Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Feels Like -4°

I woke to a temperature of -4° Fahrenheit according to the weather app on my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone.  When the weather is cold like this, the app also offers the “feels like” temperature based on windchill.  The “feels like” temperature can be dramatically colder than the actual temperature at times.  If you consult a windchill temperature chart, a temperature of -4° will feel like -25° with a sustained wind of 15 miles-per-hour.
This morning feels like -4° due to calm conditions.
Just once, I would like to wake to a -4° temperature that feels like 70°.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Where M. C. Escher and I Meet

Nature is by no means opposed to the use of repeating patterns.  The patterns begin small and out of sight as molecular networks and work their way up through crystal caves and ocean waves to reach the repeating patterns of spiral galaxies reaching out far beyond our small blue planet.
My eye is and always has been attracted to patterns.  If you were to browse through a folder of my favorite photographs, you would find more than a few images of patterns I have captured in architecture, in a macro focus, or in natural landscapes.  I particularly enjoy a point of view that transforms patterns into something of an illusion.  In short, I like to do in my photography what M. C. Escher managed in art works.
Escher, a Dutch born graphic artist who died in 1972, greatly inspired me.  As a teenager, I had four posters of his work pinned to the walls of my bedroom.  In my house today, you will find four books filled with panels of his lithographs, woodcuts, and mezzotints.  M. C. Escher’s repeating patterns (tessellations) and explorations of infinity are confounding and beautiful in the same stroke.
Today I am posting two of M. C. Escher’s works and a photograph I captured.  I captured the photograph while visiting a temple in Seoul, South Korea.  The photo is a tight and purposely mis-angled view of the outside beam structure that has been covered with netting to discourage birds.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 28, 2014


I have decided to be happy today and I am going to be happy today even if I need to invent a reason to be so.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 27, 2014


The first known American Thanksgiving was held in Plymouth, where the Pilgrims and the Wompanoag gathered in the fall of 1621 to celebrate a year of bountiful harvest.  The feast is known to have consisted of vegetables harvested from the garden, turkey, and five deer provided by the Wompanoag.
I am providing sea salt potato chips today.
You’re welcome.
--Mitchell Hegman
NOTE: Please see yesterday’s blog for a better understanding of the entry posted today.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Adult Observation

I had to do a bit of shopping at Costco late yesterday afternoon.  The store was swarmed with people—many purchasing items for their Thanksgiving dinners.  Before I got started with my own list, I stopped at the bathroom.
The bathroom bustled at a level comparable to the checkout.  Men were starting to stack up at both the urinals and the sinks.
Thank you for washing, by the way.
When I spotted an open urinal, I walked over and sprayed all over the place, as is my normal habit.
I have been going to the bathroom for as long as I can remember and I have been in countless restrooms.  In all of my time, I have never been witness to anything like what occurred when the man next to me finished his time spraying down the place.
Some men make a pretty big deal of shaking off their little winky.  I have seen guys hopping as they shake.  Some men seem to have a bit of a ping pong match going on down there.  Yesterday, the man next to me went wild when he got to his shaking-the-winky point.  As one of my buddies would describe such an event: “He went about it like a man killing snakes.”
The man started to flail all over the place, almost as if he was warding off a vicious attack from his own feral penis.  If not for chest-high metal dividers between us, I think he might have knocked over at least three other men.  The whole line of men facing the wall at urinals swiveled their heads to see what the hell was going on.
Frankly, I felt a little uncomfortable and exposed.
I quickly finished up, washed my hands, and scurried out to fill my shopping list.  Having witnessed what I did, I thought I deserved a big bag of potato chips.
I purchased two bags.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


If ten adults and one child enter and then leave a building, only one person, the child, will recall the number of lights that were hanging from the foyer ceiling and recall where a small tile was missing from the inlaid floor on the landing for the steps.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Death of Romance: Sex and the Angler Fish

