Circle: the years keep rollin’ by. A strikingly beautiful image from more than 60 years ago. Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives. And happy 64th Pat and Stokes! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Circle: the years keep rollin' by. A strikingly beautiful image from more than 60 years ago. Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives. And happy 64th Pat and Stokes!

What’s Up?

There were lots of Ospreys at Sebastian and lots of photographers. Conditions were dead-solid perfect with a 15mph southeast wind and clear skies. But, there were no fish in the inlet, so the Ospreys were not diving. “You should have been here three days ago. The birds were diving and coming out of the water with ribbonfish two to three feet long!”

I was glad to learn that the sale of Jerry Taylor’s Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens became pending the first day it was listed.

Today is Friday 1 January 2021. Happy New Year.

Circle — Harry Chapin

Suggestion: play the video and read this blog post with the song playing in the background …
Or read the words below while considering your life, those you’ve Known, those you’ve loved, and those you’ve lost.

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.
All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.
It seems like I’ve been here before;
I can’t remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we’ll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There’s no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.
I found you a thousand times;
I guess you done the same;
But then we lose each other;
It’s like a children’s game;
As I find you here again;
A thought runs through my mind;
Our love is like a circle;
Let’s go ’round one more time.
I found you a thousand times;
I guess you done the same;
But then we lose each other;
It’s like a children’s game

Harold Forster Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981) was an American singer-songwriter and philanthropist best known for his folk rock and pop rock songs. His band did Circle at every concert. The band donated a ridiculously large part of their earnings to various world hunger projects. The most ironic verse above is And so far no dead-ends. Why? Harry died in a car crash on the Long Island Expressway on the way to perform at a free benefit concert at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, in 1981.

Harry’s most popular song was Cat’s in the Cradle, but his lifelong fans are enamored by his various story songs, most of which received little air play. In the amazingly interesting Wikipedia article linked to above, I learned that Harry attended Brooklyn Technical High School (as I did), and that in 1968 (four years after I graduated Tech), he directed Legendary Champions, a boxing documentary that was nominated for an Academy Award.

Pat and Stokes Fishburne one year ago celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary

One of the many great things in my life …

One of my many blessings along the road have been meeting some really great folks who have become lifelong friends. Pat and Stokes are just two of many. We met of course, on an IPT, more than twenty years ago. They came on many more – ten in all, many twice. The first to Southwest Florida, was the year before they left on a seven year motorhome odyssey. Their favorite IPT by far was a Galapagos Photo-Cruise. Pat, who will be 83 in March, and Stokes, who will be 85 next month, are two of the nicest, sweetest people you could ever hope to meet. Period.

They still do lots of photography in a newly-built pond

Pat and Stokes (formal) wedding ceremony

A Strikingly Beautiful Image From More Than 60 Years Ago

I think that even if you have never met Stokes and Pat, this image would touch you deeply. So much tradition. So much beauty. They eloped on Dec. 31, 1956, but when Stokes graduated in June 1957, they had a formal wedding at the Citadel Chapel. The Citadel — The Military College of South Carolina, commonly known simply as The Citadel, is a military college in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mazel tov to Pat and Stokes: yesterday was their 64th wedding anniversary. Amazingly, Pat’s warm smile has not changed one bit over the years.

Pat and Stokes at Thanksgiving 2020

Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives

Stokes wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force, but when he attended ROTC camp the summer before his senior year, they did an in-depth medical exam and discovered that he was profoundly color blind and had severe hearing loss. As you might imagine, that was the end of his military career and his dreams of becoming a pilot. After reading the Wikipedia article on The Citadel (link above), I asked Pat — already knowing the answer — if Stokes had ever gotten any Demerits. She replied, Stokes was on the Regimental Command in his senior year — you don’t get that kind of job if you had any demerits.

After graduating from The Citadel, Stokes got a Ph.D. from Ohio State University where he was involved in running the Rocket Research Lab at Ohio State University. After Stokes got his Ph.D. at Ohio State, he became the Deputy Director of the Lab. Then, he went to work at Bethpage, Long Island with Grumman Aircraft, the manufacturer of the lunar excursion module. When Stokes went into work on the morning after the Apollo 13 problem occurred, NASA called to say they had three hours to help figure out how to bring the astronauts back to earth. Stokes and his partner, Dick Oman, used slide rulers (not computers!) to do the needed calculations.

I did an article for Bird Watcher’s Digest many years ago entitled Hummingbird Hosts about Wally and Marion Patton. The Pattons invited folks into their Arizona backyard to watch the hummers at their feeders. When I interviewed Wally I learned that he ran a lost wax foundry that made parts for gyroscopes used in the lunar excursion modules! Indeed, all of our lives are circles.

Michelle Fishburne: Who We Are Now

The Fishburne Family

Pat earned a Ph.D. in sociology from NYU. She was a vice president at Response Analysis in Princeton, NJ for ten years, and planned to retire when she left. But many of her clients needed her, so she formed her own consulting firm — Patricia Fishburne Associates, and continued to do social research. For ten more years, she worked long hours, traveled constantly, and earned a lot of money.

