Friday, January 18, 2019

A Silver Cottonwood

"Every Winter, when the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay... 
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses."

~Charles Kingsley
Saint's Tragedy

I am becoming a big fan of cottonwood leaves. They have a lovely shape to them, but they don't produce much color. In summer they are a pleasant enough green, rather medium, I think, and then in autumn they turn a light beige color. They become fragile quite early in autumn, and therefore picking them up is something you can't rush. If left alone, they decompose fairly quickly, within a couple days or so, and when they do, they can transform themselves from that beige, to an almost silver color. It's quite striking as a metaphor for the inevitable end of another year. As always, here I sit in January, and instead of celebrating the newness of the year, I am still seeing the death of the previous season and date on the calendar. Another autumn gone.

Winter's Soggy Cereal
January 16th, 2019
Stockton, California

~Mood: Quiet


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Raindrops On Safflower Clover

"Yellow is the color of the sun.
Blue is the color of the sky.
Green is the color of grass.
Brown is the color of your eyes.
Black is the color of the night.
Orange is the color of truth.
Red is the color of love.
Rainbow is the color of you."

~Anthony T. Hincks 

It's a new year, but you already know that. But I am going to stress it again, because it applies to my struggle to find inspiration, after autumn dies each year. Winter is difficult, especially in that I can't get out to do photos as much as I would like to. My Fibromyalgia, with the seasonal migraines, and the body aches tend to be worse in cold weather. My mind is happy, but my body is weak. Sometimes it's a matter of pushing though, sometimes there is just no way to make it happen.

But all is not lost. I downloaded a few self guided public art tours. And I have some ambitious plans for the coming weeks. There is actually a lot to photograph in my area, like the awesome art scene, and movie locations, it's just a matter of working on the logistics of the day out. It will happen. I am already much more enthusiastic than in recent years, so I am not going to push, I am just going to let the muse take me where she will. 

Like the photo above. There was an amazing winter storm rolling in from out in the Pacific. I feel like my beloved Bay Area was sending me a lifeline. It is also pushing through to the Sierra. It's so strong, that it will be a blizzard by daybreak. That will mean some great opportunities to visit some snow in the Western Slope of the Sierra, or perhaps as far as Lake Tahoe. I will just have to check the road closures, and hope for the best. But for yesterday, I decided to photograph some pretty Clover grass, with raindrops on them.

It's a start.

~Mood: Inspired

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Last Years Day Of Winter

I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future... the timelessness of the rocks and the hills... all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape... the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."

~Andrew Wyeth

I took this photo last February, on a trip to Camino to see the snow. Camino isn't that far away, maybe 90 minutes or so, but the drive is lovely through the back country of the Central Valley. It's a peaceful drive, although cow repetitive. That's okay, I enjoy cows. They are awkward and fun. A cow has to be a cow, right? Anyway, I could get used to living with some space, the trouble is, the further from the city you get, the bigger the spider. Spiders keep me from living in the country. Spiders and snow. Snow, pretty to look at, but I am not sure I would want to live there. Well, then again, I suppose I could try it. 

~Mood: Quiet
~Me :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Foggy Impressions

"Sometimes you can't see the road ahead but as you keep going, it gets clearer. Stay the course as the fog of life dissipates."

~Sanjo Jendayi

It was foggy in Stockton yesterday, perfect! I have been wanting to get in more practice with foggy days, and yesterday was perfect because I couldn't sleep, so it was nice to stretch my creativity muscle a bit. I like days like this. I am definitely an autumn/winter person, I like the low light, especially since I have been experiencing the migraines. One of the side effects is floaters, and, at least for me, they are more severe with bright light, so I am welcoming of the dark days. It's so funny, I have never felt sad in winter like other folks do, it seems to have just the opposite effect on me! Indeed, I tend to feel more depressed in summer, when I have trouble concentrating because of high temperatures. I am on my own island I suppose.

And now, a winter leaf...

 ~Mood: Creative

Monday, January 07, 2019

Music Played In The Key Of Black And White

"We are the ones who take this thing called music and line it up with this thing called time. We are the ticking, we are the pulsing, we are underneath every part of this moment. And by making the moment our own, we are rendering it timeless. There is no audience. There are no instruments. There are only bodies and thoughts and murmurs and looks. It's the concrete rush to end all concert rushes, because this is what matters. When the heart races, this is what it's racing towards."

