Wednesday, July 08, 2009

EMPS: Black Dog, Blue Bed; The Neighbors Are Powerless

This entry's title refers to two unrelated subjects, except for the color scheme. That comes from Carly's Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot this week. She's asking to see black, or blue, or black and blue. I can handle that!

Black Dog and Red Dog on a black and blue bed.

My initial thought was to photograph the Black Dog, aka Pepper, on the turquoise concrete slab in our back yard. But it was raining, and Pepper declined to cooperate. So I pulled our slightly ragged blue comforter over the bed and urged her to pose for me there.

Normally, Pepper enjoys being on the bed, especially in the summer if the air conditioning is on. But the A/C was off, and Pepper was being her usual contrary self.

And of course the Red Dog, aka Cayenne, wanted to be on the bed, even if she didn't fit the color scheme. Still, we managed a few fun shots, even if they're not portrait quality!

That was Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday at 7 PM, as Keith Olbermann's second airing was starting on MSNBC, the power went out in the house. It soon became clear that it wasn't just one circuit breaker or just our house. We couldn't finish cooking dinner, because although we have a gas oven John was concerned about the pilot light. We could not watch tv or go online, could not even read for very long as dusk was approaching. So I took the dogs for a walk. It was that time of day anyhow.

The west side of Calle Mumble still had power, but the east side of the street did not. The east side of the street behind us, just across the alley, had no power; the west side of that street did. The power outage was at least two blocks long on each street.

I can't remember the last time I saw so many of my neighbors outside. I've certainly never spoken to so many of them in a single day. The lack of power inside on a hot, muggy evening had driven people into their front or back yards, into the street or into the alleyway. A woman at the south end of my block told me that her neighbor had called TEP (Tucson Electric Power) on her cell phone. TEP was under the impression that they had already "tripped" our power back on, and were disappointed to learn otherwise. A woman in the alleyway asked my opinion on whether the floppy-skinned puppy in her arms looked like it had pit bull in it, and also whether I'd seen her lost cat. My next door neighbor told me about the downturn in the tractor business, roof repairs and bathroom renovations, and that there were supposedly TEP trucks out at Calle Mumble near Golf Links.

Black and white police car in the blue of dusk.

A policeman was directing traffic in lieu of the traffic light at Wilmot and 29th Street, which was out. A woman with a cane gave Cayenne a good five minutes of scratching as we talked about dogs. Her neighbor, a few feet away, was explaining to other neighbors why the fire department won't allow a speed bump on our block. I forget which neighbor it was who reported that TEP referred to the problem on the phone as "a blown fuse." It hardly matters; I don't know the name of a single person on our street other than John. But I do know the names of a few of their dogs.

When we got back to the house, it was dark and muggy. John was trying to take a nap as he waited for the power to return. As far as I was concerned, it was too hot in the house to sleep, and a whole lot of no fun to sit in the dark doing nothing. So I headed to Safeway for groceries and fifteen minutes of air conditioned comfort.

TEP truck and work crew fixing power outage

On the way, I stopped to take a few pictures of the only TEP truck I saw. One guy was up in the cherry picker, reporting to colleagues below about what he was finding.

The "autocorrect" version of a slightly darker shot.

I took several shots from different distances with and without flash. The best results came when I pulled closer so my headlights illuminated the truck a little. The almost monochrome blue-and black version above is the result of an "autocorrect" with my PhotoStudio software.

On my way back from the store, I stopped the car to check in with another knot of chatting neighbors. One woman said that yet another neighbor had asked the work crew whether the power would be back on in time for her to watch a certain tv show at 9 PM. "Oh, sure," she was told. "But here it is, quarter of nine," the woman told me, "and no power."

That's when I decided to drive straight on to Barnes and Noble, which is open until 10, and see if they had the new Doctor Who Magazine. "Where will you read your magazine if the power's still off?" the woman asked. Um, in the car, possibly, or at B&N.

It was at this point that a mysterious, alarmingly large bug zoomed into view, freaking out the neighbors, especially the woman I was chatting with. I've been seeing this kind of bug for the past week or two. It looks like a cross between a mosquito and a dragonfly, except that it's almost as big as a Little Brown Bat. The woman jokingly threatened to flee into my car if it came near her. "I have a thing about bugs," she confessed.

I wished her luck and drove on to B&N, where they did indeed have the next issue of DWM. When I got back, the power was on. John said it came back around five minutes to nine, so my neighbor, whoever she is, got to see her show after all.

From Fireworks 2009

One last shot. How about blue fireworks in a black sky? This is one of the less "caulifloweresque" images from Saturday evening. For more on this, please see the entry below this one.

Carly asks about favorite colors, and how they affect our photography. Blue was my favorite color as a kid, and I gravitated to red and black as a young adult. These days I like pretty much all bright colors (plus black), with a special fondness for turquoise and similar shades. I don't think they affect my photography, specifically, unless the color is unusual for what it is. Years ago I photographed a thunderstorm from a second story window at First Magnus, and the sky color came out indigo. I still think of that particular photo as the "indigo sky" shot.



Greg said...

These are great shots for the theme. You forgot about the blue lights on the police car. I should have thought about that one. Our cars are black...with blue lights.


Jama said...

I love turquoise too!

Carly said...

Hi Karen :)

Always good to see the black dog, and the red dog for that matter! I love the shot of the black and blue sky, behind the stark white truck. That was nicely done!


Suzanne R said...

Good shots of black and blue (and Cayenne) ;-). I always enjoy your stories, too.

Mike said...

I think we have that same comforter on our bed! Fireworks are always nice. Good job on getting a picture of a blue one!