The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Can 2016 Just Die Already?

"If you are good at building bridges,
 you will never fall into the abyss."

~Mehmet Murat ildan

Another new night photo as I continue to practice with the new camera! Sacramento's Tower Bridge, taken the night before Thanksgiving. I was pretty happy with how it came out, but I need to do a lot more before I am completely comfortable. It takes time to build self confidence in working with a new camera, but I am trying because it's a nice distraction from worldly messes I have NO control over. Most of the time I believe, even in the darkest times, there will eventually come a time when one looks back and laughs at the circumstances that scared or angered them. The sun comes up every single day, whether we are ready for it or not. Sigh. I don't know that I will ever look back on 2016 and laugh. 2016 needs to just die already! But if I do, I will amend this post.

Mood: Quiet


Saturday, December 03, 2016

Immortal Within

"Money lives in New York.
Power sits in Washington.
Freedom sips cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco."

~Joe Flower 

Last Friday, was the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday if you are so inclined to shop, but to Alan and I it is our official San Francisco Day. There have only been a few years when we didn't make it over the bridge to the city, last year we were fresh off an emotionally draining move to Stockton. I was simply too tired. It haunted me though. We didn't keep our date with my favorite city in the world, and the holidays seemed a little less special. This year we got a later start than usual, but we made it to Berkeley first, and then we still made it into the city! And it was beautiful! All decked out for the holidays! San Francisco is beautiful whenever I see it, but, she seemed especially gorgeous this year!

The view from the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Bridge

Christmastime In The City

And one last look back, from Treasure Island

Truly, the love of my photographic life!

"San Francisco is itself art. Every block is a short story. Every hill a novel. Every home a poem, Every dweller within immortal.

~William Saroyan

Leaf Of The Day
December 3rd 2016

Mood: Quiet/Okay


Friday, December 02, 2016

A Perspective... Revisited

"The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be."

~Douglas Adams
The Salmon Of Doubt: Hitchhiking The Galaxy One Last Time

I first posted the photo above, in early September, 2014. This garbage can is in my favorite park in the East Bay, and I pass it often while out photographing flowers and autumn leaves. Well, at least I did at the time, I have since moved, but I still visit there when I can. Cull Canyon Park, in Castro Valley, always inspires me, and its one of the nicest parks in the East Bay to just stop for a moment and have lunch or catch one's breath. 

Anyway, while photographing some pre-season autumn leaves, I looked at the lid of the can, and for whatever reason I saw a crow in the paint erosion. Alan saw a bear. And I do see a bear, but the crow is my first thought. I guess it's one of those perspective things! But, like I said, I originally posted the photo a couple years ago, and since then I haven't thought about it much. Why would I? Right? Then one day last month, while I was doing the exact same action as the first time I noticed it, I saw two more creatures I hadn't noticed before. This time, at the base of the can. A cat and a mouse. Do you see them? Or is it just me?

Now I know I tend to see shapes, and sometimes faces in things, I especially like to find that kind of stuff in nature! I have built a whole series around it. But I don't often stop and consider shapes quite like this. It has to have occurred through erosion, because who would take the time to create animal shapes on a random trash can? Not too many people I suppose, and yet I can't see anything but those three creatures. 

A crow bending over eating.
A cat with a big thick tail.
And a little mouse just to the right side of the cat.

How about you? What do you see?
 What's Your Perspective?

"Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, 'What else could this mean?'" 

~Shannon L. Adler

 Leaf Of The Day
December 2nd 2016



Thursday, December 01, 2016

December Is In Autumn Too!

"It's December, and no one asked if I was ready."

~Sarah Kay

It's December. It's cold. It began snowing in the Sierras just before Halloween, so even the Central Valley is keenly aware, it's cold! But at least it's not hot! I dislike HOT more than COLD because I can't think straight in hot weather. Cold weather tends to leave me in a great deal of pain, but at least I can think again. This year... well... I wish I wasn't thinking straight, or as clearly. I am grieving the election, and I have almost NO patience for stupidity. But let's not dwell. How about we do something different and focus on Christmas. Ornaments. Holiday lights and the fact that while it is December, it's still autumn. So leaves! Isn't it funny that more of December is in autumn than winter, yet winter seems to claim it!

 Lies... lies I tell you!
But I digress!

"How did it get so late, so soon?" 
~Dr. Seuss

Leaf Of The Day
December 1st, 2016

Mood: Quiet



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Uncanny Witchery

'November... with uncanny witchery in it's changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes... days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines.Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when a exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well, and his chimney drew."

~L. M. Montgomery

November Trees... As Autumn Grows Old

Leaf Of The Day
November 30th 2016
Mood: Quiet



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Creative Light And Dark

"You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved."

~Ansel Adams

One thing I love about working with new cameras is discovering all the new things it's capable of. I haven't had a really serious camera like this new Nikon in a long time. My Samsung, which is attached to my phone does okay... I mean really okay... for a phone with a camera. In fact, it's a better camera then it is a phone, so I know I will continue to use it for as long as it works, but I just needed something a camera that was a little more sophisticated, and I found that with this new one. So far I am very happy with the night and low light shots. My next test for it will be a full moon, which comes up on December 13th, if the sky is cloud free of course! It's something positive to look forward to as I fight this depression I am in. If you have fought depression like I have, you know the drill, set small, attainable goals, and work toward them.
 Okay. I'll Try.

