dumpster life lessons

If you see something (or dare I say, someone) that you or others would label an “eyesore” or pain-in-the-ass.    Look again.   I dare you to find beauty and meaning in those things.   It is difficult; but, it can lead to new understandings, acceptance and maybe even appreciation.   My interest in dumpsters or what others may call containers (or whatever you use to collect rubbish, trash, garbage) is well known and long standing.   Dumpsters are not only utilitarian but can reveal a beauty that was forged within their utilitarian function.   This morning (2/14/21) I decided to head out with my camera (my valentine – LOL).  I came across this large dumpster at a building where construction was being done.   I almost never ever pass up a dumpster opportunity and this was no exception.  You can see from the first image – the setting.  Unimpressive, maybe even documentary.   But that doesn’t stop me.  That’s just the entry point for my imagination and creative thinking.   I somehow am inspired by suffering, difficulty and challenges and find they are signposts along the road of life to happiness.   I don’t seek them out but when they present themselves I do seek to turn around those situations into something worthwhile or worth living for.   

Hinge:   It all hinges on seeing that difficulty as an open door to something better.  Unexpected – most likely.   But a door or pathway revealed that I may not have considered before.

Overview:  When we are confronted by such a door we must take a step back and take time to look at the details.

Details: These details offer clarity, understanding and unapologetic saturation and texture that makes it possible for us to complete the transformation from repulsion to acceptance and maybe even a sense of beauty.  Art.  Life is art – from beginning through to the end – and after the end, in memory and spirit. 

*to view larger individual images in order: click on the first image below showing the dumpster in it’s habitat.   Then click on the arrows to navigate through the complete set of images.


I decided to post a couple of experimental shots. Imperfect shots with little to no retouching. It is necessary to step outside ones comfort zone from time to time and just “wing it” with a shot that you may expect to throw away. That was certainly the case with both of these images. Like much of my work they came to me without me looking for them. I guess that’s sort of the “spiritual” nature of my photography in that I typically do not have a plan. I just go – camera in hand – and what happens, happens. I have never felt real comfortable with reflections (and yes I’ve posted some in the past – but not many). So reflections for me are more experimental in that they typically do not draw my attention. But as I suggested earlier its important to see what the “spirit” will reveal to you and your creative endeavors and that means sometimes it will reveal things to you that are outside your comfort zone – like reflections.

In the image on the Left I had taken my trash out early evening last fall and saw the postal carrier delivering mail to the cluster of mail boxes for my apartment complex. I decided to wait in my garage and then go pick up the mail. As I was waiting and milling about the garage I ended up leaning on the rear of car. I’ve seen this view “a thousand” times before but never thought anything about it. But as I stood there this time and began to think about it with my limited/hyper focused view it seemed a diptych of sorts and then it started to become interested as I started looking at the details. I went and got my camera and took a few shots. I still find it surprisingly interesting with the look out at the trees at the end of my driveway compared to the abstract reflection of the garage door opener and light off the rear window of the car. I thought about a square crop but it didn’t work as well for me. I liked the “weight” of the black at the bottom of the image in contrast to the lighter outdoor scene above. The only editing was a few minor tweaks to the lighting.

The second image was taken inside a car park in downtown Akron near the university. The office of the car park was dark and as I was driving toward the exit I found the view you see above. I like the angles, the deep dark shadows compared to the outside being reflected on the office glass. Like the first image I did very little editing. I tweaked the color saturation only minimally. The biggest change was the crop. I did a re-alignment and used a 16×9 crop to cut out the very bottom of the image that just seemed wasted space. I thought about taking out the very top part of the image also to let the window frame better frame the image but like the “garage” photo on the left I liked the “weight” which I feel helps add to the context of the place the photo was taken in. So for better-or-worse I left it alone. Maybe in the future I’ll think differently but I didn’t want to mess too much with it right now.

Hope you enjoyed reading a little about my thought processes for these two images.

****as is often the case when I post multiple images. If you click on one it will bring up a larger version that you can view….

imagined album cover

Many who have been following me over the years know that occasionally I create album covers for imagined bands and music. Well it’s been a while. This image was inspired while listening to some thoroughly baked modern jazz.

The band members in my imagined recording are Sol Mucky, Chick Scully, Michael Missin & Charlie Winter collectively knows as MSMW. The album: MOTHER SAYS MORE JAZZ WAFFLES which I think is a totally boss title. LOL. I imagine the following track list:

  1. Mama Shakes
  2. Lovin’ On The El Train
  3. Groove My Polyester
  4. Jazz Waffles, No Syrup
  5. 3″ Platform Souls
  6. Phantasm And Ectoplasm
  7. Rocket Ride To The Honey Jar

If you can imagine hearing the music above and like it, let me know. If not maybe you’ll like this….. 🙂

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood – LITTLE WALTER RIDES AGAIN from their collaborative venture OUT LOUDER.

Mars…. the exploration continues

Okay. I need to geek out again. I am so pumped about this coming Thursday 18/2/2021. I’ve been waiting for this day ever since Perseverance was launched 30/7/2020. In fact I’m so excited about this day that I took a vacation day from work to follow online the entry, descent and landing of NASA’s latest rover, Perseverance. This is not science fiction! This is REAL science. Here’s a video and animation of what we might expect on the 18th as humanity adds another vehicle to the Martian Used Vehicle lot. I wonder if Martians will someday gather up all these rovers and scavenge them for spare parts or set up a lot to sell them? LOL

One thing that makes Perseverance different is that landing technology and also a first – on the belly of perseverance is a helicopter that will be able to fly advance recognizance for the rover as well as perform it’s own science activities (imaging the planet).

Feel free to join me viewing the 7 minutes of terror online at https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/landing/watch-online/

And a little more than a month after the anniversary of David Bowies death – his music is more relevant than ever….. because we are looking to see if there is evidence of past life on Mars. 🙂


There is always hope and beauty – no matter how water-logged and dark our lives may seem at times. 


Music – The Violet Burning “As I Am” from the album Strength.

how should we then live in these troubled times?


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, 1927