Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Maybe it's not too late....

The fog is in and breaks my annual new years' routine of photographing the last sunset of the year, to be followed by capturing the first sunset of the year. As I type this, I am waiting to enter the cold outside to photograph the fireworks near the Ferry Building... little will that do to make me smile as I'll probably be alone... as always.

But sometimes it seems as if the world and Nature is against me. I seem to always be fighting against everything and everybody, thence I gain no ground, yet make no headway. If it looks good for now, don't worry it'll be bad soon, and if it's bad, it'll get worst.

Many years ago while I still lived in Spain I didn't know if I would live another year, let alone another month. When everything looks so down that there is no sky, no hope and no light... the future looks dim. Things haven't much improved, so I still have that lingering thought to keep me company... seems the only sure thing I have keeping me company these days....

It's strange that often I look to and photograph the sky... and while I see the great clouds against a blue sky, it makes me sad.... At least I have my upcoming trip to look forward to... but that is a lot of work alone.

Have you ever thought that Life would be a burden? Ever thought that it's so much easier to just step off that pavement and close your eyes for a split second? Go ahead, nobody knows you, and nobody will care.... the street will be littered with your lifeless broken body and splattered blood for just a few hours, then Life will continue as if you never existed. There might be a mention on the news but nobody will hear it.... or take note.

It's so easy to just do it.... to take it away... throw everything to the wind and die. I've considered it many times, even as recently as a few weeks ago. It's amazing how someone else's anger and hatred can influence another, and drive you to the brink of death.

I do know one thing: nobody will mourn this person should I die. Nobody will care and I will be a forgotten nobody in minutes, if not seconds. Sigh....

It's so easy.....

It'd be a great way to start off the new year!!! Doesn't seem to look like my future will be any brighter....

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's COLD outside!!

It's been a busy few days as I have been attempting to devote time to archiving of my image files – not too successful – and still continue capturing what goes on in my life. All the while, I still have to think of packing for my upcoming trip to my apartment in Rota, and that will be a welcome "break". Of course I will be working like a slave, buying furniture and working on the apartment, which isn't in the best shape after being gone for so long. My neighbors who are watching my apartment had fallen on hard times also, and lost contact with them for months. I have been noticing that the temperatures there and weather has been seemingly a "normal" winter with lots of rain, but I know once I arrive in my apartment on the 9th, it'll warm up as it always does when I am there! Hahahahaaa

The weather just a week ago allowed me to get over to the Marina district where I stopped for a rare night shot of the Palace of Fine Arts... not often do I get the opportunity to be out at night with tripod and camera, and these past few days the Bay Area has been really frigid due to a big Pacific storm blanketing my old home of Eugene with snow while here I had to battle frigid gusting winds to get pixs of a gorgeous golden sunset last Friday and Saturday. Even in this weather, I managed to get out into the cold with bare hands to snap night scenes of the bay and the bridge from the Marin County headlands. I expected the road to the Pt Bonita lighthouse to be open due to the full moon, but it wasn't so to make the drive across the bridge worthwhile I stopped to snap pixs, though the blasting headlands winds made it very difficult to get a good steady tripod image. A photographer who later appeared next to me on the dark uneven headlands ground had his camera while mounted on a tripod fall over, when a gust of wind blew it over! OuCh!! This morning in North Beach was apparent scenes of frozen standing water... ice was everywhere - not a normal sight in the City but the weather climate is changing and it's leaving evidence everywhere!
ice on a car windshield is a sign of the
frigid weather in North Beach this morning

This isn't the coldest weather I've been through… while in the military I remember being out in the rain and snow in many places in "warm" clothing all night long standing guard duty {oftentimes all soaked through to the skin and bones}, and in Nebraska I patrolled outside a building in – 4f blizzard conditions. Of course, Germany must be the most recent time I went out willingly to photograph various female clients nude in the snow… them, not me…. And though it was cold, they enjoyed their experiences very much. When we returned to warmer places, we found out the weather outside was about –20c, which reads about –4f….. brrrrrrrr so, this change in the weather isn't the worst but still: any cold shock to the system leaves an impression on the mind and body… that it happens during my photography just gives that image more meaning.

