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Tag: Walk

Doom Tree

Wasp nest in a tree.

Phone cameras are still magic. Portrait mode plus color pop. Chef’s kiss.

I took this photo of my neighbor’s tree with a terrifying collection of death bees. (They’re white and black and according to my wife’s research can remember faces.)

If I am never seen again, you’ll know why. I keep waiting for one if the servers thunderstorm warnings to turn into… a storm. I want it to huff and puff and blow this monster away.

But until then, I’ll walk across the street from them when I go on my nightly walks.

Night Sight Magic

The low light ability of my Pixel 4a is still magic. I walked to the grocery store for a few items and stopped to admire the light on the tracks.

I had to stop and prop my phone on the half wall, point the camera between the fencing and let the phone work it’s magic.

Chronolog – Taking pictures for nature

Recently on a walk at a new local park, I came across a placard and place for my phone with instructions to take a picture of the area and email it. The system is from a startup called Chronolog. I had never seen anything like this on my walks through other local parks. Apparently, they’re using it to target specific areas for a variety of issues.

Chronolog sign post with bracket to take a picture that I took a picture of to remember where to email the photo later.

I like being able to do my part to help build the time lapse and give them more information about the park.

I couldn’t find anything about it on my county’s web site, but Greenbelt, MD had a news article about the system from September 2018.

When asked about what these stations are and how they should be used, Ky Wildermuth of Chronolog said “The idea was to create stationary reference points that would position cell phone cameras in a specific direction. Park conservationist would mount brackets in front of ecosystems they needed to monitor. People who ventured out into these areas could place their phone into the bracket, take a picture, and email it to be compiled for a time lapse. That time lapse could be analyzed to track plant life, a restoration project, or environmental change.”

The email I got back in confirmation and thanks said what they were looking to monitor with this particular site.

The North Branch Rock Creek flows directly into Rock Creek and ultimately into the Potomac River. This site is a popular creek crossing. We hope to monitor bank erosion and channeling of this creek.

Unfortunately, there is not a public-facing page for the site I contributed to but here’s an example from their site of the Vernal Pool that goes from dry to wet land as the seasons change.

Bear in Sandals

I am so happy this statue exists.

It’s so joyful and fun. The bear sits overlooking Lake Needwood. The park where he lives is my favorite place to walk. It’s about 2.5 miles around the lake. It usually takes me about 90 minutes to complete the loop when armed with my camera or Pokemon Go.

Voting with your two feet

If your time is being wasted, ignore sunk costs and change your situation by voting with your two feet.

I was initially skeptical of these bite-sized chunks of advice, seemingly for the self-employed followers of bliss. Though as I make my way through Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life I awoke this morning with a different perspective. I thought, this is advice I could apply to my life as well. So I gave it a shot.

At first read, I thought this was telling me to quit my job and walk away. That’s not feasible for a life constructed around the stable income. One that gives my wife the freedom to experiment. I am the rock. She is the stone.

At second read, I took it to mean get up and take a walk.

When I have a problem I can’t solve, I hit my head against it until I was exhausted. Frustrated and no closer to a solution, I’m slowly learning to step away. To change my situation by voting with my two feet. To take a walk. Think about something else. Do anything else.

Even getting up to get a cold drink resets my mind. At a former job, we had a soda fountain in the building. When I hit a problem I couldn’t see my way past, I would walk by my co-worker’s desk and utter a single word. “Drink?” And with that, we’d head upstairs to the fountain. With icy cold Cokes in hand, we’d chat about life, work, writing, whatever weird Internet thing we’d come across that day.

Sometimes we’d ride the elevator all the way up, or all the way down. Just for a few extra moments of conversation. Sometimes with others, but often alone, we’d chat and laugh. Then, when I got back to my desk, fueled by good cheer, cold carbonation and a few moments of joy, I would stare down the problem. And more often than not, a solution would come to me.

So next time I come upon a seemingly insurmountable problem, or one I just can’t seem to think through, I’m going for a walk. And maybe a drink.