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Archive for July, 2013

I posted a version of this image a few years back on April 1, 2011. I picked this photo from my archives because I like it and I wanted to try a different editing process.

kids_jeep

I applied a very subtle platinum tone to the image that warms it up just enough. I also used a different program and sequence for local contrast enhancement and sharpening. I like the results.

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Harry sat on his horse watching the compound in the fading light of dusk. If his timing was right, Leah and her ‘guardian’ would be out for their evening ride soon.

When Harry spotted the two women, he dismounted and led his horse quietly to a section of trail hidden from the eyes of the guards where he would meet up with Leah.

As Harry moved into position he heard horses and whispered conversation on the other side of the wall. He called out softly: “Leah, it’s Harry, get ready to grab the rope when it comes over the wall.”

– The End –

This week’s flash word is “right” and the upper limit is 100 words. My offering is 100 words.

Flash fiction is fun. Hop on over to Flash in the Pan where you can join in the M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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“You go too far Markus. I want this man alive. I need answers”

“As do I My Lord, as do I. Pain applied artfully never kills. He longs for the escape of death but I won’t allow it. I am making great progress My Lord. Can you not smell the fear? The cell reeks of it.”

“A flick of my hand sends him cowering. I can touch him lightly the way a friend might or I can cause unbearable pain. He never knows which to expect. Soon he shall be mine and we will know the truth.”

— The End —

This week’s flash word is “progress” and the upper limit is 100 words. My offering is 97 words.

Flash fiction is fun. Hop on over to Flash in the Pan where you can join in the M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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47 years is a long time. No wonder I can’t remember the situations and how they unfolded as I photographed people and things that interested me, and attracted my eye while wandering around Saigon back in 1966.

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How I managed to take this photo with a normal lens (50 mm lens on a 35 mm SLR) without disturbing these two men puzzles me. I had to be close and from the evidence of the image, they had no idea I took their picture.

What were they doing at the time? Who were they? A vendor and a customer? Two vendors taking a break? A good story leaves much unsaid and a richness of meaning between the lines for the reader to discover for themselves. This image tells stories. Which story is up to you, the viewer, to imagine and discover for yourself.

This image is from a group of negatives that I believe were from the last roll of B&W film that I used before leaving Vietnam during January 1967. I suspect I took this picture in December 1966. I had several cameras during my stay in Vietnam. I would have used my then new Yashica SLR that came with a 50 mm lens (why didn’t I buy a Nikon?) [shakes head after banging head on desk].

Did I publish this image before? I can’t remember. I dug through my archives and found a few more photos from my time in Vietnam that I’ll post over the next few weeks. I’m enjoying revisiting the surviving photos I took during that year.

We had a strange work schedule. Our normal duty (meaning no bad things happening) schedule was either 4:00 AM to Noon or Noon to 8:00 PM. This is time on post which means that guard-mount (checking out weapons, loading them, falling in for inspection) and the ride to and from our posts tacked on extra time on both ends of our shift.

We shifted from one schedule to the other on a regular basis but I cannot remember how long on each shift. The guys who worked all night 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM never changed shifts. They also had a lot more manpower because they worked the dangerous night shift, but they didn’t have to deal with big red, the tropical sun that baked our buns for us every day during the dry season.

Then along comes the monsoon season when it’s a bit cooler and orders of magnitude wetter. You have never seen real rain until you’ve been out in a monsoon rain. I’d rather face the heat of the sun than the monsoon. You could find ways to keep a bit cooler but there is no way to escape getting soaked when you are outside during a monsoon rain.

The reason I mentioned our duty schedule is because we could go into Saigon after work and kick around for a few hours. We also had one day off each week (again when nothing bad was happening). It was nice to be able to walk the streets with a camera in the afternoon. Remember that the war hadn’t come to Saigon yet in 1966. Tet was in early 1968 and as I said in an earlier post, I was so glad to be safe in the US when Tet happened because the VC attacked in force where I had been a year earlier.

Speaking of heat and brutal sun, I haven’t gotten out to take any pictures because it’s way too hot and humid here. The temps have been in the high 90s for days, the humidity is oppressive and the heat index has been over one hundred. I could take that kind of heat back in 1966 when I was a young man but not any more.

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It didn’t come yesterday and the hole in her heart worried that it might not come today either. Sarah remembered. He always forgot. Sarah believed. He never cared.

But Sarah’s hope, the wish she clung to, pushed her out the door one more time. Belief that today might be the day sustained her as she began her daily journey, shuffling slowly and deliberately along the long path to her mailbox.

 

The flash word is “come” and the upper limit is 100 words. My offering is 70 words.

Flash fiction is fun. Hop on over to Flash in the Pan where you can join in the M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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One of the commenters on my June 26th post marking the 50th anniversary of my induction into the Air Force wondered if I might return to the subject of my time in VietNam. Thanks for the nudge dimple. I went through my photos and found a few that were never published.

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Not only did I publish this photo on the blog, I included it in my Saigon 1966 Black and White photo book because I liked it so much.

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Another in a sequence of street shots that I probably took on the same day.

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And another from the sequence

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And the final image in the sequence

With the exception of the first image, I used several programs to clean up the scans. The original negatives are nasty dirty. Cleaning them by hand would take too long so I let the computer do all the heavy lifting. Images 2, 3 and 4 aren’t the best finished quality as a consequence. But they still tell a story.

The year was 1966 and the war hadn’t reached into the city yet, that would come a little over a year later with the Tet offensive on January 30, 1968. I’m so glad I was safe at home in the USA (I left VietNam in January 1967) when the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong launched the coordinated Tet offensive that brought the war into Saigon in a big way.

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When Agnes looked down and saw the box on her doorstep, she opened her mouth to scream “Leave me alone,” but her soundless scream went unheard. She tried looking away but the box had her in thrall and wouldn’t let go.

The box radiated evil. Agnes had no choice. Evil or not, she had to open that box, but her arms hung limp at her sides, afraid to move.

— The End —

The flash word is “down” and the upper limit is 100 words. My offering is 69 words.

Flash fiction is fun. Hop on over to Flash in the Pan where you can join in the M3 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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