I have another weekend road trip coming up…. Then comes New Year's when I expect to be out again in an attempt to capture the fireworks, and then jes DAYs before I leave for Spain!!! I cannot wait!!!

Please remember – if you'd like to donate to help me with my spending money to fix up my apartment in Spain, please buy a print!! Just want to donate outright? I'll send you a print of your choice/theme if you tell me what you like… remember, there's a LOT of gorgeous spanish sunsets to be seen while I am in Rota, and they will be posted as always on my photo website. As always, there are more images posted in my photo website also, and many more that are unseen by other eyes!!! Your donation will serve as a voucher for your future visit in my apartment!! :-)

Stay warm everyone and have a safe and quiet holidays!!!

I even had a chance recently to photograph
a very nice car!! yaaay!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mendocino County for a weekend

I escaped the city life for a weekend and drove up to Mendocino County. I’ve never been up this way and have wanted to go for so long but never had time. I planned it to be an extended foto trip and would drive up HWY 1 on the winding and narrow but scenic coast with stops along the way. Then I would return via HWY 101 for a faster return to the City. Being so cold at night, I decided not to sleep in the car and booked via the internet a room at a motel on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. Located on the main street I was hoping it would provide me a simple means to explore the town.
Departing Saturday morning at 7am, I drove on almost-empty streets toward the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so eerie to see nary a car when normally I would encounter a continuously onslaught of vehicles, tour buses and trucks. San Francisco is normally a nightmare of double-parking and a obstacle-course of parking and driving hazards ~ I was already enjoying getting out of the City even for this short two-day escape.

From the bridge the sunrise over the East Bay was gorgeous and I wanted to stop, but experience from previous road trips warned me and I decided not to stop at the northern lookout point. I drove through the Rainbow tunnel and continued toward Mill Valley to get to Stinson Beach and the Coast Highway. After three decades, I would be finally going from Stinson Beach to Pt Reyes – or at least in that direction – and seeing the great scenery enroute! Up the curvy narrow road to Mt Tamalpais I stopped for a second – a long second – when I saw the fog over the bay and gentle slopes below, and snapped a pix, the first of many….

To make a {very} loooong story shorter, descriptive of winding curvy tight narrow road driving, gorgeous rocks sitting in the surf off brown and sheer cliffs, let me just say that I have been known to stop and take pictures just a few times along a drive. This trip was planned with that in mind and I did stop a couple of times. The last time this happened I was exploring Oregon in early 2006 with a friend who drove me to Newport from Eugene. This is normally a two-hour drive, perhaps 30 minutes more should the traffic be bad…. That trip took five hours. So, you may be asking, did fototaker break this record? Hahahahaaaa not by a long toss, but let me say that from San Francisco to Fort Bragg let’s say it’s about a leisurely three-hour drive and in this case, it took me eight hours to finally arrive at my destination!

I departed with the sun barely awake over the Oakland hills and stopped the engine just in time to see a great Mendocino County sunset!! The surf was filled with ocean debris washing up after a recent storm but it just made the view a bit more unique. Seeing the colors of the sun over the rocks made me quite sad as the blue splashing surf and coastal rocks made me think of the rocks on my beach in Spain, and the solitude of watching a sunset alone made me think of my solitary life then.
Within a month I’ll be back in Rota again ~ but it’s only a month…. sigh.....

The motel room was very clean and nice, though located at the very far end of the town, and it would be a looong walk in the chilling air. So I drove to the main part of downtown after the sad sunset and looked for a place to eat. Most of the prices were quite expensive – SF style – but I expected that as it's a coastal resort area. There was a small Italian-style place on a side street which I finally determined would be a good safe place to eat, and had a good big plate of pasta with warmed bread and olive oil.

A local holiday parade started after 7pm with the town residents slowing filling up the streets of the main thorough-way. Back in the old days – I was told – the parade consisted of the lumber trucks which hauled their long wood loads to and from the town. With that industry gone, the parade continued but now trucks and vans participate, each with their array of festive holiday lights as decoration. We even saw a AMTRAC which torn up the street, and the ATVs and even the bicycles were participating dressed in bright Christmas lights! I’ve never before seen a bicycle with lights such as these! Pictures of this parade are posted in my foto site.