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas,” proclaims the voice of thought in T.S. Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Throughout the poem, J. Alfred Prufrock expresses intense feelings of inadequacy and sexual frustration.  Notably, the writer of the poem, T.S. Eliot, remained a virgin until the age of twenty-six, at which time he married into his first rather hopeless marriage.
The poem is thought to be somewhat autobiographical.
Sadly, something far more dismal than either Mr. J. Alfred Prufrock or a crab scuttling backward across the sea floor exists in the ocean.  At the bottom—at the very nadir—of all things mannish, we find the male angler fish.
Before I tell you about the male angler fish, I must tell you what a woman once told me as we sat at a party I attended.  I don’t readily recall the details of the party, but I recall that the woman was a freshly, if not bitterly, divorced mother of three small children.  As I sat talking with this woman, she informed me that she was happy to have her three little darlings, but of her husband she said: “he was nothing more than a sperm donor.”
Fact is, the male angler fish is, literally, an onboard sperm donor.
You may recognize the female anglerfish for the widget—something akin to a fishing rod with a lure—they wave about their huge mouth to attract simple-minded prey.  Female angler fish are also full-blown celebrations in ugliness (see the photograph posted with this blog).  Finally, the female is a behemoth relative to her feeble male counterpart.
The mating ritual for angler fish is startlingly simple.  The tiny male (endowed with the largest nostrils in proportion to the head of any other species on the planet) smells and finds a female.  Once the male finds a suitable female, he swims up and bites her, usually on the belly, and refuses to release.
At the very moment the male angler bites into the female, life as a fish effectively ends for the male.  In a literal sense, the male angler fish becomes an appendage on the female angler fish.  The flesh of the male rapidly fuses with that of the female.  His muscles atrophy.  He becomes a sexual parasite, acquiring all sustenance from his female host.  The male fish becomes little more than a permanently attached sperm packet—ready to dispense whenever required.
And for all the women who see hopeful possibilities in this: no.  Elizabeth Taylor tried this at least twice in her life.
--Mitchell Hegman
Thanks to Kip Sullivan for sending me a video that inspired this blog!   (

Sunday, November 23, 2014


A song and video by Chet Faker:
--Mitchell Hegman
If the video posted fails to launch, please try this link 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winter along the Front Range

Yesterday, I drove along the Front Range of the Rockies on my way to Fairfield, Montana, for a business meeting.  Most of the day saw curtains of snow sweeping back and forth across the upright mountains, but the rolling hills, the grassy scarps, and the abutting savannahs remained open to a sky filled with lumbering clouds.
The Rocky Mountain Front, starting at Wolf Creek and extending to East Glacier, is the very heart of the Montana I love.  I love the remaining open grasslands—now the color of honey where struck by sunlight.  I love watching cloud-shadows rove the uncluttered land like giant beasts.  I love the places where you can see the highway looping off ahead of you for fifteen miles.  I love the sun on my arms when the clouds part.
Today, I am posting photographs from my drive along the mountains.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mysteries of the World

The world is filled with mysteries that are sometimes afoot and sometimes in the air.
How did the ancient Sumerians have firm knowledge of planets in our solar system that we did not prove in existence until the twentieth century?  How do some cats and dogs find their way back after being lost more than a thousand miles from home?  Where does the white go when snow melts?  How has Donald Trump navigated his entire adult life with his hair looking like that?
Two ongoing mysteries have been fully manifest around me for my entire life.  These two mysteries have always left me baffled.  How have all the contractors and ranchers that I know remained operating when all of them tell me they never make money?
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Mistakes

This is America. We are not content to merely make and then walk away from our mistakes.  We require bigger.  We put forth great effort into layering our mistakes with makeup and then we toss them onto a reality television series that lasts for several years.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dimly Arrived

Speaking from a wholly practical point of view, the human brain doesn’t produce enough energy to light a standard 60-watt incandescent lightbulb.  I suspect that is all we need to know for understanding the broken path of human history that delivered us to this day.
 --Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Note to my Cats

Carmel and Splash,
I have no immediate plans to kill you with my vacuum cleaner.  There really is no need for you to dash off and hide in a closet when I roll my vacuum out from the utility room.  I would also like to assure you that changing the bedding on my bed is not half as traumatic as you make it to be.
Hope to see you at dinner time!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bryce Canyon, Part II

