monochrome canyon

It was a lovely day in Seattle but I feel like sharing something thousands of miles warmer to get on a roll, maybe create some distance from the radioactive two thousand word essay I shared this week. I’ve resorted to a scene from Kauai (but again, it was a lovely day): Here’s one of the boys taking a break up high on the island. This candid portrait isn’t the best image, maybe it’s not even a good image (darn the baggagetry) but the combination of ambiguous scale and depth of field was interesting to me. There’s a huge difference between the color and monochrome exposure, the color image is arguably better with a far more pronounced depth of field (you can practically see the humidity in the air above the canyon, it was a hot night) but I love the much contrastier black and white. One of my major weaknesses over the years in editing my pictures probably has been not restoring nearly enough contrast to certain images, despite the usual basic checklist of tweaks when I’m working from a RAW file and so it is that I’ve enjoyed experimenting more in that way.  I wish I could share the color and monochrome exposures side-by-side but it’d have the effect of ruining one or the other. At any rate, anyone who has hiked the mountains of Kauai with some regularity would recognize this spot right away, Adam is sitting above a grand waterfall (the spillway is out of the frame to the right and plunges straight down the abyss which you don’t dare a peek for the risk of falling). I can’t remember how we got across the stream to reach this bench, though I’ve even done it a couple times before on my own. We tried again the past couple years but the stream was always too unsafe to cross, with slippery rocks underfoot.

Two days ago, little brother and I rode the Big Bike home from preschool and as I rolled jovially into the driveway with practiced grace (it’s a little tricky steering a cargo bike from a 21% grade to a flat, loose gravel driveway) Oliver Fern gravely announced “Papa, I’m not wearing my helmet!” My eyes popped out of my head and I just about crapped a pile of cobblestones. Oliver had the hood of his red raincoat still pulled up over his head and his bike helmet was tucked down into one of the panniers. All the way home down the hill, drivers and pedestrians must have been thinking “Wow, look at that asshole! He’s wearing a helmet but didn’t bother putting one on his kid!” I practically wished I would’ve been stopped by the Seattle Police Department and cited for not having a helmet on Oliver (it’s the law in Seattle, bicyclists must wear a helmet).  Obviously I’m looking at this from the perspective of a privileged, overprotective culture. I’m not a worldly traveler but I know there are children in other parts of the world hanging off motorcycles by one hand with their baby sisters clutched in the other but it’s a flawed apples-to-oranges comparison that doesn’t make me feel any better and besides all the brand-new Millennial lifestyle careerists in this part of town who can’t steer their way out of a paper bag……. but then really, I was the idiot on Wednesday.  I checked several times with Oliver Fern on the way home this afternoon to make sure he had his helmet on. In the meantime, the solution to my uncharacteristic forgetfulness is to keep Oliver’s helmet buckled to his seat.

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