John Cadell Photography: Blog en-us (C) John Cadell Photography (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:43:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:43:00 GMT John Cadell Photography: Blog 120 80 Speaking of Geese and Humans - Introduction to Honk 101 (c) 2007 Photography by John Cadell, Virginia Beach Scenic Photography

Maybe it’s the cold weather… the starting to creep up again gas prices… who knows… but people in this area are more edgy and petty than usual… which is really scary considering that we have an over-abundance of folks who would easily fit the persona of Winthorp Useless Neverhasbeen the IV types… yeah those who think they are rarefied gentry in their too cool for school BMWs and Mercedes types. Talk about territorial mutts turned loose amongst the henhouse, yeah, you get the picture.  Currently, there’s a growing battle over the voluntary maintenance of the community website in the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) where I live. Said volunteer administrator made a (oh horrors of horrors) a mistake in the website.  Oopsies. It has started World War XVIII if you were to see some of the reactions from others who think they are the epitome of "perfect in every way".  Even the esteemed Mary Poppins knew she was "almost perfect..." This is a very modest community of townhouses. We don’t have any fountains, but we do have 4 lakes which provides for prime real estate of an abundance of Canada’s finest export on two-legs. These critters are totally at ease with themselves in initiating traffic snarls by pondering the meaning of yonder speck of grass across the road. And like it’s somewhat distant cousin the chicken, does indeed cross the road… at a pace that would make the average snail look like a speed demon.  It is amusing to watch the antics of people as they exercise initial restraint, then exasperation, and react with the most common form of human-goose communication – the vehicle’s horn.  Let’s figure that one out… is it a case of who has the louder honk? I somehow doubt that your average Canadian Goose really does understand (or care) about the Detroit versions, let alone the nuances of Lexus, Mercedes, or the universal SUV ‘beep’ – more commonly associated with the antics of the Warner Bros.® classic cartoon characters - Wyle E. Coyote, Genius, vs. the Road Runner.  At any rate, the daily drill continues of loud honking, both of feathered and steel (I think) varieties. The end result is the same – our feathered friends continue their stroll (and I emphasize stroll) across said street to the lake, and humans go ballistic honking their horns to ‘shoo them along’.  Why?  Is that Sillyfrapachino™ with diet ice going to be any different around the corner at Starbucks®… not to mention the 3 traffic lights with their own form of attitude between here and there? Me thinks not.  Likewise can be said about our own actions. Do we really truly give two hoots about the more goofier things we see in ourselves every day?  This is something which gives most of us the same silent impression of “so what?”… in a quiet humorous way – great…. Go on with your happy (as such) self… one less horn-honking Human vs. Goose encounter might lead to bigger and brighter things as well… understanding of each other… and ways to react with understanding and what have you.

A parting spiritual thought for the week…

If you are Living the Dream and Talking the Talk, but aren't Walking the Walk… Why are you just standing there? John Cadell

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Canadian Geese Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:58:37 GMT
Quieting things down a bit... This past week of record breaking everything according to The Weather Channel® has truly been a doozy and a half. Growing up in the North East, I had this childhood concept that it just didn’t ever but NEVER EVER SNOW IN THE SOUTH. My Grandmother would tell us stories during her annual Christmas visit of how the Nuns had to be exceptionally careful walking back and forth in the snow from the Provincial House to where they were teaching at St. Joseph’s College for Women.  Others would go down the road to Mount St. Mary’s College for Men – which always baffled my young mind – why would girls go to one college, and boys go to another one literally down the road from each other? When I was 12, the girls started going to Mt. St. Mary’s… and the college that my Grandmother had worked at her entire life closed when I turned 13. Mt. St. Mary’s went on to become a full-blown university, while Grandmother’s beloved school sat dormant for years until the U.S. Government thought it would be a great place to set up training for the FEMA Academy.  Somehow, the concept of government types of all persuasions running all over a very peaceful and tranquil campus practicing on how to deal with any number of disasters just didn’t make sense to me. Many years later, I stopped by to visit the Provincial House and pay my respects to the Sisters – Daughters of Charity.  Although none of the Sisters who had watched me grow up from an infant to a member of the USN and then the DHS were no longer alive, their presence continues to live on in each and every one of the Sisters who are in residence at the Provincial House.  Indeed, it is truly a humbling but powerful experience each and every time I stop – even if only for a very short while.  You cannot ignore the very real presence of Our Lord throughout the Shrine and the surrounding area.

Winter Twilight - Duck Gazebo PierWinter Twilight - Duck Gazebo PierA beautiful end to a winter's day - twilight along the Albemarle Sound of Duck, North Carolina, courtesy of God.

This brings to mind something that I often grouch about – in our attempt to find peace and tranquility, we often over-look the simple fact that we cannot detach ourselves from the ‘modern connected world’ for any great period of time.  This past weekend, our parish was visited by a priest from the Archabbey in Latrobe – the largest abbey of the Benedictines in the United States. He was advocating for our parish’s continuous support to provide a place of peace… the Monastery… where young men discern their calling, and gain the knowledge through education to become priests. He made mention of how smart phones had permeated even their quiet grounds… noting that on a particular retreat weekend, ‘please do NOT bring your smartphones’.  This of course caused something approaching withdrawal symptoms with the reflexive ‘grab yer phone’ twitch continuously cycling. Not having it caused a real thought-provoking (some might say heart-stopping) period when not having instantaneous communication from or to anywhere on the planet was a HUGE surprise. Our priest freely noted that while attending a nearby Pittsburgh Penguin hockey game, he was furiously texting in between periods… “DON’T FORGET ASH WEDNESDAY” and other short but impact-laden notes.  He didn’t say if he utilizes that near cryptic ‘texting language’ that is something that would send any English teacher into fits… “r u going 2 rck ur hse 2nite?” or “ttyl…c u at sams” and the ever-present “OMG”… yeah… call the United Nations and get a translator.  The point he was making to all of us – RELAX take a chill pill… LISTEN.  Truly, he was right on the mark.  I chuckled when people were sheepishly looking around – they knew that they too were in the same ‘trap’ of WHERE’S MY PHONE?  Although I carry two – an iPhone 6+ (geek that I am) and a Samsung S4 (because my company wants me available 24/7/365), they stay in my truck when I go to Mass. My ‘world’ can go on hold for an hour, it will still be there when I get back, and yes, I immediately check to see if I have any messages – work or family.  The point is, we really need to look inwardly at ourselves, take a serious assessment and consider what kind of projection we are really making.  Starting with me, improvement is a continuous process.  Only then, can we really appreciate all of the things we have and generally take for granted. How about instead, let’s show some time for helping others and step it up… just a notch or three, and look around you... see what you can do...  for others. 


As a very special friend would say “We are a work in progress” (Fr. Jim Parke).

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:49:52 GMT
Never Judge A Book... Polar Bears on the Boardwalk in February... The adage “Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” is especially true (and often over-looked) when looking at our fellow humans.  In our daily rush of getting from Point A to Point B, we tend to forget and overlook others.  Not just at traffic lights with the expected make a left on green from the right turn lane types, but the nameless ones we see at traffic lights, trying to collect whatever donations people feel inclined to give them. Sure, some might be scamming along, we’ve all heard the stories of some guy panhandling on ‘his corner’ looking like three kinds of grief and sadness at his woeful luck, only to be spotted climbing into a new BMW around the corner and laughing the whole way. Perhaps. On the other end, there are those who have just had a bad hand of fate dealt to them. Yesterday, I saw a guy on a corner – I was first up at the light.  I went digging for change, checked the ashtray – nope.  I felt pretty foolish – and told him so… he simply said “Thanks for talking to me and letting me know I exist – most people don’t”. He said his company was on hard times because the boss had messed up his back. I asked him what he did for a living, and suggested he go check a temp agency not too far away as they were always hiring. That made his day – someone who listened to him.  I wish him luck and a speedy recovery to his boss as well.

Another ‘book’ is one that I’m getting to know as I go to the Commissary (that’s supermarket in Civilian English) at Naval Air Station Oceana each Sunday afternoon, unless I happen to be at work due to schedules and system availabilities. Anyhoot, I try to use the self-checkout line – I don’t buy a whole lot, and generally there is a guy (disabled Veteran) who is in a wheelchair who checks IDs, and helps customers with the often cantankerous scanners that they have. Nothing is more frustrating there than to hear that ‘BLEEP’ that announces to everyone within audible range that you are a certified incompetent, unqualified to scan items without adult supervision. If there were a hierarchy of BLEEP counts, I would probably rate in the top 10%... which is really infuriating considering what my day job is.  I can tell you in painful boring geek detail, exactly HOW it works, including the numerous data bases, inventories, and all kinds of wondrous things that scanner actually interacts with. I can tell you how that information gets from that scanner to the big mystery warehouse somewhere in the deep woods of northern Iowa (classified location of course, we are talking about the military here) but to get that scanner to agree that my eye-hand-scanner coordination is in sync with it, is quite another story.  I can hold my own at Harris Teeter or Kroger’s, but the United States By God Navy Commissary at Oceana seems to take a special interest in old farts like me.  Thankfully, that disabled Vet in a wheelchair not only zooms around in his custom chair, but also keeps things straight and orderly, instead of letting them pile up and cause more of a bottleneck. He won’t say a word, but when you turn around and you see 5 12-packs of Coke® products (5 for $11 is quite the deal) and 4 bags of everything else stacked up neatly, you gotta’ go huh?!  When other employees (non-impaired in any way except a willingness to assist – they’re more of the attitude of  simply parking their ample selves on a high stool and survey their domain, deeming it appropriate to plop down and waddle over at their leisure, much to the chagrin of that hapless shopper.  I am included in those ranks as well, and have mentioned this to their management, who does not give one hoot about learning to spell customer service.  Frustrating, to be sure. They would do well to emulate their ‘impaired’ co-worker.  He literally rides circles around them in more ways than one.


Special Olympics Virginia holds their annual Polar Plunge this weekend – a group of dedicated volunteers from all walks of life who go way beyond and over the top to help those with intellectual disabilities.  My brother Knights and I will be there helping in a variety of capacities – it goes without saying where and what I’ll be doing – check it out on Facebook… look for Polar Plunge – and you’ll see what 2,500 people look forward to doing each year – spending quality time in the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds. Weather forecast for Saturday is mostly sunny (a good thing) air temp of 42, water temp of 39-40. I deal with that routinely by choice – in a wetsuit. They deal with it once a year by choice in bikinis, swim shorts, and no shortage of colorful costumes.

To see past year’s antics:

Have a great week.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:05:36 GMT
Goofy weather and surfing in January… which is goofier? Yeah, okay… so former Vice President Al Gore – self-stated inventor of the Internet and several other well-known academia, scientists of every known (and mostly unknown to the rest of us) persuasions have been jumping up and down for beaucoup (that’s one of the 3.5 words from the French language I can say without mangling it completely) years about ‘global warming’.  Okay, tell that to the folks in upstate New York, Minnesota, northern Maine, and other like places. The Weather Channel® gives us millisecond updates on the latest greatest named storms – another aside here… Since when did they start naming routine weather patterns that dump lots of the wet stuff in either liquid or solid form? Which part of Huh?!! do I need to amplify at this point?  Our youngest daughter and her husband are stationed in upstate NY – their chief specialty is “Lake Effect Snow”.  Truthfully, I think I’d rather stick to being the “Pothole Importation Control and Evaluation Point of the Free World” that Southeastern Virginia is known for, rather than the continuous bombardment of this “Lake Effect Snow”. Perhaps. To invoke the principles of “Diminishing Returns”, it would seem that “Diminishing Returns” when applied to NY State would translate to when the darn snow diminishes in returning to plague them on a daily basis – generally about half-past May. Okay, can the same be said of SE Virginia’s notorious reputation for potholes?  I have my doubts. Every sitting president who has visited Norfolk in the past 50 years has always commented on the overwhelming amount of front-end alignment destroying critters during their brief     stop-overs.  Point is, they’re actually right.  For once.  I have previously noted the discrepancies of pothole ratios with our neighbors across the line in North Carolina.  They are virtually pothole-free, whereas we have potholes in our potholes.    But I digress… we’ll continue this discussion next week after this “potentially historic storm” has gone it’s route through the North East.  Hope you guys have your nuclear-powered snow-blowers ready to rock… it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun is coming your way later today.

Benjamin busting through a 2ft. wave in mid-winter.

I’m now officially in my mid-50s – fair game for AARP (yeah, they got to me a couple of years ago) and all of the other trappings of becoming an older person.  The darn commercials on television purporting to restore certain functions while at the same time exhibiting side effects that will really make your day, NOT… pass.  Be it not having to visit the rest room, to many other ‘personal functions’, the ever-growing list of sponsors that will give you another chance continues to amuse me.  Think about it… why on earth would you want to endure all of that nonsense just to hopefully achieve/regain a micro snap-shot of youth that is now a part of fond memories.  There are other things you can still do, be proud of being able to do, and not have to endure the side effects that will give you serious pause for the cause as to why you actually fell for that nonsense.  The one that brings the most chuckles to my wife and I are the individual “his-and-her” bathtubs facing a sunset. Really?  If that’s ‘the thing to do’ – again, I’ll grab a book and brew and call it good.  Instead, I have more fun surfing with my son – yesterday was nice and sunny, air temp in the low 50s. Lots of people of all ages abilities and interests on the boardwalk, the beach… etc. Wind was shifting from the west to the south, which produces a clean left breaking wave.  If you are thinking “John – that water has gotta’ be freeeeezzzziiinnnggg” you would be quite right. More like 39-40. Wetsuits are great at trapping water that your body then heats up, providing a certain degree of tolerance to catch those decent waves in the middle of winter. The key point is tolerance.  Usually, I’m good for about 2 hours of floating, paddling, chasing and occasionally even catching a wave or three. Benjamin – my 6’5” “mini-me” had been out the day before when there were significantly larger swells, and he was hooting away with the rest of the 1st Street Surfers – we’re the ‘locals’ who do this stuff year-round, regardless of rain, sleet, snow, or tourists. His 4/3 wetsuit (actually my winter wetsuit that he needs far more than I do since he doesn’t have the built-in density that I do – which took years to acquire, courtesy of Moosehead, clams, pizza, and other highly nutritional sources that allows me to use my thinner and more flexible 3/2 wetsuit in the winter) still retained a significant amount of the Atlantic Ocean from the previous day. If you wonder why, please review the wet in wetsuit. Anyhoot, he fussed up a storm pulling his wetsuit on yesterday. He still ran circles around me in the water… I came up lame after an hour with muscle cramps that you do not want to have – most especially when you are 200 yards off-shore in deep water. I came in, pulled off my leash and waited. Ben caught his last wave of the day on a board that is older than he is in true fashion – down the line nice long carve, kicked it hard left leaving a rooster tail behind him as he came in to shore. Nice to know that he’s carrying on what I had done at his age… at best, I can ride on my knees these days due to my buddy Arthritis.  I'm fully defrosted from yesterday as of 6am; I’ll be stiff for most of today and part of tomorrow, but Sunday afternoon will be here… I’ll be able to get back in the water for another round… of fun.

Better to have these memories – and STILL be able to surf to a point, than to contemplate the meaning of life from a bathtub.

Cape Henry Lighthouses - Winter SunsetCape Henry Lighthouses - Winter SunsetAt the end of a long cold day, sunset descends upon Cape Henry.

Old and the New - Cape Henry Lighthouses, Virginia Beach.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Light Houses Winter Weather surfing Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:57:35 GMT
Making a Choice… which trail will take you where in the path of life? © John Cadell PhotographyCrossroadsPathways converge in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, VA Since we were little, making a choice has made a difference in life. Some early examples are – chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Mustard or ketchup on a hotdog? Tough enough on the average 10 year old, for sure.  As we get older, sometimes those very same decision-making processes we used as a 10 year old may seem to be the same self-rationalization of how we make decisions in adult life. Some would say “well that’s because I’ve ALWAYS done it that way”, other’s would lament “but that’s how my Mother taught me to do it”. For the former, perhaps a little re-analysis of WHY you ALWAYS do things THAT way might be useful – especially if ‘that way’ tends to produce less than favorable results… for the latter,  if that is the generations-old passed down to the younger way of making something that everyone looks forward to – i.e., pie, cake, whatever, so be it.  It brings back memories… “I remember when Great Aunt Mathilda used to…” uh-huh… here we go. We as humans tend to look back and go “Gee… wonder what would have happened if I had done this instead of that”. Of course we all know that short of Hollywood’s numerous movies on time travel, we can’t undo the past…but we can certainly use the past to improve what/how we do things in the future. 


Think about the movie “Back to the Future”… a hilarious example of ‘what if’… fortunately, nothing significant was changed, history did repeat itself to get things back in sync, and life resumed (albeit a bit differently going forward) for our hero.  Michael J. Fox has shown us a more pragmatic approach of “True Grit” throughout his life as someone who deals with a significant life-impairing situation… Parkinson’s Disease. He has shown us through his own life, the ups, downs, backwards, and sideways existence of living with this, that he and his family endures.  This disease and it’s other (now) well-known running mate Alzheimer’s, can strain anyone and those who care for them, to the point of “what if I had…” For sure, there are other known diseases/conditions out there that have impacted the famous just as much as it has impacted us ordinary folks. So now, the road of our life in a conceptual manner, has indeed traveled to a point of going left or right as seen in this week’s picture.   The question is, what are we going to do about it?  Are we going to just ‘sit there’ and do nothing? Are we going to do something? What?  There are numerous ways – donations are the most welcomed form, because those funds go to the research and treatment, far more than anything else.  When was the last time any political figure stood up on CNN, Fox News, or wherever and said “HEY!! I am pushing a bill to increase government support to work on dealing with (fill in the blank – MLS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.).  Unless it was some obscure political district in northwestern North Dakota (no offense to anyone who might actually live there), it just doesn’t make the news.  I wish I was absolutely wrong on this – and if someone could show me proof – I will run with it immediately… but it saddens me to no end that with all of the hot air that generates from DC, not one bit is ever mentioned to deal with issues that are just as ugly as what we are exposed to every time we turn on the news. 


