The balloon man is a regular customer at Starbucks, near Harrisburg, PA.
This photo blows, I realize that. Today was a day for stepping back. I’m tired of how arrogant and pretentious I can be. I’m not completely sure what direction to go because I’ve wandered. I’m tired, but loaded with caffeine. I want to see with new eyes, to think with a different mind. I can never tell if I’m actually moving towards that, or whatever ‘ultimate purpose’ I am seeking, or if I’m only further blinding myself and falling to my own delusions.
Time for bed.
On starry fields your face is written The rafters laughter smears of ribbon Waning Gibbous and half-a-hitch To write a book by candle flame Dreaming blue cards and late running Calling out, calling just the same Staccatoed pillars of sound and sounding Out the vowels of majesty, royal Splendor and complete resounding, thunder Resignation, signed and sealed, resounding Delivered to the Angels first base coach To put you on your path, blazed Of the High and Holy King.
Josh, Snake Jake, and Derek try to trouble shoot the grasshopper after it wouldn’t start. After quitting for dinner, Snake Jake managed to get it running and drove it to dinner. All it took was some pushing on fuses, wiring, and adding oil to get it running again, and maybe some cooldown time.
Tonight was the last water carnival. Caption info pending. I’ve been posting photos on here that sometimes don’t reflect the best moments, or are the most interesting. I pick them based on something that sticks out from the shooting. Greased Watermelon is something I enjoy shooting at camp, even though it puts my equipment at pretty great risk. It’s the last week of camp, and I have to push myself to shoot. Today I sprayed herbicide before lunch, then tossed a squirrel out of the dining hall dumpster (which smelled of, and probably included, rotting flesh), helped drop a campsite and then weed-whacked in shorts. Days are eventful, but I’ve got to try to pull something together out of these photos, which is somewhat doubtful.
11 year old Scout, Patrick Q. of Troop 23, Harrisburg, PA, rolls the troop flag after the closing parade of colors, Friday night, July 22, 2011. Patrick’s favorite part of camp was the shooting sports during the Dan Beard program.
Joe Kurtz, an 18 year-old Eagle Scout from Troop 283, Mechanicsburg, PA, lets fly a Jumbo marshmallow in the administration building, Thursday night, July 21, 2011. After a long week four, staff members are looking for a way to release and keep energy high with daytime temperatures above 100˚. “It’s been the hardest week so far, mainly because of the elements,” says Joe, a lifeguard, “most people don’t even understand.” The room broke into a flurry of puff balls for nearly half an hour.
Scouts listen to ‘Tiny’ during Space Exploration Merit Badge as he talks about engines, thrust, and class in the Handicraft-Arts Lodge at HVSR
One of the jobs I have at camp, by nature of being a photographer, is shooting for the camp slideshow, which is then put onto DVD’s and sold for $10 in the trading post. It’s not part of my contract, and the unrestricted use of my photos was kind of negotiated by the council. Being a photojournalism major, and entering the field, it was a little frustrating letting them go without seeing anything done for them. I wanted a $700 scholarship started for a program in New Mexico that I participated in when I was 18. That didn’t happen, likely nothing will, but I still get to shoot regularly and have the leverage to make time to go shoot. I also kept the ownership of my photos. I wound up shooting for a few hours this morning. I may have to tomorrow as well because I’m missing shooting sports, nature, and Dan Beard. I could also use more scout craft.
Chris H, a 15 year old Life Scout from Troop 77, Harrisburg, PA, pulls the greased watermelon towards the goal during Tuesday night’s Water Carnival, July 19, 2011.
Scouts fight over a greased watermelon during the HVSR Water Carnival, Tuesday, July 19, 2011.
I’m getting ready for the next adventure. I shorted my camera out again. In the last two days, I’ve seen some incredible birds, helped catch, transport, and translocate a rattlesnake, cracked my oilpan (again, 2nd time in 11 months), and shorted my camera rheostat (2nd time in 9 months). I also bleached the bottoms of my feet, which are pocked and I have a blister. I love doing things, but I wonder if I’m doing what I love half the time. Next summer is already in conflict- high adventure or photography? There’s a lot of time in between there, so I’ll see what happens.