~Rachel Cohn
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Another photo from deep in the archives. I hope to be posting new photographs soon, perhaps later this week. We will see. It's the after holiday doldrums... well actually... it's the after holiday depression. It will pass. It always passes. In the meantime, music always helps. As does movies. Alan and I watched a lot of movies over the weekend, which was nice, but now it's Monday all over again, and here we are, all still being held captive by a deranged toddler. And again, I know, this too shall pass. Until then, I am continuing to work on creating a Google Photos main album that can display a nice wide range examples of what I have photographed over the last 14 years or so. It sounds like a lot, but it's a task I am actually enjoying! Hey look... better already!

~Mood: Quiet

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Reliable Drugs

"True alchemy lies in this formula: 'Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse"."

~Arther Rimbaud 

I remember this sign from my childhood, and I always like it. I am not sure why it pleased my child's mind so much, it just did! Maybe it was the lettering. Maybe it was all I had heard about drugs. LOL. Maybe it just seemed that anything reliable, must be good! Maybe even as a child, I saw too much change happening around me. Shrug. I have never been a fan of too much change... too fast. But, unfortunately, change is what brings autumn back around, and so I face down yet another year of the very thing I dislike most in the whole world. 


That's as a reliable a drug as is readily available.

~Mood: Happy
~Me  :)


Saturday, January 05, 2019

Looking Out Of The Window

"Enlarge your windows till you get a window where you can see the whole universe with one look!"

~Mehmet Murat ildan

I reached all the way back into the archives for this photo! It's from, 2006. I was at my psychiatrist's office, and we were having a good session. Actually, let me fix that, I was having a good session. We implies she needed to be in therapy with me, but she, of course, didn't need to be in therapy with me, at all. Anyway, it was April, a weird month for me to be doing well, because I can't stand spring, and lets face it, April is dead center in the middle of spring, but for whatever reason, that I can't remember, it was a good day. I was having a good day. How do I know it was? Well, because as I was tip-toeing through the photography archives, I found a different version of this photo, and it was titled...

 "On A Good Day"

I was still pretty inside myself back then. I had the camera, and a blog, but I still didn't feel like engaging with anyone who didn't live in a little box on my desk. But I realized looking at this photo, that as inside myself as I was, I still saw everything in the world in living color. The trees, the house across the street, life on Durant street in Berkeley was in full living color. That was big, in that I had been dealing with Anhedonia in the previous years. Anhedoina is painful, if you live for photography. In my case, I couldn't match colors, everything appeared in black and white. Well, that's not right, see, I saw the colors, they just didn't make any sense to me. 

I couldn't make colors go together properly. Nothing looked right. But by the time I took the photo above, I had been healed. I saw colors again, and understood their meaning. Green trees. Red trees. A blue sky. All things I saw, while I was ill, but couldn't comprehend. It was there, but it wasn't. Anyway, it was a very good day, the day I took that photo. I was happy enough to take a photo of an open window, on a sunny day, in Berkeley, California. And I kept taking photos, but it was all different, because I can pick up the camera on good and bad days now, and the only variable is my energy, and will, to do so and therein lies my continued struggle.

I took these photos, on the same good day, all those years ago, and they still make me smile. Hair is my favorite movie, so it was a lot of fun to spot the soundtrack to it, in a window, in Berkeley. As a matter of fact, it was also out of my therapist's window, on a different side of the office. I thought it was such a strange place to see the soundtrack of Hair! In Berkeley. In a window. In 2006! I wish I could have gotten a clearer picture, but I was dealing with the two windows, a fair distance apart, but it's kinda awesome to me all the same. I snapped the photo, and smiled most of the rest of that day. God, life is mighty strange sometimes. Take my advice, look out of more windows... even if you don't feel like it!

The universe was definitely speaking to me that day.

Side 2. Song 1.
Sung by John Savage

~Mood: Quiet


Friday, January 04, 2019

Eurasian-Collard Dove

"Quotes are echos of voices transporting
 wisdom, humor, and love. 
Returning again to the human condition,
 fleeting once more as a dove."

~Ryan Lilly

I spotted this gorgeous, Eurasian-Collard Dove, last June, but just didn't get around to posting it until now. I am not sure why, but I guess I was hoping to get a closer shot, or one with perhaps a better background, but I just didn't spot another one before the end of last year. So, click the link below, to learn a little more about this gorgeous dove, including the sound of it's cooing! It's so pretty, I almost couldn't take my eyes off of it!

June 10th, 2018
Stockton, California

~Me  :)

Thursday, January 03, 2019

I Am A Very Active Shutterbug... 2586 Seconds

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

~Ansel Adams

2586 seconds. Going all the way back to 2005. Those seconds actually became more minutes than I can count, if you factor in editing, and posting, and searching for the exact quote to fit with the picture, that set the mood for my postings here on Ellipsis. I kept that Flickr account for folks who would rather look than read. I understood that preference. Sometimes I didn't really want my blog words to overshadow the point of my photography. And sometimes I just didn't have the words. Sometimes it's the photo that needs to be what make the point, and if you've truly captured a moment that can yell louder than words, then you've accomplished something as a photographer... well... at least as... "a would be, hopeful, semi-professional photographer."