Or is it? What about volunteerism?  If you can get past the part of you are only able to do what you can, besides making that contribution, what about a little bit of self-involvement?  How? You’d be surprised at the number of organizations that thrive on succeeding only because of volunteers making a difference.  Look at Special Olympics, Foodbank of… (which get a huge boost from a few well-known folks like Bruce Springsteen, The Doobie Brothers, and several of their friends who not just write checks, but get out there in the community and DO), Habitat for Humanity… Make A Wish Foundation… Wounded Warriors… the list is very long, but the volunteers are not always there to help.


Think about it.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Crossroads in Life - a question of doing the right thing for others Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:19:19 GMT
Vehicle Cupholders Math... © John Cadell PhotographySUV Math... Christmas Shoppers at Town Center, Virginia Beach, VA. Awlrighty then…

Yes indeed, it has been quite a while “more than a minute” since I last attempted to put out a new “Monday’s Musings…”  truth be told… ‘writer’s cramp’… CRS (Can’t Remember Squat) along with a very busy work life, becoming a grandparent… church and community commitments… yada..yada..yada.. has put a huge damper on available ‘free thought’ time.  Indeed, it is good to be working, and the long hours are rewarding in many ways… but there are the proverbial ‘side effects’ that go with this as well.  Hence, in a pathetic attempt to ‘borrow’ some thoughts and concepts from Zen and Feng Shui – pronounced - 風水 in my ‘life’ to achieve some sort of balance, ‘it has been interesting’.  There have been ‘certain external persuaders out there’ whom I won’t mention too specifically, other than their initials are Mary and Ellen… to name but 2 of actually quite a few… who have been quietly (yeah, right – they’re both native Central NJ types) ‘hinting’ (like a football bat being driven by Thor’s Hammer) to get on the stick and WRITE.  Fine… this one is for y’all…

Picture this:  Some reckless fool seriously attempting to make a left on green from the far right turn lane at a very busy intersection.  Yeah, of course it was during the Holidays – shoppers were out in full force wreaking havoc on us wary and very suspicious ‘other drivers’ who were merely trying to survive getting to our intended destinations without significant ‘field changes’ to the original design of our vehicles – read: KA - B L A M… oopsies… ‘my bad’ type reactions from the initiator as said individual placed their Starbucks® cup in one of those 30,000 cup holders found in your average SUV. Heck even my manly-man Tundra code-name “Starship Elvis” has at least a dozen.  Which gives one pause to do the math on that particular expressive equation… if a vehicle has a capacity of say 4 occupants, why on earth are there at least a dozen places for drink holders with the auto-sensing/sizing features that can read the cup size and determine the appropriate amount of pressure to apply to keep said container from launching within said vehicle?  Granted, that’s a pretty nifty feature, and I personally think that Jeep® upped the ante when they started the glow-ring feature a few years ago for those with early morning/late evening commutes… the best one was the final glide slope approach lighting system borrowed from USN aircraft carriers – red if you were off-target during placement and in danger of wreaking serious havoc with the genuine imitation leather seats or unsuspecting occupants laps, shifting to green when you were lined up with said cup holder, but I digress.  The point is – there is AT LEAST 3 holders per occupant of said vehicle.   Why?  For most of us (starting with me) we generally drive somewhere around the less than 50 miles per day in commuting to work, shopping, getting the “honey-do’s” moved to the “honey-done” column.  For younger folks who are constantly running the kids to sports and other activities would perhaps justify the need for the additional holders.  Think about it – the average 8 year old has a consumption rate approaching that of the camel after a soccer game.  Okay, I get it, as do most other people… and when you watch the advertisements for new vehicles, it is rare to see anyone past the age of 35 being used as the ‘human factor’. Nope, according to auto-makers, us geezers past the age of 35 don’t really count when it comes to advertising for SUVs.  Now granted, I wouldn’t be caught dead in an SUV, unless it’s when I’m taking my wife’s RAV4 in for servicing at the dealership – and that’s about the ONLY time you’ll see me in it, period.  I’d rather pay the extra $$$ in fuel to go places in my roomy manly-man Tundra any day of the week.

Many years ago when we were getting serious in our relationship going truly permanent, I was driving her beloved Toyota Van with 2 large and 1 small dogs.  Said large dogs Furball & Kira were in the 2nd row of seats, loving life because the windows were open, and big dogs LOVE to ride with the windows open… it’s a dog thing – don’t ask.  Okay, wonderful, but what about the 3rd member of our canine team – what was this one up to? Small dogs have a serious attitude about their size… and they voice it quite loudly and constantly at the slightest provocation… or none at all.  Again… it’s a dog thing.  Okay, now, picture yours truly driving said “soccer mom van”… Mr. Yappy – better known as Cheyenne… is not only voicing his opinion on anything and everything… but he is doing it with his front section on my lap, with his nose partially out the window.  Not exactly what you want others to see, if you are to be a self-respecting manly-man type (which I am a card-carrying member of).  As luck would have it, a tractor trailer rolls up next to us at a traffic light, and the driver begins honking his air horn repeatedly.  Next thing I know, my cellphone lights up – one of my surfing buddies is calling me. Okay, fine… “Yo Bro’… wassup?”  “Hey Bro… NICE looking fee-fee dog ya’s got there riding shotgun… looking sharp manno…” Said caller was in said semi.  One word:  BUSTED.  I caught grief for a month from other surfers and several others who ‘got the word’… they were also warned that it looked pretty serious about my relationship – to be seen in public driving a soccer mom van showed real commitment.  Having a fee-fee dog in my lap was the final confirmation.  That van was truly cool – we could fit our surfboards in there – and these are 9 feet 6 inches in length… but there weren’t ANY cup holders.  Go figure. 

PS - our 11th wedding anniversary is this week... something about permanent relationship mean anything?

Happy Trails Y'all...

]]> (John Cadell Photography) SUVs Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:57:40 GMT
Chilling Out For a REAL Reason... Welcome to Polar Plunge 2014 Y'all!! East Mormon RockEast Mormon RockSunrise over the east end of Mormon Rocks, Cajon Pass, California.

Perhaps the Nr.1 “FUN” Weekend for the year – Special Olympics Virginia’s Annual Polar Plunge – was held over this past weekend.  Over 2,000 people who are brave or perhaps referred to by others as silly/crazy/What were you THINKING!!/Have you lost yer freakin’ MIND??!!/You ARE FLIPPIN’ NUTS!! (you get the idea) have a wonderful time by stepping into a very cold Atlantic Ocean – with a bone-chilling temp of 37, air temp of 37, but fortunately not too much of a breeze to really make things interesting.  This year was faced with continuous threats from area forecasters by either snow or sleet or rain just not sure which order  – fortunately, Mother Nature saw fit to not just hold off on all of that, but actually give a break in the clouds with some sunshine after the Plunge – perhaps maybe a smile of approval from above?  Why?  Because these folks and their very supportive contributors, take the time each year to raise much needed $$$ to help Special Olympics Virginia provide the quality education, coaching, multi-venue sports and athletic competitions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  There are other fund-raisers throughout the year, each has its own unique challenge and ‘fun-factor’ built-in.  You have a team of manly-man types who like pulling a large aircraft on the ramp at Dulles International?  Sure thing.  Ya’ want to go to a river gorge and do something different?  Gotcha.  There are Torch Runs, Truck Runs – which blow the doors off of the old 70s movie “Convoy” – all in the spirit of helping those with intellectual disabilities.  Despite their challenges, to a person, these wonderful “God’s Special People” as some refer to them as, never EVER have a bad-hair day.  You’ve recently read about one of them in the “Chatty Cathy” Monday Musing’s (  There are countless others in varying degrees of skills, capabilities, and aptitudes.  Every last one of them benefits from the generosity of donors who contribute hard-earned money to someone else who really benefits and appreciates that opportunity otherwise not possible without this community support.  There is a whole lot more that goes into the Annual Polar Plunge besides jumping into the Atlantic – there are the preliminaries which lead up to the actual plunge.  Take some equally questionable people who like to run, walk, push a wheelchair, or be pushed in a wheelchair, for a morning 5K run along the boardwalk.  Yeah – that is a whole lot of fun to watch just by itself, as there are a cast of characters from Captain America and The Flash to one ‘dude’ who ran in bikini bottoms that had fur-lining – I’ll leave that questionable visual alone… to formation running by some of the crew from an aircraft carrier, along with many other (just shy of 1,000 participants) who all took part in this ‘start’ to the day.  Toss in a volleyball contest on the beach – great idea – lousy weather conditions, and you have just the first 3 hours of a very long day of fun.  Costume contest – this is a growing, living, breathing, legend all its own.  Over the years, there is a ‘sustaining group of regular characters’ who stick to what they know – the Polar Bears – designated as the almost official ambassadors of good will – especially when it comes to tiny tots and FM Radio Announcers.  This group shows up every year, walking up and down the boardwalk, being the subjects of countless photo requests with kids, families, crazy plungers, and oh yeah – you want to get a group of radio personalities together?  Bring on the Bears.  Done.  Others dress up as Star Wars characters, Star Trek types, and various themes all related to the Plunge itself.  This year, the obvious popularity of the hit TV show “Duck Dynasty” resulted in two guys walking around simulating Willy and Jase Robertson.  The guy playing the part of Willy was a dead-ringer that made more than a few people pause for the cause and wonder – yours truly included.  Several thousand spectators show up for this weekend and are quite happy to be here to cheer these wonderful plungers on.  This is truly a community event that I hope will continue to grow.   Soooo.... like this view of what appears to be an impossible hill to climb (actually it's the lower elevation of Cleghorn Mountain, California - elevation is over 5,300 feet - this view is at the base at 2,000 feet.)  When you see that ray of light (hope) that beckons you on, reaching your goals will happen if you really try your best and remember that placing your faith in someone greater than yourself will lead to some really spectacular rewards.

To view the Polar Plunge event – as recorded by several volunteer photographers (2 of us are registered professionals):

To see how the Cool School Challenge went – please click on this link:

Hope your week is going well!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Cleghorn Mountain Polar Plunge Special Olympics Thu, 13 Feb 2014 10:56:36 GMT
Hot Dogs and Zero-Dark Thirty Cravings... Okay – I had a seriously senior moment last week… mea culpa – whoops.  By the time I realized I had totally ‘spaced’ putting something out for Monday, it was already half-past Wednesday.  And the only reason I remembered it then was due to talking to the manager of Famous Al’s Hot Dogs.  No, I don’t have an uncle named Al, but I do know this particular ‘Al’ is one of the two places on Granby Street (downtown Norfolk’s ‘main drag’) that I will go to for lunch on a regular basis.  Not to say that Famous Al’s Hotdogs or my other preferred ‘haunt’ – Granby Street Pizza are the only things going along Granby Street.  Far from it.  I have nothing against sushi (I consider it a treat for dinner – provided my wife is visiting our eldest daughter for the weekend) or the other more upscale places – but simply put, I do not (a) have the time for these more leisurely paced places, (b) care to learn the lineage of whatever free-range hand-fed champion pedigreed’ crafted slab of whatever enjoyed a very peaceful existence throughout its life – yeah – then how come it is now considered lunch?  You don’t get that at either place.  What you do get is the standards that anyone can appreciate – basic ‘All-American stuff’ that although some will label as ‘comfort food’ (I will plead the 5th at this point to avoid a ballistic response towards those more ‘genteel and sensitive - must experience’ types (read:  self-centered).  Fact is, neither one is a 5-star locale according to Yelp™, Urban Spoon™, or other yuppie-centric reviews.  If you were to base your visits from their reviews, you would avoid these places rather quickly due to perceived ‘lack of service’.  Really?  How about instead, taking a chance and learn what ‘service’ really is in these places.  Is it dancing waitresses who can write their name backwards on a mirror?  Nooo… is it because the table settings are reminders of a never visited but know all too well from TV rustic bistro on the outskirts of Tuscany?  (Newsflash – Tuscany is a REGION in Italy, and bistros are found in France) Still a big negative?  Okay, than before the proverbial strike-3, how about this… try on the fact that the people who work there are sincere, know what they are doing, have been doing it for more than a while, and are good enough at doing what they do, that they’ve been in the same place for a couple of decades.  That my friends is called sustained longevity – something you don’t see very often in the combat zones of restaurants.  You either ‘do it’ or you don’t… at least not for very long, depending on how deep your resources are.  You also learn that there are good times, and not so good times to visit these kinda’ places.  Walk in to either at 12noon, and expect to be waiting – there are others who are just as intent on getting something to eat on their lunch hour too.  Come in at 12:45pm, pick a spot – you’ll be good to go.  As they say, timing is everything.  Now to the important part – before all of the subterfuge that is becoming an increasing part of our daily life kicked in, just what was it you were going there for to begin with?  Oh yeah – to get something to eat.  In the case of Famous Al’s – I hope you like hotdogs and sandwiches; soups too.  You want pedigreed hamburgers or signature salads?  Sorry – go out the door, turn left, keep walking.  You want hotdogs grilled and served with a variety of sauerkraut, onions, tomatoes, pickles, etc.?  Grab a table.  You want something to drink?  Ya’ see that big boxy looking thing in the middle?  There ya’ go, pilgrim.  Bon appetite.  I’ll talk about Granby Street Pizza another time, as it too deserves to be given its proper due – and since reading time is running short, I’ll defer until later. 

Soooo…. Have I gone off the deep end into being a wannabe restaurant critic?  Um, Big Negative Ghostrider.  Merely a reality check that perhaps we need to keep in mind that in our seemingly endless quest to ‘improve our quality of life’ and have ‘an experience that is absolutely perfect’ (don’t think that will happen until we are in Heaven). Perhaps taking the saner path to going through life without a constant panic of ‘what if (fill in the blank) situations?’ the saner albeit quieter road might have long-term positive results, vs. the more disruptive and highly speculative, let alone unpredictable path of ‘gotta’ haves’ – save cravings for pizza, ice cream, pickles, and the like.  No, despite my appearance, I am not 23 months pregnant… but I do know that those cravings are for real for those who have been, currently are, or may become some day.  For the rest of us – deal with it – and by that – be supportive.  Okay, so what if you gotta’ make a run to WalMart® at zero dark thirty because your significant other is going absolutely freakin bonkers at the moment?  Is it your body that is getting rearranged in 20 different directions on a 24/7 basis?  No?  Then put up, man-up and git er’ done!!   Why aren’t you back yet?  GO!!  Lord Almighty, yes I know this is nothing new, but to see some of these so-called ‘enlightened’ expectant parents, you would think that these guys are the ones who are pregnant… or at the very least – attempting to emulate what their wife/significant other is going through.  One word answer to that:  DON’T.  You will not ever, now or at any other time, glow.  It is not possible – our DNA man code does not permit that type of math.  If it does, your DNA is really suspect.  Do NOT attempt to ‘feel’ like they do – it ain’t gonna’ happen, Skippy.  The two of you have made a multi-year to life-long commitment at this point, depending on your views of helping your children as they become adults.  I am far from the perfect (or the worst) parent – but I have tried to do my best – with some success, with a whole bunch of ‘geez, that was not what I expected’ pathetic failures, but I have tried.  Remember that part about ‘perfect’?  Like I said – I believe there is only one truly perfect place – and it isn’t found on TV, at the mall, or on-line.  When dealing with the self-imposed frustration of realizing that no matter what, we still aren’t truly there yet, how about instead, take a deep breath, realize that we will get there – one day – just not today.  There is one eternally patient ‘person’ who is there for us in 3 forms who will always be there to silently coach us along, if we accept it for what it is.  So – before you go dashing off to the wonders of – you’ll get a URL not found – try instead the more simplistic approach of prayer and contemplation.  Like those not so famous places that take care of lunch and the like – without a Broadway production, you just might find that a similar approach when dealing with all of life’s issues is far more effective than any epicurean delights that your flight of fancy desires.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Wed, 05 Feb 2014 11:12:20 GMT
Chatty Cathy and her friends - Welcome to Team Human... Morning Light Rail Style “Chatty Cathy” is a phrase used by friends of mine regarding their adorable 9 month old daughter and her ability to chatter at length at the most inappropriate times – Sunday Mass being the chief example for her.  During my daily commute when the 7:20am train departs, the train operator who is well-known for his friendly banter over the public address with a sincere “Hope You Have A Nice Day” is a momentary welcomed interruption of the comparative silence of people busily scanning their iPhones and Droids for the latest on Facebook, email  and the ever-present text-happy types (better onboard the train than while driving) when the train departs.  Two stops later a certain young lady gets on – looks for me, and makes a beeline to where I am standing to tell me about her latest bowling adventures and life in general.  What makes this so ‘different’?  Although in her early 20s, she lives at home with her mother and younger sister – who both make sure their special sibling gets up and out the door every day to work in an area hospital.  Despite her intellectual challenges, she has` certain skills and abilities that allow her to live a life in our society that fairly parallels our own.  She has a certain gift that some people will mistakenly overlook as “too chatty” - much like my friend’s daughter.  In the baby’s case, it is expected and is generally smiled upon – save for the few grumps who have forgotten what it is like to be young.  Thank God we have this bundle of joy to remind us that life shouldn’t always be so serious.  In this other young lady’s case, it is frowned upon.  WHY?  Okay, so maybe she is somewhat ‘different’ than us – but you know what? …  she always gets on the train in the same eager, ready to rock happy spirit regardless if it is Monday or Monday Part 17.5 (please refer to above mentioned Grumps section for definition of why some people seem to have 17.5 different types of Mondays – none of them good ones at that).  She does not have ‘bad hair days’ like the rest of us.  I sometimes try to give her quiet hints to perhaps think about listening instead of constantly chattering (as is felt by some other commuters), but ya’ know what - WHO FAHREAKIN CARES?!!  Y’all don’t like it, put on those headphones and listen to that techno ‘whatever’ you call entertainment.  Go ahead - tune out – retreat to ‘your world’ – you really don’t know what you are missing out on in ours.  This lady, despite her challenges, REFUSES to give up!!  Interestingly, there are several shipyard, construction and USCG types who get on the train too.  Like me – they are all over 6 feet – and definitely not of the temperament to put up with self-centered stupid from anyone.  To a person, we will give anyone a very quiet look if there is so much as a detection of any annoyance towards “Chatty Cathy” from so-called ‘normal people’ that invokes instant silent compliance.  “Chatty Cathy” has no idea on the size of her growing circle of quiet supporters who can and will give anyone a serious pause for the cause on her behalf by mere presence alone.  She has a huge and sincere smile for anyone… not to mention she can (and does) wreak havoc in bowling.  I know – I have taken pictures of her and her teammates for many years as a volunteer photographer for Special Olympics Virginia.   Interestingly enough, this daily routine has evolved over the past couple of weeks to where others are engaging “Chatty Cathy” and learning more and more.  They are shedding the initial impenetrable exterior ‘game face’ of (don’t look at me, and whatever you do, do not talk to me) to showing they too, are card-carrying members of Team Human.  One young lady gets on with her two small children (as in one in a stroller small) at the following stop.  Without a word – room is made for them.  The older boy now looks up at his quiet new friends with a big smile – his mother who is working and going to college to improve their lives with a better education that will hopefully lead to a better job, has realized that they have nothing at all to worry about on this train.  One guy who has worked for the City of Norfolk for ‘approximately 500 years’ will go out of his way to make sure that “Chatty Cathy” is okay when she gets off the train at the end of the line, and goes to her job.                  