Funny thing about that quote by Ansel Adams, you bring all those things to your depression too. Maybe that's why so many really creative people have spent their life fighting depression like I have.

Leaf Of The Day
November 29th, 2016

Mood: Quiet

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wouldn't It Be Nice If This Was A Real Thing?

"It doesn't matter who hurt you, or broke you down. 
What matters is who made you smile again."


Wouldn't it be nice if this was a thing? A bear gets up, gets dressed in her best dress and heads out for a walk in late autumn. She knows it will be one of her last afternoon walks because winter is coming, a season just as treacherous as summer, but for different reasons, and she knows she should get all the air and exercise she can, before it's no longer feasible. But alas... it's not. We all know it's a nice person, probably, inside a bear costume, making the public want to eat at the Black Bear Diner in Auburn. Which is nice and all, but I have to ask just once more, wouldn't it be nice if it was just a bear, out for a walk?

I like that world much better than the one I am living in now.
 It would make more sense too!

Miss Bear did make me smile, so maybe sometime, when I am traveling through Auburn again, I will stop in at the Black Bear diner and stop for a bite. I know I will always think of Miss Bear when I am in Auburn from now on, so, why not? This was a smile worth remembering!

Leaf Of The Day
November 28th 2016

 Mood: Quiet


Black Bear Diner
13378 Lincoln Highway
Auburn, Ca  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Pyrotechnics Of A New Autumn

"The multicolored leaves were softly glowing against the black sky, creating an untimely nocturnal rainbow which scattered its spectral tints everywhere and dyed the night with a harvest of hues: peach, gold, and pumpkin orange, honey yellow and winy amber, apple red and plum violet. Luminous within their leafy shapes the colors cast themselves across the darkness and were splattered upon our streets and our fields and our faces. everything was resplendent with pyrotechnics of a new autumn."

~Thomas Ligotti
The Nightmare Factory 

The new autumn of 2016 is beginning to fade. Reminding me that if I don't go out with the camera, even on the bone chilling days of late November and December, I will miss it, and it is a very long time before it will be here again! I don't even know if I will be alive in a year. I hope I will, but life is full of surprises. Some you see coming from 18 months away... like an election season... some you only see coming from 18 minutes away... and some... you don't see at all. 

That's Life.

 Like being on an out of control roller-coaster, with not guard-bar or straps to keep you safe. Up and down. Up and down. 

Autumn Makes Me Feel All Those Things
 The Rest Of The Year Distracts Me From

Autumn Makes Me Feel Loved.

Leaf Of The Day
November 28th, 2016

Mood: Quiet



Saturday, November 26, 2016

San Francisco... A City. With Windows.

"A photograph can communicate a couple things... sometimes only one thing... very well. The more you try to say with your photograph, the greater the chance that you will say nothing at all."

~David duChemin
Within The Frame: The Journey Of Photographic Vision

It was Black Friday yesterday, so Alan and I took our annual trip into San Francisco! We didn't quite make it to Union Square, but we did spend some time wandering the city, looking at the holiday windows throughout the city all decked out for the season. A couple of the windows really caught my eye because of their style and panache, so I spent some time photographing them.
Sometimes it's not the add on it's own that appeals to me, it's how it looks in a window, framed by the edges of glass, that touches the me in one way or another. Like the one above!

I spotted it in the window of Salon DNA on Sutter street. It was dark, so I did the best I could to capture it in an unusual light. As it turns out it was a  good light for the conveying how it felt to view it. It was very pleasing to the eye, and I might try it again in the daylight sometime, but for now, I am happy with how it came out. San Francisco has some fabulous windows, and they are amazing to photograph by day or by night! 

 Leaf Of The Day
November 26th 2016

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

On Black Friday... Seeking Successive Autumns

"Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love... that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I was a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

~George Eliot
George Eliot's Life
As Related In Her Letters And Journals
Volume One
( Letter To Miss Lewis, October 1, 1841)

Another holiday has come and gone! It was a quiet and fun Thanksgiving in our home! Alan and I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Played with the cats, and bitched about politics, but even the bitching was more laughing then any genuine ire about the state of things in America! After that we made dinner and watched some movies. First Jaws, then The Shadow Of The Thin Man! Hows that for an eclectic mix of move genres? 

Tomorrow is an one of our favorite days... Black Friday! We usually sleep until we feel like getting up, then it's off to San Francisco to Union Square to people watch. There are always demonstrators. Shoppers clambering for that must have deal, and then there are the kids, who love the decorations and ice rink. There is something for everybody! It's just fun!

