Category Archives: Musings

Thanksgiving in Charleston

Fall light in the woods

Camouflaged patience

Leaves crackle in anticipation

Rain on the coast

Wetsuit feels like armor

Grey waves carry ageless friends to shore

Wood smoke on my sweater

Oyster shells lay empty on the table

Blue crabs whistle in the boil

Food and family laugh in story

Thankful to be together

Charleston stretches out the front door

Photography

Despite being a father and a working professional, I still enjoy playing around with photography when I can.

I took a recent course at Piedmont Park focused on lighting. Plenty of factors to consider, much of it requiring more gear than I care to sport around. But if you want to expand your knowledge and live in and around Atlanta, check out Mike Moreland. He brings the models and the gear, and you’ll certainly learn a few tricks. The true art though – in my humble opinion – is directing the model in the context of the scene.

Yes, I got these:

But I actually like this one – no light and off the cuff.

Rock

I can’t pretend to know for sure, but for me it encapsulates what I think many black men, especially in Ferguson, feel about the world around them. Want to get a greater appreciation? Hit the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. We’ve come a long way, but there is still work to be done.

Family

Wow, I’m 40. Chased a few dreams, found one or two. But nothing compares to my wife and two boys. Houston will soon be 6, and Heyward is approaching 6 months. They all recently joined me on the trail for a great 10 mile hike. My birthday wish is for more time by the fire as we share a common respect for the world around us and plans for the next adventure.

A Day at the Beach

The Encinitas and San Diego surf culture is a menagerie of style and circumstance. Wade through the tattoos, tans and thongs, and you ultimately find a flow that is a little funky, fun and free. Whatever your role is it will never be as big as the Pacific Ocean’s command of the scene.

Collaboration

Male Bluebirds

This is a bird box in my backyard where a pair of bluebirds are nesting. I am quite familiar with the male and female, but over the weekend I noticed the presence of another male. After watching a little further I noticed the one male helping the other with gathering food for the chicks. I thought that was a little odd. Turns out that when young males can’t find a mate they help their parents.

Expressions

I get around with my camera, and there is no shortage of expressions to be captured.

Red

Having fun with some of my photos that pop with red. Click on the images to launch the carousel.

Nicaragua

More pics here

Gents,

I’m here in Atlanta with a few inches of snow and ice on the ground thinking about our recent surf trip to Nicaragua. Looking back I am a bit amazed that it all came together. Of course, it would not have happened without significant determination, especially considering the hurdles of wives, kids, work, money, schedules, weather, and the world. Even then William’s trip was cut short with his grandmother’s death. And Nathan, coming off the heels of Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums, managed to rupture his ear with a blow from his surfboard. Glad he could surf through it.

But how did it come to this?

Of course, it all started more than 25 years ago on a scrappy little windswell at Folly Beach. We rented a couple of boards from McKevlin’s Surf Shop back when the old man was still alive. We were hooked, and so began the ocean obsession.

In contrast to the powerful and pleasing aroma of surf wax, I can still smell the old Charleston buses that cost a quarter to eventually make it out to Isle of Palms, surfboards tucked in the seat next to us. We would surf all day.

Our parents had some understanding of the obsession because every now and then we’d get a new surfboard, skateboard, or managed to swing a pair of booties and gloves for those cold winter sessions. A trip to Florida here and there, and I’ll never forget surfing with Matt Kechele and Charlie Kuhn in Hatteras near Rodanthe Pier. They pulled aerials while we watched in grom-like amazement.

We competed a little in the Eastern Surfing Association contests, Coach Kowalski shouting directions from the beach, and we managed to get first place when Mikee Rawlings didn’t enter. For whatever reason that didn’t last. Maybe our parents were afraid we’d take the surfing lifestyle too far?

wrightsville_sm

Then there was Wrightsville Beach where we lived for 2 different summers. We were all in boarding school, so it was a real chance to cut off the neck tie and live life unhinged. How our parents let us live alone in a beach town at the age of 16 I’ll never know. At night we worked hard to convince girls we were in college, and in the morning we rode our bikes across the island to work as bus boys and housekeepers. But we surfed whenever there were waves.

engagement-1north_shore_web

College came and went and few, if any, waves were caught together. New York, Lake Tahoe and Charleston were all too vast of distances to organize an impromptu dawn patrol session. When we’d see each other over the holidays, cocktail parties and late night benders were the source of camaraderie. We got married. Life sped on.

Our friendship is not tied to surfing, for we share time and a place we call home. And whether we are backpacking around Europe, sitting in a deer stand, or sharing a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the streets of Brooklyn, we find plenty of things to give each other shit about.

Nathan_Robert_William IMG_9589_sm

But Nicaragua got under my skin. It reminded me how much I love surfing, and how much I enjoy sharing it with you guys.

When are we going back?

Sincerely ~ Robert

Backyard Birds

A few of my daily visitors here in the heart of the big city. If you read this post – Last Song – then you understand their importance.

Ann Ledbetter Green

 

My grandmother was an exceptional woman and played a significant role in my life. She died in March 2013 at the age of 93. On her 90th birthday I recorded an interview with her on and old DV camera. I was finally able to digitize the content and piece it together. Her strength of character, humor and heart shine through.