In 1979, Stokes formed SciTec, a cutting-edge Princeton, NJ firm that focused on scientific and technological innovation. After ten years, he sold SciTec to TRW, a former American corporation involved in a variety of businesses including aerospace, automotive, and credit reporting. In 1995, Stokes retired, and the Fishburnes moved to Sanibel, FL. Stokes continued consulting for TRW. In 2002, Pat and Stokes sold their Sanibel home, bought a motorhome, and spent 7 wonderful years touring and photographing in the U.S.

Before I lost my beloved wife Elaine Belsky Morris to breast cancer in 1994, I thought that some folks might get through life without ever having to deal with any great change, without having to deal with any difficult and challenging situations, or without having to deal with any great losses. Obviously I was wrong. I do know that Patricia Fishburne has guided her family through some very tough times. Always with her chin up, and always with a smile.

Pat and Stokes have two daughters and two grandchildren. One of those, an inventor, did a Ted Talk at age 15! Their youngest daughter, Denise Fishburne, has worked at Cisco Systems for more than 24 years. Denise has been making yearly presentations at Cisco Live, both in the U.S. and in Europe. She was named to the Cisco Live Speaker Hall of Fame years ago. Last year she was elevated to “Elite,” a status achieved by only a few people worldwide.

Their oldest daughter, Michelle Fishburne, is a lawyer who has worked in public relations for the past decade. This excerpt is from Pat and Stokes 2020 Christmas letter. It tells you what Michelle has been doing recently.

Our oldest daughter, Michelle, has a much more interesting story, but I will let her tell it: “Sometimes life turns you upside down, dumps you on the floor, and asks ‘so what are you going to do about it?’ That’s what happened to me in 2020. I lost some of my hearing, I lost some of my balance, I lost my job, and I became a single empty nester without a house. That’s what I didn’t have. What I did have, including a positive attitude, has led to one of the happiest periods of my life, traveling throughout the U.S. in my RV and interviewing people about their 2020 experiences.”

The name of Michelle’s project is “Who We Are Now.” Beginning in September she traveled from North Carolina to Wyoming, interviewing a wide variety of people, from mayors and food bank operators to teachers and entertainers. After Christmas, she will take the southern route to California, interviewing people along the way. Click here to learn, in their own words, how people are dealing with their changed lives during COVID.


All but one of the images that Pat so kindly shared with me for this blog post where in pretty bad shape. Topaz Gigapixel X4 improved the image quality of three of them immensely, and one was so bad that it also needed some Sharpen AI.

Great Topaz News!

30% Off Sale Right Now!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive an additional 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop).


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

12 comments to Circle: the years keep rollin’ by. A strikingly beautiful image from more than 60 years ago. Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives. And happy 64th Pat and Stokes!

  • Pam Higginbotham

    Oh, Harry Chapin…he put on the best, most intimate concerts. His brother toured with him (not always) and had the most glorious voice. And Harry wrote a book of poetry, too. Thanks for letting me recall that memory.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are welcome Pam. I had never heard any of the story songs until my late-wife Elaine introduced me to them in about 1986 — A Better Place to Be, 30,000 pounds of Bananas, Mr. Tanner, and so many more. I listen to his albums often.

      with love, artie

  • Art. You have featured two of the most favorite people that we have known. Stokes and I worked together for 4 or 5 years and we developed a life long friendship with both of them. They got us into motor-homing, and into photography although their photography is way better than ours. When one reflects on life it become clear that friends have help fulfill our lives.

  • Patricia Fishburne

    Dear Art: Thanks for 20 wonderful years of friendship and photography! Pat and Stokes

  • Jim Amato

    Enjoyed Harry Chapin Cincinnati, December 3, 1979. Wow, Still see him singing, walking the aisles, talking with everyone afterwards. Had to be forceful to see Harry Chapin….Who concert same night…No contest had to be with Harry Chapin….Palace Theater, great venue
    The who concert was a disaster, 11 people died and many injuries in the wild crush to enter the arena.
    Owners and organizers valued $ over safety…two or three entrances and a large crowd outside in the bitter cold. Apparently, a music sound check was interpreted by the crowd as the start of the concert and all wildness broke loose to enter.
    Heart warming post.Thank you

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jim. Wow, indeed. I never got to see Harry live. Nor do I own a “Harry It Sucks” t-shirt. The other stuff sounds way scary.

      with love, artie

  • Gloria Matyszyk

    Yes everything goes in circles! My girlfriend has a manufacturing business that has parts on the Hubble, the moon and the rovers. Her PhD is in accounting and not engineering! She and Stokes can have a long conversation!

  • Happy New Year Artie!! All interesting things this time and all other times from you!! Sorry you lost your wife back in 1994. I lost my husband in Jan 2016. Since then I haven taken as many outside trips to photo as we use to together. My two favorite nearby spots are Smoky Mountains and St. Augustine Alligator Farm where I can go once a year. This year St. Aug Alligator Farm was closed and I didn’t get to go. It is a great bird photo place! Planning on 2021 and your photo info is real helpful on settings!

  • Wayne Lea

    Happy New Year to all! Thank you Artie for all the work on your posts, they made the past year more enjoyable and tolerable. I know you are looking forward to getting back to your travels and IPTs. Wishing you a great New Year!

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