That quote was from The Stepford Wives. It was the character of, Joanna Eberhart, explaining to the local welcome lady, who also had her own column in the local paper, where newcomers to the village were introduced to the community, that that was who she was as a person. But even after that quote was given to the columnist, Joanna was still described in the paper as a... "newcomer to Stepford, and very active shutterbug." When I watched that scene, I realized that Joanna and I both shared the same dream, the dream to be remembered one day, through our photography. But as it turned out for Joanna, that would never happen. I don't want to give away what her husband had in mind when he moved them to Stepford, in case you are one of the 4 people who doesn't know the story, but here is a hint, Walter Eberhart, like the rest of the men of Stepford, suffered from deadly case of chauvinism. Deadly for Joanna, that is!

I have never known a minute, or second of that. For most of the 2586 seconds that it took to create those photographs, Alan was right by my side. He was the one who put the camera in my hand, and drove me anywhere I wanted to go, just so I could create something, anything, that would replace the debilitating psychological pain I was in. I went through one of those life changing events, that some folks don't come back from. At one point I had sunk so far into despair, that I ended up with Anhedonia, and it was at that point, he encouraged me to step outside myself, and into the seconds that go by. And, as it turned out, it was all those seconds adding up, that gave me my heart and mind back. It was hard as HELL to find something to care about, but we took it slow, and after a while I began a blog on AOL Journals where I could put words and pictures together, and within a year or two, I was well on my way to healing.

After AOL Journals folded up, I migrated over here to Blogger, along with several of my AOL friends, and also to Flickr to display my photos. I am still in contact with several of them, but we lost my friend Steven, back in 2009. I loved him, and he was an amazing friend and mentor when it came to my photography. I wouldn't be nearly as good today, had it not been for his encouragement and help when it came to some of the technical aspects of taking a decent photograph. I miss his friendship, and I think about him often. He was an amazing photographer, and he had a gentle soul. He and Alan both guided me along with the healing that needed to happen. Alan in real life, and Steven in my Internet life. So, unlike Joanna Eberhart, it wasn't the men in my life that held me back, instead it was the men in my life that helped me flourish as a photographer, and as a person!

But back to why I have that picture posted. It seems that the free Flickr accounts will only be able to display 1,000 photos, beginning on January 9th. That meant I needed to download my my collections or risk losing them. So I have been a bit busy the last few days, and I will continue to be busy for the next several weeks as I bring them over to Google Photos and arrange them in some sort of album groupings that make sense. And yes, one day the bottom will fall out of that as well, but you see, "I am a very active shutterbug" and therefore it's just something I have to deal with. It's tough being a "would be, hopeful, semi-professional photographer." But when all those seconds add up, its more than worth it!

~Mood: Happy/Thankful
~Me  :)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Memento Mori

"All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person's (or things's) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt."

~Susan Sontag

(Remember You Must Die)

It's time to close 2018. It's so strange how every year has the same amount of days, with the exception of leap years, and yet each year can seem to defy reason and science, by appearing to go by faster or slower than what the calendar says. That's always been a true phenomenon, but never like the last few years. There is time and then there is Trump Time. Trump Time... where days seem like months, and months seem like years.

Trump time is exhausting, and kinda scary. I feel myself aging at a much different rate, but then again, maybe I am just feeling my age more as I grow older. I am not sure how I will feel when this mess is finally over with, and I am not even sure it will ever be over with, so all I can do, is the best I can do, to hold onto my sanity, and thank God that my camera helps me do just that! It helps me process what needs to be felt and done to move forward with life.

In looking through my photos for 2018, I found I had a lot more good days with the camera, than bad. This year was eye opening, in many ways, but nothing was more eye opening than having a Stockton Police officer, knock on your door, LOUDLY, at 7:30 AM, as they chased two carjacking suspects through your backyard and into your pool house! SHIT! At first, I thought it might be the Secret Service, pounding on my door, because of some mistaken remark I made online, led to an investigation of me for threatening the president! Had I gone and done it this time? Had I finally been too damn mouthy on Twitter? Was that third time calling the president a SHITGIBBON going too far? Was this, finally, my arrest?