The next morning I departed late as I was listening to the commentary of my favorite Spanish soccer team on my laptop ~ they lost 3-4 ~ then departed and headed for the long drive back. I didn’t plan to stop at all so hopefully would arrive in three hours or just a bit more. The connecting road from HWY 1 with 101 was snaky and narrow in some spots too, but the traffic was practically nil, so it was an enjoyable drive… did I say I love driving on narrow curvy roads? They remind me of the roads in the Cadiz province in southern Spain…. And amazingly the scenery was just as similar!!

Once on HWY 101 the drive was smooth and quick. Upon entering San Rafael there was a thick fog that appeared as a wave and thicker than maple syrup, and that continued for about ten miles. It was a great experience watching the headlights of approaching cars appear slowly through the gray mist, as the red brake lights of cars in front of me slowly disappeared into the soup….. sigh…. It was a great sight and I wanted to grab the camera to make a moving capture of the sight, but knew with the lower light it would be a slow exposure and decided against it. At one point, after seeing miles and miles of vineyards along the highway, I decided to stop suddenly to get a shot of the vines against a mountain topped with the golden orange glow of the sun already set, when just as suddenly and seemingly out of Nowhere, a CHP stopped behind me and informed me to move on or be ticketed for stopping… I couldn’t argue to that and left, without the shot but with a memory of the gorgeous colors seen in the blink of an eye at 65mph.

Eventually I reached Marin County and from there it was just riding the traffic tide across the bridge to the City, where I went to Chinatown first to eat something quick and cheap, before I returned “home”. It was without fanfare or celebration, and just more pixs to add to my fast-growing virtual list of millions of image files to record onto plastic DVDs.

During my trip I had poked myself in the eye with a piece of my camera strap. It was not a pleasant experience of course and with my recent correction procedure I was worried about tearing the eye but after a few minutes it was almost as good as new, though a little sore.

I ate during the trip, which is a surprise and I finally experienced a very lovely and easy drive to northern California and Mendocino County. Mendocino in itself is very tiny as I discovered, though very picturesque.

The houses display very interesting architecture, and many square-shaped buildings are seen in the area, remaining from the era when wind-mills power provided water to the homes and buildings from wells. They still exist and are interesting to see....

The below picture is of an unusual sight in downtown Mendocino: Father Time and the Maiden... which sits upon a pedestal on top of a white building in the downtown area, now a bank though it used to be the Masonic Lodge in much earlier years. Carved by mason Erick J. Albertson who worked for a local lumber mill, it was in his free time within a small shack where he made this interesting depiction of Father Time and the Maiden out of redwood. It also shows the Hourglass of Transience, the weeping Maiden with the Anointment of Her Hair, the Acacia Branch and the Sacred Urn, the Sundered Column, and the Book of Light - all of which are items symbolic of the Masonic Order. Thanks to the Mendocino Visitor Center whose kind wise volunteer provided me with this information and much more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yelp party - a "blast"

In fact, so much of a blast I went straight home. Nobody has the true concept of how many 2,000 is until you see all the peoiple in line waiting... talking on cell phones in front and in back of you. Smoking their lungs off or/and blowing their smoke all over you. Stupid overheard small talk trying to unbore themselves.... so when I saw the line, I thought: no waaaay I will wait there with those people! So I went over to the Yelp VIP entrance and talked to someone, and explained that I'm a photographer and just wanted a few snaps to blog about the event, plus to post on my Yelp profile.

Well, so much for that! The young long-haired girl insisted she was too busy to talk to me and that nooo, I can only enter for the main event which starts at 9pm, and yes, I'm very busy and I can't talk any longer...." then puts on a face like go get lost, I'm leaving.....

My blogging and fotos would help advertise them. It would get them more attention. It shows fellow-Yelpers having fun at a big event with free drinks.

I don't need Yelp or their review site. Within a month I'll be out of there and take my reviews elsewhere....

Besides, one must set their priorities ~ I get to see CSI tonight... now that's worth watching even if it's a repeat!!

Yelp, and their purchased reviewers can "rest" in peace. Or their self-constructed virtual hell.