Real people – living life… real.

Guardian Angels?  Perhaps; more like people who realize that ‘being nice’ isn’t an effort, it’s a reward all of its own.

May we all have Chatty Cathy's in our lives.

Tide Trains 405 and 407 through downtown NorfolkTide Trains 405 and 407 through downtown Norfolk


]]> (John Cadell Photography) Light Rail People Special Olympics Virginia Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:05:07 GMT
Beacons of Character...ongoing transitions that still recall our past... © John Cadell PhotographyBeacons of Light - Cape Henry Lighthouses"New" (1881) on the right Cape Henry Lighthouse and it's older (1792) brother withstand the ongoing tests of time in Virginia Beach. James Earl “Darth Vader” Jones  & Malcom McDowell – two legendary and hugely famous actors well known for their deep incantations and recitations, both in film and stage, are also re-inventing md-speak – or whatever it is that pre-teenagers through 20-somethings pass as their ‘written language’ since talking is becoming somewhat secondary in their circles these days.  In our time, yapping on the phone, involved hours of tying up the one and only line in the house – much to the annoyance of our parents.  We could sit on a table, lean against the wall, lay on the floor  with our feet resting on the couch (none of which was EVER approved by our parents), playing with the handset cord (whoever knew) and in cases of extended ‘usage’ (read:  so interested in the other person that merely listening to their breathing over the line was considered a ‘really going steady’ relationship)  hear about girls (and some boys) getting it tangled in their hair – something that does not translate at all to today’s young people.  The ‘home phone’ is quickly joining the technological junk heap of time.  It is (and will) joining its earlier predecessors – the aforementioned corded telephone, last week’s brand-new computer which got replaced by this week’s newest version, which the beta due out the second Tuesday of next week is about to make a serious trend upwards… you get it – technology does not wait.  Why?  Because it’s users (that would be us) have little patience for something that is ‘brand new’ this week to be replaced by something else which is ‘brand newer’ across the street the following week and not have it ourselves the day after.  With this modern-day concept of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ running seriously amok, at what point do we finally get the notion to bark out a WAIT A FREAKIN’ MOMENT …  I  H A V E what I NEED AND WANT!! With whatever gizmo gee-wiz device, we really need to appreciate it’s value for more than 90 minutes before lusting after some newish gee-wiz device that does some other neat trick that we never realized we thought we need to (really don’t) have and RIGHT NOW.  Although it is fairly hard to smell roses in January – unless you happen to be in Pasadena where they might still be laying around after the Tournament of Roses Parade, we can at least slow down and appreciate what we do have, live with it, and not have to jump back on the techno bandwagon that is caroming onwards to its next interim stop.  

Wait – all is not totally lost… yesterday, my youngest daughter wanted to introduce me to her new friend of the male persuasion at our favorite break on 1st Street.  As usual, her brother and I were going surfing – he lucked out and managed to avoid contact… slacker will pay for this… while I met said ‘new interest in said daughter’s life.  Although he is in his 20s like her – they went to the same high school a few years ago) was somewhat nervous about meeting me (why? – just because I like to surf in the dead of winter doesn’t make me all that odd, does it?) we yapped for a few moments – he didn’t know how to surf (grew up here in Vah Beach and doesn’t surf?  That’s bordering pretty much on sacrilege in our circle.) which my daughter told him not to worry – he would learn from us… I noticed that her t-shirt (it was a fairly warm 55 air temp afternoon compared to the previous few days of 12-18 high temps) had a ‘boom box’ and other ‘retro indicators’ on it.  She said it was for some band she had gone to see (no comment – yet) that was really into vinyl.  Wait a freakin minute – vinyl – like as in RECORD VINYL??!!!!!  Getting her quizzical look that would make Spock proud, she said – yeah, they want to record their stuff on records – don’t you have some from back in your day, Dad?  Um, yeah – just a few… they then went on to say that vinyl is making a comeback – wow, really?  I recalled another daughter wanting to buy albums and frame them as decorations in their home (figured it wasn’t my place to question why) along with a next-door neighbor in his late 20s who had found his niche in listening to ‘old school’ vinyl was far superior to flash drives.  Hmmm… Bob Segar’s lyrics (“Just take those old records off the shelf - I’ll sit and listen to em’ by myself – Today’s music ain’t got the same ...”) from 1978 started running through my head at this point… perhaps there is some hope for the new generation.


A reader commented that they don’t recall seeing many B&W images from my weekly blogs.  Perhaps that too will change.  So, to honor that observation, I do hope you enjoy this image of the lighthouses at Cape Henry – two solid icons that like James Earl Jones and Malcom McDowell, have aged quite well with time… although both of these lighthouses are considerably older – the one on the right is from 1792, it’s younger and taller replacement is from 1881 – which is still going strong today as an active lighthouse.  If you would like to see more B&W ‘work’ please feel free to look at that gallery -


So… as you ease into this week – please take a moment to recall where we have been, where we are, and hope to be some day.  We have had many positive examples throughout our history on how to do things ‘right’.  Like those lighthouses that are beacons of hope to olden day mariners looking for safe haven and still serve as a visual reference in today’s age of GPS -  perhaps if we stop and recall ‘the’ most positive example – He will always be there as that spiritual Light to guide us through our most troubling times… vinyl records or not.    

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 13 Jan 2014 11:37:12 GMT
Taking steps - one at a time... A new year has begun – so for approximately the 2,014th time since the first Christmas, we have an opportunity to take the steps we feel necessary to try and do things right this year.  Personally, I know that in my 53-something years, those steps have been up, down, side-ways, reverse, lateral, you name it, I have probably demonstrated just about every conceivable vector that any Geometry teacher would be proud of.  Problem is – I’m not proud of me.  Despite my best intentions – and frankly, more than a few would be considered pretty lame – meeting the goal – the objective – however you want to phrase it, have had mixed results.  Then I pause for a moment and wonder why this is so… I mean, ‘c’mon’ DUDE you’ve been there, done this, that, and the other thing, got more than a few gnarly looking t-shirts to prove it – why are you bummed with you?  In my quest to do the best, I fail to realize one very important part – “it ain’t gonna’ happen Pilgrim – you are a card-carrying member of Team Human – it is your destiny to fail and fall short, no matter what.”… meaning, okay, so I didn’t win the lottery – hmmm…. Did I bother to PLAY the lottery?  Um, noooo…. well then, that mystery is solved.  What I’m trying to convey to you is this – don’t get so far down in the dumps that you don’t see the results of your past efforts are blocking your desire to push on and try something better.  Liken that thought to this week’s image of the steps and the ocean.  Are they leading UP from the ocean, or DOWN to the ocean?  There are days for sure, where we really do feel like that those waves are waiting to pounce on us if we give up.  Perhaps maybe instead, that tidal surge is pushing us back up past the implied danger of those rocks that you don’t see (but know are there) to a point where we can stand and reflect on where we are, how we got there, and what can we do to move on in a positive direction.  In a word, this is called HOPE.   This hope can come (and go) in a bunch of different ways.  Be it rooting for your favorite team during the playoffs, to figuring out what it is we’re going to make for dinner on Tuesday, hope is pretty much an  under-appreciated term that should be kept in the positive spin of this ‘life’ we call ours.  In reality, that ‘hope’ generally has a darker side – as in “I hope that knucklehead finds a ditch and a light pole after cutting me off back there” and worse.  Be careful what you hope for – someone else might be thinking the same thoughts about you and your less than Ms. Manners perfect approach to driving too.   Karma can and does become a major factor in these contemplations of ours.  Let’s just hope that in the end, things will work out as we had aspired – and despite the many side-steps and ‘hmmm – didn’t see that one coming…’ obstacles that we will continue to encounter throughout life, we can at least try to do so with a smile.  Besides – it’ll give you a real pause for the cause – so that unlike Mr. Mayhem from Allstate® who loves to wreak havoc whenever he can, your day is way more laid back and saner.  As such.  Then you can go head-butt the refrigerator… it will chill you out in more than one way.


Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Chesapeake Bay Ocean Virginia Beach Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:15:48 GMT
Chilling out in late December - a good thing... Waaaaahhhoooooo - Ho-Ho-FAHREAKIN - H O!!!

Awlrighty then... now that we have gotten that out of our collective system – the post-Christmas shopping melee has just about ran its course, let the feeding frenzy that is the prelude for New Year’s Eve begin.  It seems that this onslaught of constant parties, shopping, visiting, etc. really does bring reason to that fleeting moment where we make the annual plea to do better at exercise, diet, be nice, don’t smoke, cut back on… do better at… um… uh… hmmmm.  All Stop.  Wait a minute – I don’t care if it is a New York, Boston, Los Angeles (well yeah – that would be cool  - junior Hollywood Rock Star nation status and all, but…) okay, fine – let’s take a collective poll here – who is really going to live up to these self-imposed expectations that ‘should’ begin somewhere around half-past Wednesday of this week?  Face it, in all of the wonderfully positive (for a moment) recollections of things past, present, and future, the reality of it is – it probably ain’t gonna’ happen the way you thought it would, Pilgrim (in the tone of my favorite Real Man Foundation Charter Founder and Chairman of the Board forever – John Wayne). Now – we can go through the silliness of attempting to lose weight, exercise more, get frustrated less – but word has it among the bookies in Lost Wages, er – Las Vegas, don’t bet the farm on it.   

I got to spend this past Saturday with my son doing the one thing we love to do together the most – go surfing.  The air temp made things look quite ‘inviting’ – people were actually wearing shorts and long-sleeve t-shirts – only a few hardcore “it IS DECEMBER and I will wear my LLBEANs!!!” types clung to the multi-layer NASA-tested, soccer mom approved apparel – unless of course it was a gift that they had BETTER wear or face dire consequences for future opportunities in the Christmas gift department.  Of course, the water temp bore no resemblance to the air temp – there is a reason why we wear wetsuits, booties, and gloves out there at this time of the year.  Of course, the always popular question of ‘do those wetsuits keep you dry?’ – unspoken silent answer – ‘um, let’s review the which part of wet in wetsuit didn’t you quite understand, shall we?’  To a surfer, we are always tolerant of those who have no clue of what it is like to be a winter surfer.  There may be a layer of frost forming on our wetsuits, but will we ever say no to the opportunity to try and ride a wave – even if it is measured in fractions of seconds?  I hope not.    Our New Year’s Resolution isn’t so much of a resolution as it is a tradition in that we try to surf on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – ending the year and starting the new year by taking the plunge… and trying to purge ourselves spiritually and quite physically in certain ways of less than pleasant thoughts.  This is our time to literally chill-out and try to do better. 

This week’s image taken at 64th Street Boat Ramp gives a visual impression on literal reflections – how we might try to reflect on where we are, where we would like to be, and how we will get there.  You’ll notice the rocky foreground which is symbolic of a rocky beginning – full of bumps, lumps and opportunities to get lost.  Once you get past that, the waters appear calmer and there is a point to rest – the dock extension.  Perhaps if we pattern our quiet thoughts and concerns along this physical demonstration of life’s challenges, it may help make those challenges look less intimidating – knowing that there is rest at the end.

May we all have some of the same tolerance with each other that God has with all of us. 

]]> (John Cadell Photography) 64th Street Boat Ramp Broad Bay Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:31:48 GMT
Speaking like a local - Tidewater style... Norfolk's Waterside and Commercial PlaceNorfolk's Waterside and Commercial PlaceA view of Norfolk's skyline from Portsmouth, Virginia. They say that a river does make a difference – such as can be seen in this view of Norfolk, taken from the Portsmouth side.  Like many places, there is no shortage of ‘localese’ when it comes to speaking, let alone understanding a given area.  Hampton Roads – also known as Tidewater is no exception to that rule. First – please find “Tidewater, Virginia” in this area.  Hint:  Google will return “not found” within 75 miles.  You have to expand your search ring to 100-125 miles to find the Tidewater subdivision located in Warsaw – which is north of Richmond on the Rappahannock (another river – go figure). Heck, you can’t even get them to agree on how to properly pronounce some of the names.  Try saying “Norfolk” to a ‘local’.  A smile will appear – it will probably be one of tolerance – sort of like a foreigner trying to learn a language.  Now, add to your growing repertoire – “Newport News”.  Seems easy enough, right?  Well, you are actually 0-2.  Care to go for 3?  Sure – no worries – now pronounce “Portsmouth”.  WAIT A MINUTE!!!  Norfolk – that’s uh, “N-O-R-F-O-L-K”, “Norfolk”.  Congratulations – welcome to the wonderful world of American English (another brilliant oxy-moron) where regionalism is king, and woe-behold the outsider who dares to sound local.  Um, no.  GPS on your iPhone or Android is not going to be your friend, so don’t even think about speed-dialing Google or  Siri – they aren’t going to help you one bit.  Nope, time to go manual, and learn on your own.  “N-A-H-F-O-C-K” (NAWfock) to the uninitiated from Exit 327.552A of the Noo Yawk State Throughway – yeah, the one that is about 3 exits shy of the Arctic Circle.  Well then say you, then I guess Newport News and Portsmouth sounds different too?  Quite the observant person you are there, Captain Obvious.  Let’s go with ‘cross the water’ as is a normal direction indicator to anyone traveling between South Hampton Roads (Nawfock, Vah Beach, Chesapeake (that’s Chezahpeek – NOT Chessahpeek), Suffolk – the only one other than Hampton that sounds ‘normal’ to non-locals) and the Peninsula (Hampton, Newpert Newz, Poquoson (Pohkohson) .  Over yonder (not ever said in these parts – save that for parts west of Emporia - like West By God Virginia please) going over to “Newpert Newz” is the accepted pronunciation.   Finally, let’s go visit “Ports-smith” – home to the Naval Medical Center, shipyards galore, and oh yeah – “High Street”.  Referring to its English Heritage – High Street signifies where all of the merchants would ply their wares for shoppers to gather up as desired.  Anyhoot, learning to “speak Tidewater” is a challenge to anyone not raised here.  No wonder why the citizens of Williamsburg disavow ANY association with their southern neighbors.  Now, in return, visitors and ‘temporary residents’ to this area tend to bring their own amount of ‘influence’ with them – witness the driving habits (as such) of some folks around here, and you will quickly understand why this place can be so confusing.  Making a right on red – from the left turn lane – through a red light – at night (and yes, it is dark out) just to make it to that wonderful looking never noticed it before Starbucks® just to get your 45th silly frappachino with diet ice of the day is one of them.  The ever-present iPhone/Droid hand-eye coordination with the optional .5% view of the road is an all-encompassing disease in this area – that is truly a national epidemic.  That is a whole ‘nuther’ story for another Monday.  Until then – please be careful – slow down – and watch out for that wingnut trailing in your blind spot.  He’s just as pre-occupied as you are – poor fool.

