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Cheetah Masai Mara '06

It’s been said that the real meaning behind photography is that it creates a “transfer of energy” across time and space. It is a way of capturing a bit of the dynamic content of the cosmos in a portable form. As in this photo of a cheetah that had spontaneously joined us on the hood of our Land Cruiser on the plains of the Massai Mara in Kenya several years ago.

And speaking of New Year’s resolutions, I’m reminded of the voyage mankind is taking, in this excerpt from the conclusion, of all things, of an essay I did called “French Fried, From Monticello to the Moon,” for the Chicago Literary Club.

“I’d like to take that long ladder of moon-bound French fries just one last step further into the future, as I wrap up this voyage through history. Albert Einstein thought that perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind is to “widen our circle of compassion” across both time and space. Our ethnic and geopolitical squabbling might pale into insignificance if our compassionate circles were wide enough, he reasoned.

So let’s not longer worry whether the little fry is French, Belgium, American or Russian, but take it with us into the future, even into space, as a tasty treat for our frail band of wandering humanity, and continue to enjoy the good little things in life.

John Calvi, in a 1982 poem called “French Fries,” perhaps said it best, in his final stanza, when he wrote:
“Some think the army, the bombs and the guns
Will one day save all of our lives,
I don’t believe it — heat up your pans
Make peace, and lots of French fries.”

Happy New Year 2014!

My essay on fries can be found at and then under, Roll of Members.

Well, I’d thought the Chicago Sun-Times was a newspaper, if not a very good one at that. Now they are not, as they have fired their entire 20-person photography department saying they need to produce more video! (see story link below)

I love journalism, and was trained as a journalist, and have even taught it at the college le level. I also love the internet, and use it to stay in touch. While I can’t get direct delivery of a newspaper, I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune digitally, and see it in its print form on the screen, and can dive in and blow up stories and photos easily. Same with the New Yorker and the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

The Sun-Times? Trash, even digitally.

Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff
The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, and plans to use freelance photographers going forward, the newspaper said.

I recently obtained a new Fujifilm X10 compact camera. It is small enough to carry easily, unlike bulky DSLRs, yet seems to offer the potential to take high quality images under a wide range of conditions.

The little jewel comes with a detailed instruction manual that explains “what”  the multitude of controls do, but not “how” to use them together to take great photos.

I’ve looked online and found a few partial stabs at strategies for using the smart but complex features, but nowhere yet have I found an even partially complete and understandable guide to getting the most out of this technological marvel.


Just found the very guide I was looking for at, and downloaded it to my IPad. Cost just $9.99. It contains the coaching I was looking for. Well worth it.

March 2023

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