RIP Uncle Chuck: Light painting

We were aunt and uncle longer than we were just brother and sister, and we called each other Uncle Chuck and Aunt Anne. Last March, I went to Georgia to say “goodbye.” Lewy Body dementia , a form of dementia and Parkinson’s like diseases, had already robbed him of his memory and abilities to speak, walk and recognize what was happening around him. The one response I saw from his body, was his foot taping to music that was being played. I hoped at some level, he knew I was there to see him.

Just like any brother and sister, we had our share of fights (he was 5 1/2 years older than me), he was protective of his baby sister and, as adults, we were always there for each other and our families.

He died this morning with family love surrounding him. It was a tense three days as family took turns to be with him, giving them their final goodbyes. It was difficult be out here in California. I remember with my mom, no matter how much you prepare and know it’s a blessing, it’s still hard when the journey is over.

Thank goodness, I had photography to pull my attention away. Monday and Tuesday were both evening shoots. I must have been working on pure Adrenalin because I didn’t get tired during the outings. I’m just so glad I have this outlet.

This morning, after I awoke to the news, I sat and edited last night’s shoot where we practiced light painting. Those who had them, brought light toys. Some of us just brought our cameras and tripods. I learned a great deal about light painting and exposing for it. I’m also ready to do it again. Here are a few images from the session.

Editing the images, let my emotional and physical being take in the news. He left my life in a burst of color. To me, the featured image looks like an angel gliding across a field of red carpet. My family will be having a memorial service for my brother soon here in Sacramento. Whether near or far, we all need closure. You will be remembered with love Uncle Chuck.

The end of my Georgia journey: World of Coca Cola, Atlanta Georgia

With my GPS to guide us, Brenda (my sister-in-law) and I set out to find the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first outing that brought us a good distance out of Peachtree City. After driving around town with me, Brenda was used to going around in circles, and this trip was no different! We did find the museum and a parking lot, and only went around the block once!

When you first go in, there’s a reception area where visitors are given a soda. You wait and then the tour begins. The kid giving me a soda was doing his welcome bit and asked where I was from. When he heard California, he said, “I want to visit there someday. I hear you have some nice hills.” Well, I just had to tell him that those hills were called mountains and were more than 7,000 feet high! I do love living in California.

The tour was fun and took most of the day with time out for a lunch break. When we got back, we went to see my brother for my last time. For me this was, barring a miracle, good-bye. That night, I sat feeling so empty inside.

After a few days home, we did have a miracle of sorts. My nephew sent me a picture of my brother with his head up. He couldn’t lift it up for more than a week. At least he can see people and eat if he wants.

I’m just hoping his angels and internal GPS guide him on his journey. Love you Chuck!

 

So close and so far: Starr’s Mill, Fayette County, Georgia and first flight

You can live in a neighborhood and not know what beauty is close by unless you get out and explore. During my visit to Peachtree City, Georgia, I wanted to take my sister-in-law out beyond the boundaries her golf cart would take her. She’s been busy caregiving to my brother and doesn’t drive. I found Starr’s Mill on the internet and was astounded that it was so close to her home. The original mill was constructed in 1825. The current mill was the third built on the stone foundation and is over 100 years old. Currently it is used as a day use park, photographic spot and fishing hole.

I found it to be a beautiful and calming spot. This trip also helped me realize that photography grounds me, taking my mind off what’s going on around me. When I’m shooting, I’m concentrating on my surroundings and what I need to do to get the image I want. The rest of the world goes away.

I brought my camera along, not to create photo outings, but to give me a different purpose during my visit.

One such outing was my first ride in a small plane. My great nephew, Daylen, offered me a ride. The first day we couldn’t go because of the weather. Fortunately, he was able to take me up the next day. What fun! I’ve become good at shooting out of open car windows while on the road, but this was entirely different. I had a great time. Daylen explained what I was looking at. At one point, I stopped shooting and just looked out the window. Fantastic! Thank you Daylen!!

 

If this post has to have a moral, it’s to stop and look at your surroundings (even in the sky). Good possibilities can be so close.

Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

On the road again: Peachtree City, Georgia

Well, we’re not exactly on the road again, but we are on the east coast. Last year we took an amazing trip across the United States in our 5th wheel trailer, and this blog was essentially a travelogue for three months. We’re back on the east coast again, but this time we traveled via airplane.

Coming out for a wedding, we are visiting relatives who live on the east coast. Our first stop was Peachtree City. We wanted to visit our niece, Roberta, last year, but they were traveling. This time we caught them at home, and since my brother and sister-in-law have moved here, we were able to see the entire family. Two teenagers can keep a family busy with sports and other activities. Roberta’s family is extremely busy. She has got to learn how to use the word “no!” During our two-day stay she made 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies while running a taxi for Daylen and Evan and taking care of her parents.

We did take an outing to a Fayette County park. From a photography point of view, it was a typical park. We walked the path, had a picnic lunch and then the clouds came. Picture perfect! There are a lot of images so please be patient. And they are out of order–software problems today!

It was a great two days; and then we flew to New York where we are now, and then on to Pennsylvania.