Today, I am posting two more photographs from Bryce Canyon, Utah.  I love how the morning light played brightly on the rim and formations where I stood as I captured the photographs.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I woke this morning with my right arm outstretched beside me and my cat resting there with his head in the palm of my hand.  Surely, I thought to myself, this shall be a good day.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Magic Mushrooms

At a much younger age I worked at a job that provided me with access to an autoclave large enough to fit the contents of two or three normal-sized dishwashers.  For anyone unfamiliar, autoclaves are vessels used to sterilize such things as medical equipment.  They provide sterilization by subjecting whatever is put inside them to heat and steam under high pressure.
As a bachelor, I was tempted to use the autoclave for my crusty stacks of dishes.
By day, the autoclave was used to kill such things as venereal disease and tuberculosis.  But on at least one after-hours occasion a friend and I used the autoclave to sterilize growth medium for magic mushrooms.  We poured the medium we made into Pyrex cookware (with covers) and sterilized everything before inoculating the medium with the mycelium of Psilocybe cubensis (the stuff that grows into magic mushrooms).
I kept my cookware under my bed and in a few weeks grew a continuous crop of mushrooms.
I enjoyed small quantities of the mushrooms and experienced only mild and rather pleasurable hallucinations.  Once, for example, all of the people dancing on a nightclub floor suddenly assumed the same pattern as some nearby wallpaper as I watched them dancing.
Wow, I thought!  You don’t see that every day.
Just yesterday, I found an article at, which revealed some surprising facts about how psilocybin works in the brain.  The compounds of the mushrooms actually increase the level of connectivity in the brain.  In a broad sense the magic mushrooms make your brain hyper-efficient.
When researchers produced MRI connectivity maps for the brains of people under the influence of magic mushrooms they discovered that their brains were synchronizing activities among areas that do not normally connect.
Additionally, the compounds in magic mushrooms appear to decrease activity in the thalamus region of the brain.  The thalamus region acts as something of a traffic cop.  The thalamus keeps thoughts from colliding into senseless puddles and keeps random thoughts from running all over the place and doing such things as convincing your math thoughts to perform a striptease for your building-a-shed-for-the-lawn-mower thoughts.
I don’t know what a math-thought striptease looks like, and I will not tell you that magic mushrooms made me or my friends any smarter, but I may consider volunteering for more research.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 14, 2014

Proper Care and Use of Your Anvil

Do not use your anvil as kitty litter.
Do not attempt skydiving while carrying your anvil.
Do not wash your anvil with linens or wool knits.
Never attempt warming your anvil in a microwave.
Avoid using your anvil in the presence of sound activated lights.
Your anvil should not be used as a hedge trimmer.
Do not use your anvil as a screwdriver.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Location is Everything

During the course of a normal day, I might hum a little as I wander around the planet.  On occasion, I may throw in a few lyrics and hit a full note or two.  Alone in my car, though, I am the best singer—ever!  I am belting out that shit!
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Grim Feast

Yesterday morning, after driving only a few hundred yards away from my house, I noticed about six ravens and about a dozen magpies scattered across the road and perched in some nearby trees.
I immediately surmised why the birds were there.
The birds allowed me to draw within an easy stone’s throw before they erupted like a black and white fountain and flapped off in all directions.
I stopped my truck when I reached the place where the birds had been gathered.  Instinctively, I reached for my twice-as-smarter-than-me-phone so I could take a photograph.   As soon as I stepped from my truck, I found my subject about eight feet off the road.
A grim feast, as witnessed by the photograph below.