This picture was posted online to Twitter by a Yelper waiting to get into the party....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the road again....

Being a holiday weekend, I planned staying busy as I hate being in front of the monitor 29 hours each day as I am currently doing... this archiving of my image files will take forever.... so to break the boring routine, I went looking there and here with my camera.... Friday saw me in the car with sister and her friend to Point Reyes National Seashore which we finally arrived after skipping through the Marin Headlands, then down the road toward Point Bonita, then shooting over on HWY 101 to Pt Reyes.
the gorgeouslight at the Marin lookout point
I've never been there though I tried often as a pre-teen. Riding my bicycle from North Beach through the Presidio, I would cross the bridge then shoot down to Sausalito, then enter Mill Valley to the Stinson Beach left-turn. From there it was a struggle up the curvy road to Mt. Tam, finally reaching the top and again shooting down at unbelievably fast speeds to Stinson Beach where I'd eat a sandwich if I packed one {often I didn't}, then ride back the opposite direction to return home to North Beach. I often thought of continuing to Pt Reyes on that bicycle but after 30 minutes of riding, I'd turn around.... I didn't realize it then nor now that if I had continued I would be riding that long path to nowhere before ever reaching Pt Reyes. It's a long and desolate drive in a car ~ can't imagine how I would feel on a bicycle then have to return to the City!!

After stopping at the Pt Reyes visitor center, we continued on toward the lighthouse to see that. That was another 20+ miles on a narrow winding road with horses and cow farms along the way.... all green - very green - scenic views which called me to stop, and I did often! Once at the lighthouse it was a short hike to the "top" then down 308 steps to the famed lighthouse.
But I was more amazed and camera-crazy with rocks lining the narrow steps, and photographed quite a bit of that.

It almost seemed to resemble rocks one would see in a desert and not along the coast, subject to constant high winds and cutting sea spray. The textures were very unusual too and made a very nice study of tones of light desert brown and blushing reds.
Down at the lighthouse, one could see it was very small and need of repair and a good paint job, as with many lighthouses. Still it was a fabulous view and the clouds and sun cooperated very nicely!
The next day I decided to head down the coast to Half Moon Bay to again photograph the lighthouse at Pigeon Point. The lighthouse is actually dormant, its light dark and is lit only one day a year. Still it stands tall and proud on the Californian coast and it's a still a pretty sight though it's also in a state of disrepair. A smaller light station is located at Point Montara and isn't as big as a normal lighthouse but is still a sight worth seeing.

The weekend weather was great and it seemed everyone was on the highway headed south... I again stopped often to snap away as the incoming tide crashed upon the endless coves and beaches, creating a thick mist that looked like fog, photographed like fog but wasn't. It was great to see this mist, bringing out the darker tones of the high cliffs bordering the coastal highway.... I also enjoy the crashing waves and today the waves were really high, with a slight mist forming as the waters crested, and then pushed back by the air... it was amazing to watch this as I hadn't seen this before! The waves were about 10 to 15 feet high, and the absence of surfers made me wonder if this was a dream or not. At one stop, there was a huge flattened rock which was continuously plummeted by the waves; the explosion of water vs rock was tremendous, with the rising waves reaching over 30-50 feet in height! It was truly wonderful to see this, to "feel" the strong force of nature as it has been throughout the centuries, pounding away at the immovable, smashing down to create pebbles, sand and finally, to pound and eventually grind even that into nothingness.

It's always great to take a drive anywhere... I just need to remember to take the camera ~ this weekend I'm going on a overnight trip to Fort Bragg and to explore the surrounding area. Any recommendations anyone? hahahahaaaa I know I won't get any replies to that question because NO body from the USA reads my blog!! hahahahaaaa Only Martians on da Moon observing the Earth read my blog so they'll know where to visit after they land!!

Tonight is the BIG YELP party at the Exploratorium (Palace of Fine Arts) and I'm going!! Anyone else going? It'll be interesting if I can get in ~ RSVPed over a month ago and there's over 2,000 others attending too so am hoping to survive the long wait in the line!! Through my account at Yelp, I regularly review a lot of places where I go to eat, shop, etc., a routine I started through my older (now closed) Xanga blog while I lived in Eugene. I am foresaking my photography club meeting to attend the Yelp event... I must be going crazy!!