Please remember why we “Keep Believing’ for a Reason during the Christmas Season” -  Merry Christmas to one and all!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Beach Hampton Newport News Norfolk Portsmouth Suffolk Virginia Williamsburg Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:31:16 GMT
Tis' the Reason for the Season... © John Cadell Photography Twinkle twinkle...Virginia Beach Town Center - Christmas 2013 Yes indeedy Sports fans – it has been ‘many moons’ since I have posted a ‘Monday’s Musings…’ several readers who I see in the local area have been quite disappointed that their weekly ‘fix’ of quiet humor has been on a hiatus.  Perhaps others have quietly said ‘and?...’  Whichever side you consider ‘yours’ please take with a grain of salt any serious contemplation that life has gotten truly that serious that we need to stop giving ourselves a reason to slow down if but for a moment, and relax with something that (I hope) will give you a smile.  To be sure, there have been changes in my ‘ways and means’ – meaning that I accepted a full-time position with a major corporation as a telecommunication systems technician.  You have probably heard of this company – and chances are fairly high that your printer and perhaps your computer share the same initials of HP. Personally, this is like getting called up to the major leagues of geekdom and being paid to work on systems that keep people connected.  I will not bore you with the techno-babble details that are more prone to perpetuate in the world of electronics, but it is good to get back into a field that Uncle Sam put me in back in the dark ages of vacuum tubes and CRTs.  Nowadays, we have VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) where our telephone calls travel across the web.  How they get from where you pick up the handset and dial, to where the recipient answers the call, is where I work.  It is technically challenging and has certain quiet rewards knowing that you are a part of technology, helping to bring all kinds of information in a variety of methods to a world-wide user base.

This is just one small aspect of what we do – and it will continue to evolve long after I have been converted to carbon-dated fossil material (which my kids had figured out long ago). 

One of the 'benefits' to working where I do is using Norfolk's Light Rail "The Tide".  Trust me - every time I look out the window in the evening at the traffic snarls, it answers why it is smarter - not to mention the fuel savings for Starship Elvis - let's just say he'll never ever earn fuel-miser status - no full-size 4x4 pickem-up truck will - mine is no exception.  There are enough'regulars' on the 5:20pm train that we do customary fist-bumps and yap about a variety of things - Wednesdays - weeelllll.... you've heard and seen videos of flash mobs who will do an excellent rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus - which we will never be - but - a certain famous talking Camel mentioning his favorite day of the week is something we do specialize in... from one end to the other -  You've been duly warned. 

I am still quite active as a photographer – although it is more for helping non-profit organizations like Special Olympics and the Foodbank than sitting patiently for ‘the moment’ to get a particular image of a sunset.  I will work on making time for those pictures too – just need to have the time to do it with.  Which brings me to the point I would like to emphasize this week – S L O W  D O W N and S M E L L  T H E  R O S E S – okay – if you are in the cold zone which applies to approximately 2/3rds of the US, how about a sillyfrappachino with diet ice, a sprig of silliness, warmed by the thoughts of ‘Chill Will - things will be OK…’ before zooming off to the next big event, shopping expedition, or what have you.  The malls are still standing – teeming with shoppers in the hunt for ‘the perfect gift’ – to which I quietly say:  Here's a newsflash for ya –

WE DID GET THE PERFECT GIFT ABOUT 2013 years ago… His name is Jesus.

Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 16 Dec 2013 11:25:48 GMT
Fussy Cats & Dancing Shoes for Starship Elvis, or visit the Outer Banks? You decide...  

mwwrroooowwwrrr...    MMMwwwwRRRRoooowwwwrrrrrRRRRR!!!  Hmmm… sounds like TikaBelle is giving me warning she is about to launch.  Kerplop!!  Yep, true to form, she follows her morning routine of nudge the feet with the gratuitous sound effects, back up, and goes vertical to the top of my chair where she will stretch out and supervise me while I try to write something approaching comprehensible thoughts for a Monday.  She can be quite vociferous in expressing her disdain with me if I do not follow her every whim.  At the moment, she is whacking my shoulder with her tail, indicating she expects more attention.  However, she does have alternate ‘favorite places’ – generally in close proximity to a window where she can watch the world pass before her as she enjoys the sunshine,

Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Corolla, North Carolina - © John Cadell Photography

as cats and dogs will do, thus leaving me alone until the next time... which I expect will be within the next 45 seconds or so... 


Spring is a time of surprise and preparation… we are continuously surprised by the vast array of beauty that appears seemingly overnight – the trees are budding one day, in full bloom the next, and quite literally overnight, the side effects of that work transpires into pollen – that annoyingly annual rite of passage each year where everything on the East Coast and the Mid-West is covered by this greenish-yellowish dust that will make life miserable for allergy-prone people for a few weeks.  You can wash your vehicle 3 times a day, and it will quickly regain that dusty look within 30 minutes.   Another surprise was having to get my truck "Starship Elvis" some new 'dancing shoes' - i.e., tires.  For the life of me, I cannot nor will not justify spending big bucks on large chunks of rubber that need to be replaced every couple of years, just to get some fancy name on the sides for people to go ooh-and-aah over.  Nope, not happening.  I've finally caught on in the second half of life (yeah, being definitely over 50 has certain perks besides weekly bombardments from AARP in the mailbox) that as long as they match, maintain pressure, and pass inspection, life is good.  In that department.  Whatever the pedigree from NASCAR or Formula-1 (neither of which I lay any claim to aspiring to be compared to) and the so-called tread life, they all tend to run down to the point of needing replacement no matter what.  Not to mention that living in the paradise of Southeastern Virginia does have certain side-effects.  You've seen the grumblings in the past about how we specialize in potholes that are imported from other states, and tested extensively in this area.  Not saying that the fun-loving folks at VDOT aren't too busy being monopolized by the more politically affluent areas of our Commonwealth or anything... and if you truly believe that, we need to discuss swamp land east of Phoenix…  So, to escape this annoyance, we headed to our favorite lighthouses in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Although I have visited here more than a few times, and am happy as the proverbial clam - as in I was quite happy to meet a gentleman who is one of the docents (guide) to the lighthouse.  He is recently retired from active ministry in the Episcopal Church, and is quite keen on photography and other topics that are also on my top 3 - Serving God through helping others, Photography, and... well, I don't think at 80+ he'll join me on a surfboard, but... it was indeed a pleasure and an honor to meet him - I can guarantee you that we will have many more future fun chats on topics we both have an interest in... 

The attached photograph this week is Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Corolla, North Carolina.


Please have a great week!!


© John Cadell Photography

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Banks Beach Carolina Corolla Currituck Lighthouse North Outer Tue, 09 Apr 2013 18:47:28 GMT
Easter and the limitations of trying to bake a cake - knowing when to say when... Spring Time Blooms at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia. © John Cadell Photography

He is Risen Indeed… one of many ways we have learned to share the message of Jesus’s triumph over death through complete and total trust of God, something that I sincerely hope that we all have and share.  It was great to see so many people in our parish yesterday – it seems that visitors and guests (the difference being??) outnumbered ‘the regulars’ by about 3:1.  Some people who are at Mass every week tend to grump a bit about “the C&E’s – Christmas & Easter attendees”… I’m happy that they are there, period.  Better that they come once or twice, and perhaps catch on that this isn’t such a bad thing, than to not come at all…  so, thanks for coming, y’all!!  Thankfully, there weren’t too many ladies sporting these ginormous Easter Hats – you know – the ones that have a circumference that would qualify as a sunshade for the average back porch, nor did I see many power suits in electric blue or neon purple… but then again, I didn’t visit the local Golden Corral Restaurant™ to verify if they remain ‘in season’ yesterday.  I did sight one guy wearing a blue seersucker suit – straight out of the JC Penny catalog on Page 387438.  It sure seemed that way ‘back in the day’ when Sears™, JC Penny’s™, and Montgomery Wards™ all had these catalogs that were larger than the combined Yellow Pages for New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and London.  You could order an entire house inside and out including the garage, front, back, and side yards from these suckers.  About the only thing you couldn’t order was groceries.  For that, you had to rely on one of two methods – pluck whatever it was you had growing in the backyard, or go to the grocery store (do they still call them that anymore?)  Nowadays, it seems that ‘newer’ department stores are also masquerading as grocery stores – no offense to the good folks at WalMart™ or Target™… where else but at WalMart™ can you go grocery shopping at 3am and get just about anything you need, except for save deli and perhaps seafood?  Personally, I tend to favor my local FarmFresh™ down the street where after 15+ years of shopping there, I can name just about everyone who works in the deli and bakery.  Three of my kids ‘grew up’ through that store – every Sunday after Mass, I would stop by to get a few things.  They would make a beeline for the bakery where Ruth and Marie (they started the store 17+ years ago) would ask if they had been ‘good’.  At that time, they would peer up through the display cases, eyes full of wonder at the variety of cakes and pies, not to mention fresh bread that they had been baking so that clueless slugs (like yours truly) could bring home something neat-looking for them without having previously destroyed the kitchen in the process.  Attempting this on my own without properly qualified adult supervision would have had dire consequences that were best left untested.  At the time, I was a single Dad and knew that among my many shortcomings and limitations, baking a cake was definitely in the top five.  Fixing bicycles, no worries.  Baking a cake, worry.   Anyhoot, with a confirming look towards me, they would offer them a still-warm cookie.  This weekly tradition continued throughout their childhood.  Recently, my tallest son (6’5”) went in with me  – he still remembers (sheepishly as only an early-20s guy will) and saw “Miss Ruth”.  Without batting an eyelash, she asked him if he had been good.  He said yes, and true to form, a confirmation look towards me with the appropriate nod and smile resulted in a still warm cookie being offered.  This is one of those last vestiges of small-town living (even in Vah Beach) that I hope will still carry on for our succeeding generations.  Now, my grandson continues that tradition with his mother – although I don’t know how much longer “Miss Ruth” will be there – she needs a rest.  Oh yeah, my baking skills?  That was resolved when I quite happily remarried more than a few years to someone who is VERY capable at baking. 


I’m still looking forward to reactivating my bicycle repairing skills when my grandson reaches that age – along with teaching him to surf – something he will inherit from his mother and uncle who both have the love of the ocean and surfing gene passed down from me – one of my few good traits J...


Please have a great week!!


Spring Time Blooms at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia. © John Cadell Photography


]]> (John Cadell Photography) Easter Norfolk Botanical Gardens Virginia Mon, 01 Apr 2013 13:39:40 GMT
Trying to Brighten Things Up... Gotham - © John Cadell PhotographyMid-town Manhattan - © John Cadell Photography

This morning gives me pause for a moment as I think about this one… in all of our daily hustle and bustle in getting things done - kids ready and out the door to school, spouses on their way to work, the after-school activities, shopping, making dinner, laundry, yeah, the whole kittenkaboodle... we sometimes need to switch out that sillyfrapachino with diet ice to go and SLOW DOWN for a moment.  This week's image of the New York City skyline at dusk can be viewed a couple of ways... which is the 'beauty' of art.  Three people can look at this image and walk away with 5 different opinions.  The math doesn't have to add up... my impression when I set up this picture last year was that despite the known hustle and bustle that mid-town Manhattan is 'famous' for, the one thing you couldn't tell from this image is the noise that is most commonly associated with it.  Granted, I was on the New Jersey side of the Hudson with the wind out of the west.  Thanks to Tim Concannon - whom I've been lucky enough to be able to call a friend since the 5th grade who knew this particular spot for getting the picture you see - we could see the beauty of the evening and more importantly the comparative peace and quiet from viewing from afar.

 Okay, we’ve been observing Lent for 30-something days – Palm/Passion Sunday was yesterday.  Thus begins Holy Week.  To say I am but one of countless others who are absolutely THRILLED with a new pope who looks and seems every bit of the type of papal leader we need in these times – kind, compassionate, sincere, genuine, and down-right humble, and is already sharing with us his view and wish for all of us to remember the basics but most especially to look out for each other, I can only hope and pray that perhaps just maybe we might get our collective act together as humans and actually do something that doesn’t result in stupid on a global scale.   Think about it – we can build skyscrapers, send men to the Moon, create art that inspires silence in reflection, write great books, yet we can also wage war, make people absolutely miserable without reason, and tear the place up beyond repair.  How about more of the former, and none of the latter? Yeah, it would be nice if…


I hope your Holy Week includes making time to reflect upon God’s ultimate gift to us – and perhaps even saying thanks to Him.

Brightening up that thought – New York City skyline in the early evening – © John Cadell Photography

Please have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Manhattan New York City buildings skyscrapers tall Mon, 25 Mar 2013 13:22:39 GMT
Spring is coming... HONEST!! Bonsai Garden - Norfolk Botanical Gardens - © John Cadell PhotographyBonsai Reflections... Well Alrighty Then… Looks like Monday slipped past and it’s now TUESDAY.  Granted, there’s plenty of rain outside of my window – which I’m sure the frogs and grass are appreciating quite a bit.  That also means that it’s time to start thinking about bringing other items out of hibernation – the lawn mower, edger/whacker – don’t ask me why it has a dual-name, but I can understand the ‘whacker’ part pretty well, without need for a 37-page “some assembly required” manual… Yes Readers, Spring is starting to make its approach.   The thermometer is doing vertical cycles – this week is no exception.  Sunday afternoon, we went to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens – one of our favorite places to ‘chill’ – figuratively and factually.  Figuratively is the sense of peace and relative quiet – save for the ‘occasional’ jet lifting off from the neighbors next door – better known as Norfolk International Airport.  Over the years that we have been going there, we have a few ‘favorite spots’.  One of is the main pond and fountain which is viewed upon entering NBG.  If you have ever looked around my website, you’ll see quite a few images of the NBG from over the years.  Most of them are at the farthest reaches from the parking lot, meaning a long walk with over 45lbs. of gear.  In both directions.  Sunday, I wasn’t really feeling like taking my usual load of stuff (2-3 cameras, 4-5 lenses, 2 flashes, power packs, and a partridge in a pear tree…) along with my primary tripod.  Nope – took one camera and lens, and nothing else.  Wow, did I ever feel light, despite my size.   Deciding to stay fairly close to the entrance because of the dwindling light as the sun dropped below the tree-line, I poked around near the Japanese Bonsai Garden.  I had been through there before, but always with less than ideal lighting.  This time was considerably better, and as you will see with this week’s image – not too bad at all.   Not quite what I wanted, but then again, like most things in life, you generally have to take things as they come and make the best of it.


Have a great week!!  © John Cadell Photography

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Bonsai Garden Tue, 12 Mar 2013 14:31:08 GMT
“Sitting on the dock of the bay… watching time roll by… in Pungo....  

“Sitting on the dock of the bay… watching time roll by…” paraphrasing Otis Redding’s famous song came to mind yesterday as I was contemplating a couple of different scenes approximately 100 yards apart that are vastly different in composition, yet share certain commonalities that bond the two together.  Contrary to tourist’s belief, there are parts of Virginia Beach that do not consist of white sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean backed by high-rise hotels and the latest/greatest Virginia Beach Official Tourist Gifts for the 2012-2013 season.  One area of “Vah Beach” that is still fairly rural – and I truly hope it remains that way, is Pungo.  This is the southern flank of Vah Beach – stretching from Sand Bridge to North Carolina to Chesapeake.  That’s a fairly sizeable chunk of real estate.  There are various areas known as Creeds, Blackwater, Back Bay, and of course, Sand Bridge to name but a few.  Although I have lived in Vah Beach for over 15 years, there are many places in Pungo that I am just now beginning to find and explore.  What I like most – the quietness of the area.  Once you get off of Princess Anne Road where people for Lord knows why – like to fly at speeds approaching the sound barrier, you’ll find that stupid on wheels remains on Princess Anne Road, while peace and quiet take over within a couple of hundred yards on either side.  To be sure, I wasn’t exactly appreciative of some nutcase in a car come up behind me at speed, and disappear behind my tailgate, meaning he/she was way too close.  I made my turn-off to go to a ‘new spot’ that looked promising from a photographer’s point of view.  I knew from looking through Google Maps – my number one research tool for locating places to take pictures – the road would end near a river (don't ask me the name of it).  I noticed a sign sitting there that looked vaguely familiar.  It then dawned on me that this was the site of the ‘old’ Captain George’s Restaurant that had shut down some years back.  Although their Hilltop (Laskin Road) and Williamsburg locations remain quite busy, this one has disappeared, save for the sign.  I was interested in getting a sunset picture of the nearby bridge, and was looking around for other items of interest as sunset was a good hour away.  An older cabin sat about 100 yards north of where I was parked.  I walked over, and noticed that although it was clearly posted “NO TRESPASSING” some aspiring graffiti artists in training had practiced their craft on parts of it.  Despite that detraction, there was plenty of things left that hadn’t been ‘messed with’.   As you can see by this week’s image – those famous words penned by Otis Redding are most definitely applicable here… If you would like to see these in their full format, you’ll need to go up on the website as these images are very large – too large for email. 


Please have a great week!!Sitting on the dock of the...