What manner of “sportsman” would leave this in plain sight alongside my road?
I am going to make a wild guess about this sportsman: This is likely the sort of sportsman who cannot understand why some landowners don’t welcome hunters.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter Arrives

Two nights ago, the first significant frigid air mass fell from Canada and dropped across Montana.   Overnight, our temperatures plummeted from long-sleeve shirt to mittens and wool cap.  We are nearing sub-zero temperatures and will likely remain cold for more than a full week.
For those people who have never been exposed to frigid weather in any meaningful way, I can define what it means in very simple terms.  Last night, I scampered outside to soak in my hot tub during a snowstorm.  Sitting there in the rising steam, I froze my hair solid.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 10, 2014

In the Silence between Our Words

In the silence between our words, stars perish in black holes.
In the silence between our words, four-legged beasts prepare to charge and missiles are fired into the black expanse.
In the silence between our words, mountains crumble to the sea.
In the silence between our words, nobody sees the lone children walking and nobody notices that the rivers have run dry.
Between our words, the silence kills.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 9, 2014

From the Grill of Your Truck to the Barbeque Grill

In the year 2012, according to the state Department of Transportation statistics, motorists in Montana struck and killed something near 5000 whitetail deer and 2000 mule deer.  A couple hundred elk, 28 moose, 39 black bears, 5 grizzly bears, and 6 mountain lions also perished as result of encounters with automobiles on Montana highways and roads.
Following the legislated passage and implementation of a 2013 law (including an online permitting process, after the fact), Montana residents may now drag home to grill and eat some of the critters they have accidentally harvested with the grill of their car or truck.
This law actually makes sense to me.
Obviously, not everyone will be interested in taking a deer or elk they smacked with their rig, but for those inclined to do so, why not allow them that?
Naturally, a few provisions appear in the law to keep the crazies among the population from using the law as a means to transform road trips into “road hunting” adventures where the would-be hunter might purposely use their vehicle as a weapon for harvesting some of the more valuable and difficult-to-permit species found in Montana.  To that end, the 2013 roadkill law will allow a person to harvest only deer, elk, antelope, and moose after running them over.  The more exotic critters such as cats, bears, and sheep cannot be taken.
The idea of purposely swerving to strike something as large as a moose or elk ranges on a scale from strange to suicidal in my estimation, but you cannot underestimate the intelligence of some people, especially some of my more immediate beer-drinking relatives with big trucks.
A couple of my electrician friends are also a bit suspect.
 --Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Light Through My Shower Door

Today, I am posting a photograph of light dancing across the back of my shower stall.  The light was provided by sunset through my bedroom window and set to dancing as the rays fell through the fine sheets of water running down the glass on my shower door.  I have altered the contrast and colors.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 7, 2014

Questions to Ask X (Version 3.2.1)

1.  Do you ever seek the advice of children in matters of the heart?
2.  If the checker at a store fails to charge you for one of your purchases do you inform the checker that they have undercharged you?
3.  On a scale ranging from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest, where do you rank kissing?
4.  Have you ever hidden your house key under a welcome mat?  Under a planter?
5.  Paper or plastic?
6.  As an invited guest to someone’s home, do you sometimes covertly wipe clean silverware before eating dinner?
7.  Have you anonymously given money to someone you know?
8.  What song most annoys you?
9.  Do you believe in ghosts?
10.  What is your preferred curse word? 
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Don’t allow the trees to fool you.  Yes, above ground they are stoic and rigid and all standing apart.  But underground, in a warm tangle of roots, they are holding hands.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Not To Avoid Lens Flares

On those occasions when you are taking a photograph that requires you to direct your lens directly into the sun or some other single point of light, you may encounter a problem with lens flare.  Lens flare will either express itself as a haze, a fuzzy spot, a colorful line across the image, or a combination of the three.

Generally, lens flare pretty much sucks and creates an obvious flaw in your image; though, in a few rare cases, a handsome rainbow thingy might highlight or enhance a subject.
Lens flare can be avoided in most instances.  Attaching a lens hood is probably the most common method of reducing lens flare.  The use of certain filters may be effective in combating flare.  You may also step into a shadow and shoot from there as a way to keep direct light from contacting the lens.  On occasion you might be forced to hold your hand out above the camera to block the unwanted light.
My brother-in-law particularly hates lens flare.  He will do anything to avoid the unwanted light bruising his images.  While reviewing his images from our trip to Bryce Canyon, we came across a few of his shots that captured just a bit of his hand here or there at the top of the image as he attempted to ward off the offensive light.  And then we came across the gem I am posting today.
I asked my brother-in-law to email me a copy of his picture.
The photograph amuses both of us to no end.
It is a keeper.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where Not To Stay In Panguitch, Utah