Only a month before I depart for Spain!! I cannot wait and though it's a working trip, I cannot wait to get back to my apartment!! sigh...

Monday, November 24, 2008

aaaaah, the FOG

...was so very gorgeous... and I love fog and rain!! I cannot believe the number of times I stopped by the roadside while seeing a foggy scene, then slamming on the brakes. As usual I departed Eugene at 6:05 with thick fog everywhere and I needed to use the GPS to find my way to the interstate 5 on-ramp.
Visibility was reduced to about 100feet from my front car car seats but by the time I passed Cottage Grove (35mins later) it was already thinning out. The rest of the three-hour trip to Medford was just a beautiful and moody nature painting, highlighted by brushed color and gray/white dense strips fog that wrapped around the trees and smooth tree-covered slopes bordering the interstate. Can't recall the many times I stopped to grab the magic-box but eventually I did get to my destination though almost an hour late!!!
I won't even mention the times I used the camera again and zoomed in while driving ~ hahahahaahaaa

Again I had a slight problem, other than a very leaky and steamy radiator.... the camera lens decided yet another to jump when I opened the car door resulting in a HUGE dent from the last Eugene trip in August, and now has a whitish dent just as big. I was very fortunate enough as on both times the lens or camera impacted upon the lens filter and not the heavy camera body. With these two dents on the lense, though the camera itself isn't damaged, the filter glass piece is about to fall out now, spinning freely within the filter case ~ another great reason to buy a filter for your lens!!! Protect it! The foto book of Capture Lane County looks gorgeous and you should check it out at Borders.... though none of my images selected were included in the book, the book is a sweet memory of a fantastic place where I lived for almost a year upon my first return to live in the states after being away for over 20 years!! These fond memories of Eugene add to the superb imagery within the book pages.

With time quickly running away from me, I hardly had any time to do a lot of things ~ not even eat. If a three-meal day were part of my daily routine ~ it's not ~ then this weekend was an example of my normal eating habits, eating just enough to just barely satisfy the hunger of a tiny mouse. The weekend trip of three days started Friday at 6:15am with the trip starting at 7:32am, and finally ending in SF at about 1:25am Monday morning after driving half-blind with my corrected eyes (still healing from the PRK wavefront procedure) all night Sunday upon finishing shooting with a lovely model in Medford, OR. I have determined that with all the driving on scenic highways, lovely interstates and tree-lined streets, my time on all of these throrough-ways to be approximately 23 non-continuous hours within these three days. Actually, I enjoy "dieting" while in Eugene to burn off all the fat and mass accumulated in SF!!

I'm continuing to download my images, the normal amount of resulting images whenever on the road to Oregon, with the total being over 1500 image files and about 4,6GIGs of photography! Unfortunately for me this means I'll be spending more time of the computer to download everything which of course this means I have a LOT of additional DVDs to burn!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

From SF to Eugene.....

On the road again to Eugene seems I’m returning home but I’m not. Left the City at about 7:30am and got quickly onto the bay bridge which wasn’t too busy fortunately. Traffic was quite good actually, and when I got off the bridge I was shocked to see the parking lot of cars waiting to get onto the bridge to cross the bay into the City! Even the ramps leading into the City were virtually stopped, or appeared so…. I was very happy I didn’t have to drive into the City at this time and hassle with the traffic. Getting away from the bay was easy going the opposite direction with no serious traffic problems; I filled up with gas the night previous and was later surprised to see gas prices were actually higher as I left the City, and even in Oregon the gas was higher than in the Bay Area!

Normally I depart at a much earlier time ~ about 4-5am ~ when I do this long drive. It was so strange to be driving in the daylight. Usually by the time I reach the 505 interchange, I am stopping to photograph the sunrise! No such opportunities this time!!