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 04 Mar 2013 12:01:01 GMT
Weather forecasting by Schmuck & Yuck - hmm... are we missing something here? Virginia Beach’s Fishing Pier - © John Cadell PhotographyVirginia Beach's Fishing Pier - Nightview... While most people don’t seriously contemplate any outdoor activity in mid-February, save for clearing off the latest round of snow (for those of you in the Snowbelt) from the front door to the vehicle, and hope that the roads are fairly clear, others truly relish this weather for reasons known but to them.  Some go ice-fishing or snowmobiling – skiing is another one of the more acceptable forms of outdoor recreation – in the Snowbelt.  What about the rest of us who aren’t in Palm Springs for winter golf or southern Florida for baseball training camps and everything else that goes there?  We don’t get the visual benefit (as such) of having freshly delivered copious amounts of the white stuff delivered overnight to our doorstep to give us a visual clue as to how cold it is.  Not that I’m complaining in the slightest.  Every morning it’s the routine of resisting the temptation of trashing the alarm clock for doing its job, namely bringing me vertical.  Then begins the early morning aerobics session of making it downstairs.  Trust me – when it comes to creaking steps, there are various parts of me that will shame any aging chunk of wood in the ‘creatively interesting sound effects’ department.  More likely a wannabe for Kellogg’s Snap, Crackle, Pop… with the added side-benefit of our cat laughing at me as I slowly make my way downstairs as various subsystems come on-line (knees, ankles, etc.).  First stop – open the back door blind to check the thermometer.  It can go from 20ish-to 40ish every day… with no two in sequence or logical reason. 

Although the chief weather-guesser for a major naval installation is my next door neighbor, he too says that despite the 30 different models that they run through a whole bunch of impressive-sounding systems with names like AN/SMQ-11(V2) pronounced “Schmuck-11” and the venerable AN/UYK-20(V7) computer known as “Yuck-20”, when it comes down to it, nothing beats the visual check by yourself as to what the day might bring, weather-wise.  Think about it – would you really want to base your professional reputation on high-tech systems called Schmuck and Yuck?  I’d pass too… Now, to get really interesting, The Weather Channel® likes to throw in their European Model forecast.  Okay, call me doofus, but why on earth would we want guesstimations on significant weather events impacting the East Coast of North America being ‘modeled after the European concept’?  Are the Europeans that hung up on themselves and fashion that they have to model the weather for us too?  I think not.  Joking aside, it’s interesting to watch the reactions of people with the weather. 

To help shake the mid-winter ‘blahs’, this week’s image is from an obviously warmer time of the year.  This is the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier open 24/7-365… passing (or worse) visiting hurricanes being the sole exception.  You’ll notice that these folks are pretty intent on what they are trying to catch at night.  Since I surf about 30 yards to the north of this spot, I have a little bit of interest too – especially if it’s anything longer than either me or my 9ft. 6inch longboard.  At that point, it’s time to give things a rest for a few days… naw… it’s only at night that they come out… yeah, okay… and the weather yesterday?  Mass started off drizzly and cold.  When Mass ended (I don't go or do ANYTHING until AFTER I go to Mass on Sundays, PERIOD.) the drizzle had stopped, and the wind had shifted favorably to the west-northwest.  My son and I had a terrific afternoon surfing with 30 other friends - water temp of 40-42, air temp approaching 50.  After about an hour or so of this, it was time to call it quits for the day.  The air temp had cleared 50, so I got to enjoy a sunny afternoon in a t-shirt and shorts on the boardwalk while I defrosted in the bright sunlight.  Some people were still bundled up complete with scarfs and gloves giving us some 'odd looks'.  Okay, it's a surfer thing.  We're used to being labeled as 'odd'.. who else would willingly play in 40-something degree water, chasing waves, getting pounded by them, and come up smiling?  And yeah, I got a start on my official 2013 suntan - in moderation, of course.


Have a great week!!


© John Cadell Photography

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Virginia Beach Fishing Pier Mon, 25 Feb 2013 11:25:56 GMT
Monday Commuting and late-running Christmas Gifts... Ker-whomp!!  My exceptionally spoiled and attention-demanding cat Tika-Belle has announced her presence in her not so subtle way by ensuring the law of gravity is enforced through her flopping over onto me.  At 4am.  And yes Skippy, it is dark outside.  Thoughts of sleeping for another hour, or at least lying in bed pretty much are going into a holding pattern at this point.  She is one very demanding kitty – and is quite adept at getting her attention groove on.  Okay, enough of this – time to get rolling.  We have an early start today at the day job, and it’s a balmy 20 degrees outside.  Yep, lots of inspiration to get moving. Stumpy Lake - Virginia Beach, VA - © John Cadlell Photography


While contemplating what would be a good topic for this week, I received a call from my closest friends – more like my family that I never had.  Every week, without fail, we yap… they both work at a major eastern university and have a daughter who just received acceptance to another eastern university within the same state.  Said daughter is on Cloud-9 with the news of her acceptance to the university of her choice.  When they returned home from visiting the campus, a package was awaiting her.  It was a delayed Christmas present from her closest friend/sister.  People say that today’s youth are so self-absorbed that they care only about their own self, and no one else.  Not quite true, here.  Said friend wrote a 4-page letter to a very well-known actor about her friend and how much she thought of said very well-known actor – as a person and a performer.  Said very well-known actor responded graciously with a personally signed (you can see the indentations on the print from the pen, not some stamped scanned image, but a real one) picture, saying something along the lines of “wishes come true”… and sent it to her.  Hmmm… that sounds like more than just a little bit of effort to do for someone, without wondering ‘what’s in it for ME?’.  Look around a little bit more, and you will see today’s youth – the pre-teens to approaching 30 types are really out doing for others through church, youth groups of various persuasions, and organizations, or simply ‘because’.  I watched several examples during the annual Polar Plunge where a young person would stop what he or she was doing to ‘do the right thing’ for someone else.   It’s definitely a welcome change of pace from the more usual antics we see where people will do some of the rudest, dumbest, most self-centered things and not even blink in humility or consider acting more responsibly, especially during the morning and evening commute – that daily ritual of people sitting in vehicles that magically transport them from home to work while they busy themselves with putting on makeup, texting girlfriend/boyfriend for a breakfast power chat, checking stock reports and sports scores and pondering the lineage of their daily mix of sillyfrapachino with diet ice to go.  Oh yeah, did someone mention DRIVING?  They missed out on that part, or so they would like us to believe.  Let’s get our collective mind back in the game of being safe courteous drivers… not foaming mad at the world because we’re running late due to our own lack of planning.  If a teenager can plan out in advance how to make another teenager’s YEAR with a gift like that – then I think us older types might take a cue from that and tread accordingly.


Have a great week!! 


]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:09:56 GMT
Weekend Road Trip - Rural North Carolina - Welcome to the Land of Peace and Quiet... Most people who know me, know that I have been a part of the Knights of Columbus for more than just a few years.  Actually, I’m approaching a quarter century as a Knight.  We’re most known for helping others - something that has been an inherent part of ‘me’ since I learned as an aspiring Cub Scout in the 60s about ‘do a good deed for others’.  So, when I received a call from a friend saying that he knew of someone who needed to get a refrigerator from one place to another, and if he could volunteer myself and my truck, Starship Elvis, it would be done.  This would also require the assistance of my youngest son – all 6’5” of him.  Pushing 22, he’s starting to catch on just a little bit that there is life beyond getting the next (now) legal cold one, and girls.  Actually, despite certain intellectual limitations of his own, he does his best to help others – his dream is to one day run a surf camp for disabled people.  So, when I texted him about going with me to North Carolina on Saturday, his immediate response was “ROAD TRIP – YEAH!!”


I’ve made numerous trips to the OBX (Outer Banks) as I like to visit the lighthouses and other places that you have seen on my website.  This trip was going to be different.  It wasn’t about going to some well-known place, but more of a very rural town in north-central NC about 125 miles West-South West from Virginia Beach.  A few things were immediately noticeable as we crossed the line from Suffolk, Virginia into somewhere in North Carolina –


  1. North Carolina has a state-wide ban on potholes and torn-up roads.  You can’t find them.  Period.
  2. Virginia encourages potholes and torn-up roads throughout Hampton Roads. As a last resort, they’ll import them from North Carolina and West By God Virginia – I guess helping thy neighbor takes on a whole new meaning here.
  3. If a sign is posted with a specific speed limit – do what is posted, or be prepared to suffer the consequences.        I saw a few non-believers exercise the limits of that rule, and find out that it does apply to them too.
  4. When you are in rural NC – slow down like the sign says (I did) and take a look around…
  5. Be open to taking longer at doing something than you expected – people are friendly here in NC.


We learned a whole bunch about how life could be – if given a chance.  Places that have real general stores, not of the Cracker Barrel® or LL Bean® variety – but real ones.  Like getting an ice cream cone with Yahoo® mixed in with it.  Trust me on this one – my son wants to go back and get some more.  Places where you can get a chance to leave the silliness of living in a metropolitan area with a strong tourism sector (that would be Vah Beach y’all…) where the noise of traffic, sirens, loud car stereos, etc. just doesn’t happen.  Instead, you hear birds (a relatively warm day in the mid-40s) and other critters.  You don’t see 300x500 ft. billboards advertising the latest t-shirts, saltwater taffy, hammocks, bbq, or whatever collectible you could imagine, like you do along some highways.  Of course, this would seem to limit the ability for local law enforcement to ‘observe from concealment’ for any unsuspecting motorists who think they can exceed the speed limit through Deputy Billy Bob’s territory.  That would be a BIG negative.   Nope – if you follow the rules, you’ll do just fine.  You don’t - you’ll get a fine.  Pretty simple.  The lady we were helping is a native to these parts – and she made sure that we had a good understanding about the area, as only someone of her age would know, and share.  You got a whole new appreciation for things, listening to her.  We arrived at her auntie’s home – note I said ‘home’ not ‘house’.  There’s a difference.  Again – trust me on this one.  We showed up, are greeted by her auntie and uncle – who proceeded to make sure we got the refrigerator taken care of.  No worries between my son and I – we’re both ‘fairly capable’ when it comes to picking big heavy things up…  I figured we’d ‘chat’ for a few minutes and then head back up to Virginia Beach.  Wrong!!  “We’re going to break bread here…” – meaning, eat lunch.  Okay, ‘lunch’ was a full-on turkey dinner like you get once a year at Thanksgiving.  Looking around – you could tell that this was a real home full of real memories and a fondness for family gatherings and friends ‘popping-round’.  This was the kind of place that seemingly only exists in Norman Rockwell paintings.  Well, I’m here to tell you that in Robersonville, North Carolina, Norman Rockwell must have met Andy Griffin.  This place is as genuinely ‘country laid-back’ as you will find.  My idle musings were quietly interrupted with a “Would you like sweet tea or New York (pronounced New Yawk) sweet tea?  Not knowing the difference, I found out that “New Yawk” sweet tea is roughly 2lbs. of sugar to one glass of tea.  Needless to say, staying alert after all of that food was not an issue… and in turn, we learned a lot more about how life is in this part of the United States – peaceful, with purpose, and without hang-ups or a nearby Starbucks® to run to.  In fact, I don’t recall seeing one the whole time we were there.  Imagine that!!  After a spell, we returned home, enjoying the peaceful ride getting back into Virginia Beach just at sunset.  Along with all of the noise and silliness, and roughly 30 Star Bucks® between Chesapeake and  Vah Beach.  Oh yeah, those potholes?  They ate my son in-law’s car for lunch on Friday, along with 20-something other motorists.  It made the local news – again.  VDOT – gotta’ love em’…

Smithfield Virginia - © John Cadell Photography

Have a great week!!  © John Cadell Photography

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:47:09 GMT
Snow, Mud, and VDOT... what could possibly go wrong with this picture??  

Hmmm…. It’s slightly past 5pm on Sunday as I prepare my first-run for the early-morning ‘thoughts’ for tomorrow.  Taking a head-start is generally a good thing as it allows you additional time to prepare for things, rather than rush blindly forth and hope for the best.  We see it every day – some pathetic fool who is running late – generally not realizing or perhaps worse, not caring that because of their own ‘oopsieness’ their frantic half-baked reaction can and generally does cause a stir for the rest of us.  Case in point:  I had spent the afternoon with my son and his new girlfriend taking pictures – which you’ll see here.  On the way home, he mentioned that my truck Starship Elvis needed a bath in the worst way possible due to the coating of salt and Lord knows what else covered its flanks and the tailgate.  He was right – my 4x4 was looking more than just a tad past ‘cool 4x4 ugly’…  Not caked in mud and whatever else they acquire as some swamp visiting types like to do, and then drive around malls seeking out speed bumps and other ways to impart the remnants of their last visit on unsuspecting Lexus, Mercedes, and other high-dollar SUVs that populate these places.  Mine wasn’t guilty of any such tom-foolery.  It was merely displaying the limited results from VDOT in their quest to keep our roads clear during inclement weather.  This was especially obvious during the snowstorm on Friday.  On my way back from Washington DC after participating in the National Right To Life March as one of the KofC Marshals with well over 500,000 other people (13th time since 1998), I was watching the scenery from the bus’s windows and became curious at seeing more than a few snowplow drivers cruising along I95 with their blades down.  Sparks flying everywhere and not a bit of snow to be seen on the roadway… but gosh darn it, they were absolutely positive they were improving the safety factor for the motoring public.  Of course, said public was giving them a very healthy bit of distance due to the sparks – they weren’t about to test the theory based on the relativity of of sparks in 25-something degree weather on wet pavement will not ignite your gas tank.  So, they would get in groups and do a flanking movement around said snow plow – just in time to meet his wingman up ahead in their lane.  Yeah, and you wonder why there are chain-reaction accidents…   © John Cadell Photography

The Weather Channel®  had been posting advisories for about 3 years leading up to this event, or so it would seem… RUN… HEAD FOR COVER… STOCK UP ON E V E R Y T H I N G you can get at Home Depot® Sears, and Starbucks®.  It’s going to be the mother of all snow storms.  Okay, like a lot of folks, I get but only so ‘excited’ over this stuff… it snows, it stays cold, and eventually it melts.  I have this really nifty rotary switch on my dashboard (2Hi/4Hi/4Lo) that gets positively excited when this kind of weather shows up.  That means I can take a degree of relative comfort knowing that if I stick to the rules and follow the advice of others, I can safely navigate with a degree of reasonable certainty in 4-wheel drive mode.  This does NOT mean that I am some rock-climbing, stream-fording back-woods wannabe’ legend as you see in your average Range Rover® commercial intended for those whose idea of roughing it is making a change in their local Nieman-Marcus™ vs. Saks ordering habits.  They have no more business going out and about in inclement weather in these super-cool to the ‘in-crowd’ types than I do cluttering up some fancy-smancy sooper-dooper gotta’ wear matching socks white tie event.  Ain’t gonna’ happen, Cowboy.    Think about it… would you want to see me at an event like that?  NO!! 

So… I took myself home, and dutifully cleaned off the salt and grime along with other ‘things’ that had been acquired since its previous visit with his buddy, Mr. Hose.  Of course, I briefly considered the ramifications of using the hose in near-freezing weather – but figured that it is far cheaper to replace a $30.00 hose than a new paint job for my 4x4. 

Oh yeah, the weather this week? It’s supposed to hit the upper 60s on Wednesday before dropping back down to the low 40s high 30s for Polar Plunge weekend.  Looking forward to covering this annual event as a bunch of folks with great intentions and questionable methods get together to have some really entertaining ‘fun’ as they raise funds for Special Olympics Virginia.  To see what I’m talking about – please check out those sections on the website or better yet, consider donating to them at: .




Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 28 Jan 2013 11:21:55 GMT
Winter 2013 compared to Winter 1976... a few changes to be sure. Well, it is Winter – and a time of quiet contemplation of sorts.  In the olden days – people would ‘wait out winter’ in their cabins and farmhouses, fully stocked with provisions and firewood to make it through some brutal weather.  Pastoral scenes of Vermont or New Hampshire with the gratuitous sled full of rosy-cheek excited to be out ‘experiencing’ the winter with a huge thermo-blanket from LL Bean® guaranteed to withstand anything while sipping winterberry inspired sillyfrapachinos with lite ice while being pulled by a horse or two festooned with ornaments just didn’t really happen quite that way back then.  Of course, it made for a great sales promotional… Hey Mildred!!  Let’s pack the kids up and head up to Winterville Vermont and ride a sled for the weekend?  Sure Harry – as soon as you get done digging out the 3 feet of snow and bringing in the firewood that is frozen next to the house and check on the Edsel®.  Granted, our winters are not quite the same as then – although it would be hard to convince most anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line otherwise.  My early years were in Central NJ – trust me on this one – heavy and frequent snowstorms are a well-known factor in that area. 

Twilight comes to Portsmouth, Virginia on a pretty cold winter evening, 2011. Twilight - Portsmouth Virginia - � John Cadell Photography

Twilight comes to Portsmouth, Virginia on a pretty cold winter evening, 2011.