Over the varied course of my fifty-some years I have stayed in some interesting motel and hotel rooms.  I vividly recall, for one, a night I spent in the Metlen Hotel in Dillon, Montana.  What made my stay at the “Met” interesting was that a live country and western band was playing Waylon Jennings tunes underneath my bed as I tried to sleep.  From a strict scientific point of view, the band was one floor below me.  But that is not how it sounded to me.
I also remember a beautiful teakwood-furnished, marble-floored room located on a humid ocean beach in Vietnam that filled with fine white sand from the beach because my wife and I left the door open while walking the windy beach nearby.
Two nights ago, I finally slept in the room from hell.   I write this as a warning to anyone planning a trip to Panguitch, Utah where the room may be found.
I first noticed the brownish carpeting in the room, which appeared to have been the venue for either a series of rodeos or several Roman bacchanals in a previous decade.  Colleen immediately suggested we wear socks at all times as a way to maintain our Ebola-free status.
I was tempted to sleep in my shoes.
The television remote appeared to be vintage 1980.  Honestly, the remote had so few buttons, I was totally confused.  What do you do with “on” and “off” and four arrows?  Once I finally manage to find a decent station on the television, the feed for that station continued to blink on and off.
The shower, though it looked normal, was in fact a high powered pressure washer.  I will spare you details of the sounds I produced when I accidentally exposed some of my more tender parts to the direct spray.
I found the bed pillows most disturbing.  The pillows themselves were covered in plastic.  I mean plastic: honest-to-goodness-will-hold-a-dozen-watermelons-as-you-drag-them-around kind of plastic.  The pillows crinkled when you moved and the instant you tried to pull a pillow into place the cover shot off the pillow like a loaded rubber band.  Worse than that, the pillows stuck to me like blood-sucking leeches once the pillow cases were gone.  If I rolled over, the blood-sucking pillows rolled with me, loudly crinkling the whole time.  I woke late in the night amid a tangle of plastic pillows and free-ranging pillow cases.
In fairness, my sister and her husband overnighted in room #4 of the same establishment and encountered a reasonably pleasant experience.  Given the experiences of my sister and her husband, I will not mention the name of the motel and will, instead, recommend you refuse to stay in room #7 at any of the motels in Panguitch, Utah.
You’re welcome.
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park

Few places that I have visited managed to exceed my expectations, whatever those expectations might have been.  From the very first time I saw photographs of Bryce Canyon National Park, I thought the place both odd and gorgeous.  Yesterday, before launching our final drive home from Utah, four of us drove into Bryce Canyon National Park.

I was genuinely awestruck, as were my companions.  Colleen purposely left her camera in the car at the first scenic overlook—which required a short hike up through some rather plain-looking alpine landscape to reach the 8000-foot rim—expecting another stone canyon or perhaps another river valley engraved by a twisting stream.  Once she reached the first railing and peered down into the vice upon vice of hoodoos and the amphitheaters descending into more amphitheaters, Colleen drew in a breath and then asked for the keys to the car so she could run back to get her camera.
The first light of morning struck inside the amphitheaters just as we arrived.  Some of the hoodoos seemed to glow with fluorescence and the sun shuffled through clouds as it continued to draw higher and reach deeper into the formations of colorful stone.  The light and shadows continually changed, seeming to electrify and switch on and off various features inside the park as we stood at the rim watching.
Posted are a few photographs that will never do justice to what we actually witnessed in the new morning.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Zion National Park

Posted today are photographs from a drive through Zion National Park.  The photographs were captured yesterday on our (the four Halloween travelers) return trip to Montana.  The park is located in Southern Utah and ranges from 3,666 to 8726 feet in elevation.  The gains in elevation are almost entirely those of rock canyons and cliffs.  The park is a mix of high desert climate zones and is still being carved into shape by the Virgin River.
I thought the park decidedly beautiful.

--Mitchell Hegman

Halloween 2014

Posted are photographs from our Las Vegas Halloween.
--Mitchell Hegman