But if for whatever reason we don't make it there, we will usually come up with a great Plan B, because the point of the day is to not  lose a day together. It's about us. It's about enjoying every last minute we have together. You see, we have been married over 26 years now, and it seems like it has been a blink. You can't waste a moment. There will be plenty to bitch about in the coming weeks and months, for now, for the present, it's time to laugh! And love. And hopefully something beautiful will be seen along the way, like a purple flower in late autumn!                     

 Leaf Of The Day
November 25th 2016

Mood: Happy
~Me :)


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving... And A Prayer Shared

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
 that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
 but to live by them."

~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A Prayer Of Thanksgiving Shared...

I am an imperfect person. This is a tough day to feel thankful, but still I know I have a lot to be thankful for. Friends who love me. Cats who love me. My health. My photography. The love of a wonderful man, who loves me in good times and bad. I have a roof over my head, and a turkey dinner waiting to be cooked.

 I can still feel compassion and empathy for others. 

I'm not boasting mind you, I am just grateful that no matter how bleak these times feel, or how dark the future seems, in the moment I know I am okay, and I am truly thankful, and blessed! So, for this one day, as I am taking days one at a time, thank you Lord for my life, and for the lessons you've allowed me to learn.


I don't reflect on my faith very often on social media, but I do have faith and once in a while I just need to share the blessings I have been given.



Leaf Of The Day
November 24th 2016

Mood: Thankful



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brown Sugar And Cinnamon

"It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust
 of brown sugar and cinnamon."

~Sarah Addison Allen
First Frost

I am going through my archives, looking for autumn leaves from past seasons that I didn't put into my Leaf Of The Day project because I always wish I have more time to post my favorite leaves, but let's face it, it's not possible to post every single beautiful leaf I come across. It's just not reasonable. So, here are a few I found in the archives that I never got around to posting. Each one reminded me of the day I was out with my camera, and how wonderful I always feel at the end of a really good day, photographing incredibly beautiful leaves.



Leaf Of The Day
November 23rd 2016

Mood: Quiet



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Orange Crush

"When you are open to living and trust the process of life and ready to face all your fears, and not afraid to go astray with life, life definitely comes and talks to you, in its own language."

~Roshan Sharma

I spotted this sign while on vacation. I decided to photograph it because when I looked up and saw it, I realized to summed up exactly how I was feeling in that moment. Alan and I were on our way to Reno, when we decided to take a side trip up to Virginia City, Nevada. It's a cute little old west town, with lots of legends and even a purported haunted cemetery, so it sounded like fun to pay a visit. I had been there before, years ago, and we had a wonderful time just wandering the old wooden streets, and visiting the small shops. 

This visit was much different. The last time we were up there we were greeted with kindness and nods from store keepers and other folks just milling around, but this time there was a vibe that made me feel completely unwelcome, and uncomfortable. It wasn't just the almost wallpapering of Trump/Pence signs everywhere you looked, but it was the homemade signs, here and there, that made it clear if you weren't in favor of blatant HATE toward certain groups, then its best you move on!

It was heartbreaking. I love visiting interesting little towns and going on new adventures, and since it had been at least a decade since I had been there, I thought it would be fun to see what might be new. Unfortunately what I found that was new was an attitude of anger and US verses THEM. All I wanted to do was purchase some fudge from that cute little shop, take a few photos, and then leave, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't spend money in a town that was so hateful. I know you can't always know what folks personal politics are, but when it is this apparent I have NO intention of supporting it in any way.

On our way out of town, we pulled over to discuss what we might want to do next. Whether it had put such a dark cloud on the day that perhaps we were better off just driving back to California, or if we wanted to continue on to Reno anyway, when I looked up and spotted that sign. It hit me just how metaphoric it was for the sad and heavy feeling we were experiencing. For the last 18 months it has felt like a big orange crush on each and every day, since Donald Trump threw his hat/hair into the ring of politics. Every day, in some way, he has insinuated himself into life. 

He was no longer content to be an icon of pop culture reality star or subject of seedy New York gossip, instead he wanted to carve himself a place in political history. He took the chance of being laughed at, as long as he got at least as big a mention as Ross Perot. Instead as he jumped from one absurd statement to another he grew in popularity because to the casual observer he represented a new kind of politics Americans had never seen before "reality politics." Suddenly not only was democracy cool, it was understandable. He promised to shake up Washington. And that he did.

He won the American Idol vote.

And America will be crushed under the weight of the hate that is rising from this new democracy, unless America steps in line behind the hatred. Unless you are for "Us" and not "Them." I have NO plans to cave to hatred, but that doesn't mean that this will be easy. He hasn't even taken office, and I feel crushed by the cruelty, lies, and misogyny. I can't believe my fellow citizens handed the power of the world over to a man who can't stop flicking metaphorical rubber bands and his critics on Twitter! So, how will history remember this time? How will it remember Donald Trump?It can only be one of two outcomes I think. He will be known as the Great Orange Tyrant, so corrupt he was impeached under the weight of his misdeeds or the Great Orange Savior, applauded for his ability to bring us together in national unity. 

Opinions are always welcome! Feel free to leave me your thoughts. All I ask is that you are respectful.

Leaf Of The Day
November 22nd 2016

Mood: Quiet