It, of course, wasn't, but I can imagine the day that it could be that happening. Not that I go around threatening Trump, but what's in my head doesn't matter, it's how he chooses to interpret things, that matters, right? That's another scary, surreal thought, that anything that one says online, could be used against them in such a frightening way. I had to be dead, because everything was just surreal! It made for a bad day, but that day was a necessary evil, because that scary day finally got it through to me that I wasn't dead, and that everything happening in the world was, indeed, real. Including a carjacking suspect, hiding out in my pool house!

You see, that had been my assumption, since before Donald Trump became president, but especially after he took the oath of office! Every single day of his presidency has rolled from one surreal day, to the next, each filled with one FRESH HELL, after another. So one day, in a fit of exasperation, I said out loud to myself... "When did I die?" I felt in that moment that life had become so surreal, that I couldn't possibly be alive! And I went forth with that delusion until that fateful day, the carjackers went through my backyard!

Great! I'm alive. All This Is Real!

Well, autumn and vacation came around, about four and six weeks later, respectively, and it was time to pick up the camera again, for both my sanity, but for the love of all things autumn, which traditionally includes the annual cascade of leaves, our anniversary and our vacation. I couldn't have an autumn where I didn't search out leaves for my project,  and I felt like if I did skip a year, that it seemed like I would be giving up. I am not quite at that point yet, but I get tired, often, and just want to walk away and never look back! Stick my head into a book, and not come out. 

Never watch another news/political analysis show again. Never go back to Twitter. Never engage in the real world again, but I know I couldn't do that. Sometimes I feel stuck in reality, a place where being aware of life is a good thing, but in this case, is the last place I would ever want to be thinking straight. Fantasy, for too long a time isn't healthy. Reality, especially now, definitely isn't healthy for too long a period of time, unfortunately, that doesn't leave much time.

I guess photography is my best vehicle for surfing fantasy and reality. I did some photos this year that I really care about. Most of them done during autumn, but certainly not exclusively. I am going to try to do some kind of photography, at least once a week this year. It can be difficult to find the right subjects, so I am going to attempt some artsy photos of average, if not mundane, subjects around the house. If Andy Warhol can make art out of a soup can, why can't I?

 What I Saw In 2018...
In No Particular Order

Military Submarine Outlook Station 
Circa WWII
HWY 1 South of San Francisco
October 24th, 2018

The "Bijou"
Our home theater, finally finished.
July 15th, 2018

Rare Mammatus Cloud Formation
And A UFO?
December 24th, 2018
Stockton, California

There's No Mail, Like Snow Mail
Camino, California
March 2nd, 2018

My Favorite Autumn Leaf Portrait
November 17th 2018
Stockton, California

Beware Of Snakes In A Cemetery
Ione Public Cemetery
Ione, California
 October 24th, 2018

My Favorite Book Of 2018
"Fear" By Bob Woodward

Dippin Dots
Cannery Row
Monterey California 
October 17th 2018

My Favorite Autumn Sunset
October 24th, 2018
Ione, California

My Favorite Black And White Photo
June 10th, 2018
Stockton, California

My Favorite Leaf Of The Day
December 9th, 2018
Stockton, California

My Favorite Public Art Piece
"Peace" By Stephen Kaltenberg
 October 21st, 2018
Sacramento, California

My Favorite Church Photograph
Ione Catholic Cemetery
Ione, California
October 25th 2018

My Favorite Cemetery Photograph
Ione Public Cemetery
Ione, California
October 25th, 2018
Angel Monument
Ione Public Cemetery
Ione, California
October 25th 2018

The Old Frosty
Ione, California
August 25th, 2018

Blue Bunting
September 2nd 2018
Davenport, California

 Early Winter Sunset
December 24th 2018
Stockton, California

Pacific Grove, California
October 17th, 2018

Art Deco Glass Panel
The Orinda Theater
October 11th, 2018
Orinda, California

Smoke From The Camp Fire (Paradise, California)
 Turned The Moon An Eerie Shade Of Red

A Bright Red Glow OF The Sun, Filtered With Smoke From The Camp Fire, Reflecting OFF The Bricks Of Preston Castle
November 11th, 2018
Ione, California

Happy Independence Day 
July 4th, 2018
Stockton, California

Open Window
October 24th 2018
Lockeford, California

And there you have it! The year 2018 in photographs. On to yet another year, but hopefully, the new year will bring a lot more good news, than bad, and maybe even some clarity and hope. You just never know what will be waiting for you. Maybe I will take my best photograph ever! Or perhaps I will be in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time to capture an image that will be something truly unique or historic! Or maybe I will just continue to photograph things I love, and just try to make it through another year of my life. It's all good. But, I am reminded daily of, Memento Mori.

It's Life.

Happy New Year
~Mood: Quiet
~Me :)