Earlier this week my broken EOS 40D was repaired and picked it up Tuesday. It was good to have it back in my hands and like a worn loved and favorite blanket, felt very good. I have the EOS XTi (400D) as a backup and cannot believe the differences between the two in just the handling and feel. Of course I am not being fair since one is of a higher caliber but still… the 40D is a goddess of a camera in shape, feel and capabilities!! Now, if only I could find a woman just like my camera!! hahahahaaa

So, here I am on the road – seemingly always these days – and now passing through the 505 and onto I-5 which is really quite empty at almost 10am. I like long trips but hate being alone for the duration…. And waited till two hours after my trip start to stop and get a drink of my favorite “coffee”: that concoction of French-Vanilla; when I buy the home-style mix, it never tastes as good. In fact, it doesn’t ever taste anything as well-blended as the store-bought even when made according to the directions… oh blah!! I brought my travel mug with me to rid myself of trying to dispose of the cups… and later at a rest area enjoyed a delicious juicy pear which I bought also. Then back on the road….

I thought this smoke rising in the distance was lovely…

Some of the things I saw was this interesting convoy of fire vehicles – I thought they could be coming from southern California after helping with the fires there. I thought it amazing that in the back of one of the vehicles were some “sleeping” firemen and with another fire truck following very closely. If one by chance fell, he would be pancakes in seconds!!!

this shot of the gorgeous sky reflected in my driver's side rear view mirror is typical of my day, shooting pixs while zipping along at 65mph!!
Most of these - and others posted to my fotopage - were taken by holding my camera in hand and snapping at a speed of 65mph!! I know.... but how else will I stay awake in my car zooming along and alone? In some cases I actually did stop and take the pictures, but the majority were done "on the road"....

Mt Shasta is always pretty to admire from the interstate, and today was no different as she sat by the highway all dressed in white from recent snowfall.

just entering the I-505 interchange, these gorgeous flocks of birds in flight over marshes and I stopped to see and snap... These birds were escaping… where from I didn’t know… it seems they were all just flying along on a thin cloud….
I finally got to Borders in Eugene where the pre-release party for the Capture Lane County photo-coffee book was being held - the sole reason for my trip.... and though none of my pictures were used in the book, it is still a gorgeously-done book.
The book was also presented tonight and I am happy to have it as a fond memory of my short time in Eugene and Oregon. If only things were different, I would have never left.... sigh

I won't mention the three times during this drive while chewing gum I bit the inside of my lip, or when rubbing my eyes, I jabbed myself quite by accident when the car passed over a bump... and in my new eye!!! ouch!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

imagine if everyone.....

.... lived on the street for a week, or even a month. Imagine how our perspective and disgust toward the homeless would change.

Imagine sitting in a restaurant. Eating and sitting with a friend when suddenly you are aware of a homeless person being shown to a table? After being left at the table by the hostess, you notice that everyone else is looking at this lost soul... dressed in dark, ragged smelly clothes. She smells of a combination of urine, dirt, and street filth.

Suddenly she turns and you see her face: distressed and frowning. Skin so dark it looks like a tan honed over weeks on the french or mexican riveria, but you know it is not a tan.

She opens her mouth in a wordless cry, her mouth twisted in what looks like anger, or anguish. Then she turns around and walks out, taking with her the various bags of clothes, cans or bottles. Her perfume lingers in the air, and instantly my "friend" makes a disgusted face and voices her opinion quite loudly for all to hear: Thank goodness she's gone! She stank!!

I told her that she should be more respectful of the homeless, to which she replied with a phrase I won't repeat here. Then I described how in these changing times, anyone could be in her shoes, in her situation... then I asked: If that were me, would you think and treat me the same?

She bounced that off her ears without a reply, and just sat there. When the waitress came along and apologized for the intrusion, my friend spat out that that person didn't belong here and her appetite was ruined. I did notice my friend had already finished her HUGE salad ~ enough to feed easily four homeless individuals ~ minutes before this woman entered and departed.

What would you do?

If everyone lived on the street for the experience, you would be surprised and shocked how many eyes would be opened. I would love to see this "friend" living on the street, without a private toilet, no sofa to lie sown comfortably at night to watch an nonexistent television to watch. What would she do with all the personal belongings dragging behind her in carts or bags?

What would you do?