I used to 'hang out' with another kid across the road from me  – we lived out in the country – how far out do you say?  How about having an address of RD Box 91C in a Township?  Care to answer the RD part?  It stands for Rural Delivery.  Hmmm… can’t ever say that I’ve ever seen a farm in an urban setting… and a Township means that rural area that surrounds a town.  Mine did it in excess… you want to go to Jamesburg or Helmetta?  Sure – through Monroe Township.  Yeah, Jersey is like that – never happy with just one thing, gotta’ go for the twofers… anyhoot, we lived far away enough from town that we could do some ‘pretty interesting’ stuff that would be more than frowned upon today… we had small motorcycles – not the circus types, but small in engine size – well, small enough that folks believed that we only get into but so much trouble… yeah, right.  Anyhoot, in the winter of 1976, after plowing out a dozen driveways in the area and the road that connects them all – and no, neither one of us had a license but the cops tended to overlook that technicality as it helped them out and saved the Road Department time – by the time they got out to us, it would be half-past Spring… we got the clever idea of improving our existing motorcycle trails with the snowplow.  Through the woods.  No, we didn’t go over the hill to Grandmother’s house – we stayed in our little humble valley as such.  We had more fun just being our normal goof-ball selves (as most teenagers are).  Of course, this truck was fairly unique – a Chevy that was a cross-breed of various years.  The front was a 69, with a 71 engine, the bed came off of a 74 GMC, the doors were generally duct-tape shut – and not every time either… which was remembered during sudden turns when you ended up outside of the truck… whoopsies… yeah we had a hoot.  Not exactly Norman Rockwell’s envision of idyllic passing through the countryside as noted beforehand.  Today, although that row of homes still remains on Hoffman Station, the area has a new type of crop – McMansions – those things are sprouting up all over the place and in return our rural way of life is about gone.  Get that horse ride in before it’s too late…    




]]> (John Cadell Photography) Tue, 22 Jan 2013 11:36:22 GMT
Thanksgiving and Black Friday - Holiday Gift-Giving 101 St. Paul St. John

Good Morning Sports fans…

It has been a while since I have sat in front of my electronic brain to write something I hope is perceived as amusing observations of daily life and what have you.  Perhaps with the change in seasons to the Holiday Season, it would do well to help find some semblance of ‘normalcy on the fly’ as some of our readers prepare to continue their ‘power shopping sessions’ that involve the reconnaissance through Google Earth™ cross-checked by Bing® and verified by 3 other ‘friendlies’ who speak from experience ‘…you don’t want that frappasillychino maker with imported diet ice…  in various locations both in person, and of course, with today’s “Cyber Monday”.  This is considered a direct and newer relation to “Black Friday”. 


Okay, I understand this term is related to when stores and those purveyors of various ‘goods’ (Who would want to knowingly buy or sell ‘bad’?) breathe a corporate sigh of relief as their transaction logs no longer show a negative but a more positive PROFIT.  Let me digress here for a moment in synonyms.  Our English language (on either side of the big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean to non-United States By God Navy types) is full of challenges to anyone who is trying to learn – especially as a second language.  Since I am functionally literate to a certain degree, I have a tendency to swoop in on certain words and have a bit of ‘fun’ as I conduct “syntax recon” on my unsuspecting cohorts at work.  PROFIT – to make a positive sale, proceed to generate wealth, or at least pay the bills without needing a bail-out from Congress… I’ll be gentle here… sounds a whole lot like PROPHET.  A Prophet is even more positive, I would hope, unless of course you are of the “sell bad to the good” persuasion as earlier noted, in which case you might want to seriously reconsider what it is you are doing, and where you are heading.  I am not about to get up on my soap box and fire-up a fire-n-brimstone spiel, such as can be found at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park.  Rather, I will summarize with a note I posted on one of my daughter’s facebook™ page a few minutes ago thanking her for being happy in not yielding to the annual feeding frenzy known as Black Friday:   


Let's try to keep things in a basic perspective - particularly the CHRIST in CHRISTmas. There isn't a single thing you can get in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, on-line at Amazon, or wherever that will ever be considered remotely close to what God gave us. Think about that one for a while before you get too wrapped up in trying to 'find that perfect gift' - it just ain't gonna happen. How about instead of fussing, fretting, stressing, whatever it is that is spinning your prop, to perhaps consider doing something kinder and nicer for others - even if it as simple as holding the door open at that Best Buy or Wally World. Kindness is something we all need and I would hope share. Just a thought.” 


This wasn’t directed at her shopping habits, which are just as tenacious as any other 20-something member of the female persuasion of Shoppasaurus-Rex.   She is a Cadell – we ain’t exactly petite folks  as most of you know.  Trust me on this one – if my daughter wants to get something done she will.   What I was keying in on was her thankfulness in not yielding to the temptation to jump into the middle of the feeding frenzy with 2.5 million other people jamming up her local Best Buy® on Friday.  She was sticking to her guns and keeping in mind what she and her husband show their students every week in their church – two very devoted and exceptionally dedicated young people who wish to share their love of God and all that He holds for us, with others.  Way to go buckarooette.


Perhaps as we enter this Holiday Season, we might slow down just enough between the and try to keep it all in perspective.  Yes, Christmas is indeed a time of giving gifts and exchanging well wishes for a new year.  But, and I emphasize BUT… let’s do so with a consideration for the ultimate gift of God has given us.

St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Portsmouth Virginia.  Part of the new “Churches of Hampton Roads 2012” page.  

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 26 Nov 2012 03:13:48 GMT
Summer Couch Potatoes Did anyone mention it is slightly hot?  I’ve watched my crusty thermometer in the back yard peg out in the afternoons with direct prolonged exposure from the sun.  I almost feel bad for it – wondering if there is a sunblock for thermometers… Hmmmm…. Would that be a Thermo-tan™ vs. a Copper-Tone™ tan???  Yeah, I know… duck… keep the day job, or get some more manly-man Folgers® sit-up and bark, stir with a blow-torch, industrial-grade cup of coffee in my bloodstream before contemplating humorous attempts on a humid July morning.   Interesting – on the one hand, we fuss about how hot or cold it is, yet we stick to our preferred hot coffee in the morning, and ice tea in the afternoon, regardless if it is February or August, without batting an eyelash.  Interfere with that particular daily start-up process in how we get going, and there is little doubt that whoever the fool is (and probably about to become a figurative was) will be in for a very long day. Keeping up appearances...


I once read somewhere, or maybe somebody sent me an email – yeah, those bazillion little forwards we get every day in our electronic inbox, all mean’t to give you a momentary chuckle, or “y’all ain’t gonna’ believe this one but…” along with the constant hype and chatter from the spammers advocating their product will help you find Elvis, get you rich beyond belief while working from home for 20 minutes a day, 2 days per week, the latest greatest flab-fighting darling little power pill that will help you shed those unwanted pounds while sleeping or worse, being able to maintain that couch-potato lifestyle complete with the remote to the 92.5” plasma 25-D super-duper TV  with 500+ channels of the best of the Home Shopping Network. 24/7 in your hand.  The most exercise you’ll get is operating that remote, or waddling over to the refrigerator and perhaps even the microwave to fire that puppy up and reheat some micro-meal.  Face it, we are pathetic when it comes to getting off of our rump and doing something active.  Take the trash out?  Yeah, sure, in a minute.  The grass needs cutting – don’t even get me going there… my neighbors like having their free weekly grass cutting service (me) come through and keep the street looking neat – they don’t have to do a thing.  On the flip side, I get plenty of exercise in cutting 9 yards with the requisite mowing and weed-whacker – and no, I don’t use a ‘bump-n-go’… you want to see frustration accelerate from dormant to ready to launch the weed-whacker across the street into the lake?  Trust me – please don’t ever hand me another Black-and-Decker® lawn-care product to use… it will fly.  I’ll stick with Sears Craftsman™ stuff any day of the week.  It also gives me a chance to keep a decent tan – which of course, I catch dire warnings from my eldest daughter – and with good reason… but in moderation.  Then it’s back to being the lazy oaf that I’m not.  Okay, all this is neat and wonderful – and gives me ideas on getting pictures for your viewing pleasure.  Taking a look at this Sailor (undoutedly one of their most junior) who is tasked with keeping his ship neat and 'squared away'.  Sure, he gets to simply hang-out - albeit in a manner that most folks would prefer not to.  He's on the water - quite literally as close as he can get without getting wet - for now.  In time, his task will be done, his ship looking sharp as ever, and life will go on.  Let's hope your summer is a bit less dramatic than this young man's...

]]> (John Cadell Photography) OpSail painting sailors ships Mon, 23 Jul 2012 16:51:39 GMT
Monday's Musings... 02 July 12 - Mud Puddles and trains... Summer is most definitely here!!  There is zero doubt in my retired military mind that the temperatures of the past week have clearly indicated this will be a hot one too.  For those readers with pets – please share with others the absolute importance of not leaving our four-legged family members in vehicles - as it is a for real matter of life and death.  Our eldest daughter took a weekend trip with her husband to Florida – with their dogs spending time with us.  We like to meet in Ashland as it is about an hour from their home.  It’s also where she graduated from college at Randolph-Macon – which of course brings back all kinds of memories for her.  I don’t mind going there at all, as there is a beautiful train station in Ashland that typifies a part of our history and culture that can sometimes be overlooked.  Long before Southwest® and AirTran® became a very convenient and relatively inexpensive way to get away, the train was the way to go anywhere.  Certain things will forever be the same as long as key parts remain available.  This week’s image typifies the small town station greeting an approaching train.  You’ll note the young boy perched securely on his father’s shoulders, with his sister holding their father’s hand, all watching the approaching train, which their mother is riding on - returning from a weekend wedding.  The anticipation is pretty clear here – an element which has been repeated countless times in a variety of locations all over the world where passenger trains run.  This scene is no different.  What makes this particular situation quite interesting is that preceding the train’s arrival, there was a small puddle with the instant attraction that is universal in all young boys that literally begged to be played with.  The boy of course heeded the call, and contented himself quite merrily away, while his older sister cast her doubts about his choice in location as it was rather close to the tracks.  That dark smudge you see in front of them is all that remains from this momentary puddle from the previous evening’s passing storm.  The rest of the puddle is now a part of the boy and his clothes – something that will be dealt with upon his mother’s return.   Dad doesn’t really mind – I’m pretty certain he had his fair share of puddles too.Amtrak NE Direct - Ashland Virginia - © John Cadell PhotographyAmtrak's NE Direct at Ashland Virginia


I hope you all get a chance to play in your own version of a mud puddle this summer… please have a safe and Happy Fourth!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) AMTRAK Amtrak Ashland Virginia Trains Mon, 02 Jul 2012 14:20:43 GMT
Monday's Musings... 19JUNE12 - Road Trip & Scrapple... what could possibly go wrong? Freedom Tower - New York City

Road Trip… it’s a term that encompasses many interpretations depending on who is doing the interpretation.  In this case however, it was a trip up to New Jersey to meet with friends from childhood while also conducting a business trip – truly a case of business mixed with pleasure.  On the business side, a friend of mine whom I have known from the 5th grade onwards, asked for my consideration in forming a partnership around my favorite way of trying to earn a living – photography.  Sounds good, when and where?  As the details emerged, several other ‘thoughts’ occurred – namely how to make a couple of people quite happy.  Suffice it to say, 5 days on the road was well worth it. 

My rural little township – yep – that’s REAL country when you live in a Township.  Not a ‘burb’ or a ‘burg’ but a Township – seriously mean’t you were out in the sticks.  Well those sticks are now populated with “McMansions” and more than a few increases in retirement villages.  Where horse farms and agricultural farms were common, with road-side stands selling straight from the field without 45 various types of USDA mandated whatchawantwithmylifenow’ inspections, places like Clare’s Market (which is now a Wawa) are gone, while miles of unending fields are now warehouses and distribution centers.  Strange thing is, the roads have only marginally improved with the density and type of traffic.  Curves are wider due to the presence of tractor-trailers constantly rumbling to the various highways and byways that make up the area, located dead-center between New York and Philadelphia.  Traffic lights appear where at best, a courtesy stop sign was once posted, just to keep the folks at NJDOT somewhat gainfully employed.  Strangest sights I did see were where the old police station was located – once an old house, is now a really old house with trees growing through it.  The other was the land reclamation going on.  Where Saturday mornings in my youth were spent with my father, hauling stuff to the township dump – not a landfill, but a DUMP, is now peppered with McMansions and their manicured lawns.  They look quite pretty sitting there, but I have to wonder about what was done to what is or (hopefully) was under them.  Trust me, back in the 60s and 70s, you couldn’t spell EPA.  Recycling was a term yet to be coined, let alone applied.  Today of course, even tiny Helmetta has had a recycling center in place for many years.  Alongside of all of this ecological befuddlement, some things remain pretty much the same.  I popped into Mendoker’s Bakery in Jamesburg for an oatmeal cookie for breakfast – trust me – they’re excellent, along with anything else from Mendoker’s .  The cashier gave me a quizzical look of semi-recognition, I said my name, to which she responded with a chuckle that she was the wife of another classmate of mine.  The kids of the owner/founder of Mendoker’s are also classmates.  Same with most everyone else who is from this area.  Trust me - small town knowledge still exists in Central New Jersey.  Thankfully, Starbucks® hasn’t quite infiltrated the area.  Surrounds it, yes, but there’s nary a one to be found within 10 miles.  Dunkin’ Donuts® however, is now occupying a small mall with a Subway’s® for its neighbor in the spot where Perrine’s Pontiac Dealer had been located from the beginning.  You want the Golden Arches?  Gotta’ go to East Brunswick or Freehold for the nearest.  Ditto with Burger King®, KFC®, and anything else of the major fast-food chain persuasion.  Dominos®, Subway®, 7Eleven®, and Dunkin’ Donuts® are it in downtown Jamesburg.  But, you want a for-real no kidding Jersey staple known as a diner?  The ones that have been there since I was a kid are still there for the most part.  You want Snapple® and home-fries with that?  Sure thing.  And don’t forget the scrapple™.  Don’t ask… truth is, I never cared for the stuff (whatever it’s concoction and lineage really is) either.  Somehow, cross-breeding less than normally used parts from pigs, turkeys and cows into a mixed creation as a breakfast food item isn’t exactly something I wish to pursue for in-depth knowledge any further than a cursory glance at Wikipedia for verification.  Perhaps it might explain a little bit about the way things are on the Eastern Shore … I’ll be nice at this point and not question their chosen form of dietary sustinance as such, because they have a major summer festival centered around Scrapple™ which does provide the area with a sizeable income from unsuspecting tourists... whom I would advise to take stock in Tums® or Rolaids® to counter the after-effects of this roadside charm. The Dairy Queen® I stopped at for lunch in Delaware was great.  Two guys yapping about cars, two moms with a bunch of kids waiting for a third to join them, were about it for patronage at this place.  Real hamburgers cooked to order, that didn't have free-range anything as a part of their pedigree... yep, my kinda’ stuff.  What would make for boring television when compared to some of the shows that we see along the same lines, just doesn't translate quite as well as the high intensity in your face stuff found on The Food Network®, just calm laid-back this is how we are, deal with it, if you please.... or not.  Otherwise, the door is located to your military right... have a nice day.

Visiting my hometown’s brand-new high school put a whole new spin on ‘small-town syndrome’.  The new school is sooooo high-tech that most community colleges would do well to take notes on what they have.  These guys have a full-blown television broadcast studio with equipment that is bleeding-edge.  Of course, I zeroed-in on the photography department (yeah, as if you didn’t see that one coming).  They have stuff that made me feel positively ancient.  Thanks to an extended tour from my photography teacher (who is retiring from there next year, if they’ll let him), what would have been called the 50-cent tour was more like the $50.00 version.  Wow!!  I don’t think they earn mere high school diplomas from here, more like an advanced associates degree.  They get an iPad® - and the top-end one at that, issued to them at the start of the school year.  Like I said, this place exudes bleeding-edge technology used to give children an exceptionally rich resource-filled foundation in their high school years.  I hope they will appreciate the opportunity being given to them by their parents and a very generous community. 

Due to space and time considerations, this trip will be concluded in next week’s edition.  Next:  NYC as seen from Hoboken.

I'll part with the thought of "Gee... I'm hearing a Bruce Springsteen song rumbling through my mind... "My Hometown" from his "Darkness on the Edge of Town" album.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Freedom Tower NYC Skyline New York City Tue, 19 Jun 2012 16:11:51 GMT
Monday's Musings - 11JUNE12 - Getting caught up after too much fun. Indeed, this is ‘quite’ the Monday.  It is on the down-hill side of OpSail-2012 in Norfolk, which was kicked-off by the preceding weekend here in Virginia Beach.  From high-performance jet aircraft which can razzle-dazzle with their speed and acrobatic abilities, to seeing up close and personal, very large reminders of our maritime history from more than a few places around the world.  I was merely lucky enough to be able to document small segments of all of the activities that have occurred.  Tomorrow is ‘wrap-up’ as the fleet gets underway for Baltimore.  If you would like to see the rest of what I was able to capture with my trusty Nikons, please click here for a direct link to my website à .  WTKR viewers will be seeing a lot of new background images in the coming days during the weather segments.

This week's choice shows people anticipating the upcoming fireworks show between Norfolk and Portsmouth.  I think you'll find yourself identifying with some of these folks seen here - waiting and quite happy to be there.

I look around this image and I think we can reasonably ascertain that looking at these folks that sometimes in our all too busy lives, there comes a time where it's the simpler things in life that bring us a certain happiness that can't be done via the more usual means. 

So set the Starbucks® Sillyfrapachino with diet ice down for just a moment and take in an evening view.  In a few moments, the relative quiet will be replaced with the thunderous boom of fireworks and the subsequent ‘oohs-and-aaawws’ that goes with the artistry of a major-league pyrotechnics production.  It’ll do you just fine to have the view in real-time by being there in person vs. the You Tube ® and Face Book® versions.  Independence Day is a couple of weeks away – I hope you’ll have time to enjoy it.

