEW years, since I purchased my Canon, whenever I sat on the Jesus Patio to read my Kindle, I always toted the camera and rested it on the glass-top table.

One might wonder, Why does he do that? The answer is this: I wanted a photo of a hummer. Though the little buggers are commonplace in the Hacienda yard, photographing one has proved impossible. Till yesterday, that is.

The midday was overcast. Perhaps that explains my little friend’s relative lack of shimmering color, something often seen in hummer photos. Or maybe he’s a she and, like many birds, perhaps the hummer ladies are a bit drabber.

He (or she) is puffed up a bit too, a nippy afternoon.

No matter. Like Hemingway kneeling beside an African rhino, high-powered rifle aimed skyward, I have shot my prey. There will be no more safaris. I will read my books in peace.

Life goes on.

La vida buena

AS AMERICA sinks daily into a deeper sea of racial strife, political snit and socialism, it’s fun to kick back and smile due to living elsewhere.

That elsewhere, of course, is Mexico, a nation on an upward trajectory. If you do not live in Mexico, here’s a lovely video to make you wish you did, and if you do live here, you can gloat and feel smug, as I do.

The video, a series of photos actually, was made by Jack Brock, a wood sculptor of considerable renown, who once was kind enough to pay me a visit here on the mountaintop.

It was also Jack Brock who inspired me to buy my new Canon camera recently. He has virtually the same camera, his being a bit more modern, a tad more pricey. No matter. Both take excellent photos.

The video illustrates Mexico beautifully, and the soundtrack is perfect. It’s important to point out, however, that it’s tropical Mexico, the coastal variety, which is a fine place to live if you enjoy heat and bugs.

The alternative to coastal Mexico is the nation’s interior plateau, the zone of “eternal springtime” you read about. That’s where I live. Here’s a photo taken near here with my old, funky camera a few years ago.

vista

The cameraman

I’M INTERESTED in taking better photos. I’ll need a new camera. My current ride is a Kodak Easyshare, inexpensive, but it works fine.

Except for one thing: It only zooms to 3X, which doesn’t get you very far, literally. It does have 16 megapixels, which means the photos are pretty sharp, but the zoom’s gotta go a lot farther.

I’ve asked some good photographers I know for camera recommendations. The Gold Standard is Billie Mercer, but that was like asking Donald Trump for a restaurant recommendation: First, take the Learjet to Paris … have the limo waiting on the tarmac.  Billie is way past my pay grade.

I’d have to rob a bank.

I ran into the same problem with Kim G. and Steve Cotton, good photographers both. But wealthy guys with sterling gear.

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The Canon

I’m just a poor, humble Mexican.

A recommendation more in my fiscal comfort zone, a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200, came from Angeline, but I opted for a Canon Powershot SX520, which is similar.

A slightly pricier version, the SX60 HS, had been recommended by Jack Brock who is, by the way, one of the world’s premier wood sculptors.

Then came the issue of getting the camera into my hands. I looked around my mountaintop to no avail. I imagine I could have found it down the slope in the state capital, but this is 2015, so I looked online.

First, I went to Mercado Libre (Free Market), a longtime website that connects Mexican buyers and retailers. I found the Canon readily available and was on the verge of buying it when I thought of Amazon, which just weeks ago opened its Mexican operation.

I love Amazon, capitalism at its finest. I found the camera for just a few pesos more, free delivery, and ordered it. They promised it by Friday.

One of the reasons I decided to get a better camera is a new photo website, Eyes of the Moon, I’ve opened on Tumblr.

At the moment, I’ve added a few of my older photos, but when the new camera arrives, expect more. They will all be black and white, which captures a certain elegance, plus it reflects my grim personality.

Maybe I’ll become a papparazzi. I’m so ancient, with white hair and glasses, perhaps nobody will punch me out.

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(Note: Also on Tumblr, you’ll find my other recent addition, Satellite Moon, progressing nicely. It’s a politics-free zone, all sweetness and light.)