Scouts swim 100 yards and float on their backs during the BSA Swim Test at HVSR. Scouts are grouped by ability into non-swimmer, beginner, and swimmer categories, which determines the extent of the activities they can do in the pool and at the boat docks. 7/17/2011
Fellow staff members relax at the drive in on their day off while waiting for Harry Potter DH2. 7/16/2011
The weekend was sort of a whirlwind segway into what’s promising to be a burner of a week. We went back to my house and had a fire in my back yard, made two pizzas and drank Mt. Dew, before we had to gather up again at lunch on Sunday for the next week of camp.
Scout Caleb G, 12, of Troop 51, hands his ticket up for four rounds of 20 gauge shotgun ammunition, to shoot for his first time ever. “I thought I’d be blown backward off the stand, but it kicked less,” says Caleb.
I was busy yesterday and forgot about posting for the first time, so I am doubling up today-one photo now and probably one after the drive-in.
I’ve been swamped with work- removing a temporary post and beam set-up in the shop rafters, teaching Fly-fishing Merit Badge, taking photos for the slideshow, leading trail runs at 6:45am, delivering cooking supplies. When I do shoot, it feels rushed and cursory. Usually it’s Thursday of the week, meaning I miss the cool things like boat swamping, reptile and amphibian handling, and Dan Beard (1st year camper program). I missed the light on outpost tonight because I was helping a Scoutmaster/merit badge counselor teach a troop member how to change the oil on a car. It was good to help, and I’m fine with missing the light, but it’s just another thing.
The one kid in the photo, Julio, climbed the trees, while the other kid wanted to show me how he could balance my drink (coffee) on his head and walk around. I didn’t really know what else to do besides take a photograph. Somehow this photo eclipsed the ones of archery, soil and water conservation, metalworking, emergency preparedness, outpost, and shotgun shooting. Maybe it’s not better, but at this point, it’s different.
I’ve become older, telling kids to not climb trees, trying to be the voice of safety and ‘maturity’ doesn’t feel like who I am, but it is who I’ve become. Tomorrow, more herbiciding and removing of the beam in the garage rafters, fly-fishing, photos of parade and maybe campfire, and hopefully s’mores in staff site, but for now I have to prep 3 photos for Camping Director for the NBOF council newsletter by 8:00am.
An assistant scoutmaster in Susquehannock texts on his phone during site visitations.
Maybe I was just annoyed at taking two hours to go through four campsites with Jack (my fault for talking), or the scoutmaster for reminding me too much of my Cub Scout leader. Apparently google and autocad were good for building a canoe that came in second out of four in one of three heats.I flicked my camera on, swung it over, tried to autofocus by feel, then took a photo.
So I’m guilty of texting at inopportune and inappropriate moments myself, but camp is different than when I went through, even as late as my last summer as a camper in 2007. It’s frustrating, watching technology replace meaningful communication. The “leaders” here are different. Some of them remind me of Philmont advisers. It’s week three, two to go. I’ve got to remember to be a servant leader, to actually use the training I have, not to be pretentious and arrogant, thinking that I’m entitled to things because of it.
I’m looking forward to being done with camp, but I may be shooting some senior portraits, which I’m not completely ready to do. I also need to work in some time in newsrooms. Then there are my adventures… which like this “car” I was going to buy at the end of the summer, are slowly dissipating in front of me, while I’m left with a dehydration headache, dry eyes, a sore back, and a slowly fading physique. At least there’s the fall and my friends, classes, and future stories to look forward to while I move steel trash cans, take a ciesta on an audi, or realize I woke up after the trail run that I was supposed to lead had already started and finished without me.
Star Scout Anthony Z, 16, of Troop 1011, Frederick, MD tops out on HVSR’s 40 foot climbing tower.
Not much to say tonight. Tight jaw. Long day. 92˚ in the sun, not to mention, on top of the tower was probably hotter. Tomorrow’s supposed to hit 97˚. Lost the power cord to my computer. I skipped our interfaith chapel service and read my Bible in the bathroom, not to say my faith has gone to the toilet, but it’s something I need to bring back to the front of my life. My afflictions-namely my distance from other people-has caused me to act in ways that contradict who I really am at heart.