Good luck, may the Force be with you… Aloha.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Norfolk, Virginia OpSail-2012 Mon, 11 Jun 2012 14:14:54 GMT
Monday's Musing - 04JUNE12 - Getting Things done with a Handshake Teamwork - U.S. Navy Blue Angels style Among the many things we see and do in our daily lives, we have a tendency to remain loyal to particular things and a routine of doing things. 


Our daily routine of  getting up at a particular time because of work, school, the cat talking to you, etc., are a habit based on necessity – oftentimes mistakenly considered to be an annoyance.  Granted, hearing the sound of the alarm clock going off, followed by the cat talking to you may give you thoughts of putting the clock through yonder wall and grumbling about who’s turn it is to deal with the cat, it does little to improve anything.  Guys, we’re in a no-win situation here… the clock will need to be replaced, the wall repaired, thus adding to your honey-dos, and the cat will continue talking to you.  Best to leave it alone and learn to maintain your inner “man-cool” sometimes known as harmony… but never ever talked about among your buddies – as they would pull your man-card in a heartbeat and toss you out of the cave, before resuming watching the game on the 180” glow-in-the-dark 3-D HDTV, laughing uproariously before realizing to a man, that they too suffer from the same ignominious daily deal.  In a world dominated by SUVs with the onboard GPS pre-programmed for every Starbucks® within a 300 mile radius as the vehicle of choice for most families because having that preferred manly 4x4 ginormous pickem’-up truck that you see at Home Depot® isn’t going to help earn enviro-friendly green points at the Saturday morning soccer games where all of the environmental-talking (not doing, just talking) types are ranting over going green, you get a twinge of nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ – with thoughts of whatever happened to where a man’s word was as good as his handshake, and that was that?  All is not lost.  Read on.


During the last 2 months of post-TSA life (which I am thoroughly enjoying in getting re-programmed into mainstream society – getting up at a normal time, watching the 6 o’clock news in the evenings, and Sunday afternoons are wide-open), I haven’t really had a reason to keep my hair and beard exactly uniform-neat.  Granted, it drew some long looks from my wife who keeps fairly quiet about most things, with an occasional grumble or three of her own when I am straying too far from her intended plan of what I want to do, but for the most part, nobody was saying much of anything.  I figured that when I get a job interview, I would ‘clean-up’ and that would be that.  Well, that notion wasn’t exactly on a few people’s radar as a good thing.  Suffice it to say, a brother Knight who recently joined the ranks of the 4th Degree – becoming a full Sir Knight in the Knights of Columbus) grumbled to me in his own NJ way that I needed to spend some time with him, and he would take care of the hair.  Okay, I took him at his word (which I do with anyone in the Knights) and called his shop for an appointment.  Well, Tommy, in his usual understated way failed to mention that ‘his shop’ where he works is actually a full-blown spa with all of the bells and whistles.  He gave me the 50-cent tour, which left me with the impression that this would be a really great place to send my wife and the girls to do their ‘girl thing’ where they get the cucumber in the eye treatment, etc…. I’m kidding here as I didn’t see any cucumbers laying around waiting to pounce on unsuspecting clients.  Anyway, true to his word, Tommy corrected my ZZ Top wannabe’ look back to being presentable and ready for prime-time in public without too much adult supervision.  Short-leashed, yes, especially in the vicinity of Sears®, but generally left alone within reason.  True to his word, it was done.  Period.  Nothing more than a handshake.  No contracts, no week-long arbitration on who was doing what, nada.  Zip.  Life is good.  Granted, we’re both ‘up there’ – with Tommy spotting me with 21 years.  So what!!  It is really nice to have someone to just simply say “I got it” and it’s done.  Which by the way, is something we do in the Knights as a matter of due course.  Remember where I said about taking people at their word?  I rest my case.  I would like to think that this would be something our younger members of the Man Club would do well to learn about.  And soon.


I key in on Teamwork and Veterans a lot.  This week’s image is of the Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team doing what they do best – wowing people with aerial precision and artistry that thoroughly amazes folks who haven’t ever worked onboard an aircraft carrier.  It still gives those of us who have, no uncertain amount of quiet pride in knowing that ‘yeah, we still can rock em’ hard…” This weekend-long event is the start of OpSail-2012.  I’ll be pretty busy this week and next getting pictures of all of the festivities that surround this gala event.


Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 04 Jun 2012 11:47:31 GMT
Monday's Musings - Early Morning Aerobics with Tika-Bell Uh-oh.  What is that over-riding suspicion that I am forgetting to do something today?  I know there is a STACK of the never-ending in this life-time  of honey-dos to get honey-done.  Let’s review the basics… got upright – that’s a start by itself… waited for Tika-Bell to yell at me about getting her breakfast.  This begins my first-thing-out-of-bed-are-you-fahreakin’-kidding-me aerobics.  I don’t know who made bets with who, but Tika-Bell’s warped sense of “I’ll get him going” by slinking between my feet while going down stairs is not the smartest thing to do when I am not even close to 100% on-line and past the point of knees and ankles cracking and popping into alignment to begin another day.  Those daily reminders from AARP in the mail to succumb to the fact that being in my 50s does not mean that I have the same dexterity and flexibility that I had 25 years ago, go through my mind as I successfully navigate said stairs while avoiding stepping on said cat.  Thank God for small favors, like a life-time of somewhat nimble balance from pursuing my favorite sports of surfing, baseball and football.  Large men that can side-step and cross-navigate through narrow confines is a sight that is best left unexplained.   Having survived the first injury-defying exercise of the day by successfully making it to the kitchen without impacting the wall or the floor, it’s time to fire up the coffee pot, turn off the alarm system, lest that little beast barks at me too… then pacify a grumpy kitty who merely wants you at her personal beck-whim-and-call 24/7.   Canned cat food has a distinctive early morning aroma that I’m personally thankful that no coffee maker, including my good friends at Starbucks® has ever tried to recreate into one of their bazillion forms of early morning (whenever that begins in your particular household) get yerself up and start moving, mister/miss type stuff.  I don’t think Purina® and 9-Lives® will ever have to worry World War II Memorial & George WashingtonWorld War II Memorial - Washington's Monumente about anyone replicating their gourmet aroma for our feline family members into an early morning beverage aroma.   

Okay, back upstairs, with coffee (I have a BIG coffee mug with various scenes of Taz® (of Warner Brothers fame as a computer technician – with predictable Taz®-like responses, none of them good for the continued existence of whatever annoyed him at the moment).  Woe unto anyone who touches this mug – the potential exposure from on-going unofficial grunge experiments is not to be taken lightly.  This began when I was stationed in Italy, when another equally gruff ‘old salt’ First Class and myself were known in that area of the base as to having the grungiest manly-man coffee mugs that made even Master Chiefs back down in respect.  It maintained that quiet reminder of  do-not-mess-with this person persona that both Mitch (the other Crusty Sailor) and I have long established.   Nowadays, my Taz® mug gets an occasional introduction to being cleaned – usually by one of our daughters who believe they are safe from the wrath of Dad.

Now begins Monday – and of course, coming up with something interesting and hopefully amusing to write about for you, the tolerant reader.  Unlike other Mondays, this particular Monday has a very significant meaning to most of us.  No, it isn’t the mega-sales at Wally World or stocking up on all of the accoutrements needed to have that carbon-based sacrificial pyre in the backyard later on today.  Yes, these are very much a part of what we do – this is the celebration to the semi-official start of Summer.  So amidst all of the happy-time stuff that we see on television and hear on radio (unless you are on Sirius®)  why is it that even in towns where there isn’t a significant military presence, more and more people are actually pausing for a few moments to reflect on the true meaning and reason of today? Perhaps folks are waking up to the fact that despite all of the inundations of being cocooned within an all-terrain DVD/MP3 THX-certified SUV and the apparent safety it espouses, thankfully there is enough public awareness to remember that freedom isn’t free.  It comes at a very costly price.  There is no amount of money on earth that can replace a life – especially one that has been sacrificed to protect others.  How many families will look at an empty spot at the table that was previously occupied by someone who also ran, laughed, and had a great time doing nothing, but is now a sad memory?  Please take a moment to keep these people in mind as you go about doing whatever it is you do today and every day.  Our freedom is guaranteed in writing on two pieces of paper called The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution of the United States of America.  Their collective guarantee is made possible only by being maintained by many of our neighbors, friends and family who have stepped up and answered the call to duty.  When you see someone who has served, please remember that he or she has done things that you will never ever understand or possibly begin to appreciate unless you are one of us.  We’re called Veterans.  Today, we salute and remember our fallen brethren by keeping them alive in our hearts and minds forever.  If you feel like it, please join us as we remember them.


Thank you.


]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 28 May 2012 14:36:30 GMT
Monday's Musings May 14th 2012 - Perceptions Patience and other sayings... Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Sunset - © John Cadell PhotographyChesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Sunset - � John Cadell Photography Oh Goody… Mr. Overcast is back again.  I literally heard his buddy, Mr. T. Storm grumbling quite loudly as things got ‘lit-up’ again last night.  Awlrighty then, so much for early Monday Morning humor…. Not.

I did have to chuckle though the other day, as CNN ran a segment featuring Prince Charles doing some spontaneous weather forecasting for BBC Scotland whilst (in true British parlance) he was visiting their Weather Centre in Glasgow.  It was really surprising in a fun way, to see someone of his stature, weigh in with a bit of humour, albeit in true English character.  To view this segment (if you haven’t already, please click here: .

This brought to mind that we do have certain perceptions and expectations about key public figures.  The age old joke about a cop stopping a limousine that had been speeding, asking his chief who the important guy was in the back seat, and when asked why, the cop informed his chief that the Pope was the one who was driving the limo… among many others merely illustrates that we can and often-times do get hung-up on when these well-known people step outside of their ‘scripted box on how to behave according to public expectations’ and do something ‘different’.  Being different in a positive way is something I would encourage anyone to do.  We do tend to make pre-conceived notions based on what we see that can oftentimes lead to these ‘foregone conclusions’ not really matching up with what reality will show.  Take a look around you, and question yourself if you really do know someone.  You might be surprised to learn that she or he has some skills or abilities that would amaze you. 


I do tend to grumble about over-cast days being far more frequent than the sunny ones around here as of late.  That said, I did manage to capture a pretty cool sunset last week that quite a few viewers of News Channel-3 Weather (WTKR Norfolk) really liked.  This is a view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Ft. Story.  Although I’m a good 5 miles from the bridge, this particular spot is an excellent one for viewing the Chesapeake, rain or shine.


Final note for this week – I came up with a thought that is something I’m trying to live by:


"Patience is a much-needed commodity that is generally in short supply, and usually on back-order by some people who really need to keep plenty of it in stock. I’m going on-line right now to order some more…"  – John Cadell


Please have a great week!!


]]> (John Cadell Photography) Chesapeake Bay Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel sunset Mon, 14 May 2012 14:29:53 GMT
Monday's Musings... - May 7th 2012 - Helping others to fight Blindness Yeehaaaawwwww…. There is a BLUE SKY with this big yellow circular item – according to Wikipedia, it’s called the sun.  The birds are chirping away – quite happy to feel the warmth of the sunshine this morning.  No need to keep spending money this morning on one of our many friends named Bill.  He goes by various first names… Electric… Gas… Water… Insurance… yep, good ol’ Bill, he keeps asking, but rarely stops working as long as you pay him.   Of course Mr. E. Bill is needed to keep Mr. AC working… interesting demonstration of supply and demand relationship there.  This time a year ago, I was home recovering from triple bypass surgery, and dealing with the added frustration of our AC system that went on vacation.  Be that as it was, and no uncertain amount of telephone calls, emails, along with several visits by 3 different companies, all claiming to be ‘the’ expert, things finally started working again.  It was not exactly a very comfortable time.  I didn’t raise too much ‘fuss’ in the process, but in a proper military manner, I did get people’s attention.  This gave me a pause for the cause… I was able to speak up and defend myself and take care of my wife during this situation… supposed I hadn’t been able to?  What then?  There are more than a few of you who receive this weekly post, who are well past the age of retirement.   The rest of us undoubtedly know folks who are in the same bracket… be they family, friends, neighbors, folks we see at church each week, or routinely see in the store when we shop.  If you happen to notice not seeing your elder neighbor across the street waving to you this morning, or outside checking on their flowers as they normally do in the evening, you might want to check on them and make sure they’re doing okay.  Let em’ know you care…   People do appreciate it… even the grouchy old has-been types…


Speaking of neighbors taking care of neighbors… in the past few weeks I have mentioned some of the bigger non-profit organizations who have helped others for many years – Special Olympics, The Foodbank, etc.  Yesterday, a newer organization called Foundation Fighting Blindness (  held their first event in the Hampton Roads area.  Their purpose is to organize fund-raising activities to help fund research to end blindness.  It’s a pretty tall order, being handled very quietly and without a whole lot of hoopla or fanfare.  Not surprisingly, local optomowhooseewhatchamacallits (better known as eye doctors with 75 various hard-earned acronyms in their title) were very much involved, with teams of employees and friends all pitching in to help out.  It is always easier when you have plenty of volunteers ready and willing to help.  There is one fraternal organization who goes for helping work on vision issues in a very big way – The Lion’s Club.  These guys and their wives were everywhere yesterday, helping to make sure that everything and one was taken care of.  They were most definitely in their own element yesterday.  The next time you see these folks out collecting old eye glasses – try and help them out if at all possible.  They’re doing it to help everyone… including a very good friend of mine who has recently started to learn how to adapt to a vision-impaired environment.  He’s doing okay – well enough to become a newly minted 4th Degree Sir Knight (the highest degree we have in the Knights) on Saturday.  Thanks to another friend and also a newly minted Sir Knight -  who with his wife helped organize this event, he was able to participate in the Vision Walk.  If you would like to see images of this event, please check the website later today.

Think about it – if you weren’t able to see, you wouldn’t be able to read this… a thought.


Finally… even though we heard the President state on television that he is planning on standing down our presence overseas in Afghanistan and elsewhere in that region, the fact is very much in evidence around here that people are still being sent over to do their part.  A group of us got together yesterday to spend some quality time with a certain young lady who will be deploying to Afghanistan later on this year.  For now, she’s going to be spending some quality time learning about how to move about in a proper military manner in a very hostile environment.  For sure, she will be missed…Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge - © John Cadell PhotographyAfternoon - Back Bay

From all of her family and friends… KEEP YER HEAD DOWN!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Blindness Helping Neighbors Mon, 07 May 2012 13:22:06 GMT
Monday's Musings... 30APR12 - Weather and Patience meet Frustration... Storm approaching KnottSpring Storm Approaching Knott's Island, North Carolina Oftentimes when one is watching his/her choice of weather forecasts on television, be it a local station such as WTKR News Channel-3 here in Southeastern Virginia, or the national stuff seen on The Weather Channel®, CNN®, or MSNBC®, we’ll see these pretty neat looking graphs describing various ‘weather fronts’.  Okay, what does a weather front look like?  My wife and I went out Saturday afternoon to look along the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean (the benefit of being a “Coastal Dweller”) to view the changing weather – overcast to rain to overcast to rain to… yeah, it wasn’t exactly a Kodachrome® sky day, to be sure.  I don’t consider myself to be a “Storm chaser” photographer, although a buddy of mine down the street from me – is – and is quite good at it.  Be that as it may, I noticed that a storm that had inundated Cape Henry for about 20 minutes, was starting to re-form and move south.  Okay, fine, we’re in my wife’s RAV4 which is really good on gas.  Not exactly comfortable for anyone in the 6’+ range to drive for an extended period of time, but it doesn’t get excited every time it senses a gas pump within 20 miles, unlike my truck, Elvis.  Let’s head south, honey… we make it to Pungo, but this ‘front’ is definitely moving faster than you would like to think those big gray clouds can.  Awlrighty then… I know of a particular ‘spot’ where I’ll be able to set-up for what I hope will be a good capture of this weather ‘front’ (gee – silly thought check – ya’ gotta’ wonder why the ‘back’  doesn’t get any respect among weather forecasters) .  Anyhoot, we do make it to Knott’s Island (check out the Charles Kuralt Trail over-look just past the bridge on the east side) to capture this weather front.  Yep, pretty darn awesome. 

So, for a day that had been pretty much a no-go for photography, with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of patience, can be a bit more ‘fun’ if you give it time.  The Weather Channel® likes this image too – you can see it on-line if you feel like cyber-digging.


Perhaps we could apply this same ‘logic’ in how we do things every day.  Give it some time and patience.  I’m trying, although my buddies Frustration and Annoyed do tend to try and bully their quieter contemporary, Patience.  I get really frustrated when I’m working on something, or expect things to be done a specific way, and then their boss, Reality sets in.  Perhaps if I was to try and ignore those two party animals (Frustration and Annoyed) and stick with the less troublesome and generally more positive Patience, who usually keeps Reality fairly happy, then just maybe this is an indicator of starting to ‘mature’ dare I say “getting a clue about life” is starting to take real effect?  Wow – what a concept.  Trust me, this has absolutely nothing to do with the envelope from AARP saying my membership is ready to be activated sitting on my desk.  Yeah, right….


