30 Dec 16. We end 2016 on a sad note. Some of you will recall part of what I have to say today from previous mailings, some of you won't. Bear with me if you have. When we retired from military service in 2006 and returned to Seattle, the first thing I did was to locate a camera club having been very active in the club in MD. I found one literally walking distance from our Ballard home and immediately began attending. For the first several months there were just a couple of individual who wanted to talk to me, one of whom shared much in common with me. George was also a military retiree, an avid photographer, and one who liked to tinker with things, especially computers. He was having a particular perplexing problem with his computer stuff and I attempted unsuccessfully to explain it to him in the meetings, so I eventually convinced him to come to our house where I could demonstrate what I was trying to explain verbally. After a couple of months he made the trip to the house with his constant companion Mooch and we spent roughly 5 hours doing computer stuff. Afterword, out of the blue George said to me, “Dave, you're a pretty good photographer, I'm gonna make you a great photographer.” To which I replied nonchalantly “O.K.” The next morning at work in the local camera store I told the story to my boss who said, “Do you know who he is?” I said “well, he's the old codger who brings his dog to the camera club meetings and comes in here once a week with the dog to get a roll of slides developed.” To which my boss replied “yes, and he is a world renowned photographer having won virtually every award in the world.” Said I meekly, “oh.” From that first visit to our house in early 2007 George and I were buddies, speaking on the phone from 1 - 4 days a week. When we switched cell phone service from Nextell, we went with Verizon so George and I could talk for free as the calls were often in excess of an hour or more. Over the years George and I spent much time working with software to make images to compete in creative categories in the camera clubs and we shared the honors of first place until we moved across the Sound and I no longer attended the same clubs. We had great fun together and I was very fortunate to call him my friend.
Two weeks ago 1ST Sargent George Ferrara passed away unexpectedly. I had spoken with him a couple days prior, he was getting ready for the annual Edmonds camera club Christmas party and we were going to chat about it the day after. When I called I got no answer, nor did I for the next several days. The following Saturday his bride called to tell me the terrible news. Yesterday we laid him to rest with full military honors where he now I believe is out taking photos with his best camera buddies, Mother Florence, Grace, Dale and Elliot. I can't begin to tell you the loss I'm feeling and the sadness in my heart for his departure even though I know he would likely disavow these feelings, soldier that he was.
When George and I began making the creative images, the software plug-in we used was, and still is, called Fractalius. It is still available, isn't expensive, but only works on 32 bit machines, so it doesn't work with most current versions of the operating systems. I have retained 32 bit programs so for today I've reverted to that to create the image with that old and loved Fractalius program. Those of you who have been on the mailings list since 2007 have seen many images made with it. I wanted to create something from those days of yore when we competed together in two camera clubs using the same program and creating the same type of image that the cub members loved. Feeling George watching to make sure I did it right, I imagined him high above casting a watchful eye on his student of many years.
So, sitting high above in that castle in the sky looking down at all of us stuck here, this one's for you, 1ST Sargent. I salute you!