God put Matthew 11-14, at least by incidence, in front of me tonight, and put another blessing in my life-Rob, a scoutmaster from Troop 79. Last week it was Mark. I don’t remember his troop, but we talked about the failings of contemporary Christians, how faith and beliefs become tenets of a well-rounded, financially-stable, close-knit and secure future. We all have our hang-ups, but true Christianity would seem to conflict with most American’s ideals of wealth and prosperity.
Mark shared the proverb from Luke 3, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Interestingly enough, it is a quote from John the Baptist, who is referenced in the part of Matthew that I read.
Rob talked about how he was a news journalist for 25 years before going into ministry with the Lutheran Church. I am still only starting to flesh out my approach to my faith and photojournalism, because as they are two separate things, I am one man and I must seek God first, then all else will slowly follow. I’ve pulled my own load for a long time; I’ve strayed in grace, living a quiet life that is too sheltered. I have to reach up and reach out into the unknown and meet God where He is leading me.
It’s easy to talk the talk. Hopefully this week I can begin straightening out my walk, but this will be a long, painful process.
On the north slope of Waggoner’s Gap, his face to the bushes, Lee Bear, from Ickesburg, PA, says, “Have you ever seen a bear pick berries?” Lee, his wife, and three grandchildren were picking eastern salmonberries along the roadside, Sunday afternoon, July 10, 2011.
I was driving down the gap, after pushing the jetta, uncontested, up each switchback on the south side. I was in third gear and I was only going to break twice… Until I passed a group of people picking berries. I made it as far as the switchback. I knew that unless I turned back, I would kick myself the rest of the day for trying to pass off another camp photo, especially after waking up at 10 and not going to the flea market.
This week could be a challenge-it’s our largest week in camp, I’m getting tired. We’ve got scoutmasters and a scout scrounging late-night drinks (coffee? really?) in the dining hall at 11:10 pm on the first night. I’ve got to keep the enthusiasm high. Hopefully I’ll be doing some shadowing later this summer, but I want to go on a few adventures and maybe find some other things to shoot.
Shianne Riggs, 16, of Dillsburg, PA, stands along the fence, waiting to cross to the infield during the Super Sportsmen Feature at Williams Grove Motor Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA, July 9th, 2011. “When I’m 18, I’m going to be a driver,” she says, smiling.
I have lived in Dillsburg for the majority of the past 14 years and only finally made it to Williams Grove. With my $8 general admissions ticket (purchased by card, upstairs in the race office, after fumbling around in a dark room), I gained entrance to a world of which I have little or no understanding. I didn’t realize taking this photo that I know Cheyenne, that I’ve known her for something close to eight or ten years.
I spent a lot of time away from this place, a lot of time not really being here, and as a photojournalist it is only now becoming an exploration of culture, values, and activities. I drove past the Mt. Olivet Campmeeting cabins on the way to WG. They were packed. I wanted to get out and shoot there, but that would probably have felt as confrontational as the races. I was wearing only shoes, shorts, and a pirate-skull t-shirt.
I felt like I was imposing, photographing at the races, like I would be violating a serious cultural taboo by photographing fans, not the cars like the other camera-and-flash-laden image makers in the restricted areas. Surprisingly I saw three people that I know-one from camp and two from my days at Northern. I may go back next week, to face that confrontation.
So my fantasy, becomes reality and I must be what I must be and face tomorrow. I’m blinded by the light of God and truth and right, and I wander in the night without direction.
I’m waking up early tomorrow to go shoot at the flea market.
(Name, troop, age, rank to come) surveys the scene as incident commander, while team leader (Name, troop, age, rank to come) follows behind with a make-shift litter on the scene of a “severe thunderstorm” in camp. The Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge drill puts boy scouts’ training to work at HVSR every week.
A scout levels a 20 Gauge Mossberg at the shotgun range while shooting to qualify for the Shotgun Merit Badge.