Anyhoot, I hope you have a week that isn’t inundated by Frustration and his side-kick Annoyance.  Too much.  Call on Patience for a back-up whenever needed.   I understand the second half of this week is supposed to get caught up on the sunshine and clear skies quota… here’s hoping…




]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 30 Apr 2012 14:14:36 GMT
Monday's Musings... - April 23rd 2012 - Sometimes it's the little things... Norfolk Botanical Garden - © John Cadell PhotographyNorfolk Botanical Garden - Spring 2012 While I am in the midst of a job search for a new way to provide an income for our home, I have a bit more time to do some reading – news articles, etc.  Before, it was glance at the headlines, do a speed-read, and move on.  Often-times, I ignored the news altogether.  Not quite the ostrich and sand approach, but fairly close.  Take one look at the headlines about what is going on, and what are the headline topics?  The same disgustingly familiar negative stuff we see and hear every day - Scandal, Waste, Fraud, etc.  Wonderful stuff - NOT.  Did you read much about someone doing something nice for someone?  Who is kidding who here?  What, someone did nice for a complete stranger – what kind of news is that??!!  Perhaps, just perhaps, if we could get away from the scurrilous bottom-feeders and their myopic lot, and look for the positives in what is going on around you, folks might take a different approach to putting on the blinders when walking down a city street, or at the mall.  There are a whole bunch of different groups and agencies who promote this.  Check out the ads from the United Methodist Church.  They promote ‘helping others by doing the right thing’.  So do several companies.  It doesn’t take much to generate one instance of kindness that sparks a desire in others to ‘do the right thing’.  This comes from the well-known promotions we see, to lesser-known ones we don’t generally know much about, except as generally less than positive views.  What do a couple of the biggest railroads in the Nation, one of the key founders of Microsoft and people you have never heard of except perhaps on PBS have in common?  They really do have a serious commitment to the community.  I’m not talking about paying mere lip service, but BILLIONS of invested dollars and volunteer hours to helping others.  There are organizations galore that help – Kiwanis, Masons, Lions, Knights of Columbus, to name but a few, who help others without fanfare.  Okay, fine.  These are big name groups, companies, and individuals with mega-bucks who do this.  What about Joe Ordinary who merely does something as simple as giving directions in a busy place to people who are completely lost?  How about Joe Ordinary who not only does that, but walks with them to make sure they get to the right place?  Now, Joe Ordinary has moved up a notch to Joe Extraordinary.  It happens in the most ordinary yet extra-ordinary way.  Simply look around you to see what I’m talking about.  I’ll give you a more clearly defined moment – We went to Chapel Hill, NC to visit our friend and her daughter who is in the UNC hospital.  I’m not a big fan of hospitals to begin with; anyway, we were quite lost in trying to locate which set of elevators to use to get to the room.  A young gentleman, who works in the hospital and is a full-time college student, saw that we needed some guidance.  He took the time to not just make sure we knew where to go, but went with us to the floor and made sure the nurse there knew we were going to Room 4xxx.  Yep, the hospital is that large.   A simple act of kindness made all the difference in the world that day.  When we returned home, it took me about 5 minutes of Google to find out who’s who at UNC-CH Hospital.  I sent an email to the executive assistant of the Dean of UNC Hospital, outlining our experience with this young gentleman and that we were truly thankful for his time and patient courtesy.  I received a response the next day, on a Saturday morning, at 7am; from the executive assistant.  Wow – that tells me a whole lot about UNC Hospitals.  A key member of executive management of one of the most recognized hospitals in the nation is responding to an email at 7am on a Saturday morning?  What gives with that?  I had figured that if anything, I would get an auto-reply at best.  Whoo-Boy was I ever wrong!! Not only did she respond with a readily apparent sincere thank you, but she made sure that this young gentleman received a very nice thank you and award from the Dean himself.  This happened within a week.  Okay, there’s but one example of how we can do things in a positive way.  How about some others?  Take a look around you the next time you go into Starbucks® for your daily fix of sillyfrapachino with extra diet ice and hints of silliness to go.  Is it the same person who puts it together each and every time?  With a real smile?  Hey… let’s keep that smile going and tell someone about it.   A simple email or telephone call, unless you are really feeling like going the ‘old-fashioned’ route of a snail-mail letter, will generate a whole bunch of ‘gee thanks for taking the time to say thanks about Joe/Jane Extra-Ordinary that will make his/her day - and yours too.


Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Mon, 23 Apr 2012 14:46:43 GMT
Monday's Musings... - April 16th 2012 - Giving thanks to God Okay, I started out by writing a 'honey-do' list for today.  Then I realized the sheer frustration in that what I write down to get done, will probably get done, but will it be done in the logical sequence that I would like?  Which part of NO would you like to review, the "N" or the "O"?  Life is like that.  We can plan to do things a certain way, then it gets completely spun up, around, and by, numerous contributing factors.  Last minute (who's kidding who here - more like MOMENT) changes, contemplations, with the accompanying ramifications, implications, and other '...tions' that can come from something as relatively easy as a household that comprises of 3-4 females, vs. yours truly, to some really life-changing influences.  Granted of those 3-4 females, three of them are on four legs, and vary in their time with us.  We're doing an 'extended stay' while helping our friend and next-door neighbor out during a very trying time in her life.  I would sincerely appreciate your consideration of keeping her and her daughter and their family in your thoughts and prayers as her daughter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She is Stage-4.  She's only 34 and has 3 small children and a baby.  For the time being, we have her dog Lori and her daughter's cat Tika with us full-time (our neighbor isn't too thrilled with cats in her house), and on occasion, her daughter's dog Daphne whenever the grandchildren aren't there.  Yesterday, Daphne's collar came up M.I.A. I looked at this as an excellent opportunity to get a collar from my favorite surf shop in VB.  I mean, what's there not to like about a collar with WRV's trademark logo (Wave Riding Vehicles - surfboards to the uninitiated) of a circle of 5 dolphins in pink, with the inscribed suggestion of "Take Me to the Beach" for a female dog? Yes, WRV has the same thing in blue so it is even easier to identify whether the dog you see is a he or a she, just by the color-coding on the collar.  I think (oops, that probably wasn't authorized) it's a great idea.  Tika isn't feeling the love on that one, as she thinks that whatever Daphne gets, she should too.  Sounds like our own daughters of the 2-legged persuasion.  Yeah, I know, duck for incoming flying something or other at speed from them when they read this… even if one will be doing so long-distance.  They know I love them…

Colonial Williamsburg - © John Cadell PhotographyColonial Williamsburg - "the back streets..."


This brought to mind that we can face lots of decisions and choices as we go down life's path.  We have boundaries and fences that keep us in check from getting too creative, or in my case, in need of getting tagged by the 'hey stooopid bat'  on a reoccurring basis.  I glanced at the image on my desktop and saw the perennial fences (a scene from Colonial Williamsburg) that has plenty of contrast in lighting to key in the bright and not so bright times in our lives.  If you look at the chimneys and (this is a stretch) accept the fact that they are alone in pointing towards Heaven, then perhaps if we were to momentarily warm ourselves spiritually in trusting in His Divine presence and Spirit - just ask the folks around Bird Neck Road last week (the F/A-18 crash), we can count on Him to see us through the bright and dark times in our lives.

Just a thought.

P.S. One year ago yesterday, a team of U.S. Navy surgeons at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center were being guided by Higher Authority to repair the heart of a certain old guy who knows a little bit about photography and fixing computers, and is prone to going surfing whenever he can, along with a strong penchant for Moosehead and rambling on Monday mornings.

Thanks God for guiding them well, so I can continue to do the things I think You want me to do and help others whenever, wherever, and however I can.

Have a great week.



]]> (John Cadell Photography) Colonial Wlliamsburg Thanking God Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:49:29 GMT
Monday's Musings-If you don't believe in God and His miracles go to Virginia Beach It's Easter Monday… Depending on your own personal perspective, please select from the following scenarios to see where yours fits in…

"Honey, what happened to the 30 bags of candy?  I could've sworn I had them sitting right over…. Omigosh…"

"Can you believe all of these visitors??!!! They actually think they can just waltz in here and camp wherever…"

"Wow… and I thought we had leftovers from Christmas!!..."

"Hey… that church wasn't sooo bad… maybe we might want to think about going there again.  They seemed really friendly and sincere, not a bunch of huffy-puffy stuffed shirts types…"

"…hmmm… yep, it's a tad bit packed - I'm happy that they're making an effort to come today, and hopefully again at Christmas.  At least they are coming.  Perhaps maybe they'll catch on that this isn't such a hard thing to do after all…"

For sure, those are definitely some of the things we may be pondering.  If you watched the news on Good Friday, you may have heard of a plane crash here in Virginia Beach.  The simple truth of not one person was killed - I'm not going to mince words here - this was most definitely a miracle that demonstrates God's own will and timing.  There is no way you can logically explain away how many different things came to play - from people not being where they normally would have been… let alone the physics involved in slamming 20 tons (that's 40,000 pounds) of very expensive metal ($66.9million) in a 56'x40' package with the aerodynamic glide qualities at zero forward thrust of your average boulder into an apartment complex?  I don't care how good your math is, even if Mr. Spock himself taught you everything you know about physics, there is no denying the fact that everyone involved in what occurred on Friday, is still here to talk about it today.  Thank God for that!!

Early Morning Glory - © John Cadell PhotographySunrise at Kempsville Greens


To emphasize this perception, I am using a sunrise I took a couple of years ago… He is Risen Indeed!!


Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Ocean Sunrise Sunrise on the Beach Virginia Beach Sunrise © John Cadell Photography Wed, 11 Apr 2012 00:53:00 GMT
Monday's Musings - NASCAR and texting... not a good idea unless you are a fan in the stands Well Sports fans types…

I understand there’s a bit of a nasty case of RacePostponeuntilMondayatNoonsoIgottacalloutsickitis going rampant among NASCAR fans since last night.  A lifelong friend has a particularly nasty case of it.  He was doing just fine until word of the annual get together in Daytona got scrubbed until Monday.  Talk about a major shift in disposition.  Wow.  Started coughing, hacking, sounded like a really bad reaction on the telephone.  Coulda’ sworn I felt the rumbling – and he’s up in New Jersey!!  I’m hoping he gets well – and soon.  Then I realized that there are a whole bunch of NASCAR types in my immediate vicinity.  This must have been their collective reaction I had felt.  Wow – a major rain storm caused the postponement of the race for the first time in 54 years.  Hmmm…. let’s hear it for common sense.  For once, folks decided that the Big Dog Megabucks types who have their way too funny commercials that help sponsor this venue, would have to wait because Mother Nature was delivering some much needed rain to Florida.  Okay, so just because it happened on the day of one of the most famous annual races in the world of NASCAR, is no reason to get upset.  Rather, they knew that the odds of having a ‘race’ in the rain would not be a good idea.  Something about slippery race track – hmmm… and this is for a bunch of guys who know each other, and race each other every week.  They are freakin’ professionals!!  If they say it’s not a good thing to do, then perhaps the rest of us should sit up and take note – let’s back down on our crazy driving ‘skills’ of yapping on the telephone, putting on the make-up, checking for the latest shopping tips, and coordinating with all of our friends for the next big girls/guys night out while driving.  I have yet to see a single in-car camera show any driver doing any of that stuff.  They have both hands on the wheel, and they are paying rapt attention to what they are doing – DRIVING.  Granted, they are moving considerably faster than most of us, although that clown that blew past me yesterday on the freeway must have been doing his long-distance qualifications for Indianapolis between Virginia Beach and Portsmouth.  We’re moving along with the ‘flow of traffic’ (somewhere around 65 or so) when this nutcase in a small car blazes by on the right side doing at least Mach .275.  For all of this speed demon’s efforts, he still ended up having to wait for traffic heading into the down-town tunnel, ½ a mile ahead.  Wow.  Slow down – life is way too short for going out in a blaze of preventable stupid.  Not to mention the odds of causing collateral damage in the worst way imaginable by hitting another vehicle in the process.  It ain’t worth it.Porstmouth City Marina, Portsmouth, Virginia - © John Cadell PhotographySunday Afternoon - Portsmouth Virginia - � John Cadell Photography


A much more tranquil scene waited over in Portsmouth on a Sunday afternoon.  The boat marina near Portsmouth Naval Medical Center has a pretty neat place to hang out called The Deck Restaurant.  Talk about a view!!  These guys are friendly, the food is pretty darn good and reasonably priced, and yes, they are open year-round to the public.  You don’t need to be a boat owner to go there.  Check out the website – .  I’ll be putting together a page of views from this place this week.  I think you’ll like this view of a pretty neat place.  For viewers in the WTKR News Channel-3 viewing area – you may be seeing some new background scenes in future weather forecast segments that were taken from this restaurant.  Thank you Kevin for your kind hospitality in allowing me to spend a couple of hours shooting pictures.


Have a great week!!

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Boats and Slips Portsmouth Marina Tue, 10 Apr 2012 02:55:05 GMT
Monday's Musings - Denny's & Home Depot on Saturdays This has been an exceptionally quiet weekend.  Mother Nature saw to it that her early start on April showers in the beginning of March gave us about as much gumption to get out and about as your average slug.  That would be me.  The highlight of our Saturday was going to the local Denny’s® with our neighbor (and good friend) for breakfast.  I don’t claim to be anything close to being considered smart, intelligent, or any other of those wonderful terms, but I do know how to read a menu.  Without the pretty pictures to decipher the wonderful descriptions of whatever corporate concoction the folks in the kitchen have put together for a somewhat healthy preliminary start to “get yerself going Big Boy – cuz you got a whole boatload of honey-dos to get honey-done”.  This appears to be the average thought process of a Denny’s® waitress who isn’t about to let Mr. Clueless (as in yours truly) deter her from getting those orders in the way she wants them.  Wow – talk about friendly customer service – she’ll decide whether or not I want an English Muffin as my ‘bread item’ for a ‘normal breakfast’.  Okay, fine, I guess she didn’t make it through her screen test when she auditioned for the part of DQ – Drama Queen at Burger King® - she couldn’t get past the “Have it your way” line without demanding for a script re-write.  Hmmm… I see some serious potential here for this charmer.  To her credit, my order arrived the way I had asked, complete with a bottle of ‘hot sauce’ (more like some nitro-based ‘clear your sinuses Fred’) stuff that I like.  Other than a trip for groceries and making fajitas for dinner, it was a very quiet day.  Uh-oh, sounds like that middle age stuff is creeping up on me.  What happened to the go surfing at sunrise with my kids, then wash 3 cars and a truck after making a huge breakfast?  Okay, so it didn’t happen the way I would have liked it to, but oh well – it’s nice to be a slug, for once.  I’ll be back in the groove this week with a photo-shoot for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia on Tuesday, helping cook at the weekly fish fry at St. Gregory’s on Friday, yada yada yada… Home Depot® will still be there… patiently waiting for my fellow 300,000 other Saturday Honey-Do Warriors and I to show up.  I just won’t hit the Denny’s® on the way this time.Japanese Tulips - Norfolk Botanical Garden - © John Cadell PhotographyJapanese Tuilips

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Japanese Tulips Norfolk Botanical Gardens Tue, 10 Apr 2012 02:47:54 GMT
Monday's Musings... Saying Thank-you - Long Distance - February 20th, 2012 Hmm…. Weather can surely do some interesting things overnight.  Some of you are reading this with snow and ice outside of your windows, others are enjoying sunshine and surprisingly pleasant temperatures for this time of the year.  Years ago when I was stationed on an atoll in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia, it was something of a bit of ‘island humor’ to stand in the middle of the street during one of the frequent rain storms that living exceptionally close to the Equator will produce.  Trust me – this wasn’t too dangerous, as vehicles were in the minority on this island base.  The rain line would literally stop in the middle of the street – and a bored Sailor or Marine could just stand there and get a partial soaking without too much effort.  The results and reactions were always amusing.  Like I said, Sailors are a creative bunch.  We had other forms of humor for this locale too.  For many years, my Grandmother would send me two flannel shirts for Christmas, without fail.  No matter where I was, I knew that I would get two flannel shirts.  True to form, Christmas 1987 wasn’t any different.  To send a humorous thank you to my Grandmother, my roommate and I had a Polaroid® snapshot of us sitting on bicycles (remember, I told you that vehicles were a minority here) with a plainly visible large thermometer indicating a temperature of 104 degrees.  At night.  My Grandmother loved that picture and kept it on her nightstand for many years until she passed.Sunset - Duck, North Carolina - © John Cadell PhotographyGazebo Dock - Duck NC January 2012 � John Cadell Photography


Saying thank you can sometimes take longer than we would like it to.  I know this for a fact.  When I was fortunate enough to attend my daughter’s wedding in California last year, the pastor who performed this all-important tradition did it in a quietly superb way of keeping the dignity of his celebration of two young people coming together as husband and wife, but doing so in a genuinely warm and sincere way that was without pretense or extravagant fanfare.   I know that I truly felt fortunate to witness such a beautiful occasion with many other people that day.  For this, I would like to quietly say a ‘thank you’ to my daughter’s pastor, Rev. J. Eldon Kratz of the Upland First Church of the Nazarene in Upland, California.  This week’s image of a gazebo at sunset in Duck, North Carolina is my way of saying thanks for standing there and letting all of us know how truly fortunate we are to have come to know Jesus through many ways.  His quiet, easy-going way stood out as a most excellent example on how to do things the right way.

]]> (John Cadell Photography) Sat, 25 Feb 2012 22:37:38 GMT