Night Driving

Night Driving (© F. P. Dorchak, January 28, 2017)

Night Driving (© F. P. Dorchak, January 28, 2017)

I love driving at night.

I’d written a post about a particular night drive I’d taken years ago, when I was 27. It was a mystical cross-country drive I’d taken solo. My last such solo drive was from Wyoming to Colorado in November of 2015.

I’d taken this photo this past weekend as my wife and I returned from visiting family up north of us and were driving through Denver. I love the look and feel of this image. The lights of the buildings in the distance. Love the in-the-moment perspective.

Love the dark.

I love how my thoughts turn waaay inward in the night. I love the feel of the road. The passing of the night as I (we) plow on through it…are enveloped by it. Love how the imagination comes out in full force in the absence of light. Wonder where those lights in the distance are coming from and what’s going on at or around them.

Don’t get me wrong—I love daylight and all things associated with it! I’m not a Goth anything…I am a fan of both light and darkness. But…

Yeah, I really love driving at night….

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My First Nikon Camera Class

Crescent Moon (© F. P. Dorchak, January 22, 2017)

Crescent Moon (© F. P. Dorchak, January 22, 2017)

I love this shot!

I took it with my Nikon D3400 and 70 – 300mm zoom. This past Saturday, I took my first Nikon camera class, and it was great! I took about four pages of notes and it was extremely useful! In fact, it helped with the picture above. I had to adjust the white balance to bring out the blue of the sky. In class, the instructor, whose name was Greg, said that for every picture he changes something of the following:

  • Shutter speed
  • Aperture (how open the shutter is–large or small “hole” light entry)
  • ISO (light sensitivity)
  • White balance (the balance of color)

Greg also said that if you’re not yet good enough at all of the above, to set your mode to “P,” which is a semi-automatic (programming) mode that will automatically set your shutter and aperture, and you can mess with your ISO and white balance and everything else, so that’s what I’m doing. I took the above shot early in the morning, not sure, maybe around 5 or 6 a.m.—but the time hack is off—it wasn’t the “2:02” it says. I’d had to recharge my battery, so when you pull the battery out, it messes up the time stamps, dammit. Anyway, to show the difference the proper white balance can make, here is the original shot before I corrected for it:

Crescent Moon - No White Balance (© F. P. Dorchak, January 22, 2017))

Crescent Moon – No White Balance (© F. P. Dorchak, January 22, 2017))

You can definitely see the difference! So, thanks, Greg and Mike’s Camera, for presenting this Nikon class–it’s already helped me out!

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Boulder YMCA Author Talk

Author Talk, Mapleton Center YMCA (© F. P. Dorchak, January 17, 2017)

Author Talk, Mapleton Center YMCA (© F. P. Dorchak, January 17, 2017)

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at the Boulder Media Women’s (BMW’s) “Author Talk” session (also known as “Spoken Word”) at the Boulder, Colorado Mapleton Center YMCA. It’s a cozy gathering that invites authors to speak and discuss their work, with profits from some of the book sale going to the Y to support the Y’s scholarships, which is pretty cool. I didn’t realize that the Y did that. I’ve used a YMCA a couple of times, years ago, so it was nice to help them out in their scholarship with a couple of book sales.

Of note: one gentlemen there and I had been at the same unit when I’d been in the Air Force. He’d been there at the start-up of the unit, and I’d been there nearly fifteen years later. Small world!

The event was organized by BMW’s chair of the Boulder Valley YMCA readings, Jyoti Wind, who met we when I arrived. I had an hour and started off with a reading from The Uninvited, then talked about what I write, gave an overview of my work, how I think (as a writer), how I write, that kind of thing. The audience had so many good questions I was never able to complete my presentation! I love those kinds of presentations! Afterwards, Jyoti, myself, and a couple of others met for lunch at Turley’s Kitchen, a short walk away from the Y—and the Y picked up my tab. Thanks, Mapleton Center YMCA! Following lunch, I visited a good friend of mine and her husband who live nearby. We had a great afternoon chat, had some ox tail soup—which I’d never had before and was great, Karen, I’m not kidding! Karen is quite the “food scholar,” as she brands herself, and has a cookbook, Nature’s Wrap: Cooking in Leaves; Recipes From Around the World.

Overall a great day! Thanks BMW and Mapleton Center YMCA for having me and picking up lunch (and thanks to those in attendance for your time, interest, and stimulating conversation!), and thanks Karen and Wen for a wonderful afternoon chat and dinner!

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Bobcat!

I see you...and I will get you in your sleep.... (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

I see you…and I will get you in your sleep…. (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

Yesterday, about 5:15 p.m., my wife, Laura, was standing at the entrance to our home making strange, truncated sounds, let’s just say. She was at the door because I was making a [store bought] pizza and the house starting getting smokey from previous food residue in the oven’s bottom I-didn’t-spy-with-my-keen-eye before turning on the oven getting extra crispy. I live in a perpetual haze, so it didn’t bother me, but my wife (being more human) had opened some windows. I have that effect on enclosed spaces. Anyway, as she was at the doorway uttering these “strange, truncated sounds” and clipped sentences with tones of excitement and surprise, I came over to see what was up.