I’m under the gun for my photos at work. The long and short of it is that it’s not part of my job, but it’s marketable for the camp and the council. I have begun the ‘legal’ negotiations with my boss and my boss’s boss. I’m torn-I understand the need for advertising and I believe in service, but I am a professional. I am willing to carry out daily things-posting photos to the camp facebook page, submitting a daily photo for the camp newsletter, and producing a slideshow- but I will not resign myself, as a professional, to relinquishing my rights as the photographer for no compensation. I was not seeking personal compensation, but that may be the only due course to accomplish my aims.
I want to empower scouts. I am a man who believes in and stands by his principles. Could be a rough couple of days.
In an effort to improve, I am shooting everyday. I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve with this photograph. I don’t like the kids looking at me, but I empathize with the one looking away-tired. It’s difficult to get feedback on my photos here, and I’m not sure where to go myself.
Albero reaches for a rear brake caliper from Victor, both immigrants from San Salvador, El Salvador, in front of Victor’s suburban Washington D.C. home. Albero speaks little English and Victor has not seen his family in 12 years. “The economy here is real bad. Before the recession things were good, now there are no jobs,” says Victor, who has work permits but no Green Card, “Back there, you could make $5 a day, cutting lawn with a machete.”
Today I begin this exploration of life, liberty, and what actually matters at the end of the day. Some of my views leave me feeling as if I am a domestic expat because I do not subscribe to the ponzie scheme of capital, revenue, and ‘democracy’ that is readily available- I outright reject it.
There has been a lot in the back of my mind lately, brooding sentiments and frustrations. I have a difficulty actually feeling much emotion- my fellow camp staff almost nicknamed me Spock. I often drift around, jaw set against stress and lack of sleep, while I display an outward performance of bravado and leadership. I’m not saying my outward self is disingenuous, although it sometimes feels canned, but that inwardly, I hold fast to a voice that is now beginning to surface.
Perhaps the creation of this blog on July 4, 2011 is irrelevant, but my voice and my views, both through the lens and language, deserve credence. I have observed those older and younger than myself and come to two distinct conclusions: 1.) It is impossible to live with more experience than which age has allowed and 2.) the actions, beliefs, and ideas of those before me are not mine and do not determine the full course of my own life and its expressions- I do.
The idea of freedom continually returns to me as I become more dejected with American Capitalism, its consumer-driven ideals, and the true nature of government. I often struggle with the founding principles of this nation, because in their application, they permit the subjugation of those beyond the faction represented en massê.
Two Hundred and thirty-five years ago, powerful, wise, and many of them rich, men sat down and laid the pillars of a nation that has created its own freedom.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Really, what is true Freedom? What does it look like; what does it feel like? I cannot comply to the idea that I am free because men have gone and killed, gone and died, gone and wondered-to-God-if-they-believed-it-too-in-the-desert. Freedom is not something that I am granted under a charter or a pact or a treaty. Look at the historical record and you will see the bastardization of values, the perjury of justice, the abuse of lesser men by those seated in powerful places. Look at the present too and you will find it there.
True Freedom is intangible; at best it is a conditional state borne by those who suffer, that it has no price tag and cannot be won with bloodshed, denied on account of citizenship, or granted for patronage. There is a simple beauty in living, living in a way in which you are free, searching out and fighting the oppressions and centuries of indoctrinated-anti-intellectual-misled-shortsightedness that averts true Freedom.
True Freedom is not won fighting for words on paper, cultural values, or a secure future, but it is found in the realization that you can kill a man free and separate from the law, and you can also show him grace and compassion, sparing his life, because you have killed and dealt a swift arm of justice, because others have spared your life. True Freedom is not the ability to find sovereignty in the midst of complete oppression, to find true liberty in a state of benign hegemony, but the active struggle against those forces which oppose it.
This is largely a rant. Brave men have fought and died in the name of noble causes, but at what cost? Who profited? I am not going to rain on the Monday parade. I love holidays as much as anybody else. It is important to note the passing of Independence Day, but the experiment begun July 4, 1776 did not end with the American (and French) victory over the British. It is an ongoing struggle in the daily lives of every American.