I know the "intrusion" of this homeless woman didn't disgust me half as much as the selfish inconsiderate reaction of my "friend".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

That Glorious Golden SunSet

well, everyone know I rarely capitalize titles here, so something must be up ~ indeed for the surprise! The other night I was on the road almost all day. I had dropped off my car to get new tires in anticipation of my drive late next week to Eugene and through of the snowy mountain passes. The Cascade Mountains are steep on I-5 and I am not planning on taking the "elevator" down, sliding all the way down into Oregon.... then a friend picked me up so I wouldn't have to sit there for the duration of the tire installation. A week before I had purchased a PCI card for my desktop to enable eSATA functions for my newest external hard drive but that sadly crashed my PC faster and more frequently than the famed PC vs Mac commercials. Even after I downloaded the newer drivers off the company's website it continued crashing, and even the two simple (you idiot) emails from the company with the possible trouble cause and solution didn't help, crashing my PC again... so I took it back to Fry's in Palo Alto and instead picked up a PCI card with USB2.0 slots which my desktop desperately needs (not that I saw any increase in speed but at least now those pesky annoying messages don't pop up any longer). As I type this, I'm burning the image files of last night's sunset to a CD, and also listening through internet radio to my favorite spanish team play.... Real Madrid!

But I'm getting ahead of myself..... :-D

After getting the new USB card, I again went to the BayLands Preserve in Palo Alto to see if I could find some birds to photograph, but unknowingly arrived almost at the peak of high tide so few if any birds were there. It was still a great day with the hot sun floating in a clear sky provided a nice respite from the noisy busy City.

So nice was the walk and silence that it was worth walking the long wooden path we took, braving the cobwebs that had drifted onto the path and hung there seemingly on an invisible breeze. To me, there seemed to an endless amount of seen and unseen spider webs that we walked through... and now and then we would feel a spider crawling on exposed skin, or hanging from hair or clothing. Even this reminded me of the countless spiders floating on a dreamy breeze in Spain, and later in Eugene.... sigh.
The waters were calm and almost mirror-smooth but without birds, so I started snapping away at the water and still scenes before my eyes.
calm changed to rippling abstracts as the tide started to drain

Staying there almost three hours, finally received a call stating my car was done and waiting. The tide was starting to change and what a shame that I would be leaving just as the birds returned....

Returning by freeways in the starting rush hour, it was a hassle and by chance, had to switch from I-101 to I-280 in order to return to get my car with new tires (expensive!).... By time we arrived at the tire shop the sun was low in the sky and as I spotted clouds, I decided to head to the Presidio Bluffs to capture the setting sun. As I neared the ocean in the busy traffic the clouds were already flaming orange and I thought I was going to miss the sunset completely.

Imagine this: Your only goal in life for the next few minutes is to get close enough to anywhere where the sun can be seen, and while driving, your eyes are seeing other places nice for future fotos, checking out clouds for their intensity, and even watching traffic also. Now this driver is getting lost, never having driven in this area within the past century, driving into streets that lead nowhere and now thinking: I'm going to miss the sunset! Finally reaching the Great Highway that parallels the Pacific Ocean, I have a sense of relief and disbelief: relief that I am closer to my goal and can actually see the sun... DISbelief as I now realize the traffic is bad here too, there's no place to pull over and possibly too long before I reach an intersection where I can get to a parking area on the beach..... and again the fear of missing the sunset!

Another mile I spot an unpaved part left of the highway, trails of many other vehicles which have turned into this area also, and I get into the left lane to get into this area between the highway.... park and get the camera, then rush/run without getting hit across a busy two-lane highway to a small parking strip with a lot of cars already parked and LOT of people sitting or standing but all watching the intensity of a gorgeous sun already more than halfway below the horizon.

I have never in my life seen so many people watching a sunset! Usually I am the only fool watching and snapping pixs - here there were more than 20 and on the beach 30 feet below me were about 20 more.... what a shocking surprise!!

After about 30 minutes there, the sun having set, disappearing in a slight sliver of golden light, topped with layers of wind-shaped layers of clouds reminding me almost of the great layers of Jupiter..... I am talking with my friend who after 15minutes finally appears, not having parked where I parked and drove on to find a spot to turn around and that was faaaaaaar.