She pointed out a bobcat casually strolling across the way from us!

She said she’d seen this rabbit run faster than she’d ever seen any animal run before and thought one of the neighbor’s dogs might have been going after it…but it was no dog!

So while she’s running throughout the house looking for our binoculars, I sprinted for my Nikon, and sprinted back, hoping in the process neither of us would plow into the other. We were good.

As we watched the bobcat, and I’m taking shots, my wife mentioned how cool it was that s/he just owned that sidewalk—and indeed s/he did! S/he was so majestic and beautiful! Casual. Like the rest of us, just sauntering home after a day’s hard work. Not interested in any bunnies, just making his or her way through the neighborhood. As I’m taking more shots Laura says I should go after it in the car so—great idea!—I waste no time and make for the SUV. Camera in hand, I hurry (appropriately following all speed limits, bien sur…) and find the critter farther down in the creek bed. I pull over, hit the hazards, and twisted as far as I could in my seat, rippin’ off one-handed shots I hope are in focus, cause I’m not an operative of Cirque Du Soleil (but it’s a good thing I do those twisty stretches at the gym) and my other arm just couldn’t do what I was asking it to do in that position in the vehicle. I don’t know whether or not bobcats attack, but more so, if the thing decided to sprint at my getting out of the vehicle on a busy-ish section of street at that time of the day, I wanted to be able to still follow it. Anyway, I got some really cool shots, but many have those “devil eyes”—which do look totally cool, as you’ll see below—and are not quite sharply focused, and a few are not centered in the frame (or whatever the official term is). All images are compressed.

About one or two years ago I’d seen my first up-close bobcat as it walked directly in front of my home-office window. It paused and looked right at me…looked at me, like “Yeah so? What are ya gonna do about it? I didn’t think so.” Then turned and continued on its way….

So this is entirely cool! What a majestic and beautiful animal, and I’m glad we both got to see this one!

Images taken with a Nikon D3400 and 70 – 300mm zoom lens, from a closest distance of about 20 – 30 feet.

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White Rock – Garden of the Gods – and Time

White Rock, Garden of the Gods? (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

White Rock, Garden of the Gods? (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

I think this might be White Rock, in the Garden of the Gods. As I’ve mentioned, I haven’t kept good notes from that January 1st, 2017 day I went out and took these. But I like the perspective from which I took it. It has such a neat, prehistoric look and feel to it. Many times when I go someplace—any place, really, it just depends if my mind “goes there”—I always wonder what that location looked like millions of years ago…and what it will look like in the far future.

Damn, am I ever really in the moment?

But what if considering the past and the future is being “in the moment”? If that moment is really only a perspective, if that “spacious moment”…that “spacious present” some Great Thinkers talk about really is all that…would not that mean that “present moments” really expand out into other moments? Cross and permeate chronologies? And if there really is no Time…the forward chronological progression of successive moments…that it’s all a Human Perception as I believe it is…than wouldn’t this make sense? That the moment is far more voluminous than we give it credit for? It’s a concept that actually expands in ways we have little perception…or maybe we can, if we allow ourselves to be open about it?

Yeah. If I’m not thinking about writing, I’m thinking about weird shit.

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F. P. Dorchak Colorado Author Interview Circle (CAIC) Interview

This is an interview I did a year ago. It was my first ever YouTube/video interview and it was such a blast hanging out with these two guys! Cody I’d just met for the interview, but Aaron Michael Ritchey I’ve known for bit and he’s always a trip. Always. And every time I meet him he’s grown another inch. Because he’s tall. And charming. And…he’s Aaron Michael Ritchey.

Thank you, Aaron and Cody, for including me in your CAIC interview circuit! You two are great dudes, and I had fun!

So.

Here it is.

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Happy Monday!

Here's to YOU, Work Day Monday! (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

Here’s to YOU, Work Day Monday! (© F. P. Dorchak, 2017)

On January 1st (2017, for you future readers…), I’d gone out and done my first solo photo shoot with my Nikon D3400. I had a blast, though the pun is that it was très windy (as it is now, as I write this at 3:30 in the a.m.—I hear the howling of the dead and feel the house being pounded by winds—or souls!—that I hope do not knock down anymore sections of fence, dammit…) and me and my 200 pounds were blown about quite a bit (nearly lost my World Gym baseball cap). But that was that front moving in that slammed us with frigid temps and snow. Yay, Winter! Anyway, as I was taking shots, this one shot got me chuckling out loud! I had not taken notes, which I’ll do next time, so I’m not exactly sure which rock formation this is, but I figure it’s either North Gateway Rock or the Tower of Babel. I could be wrong on both counts (I’ve been wrong before), but those are my guesses. Anywho…does it remind you of anything?

Yeah, it looks like I was being flipped off by Nature!

So, this is for you, Work Day Monday! Take that!

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