My car is still parked there in the middle and now it's dark, my blinker still flashing, my cell is in the car too, and the GPS is on and its brillant screen can be seen even from where I stood. Twenty minutes later, I am still there, watching the last of the gold as it softly disappeared from the sky, when my friend turns and says: there's a police car next to your car! So, I go walking over toward my car, other cars on the Great Highway zipping past at 50mph or faster.... the officer sees me and though we cannot hear each other, sense that he's asking me if that's my car... I finally cross the highway and he asks me about the keys still in the car, to which I show him my camera and mention: sunset.... right away he understands ~ this probably happens a lot I keep thinking ~ and he just smiles and turns around heading for his car, then driving into the dark with a wave....

Do you think it was worth it all? When have you seen the storms of Jupiter before your eyes? When was the last time you had a purpose in life.... My passion is in my Photography... the only thing that keeps me alive, yet miserably content I can capture such scenes and more.
did I say how I loooove pelicans?

Monday, November 10, 2008

shoot!!! shoot!! shoot!

After talking to an East Bay model for many months and in the meanwhile many things happening on my side and with her life, today finally got a chance to meet and actually shoot with her!! Does this mean my bad luck in finding SF models to photograph is now done and dead? I don't think so - I've been in contact with another East Bay model whom I also finally met last week at the photography club meeting; she always previously sounded so excited to meet and possibly shoot together.... I met her at the meeting and though she spoke to me there, I haven't heard a word from her since. So much for sincerity and interest!!

So, I drove over the bay bridge where the traffic was slow; I could see the slow traffic crawl along as I drove on the Embarcadero and seeing this, had my camera on the car seat beside me to grab on the off-chance of a pix of the City from that evelated bridge. Traffic was slow due to a stopped car near the Yerba Buena Island exit, and by time I got up on the bridge it was moving better so didn't get a chance to use the camera to snap a picture - the view from the bridge is sooooo fabulous!!

Thanks to GPS, I found her place very easily and we quickly started shooting. When I am in the home of a model, I hate to be demanding, so I stayed where the light was good ~ it was ~ and where she was most comfortable.
This young model has the most lovely eyes and a very luscious form, and wish we had worked together sooner when the outdoors in the warm sun would have been great, but that has now left us.... After starting in color, I soon switched to shooting in monotone and really like the results.

I then left to get downtown where a fellow flickrite was having a photo exhibit but the place was closed. As I was in the East Bay and downtown, I decided to walk around and snapped the interesting buildings and more. At one point, I again spotted the zeppelin this time flying the Oakland skies, and could easily hear its engines and propellers working.
Nobody even noticed it flying and it seemed I was the only one even excited to see the zeppelin. I continued shooting the downtown Oakland buildings and found a lot with interesting ornamental details, even one that looked like a pig or a boar's head on a building!!! I was also surprised to see a new building with lots of lovely reflective glass with the logo of ASK.com at the top ~ I didn't realize ASK.com was in Oakland!!

So, covering a small area of about five to seven blocks, I wandered lost but content with camera in hand. Granted, my other heavy camera was in the shop being repaired for the same problem twice, but I was happy having a backup to use! Stumbling around wondering about the homeless I saw on the downtown streets, I wondered about my personal safety... they didn't seem as friendly in SF so I wondered..... but I didn't have anything to worry about... and continued snapping away. At one tall modern glass-enclosed building, a security guard came out asking me to depart the area and not take any pictures - wow, maybe I can send some carrier pigeons over there, all with cameras....

I drove off then to Central Avenue to gas up before driving across the bay bridge to return home. I also stopped at the little lookout point there taking some pixs of the gorgeous clouds out today!!!!
I couldn't believe how fabulous these clouds were, and wondered if I should shoot the sunset again.... but after arriving home and downloading the pixs, I kept a close eye out the window and as sundown approached, the low clouds and fog came in and I didn't even see a bit of orange.... sigh. A good sign: the other day I found a folded five-dollar bill on the street ~ others had even passed in both directions by the same spot before I did... the last time I found money on the street was in Spain and it was pouring down wet! Now if only the California lottery would help me too!!
Enjoy the pictures!!!!