"The choice in politics isn't usually between black and white. It's between two horrible shades of gray."
Yesterday I posted my series of color photographs from my annual autumn jaunt to Pacific Grove, and today I am sharing my favorite ones from the total work. The Black & White set. I enjoy looking for lighting opportunities that allow for monochromatic or nearly monochromatic capture. B/W is my favorite, but I love natural scenes that depict a range of a single color. It's not always easy to find what I am looking for, but when the weather forecast mentioned partly cloudy conditions, I tried to get to Pacific Grove before the low fog burned off completely. It was all in the timing, and cooperation from the butterflies of course. They were kind to me yesterday! I love the silhouette of the butterflies, and the leaves. Do I see a butterfly? Or is that a hummingbird? There are some interesting shapes in Black and White.
Shades of gray wherever I go
The more I find out the less I know
Black and White is how it should be
But shades of gray are the colors I see.
Shades and Silhouettes capture my imagination, unless I am seeing shadiness or mere silhouettes in politics. It's not a new thing you say? Well, you are right it isn't. But I know that in my lifetime it has never been as bad as it is right now. As I type this, a major storm is baring down on the Eastern seaboard. There are folks I love and care about in it's path. Friends who blog along side me and folks I blogged with in the old AOL Journal days. It's weighing heavy on me. The weather folks are predicting unprecedented occurrences, and they are dubbing the storm... "Frankenstorm." Are the experts calling it that to ease nerves, or is that exactly what it is? But putting the frivolous question of true characterization aside, lets ask the most pertinent question...
Why wasn't the subject of Global Warming, or Climate Change for the faint of heart, mentioned during the 3 presidential and 1 vice presidential debate? It's unconscionable!
We are on our own.
Note: I am off on a LONG photo jaunt today. I will be getting home very late, so I post tomorrow's entry later than usual, but stay tuned, I will be there.
"I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."
Yesterday, Alan and I spent the day in Pacific Grove, at the Monarch Sanctuary. There weren't as many monarchs as I have seen in previous autumns, but I was happy to spend time with the ones we found there. It was a cool afternoon, so they weren't moving about the trees as much, which made it easier to photograph them. Once the sun did come out, there were large clusters at the tops of the trees moving in and out of the branches. It made for a pleasant afternoon, in one of the most beautiful areas in California. Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel... HEAVEN ON EARTH.
Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary, October 25th 2012...
"Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies."
~Sharon Kay Penman, Time And Chance
Today's Link Comes From My Pal JR, Go Say Hello...
It's finally here. The World Series is in town, and the Giants are making us proud! Support of the home team couldn't be more exciting, as the whole city, well the most interesting parts anyway, have their orange lights on! I love it when San Francisco celebrates anything! You already know I am madly in love with the city by the bay, but when she puts her special lights on for an event like the World Series, she is even more lovely. Maybe that's why I love the city during the holidays. The downtown decorates by outlining the buildings in special lighting to make them look like packages, and there is a happy, festive feeling in the air. It's beautiful, especially to this photographer's eye!
Humorous Side Note: I don't do well with song lyrics. One of my mondegreens has to do with the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, "Center Field." See, I never realized it was a song about baseball... no... I thought it was about flying in an airplane. How did I arrive at that? The lyrics... "Put me in COACH, I'm ready to play today." I heard that lyric, but the music itself was so catchy that I usually ended up humming, rather listening to the rest of the lyrics themselves. LOL. You have NO idea how hard Alan laughed when I told him what I thought the song was about. Sheesh. LOL. Well, I laughed to. And then we discussed the song "Bad Blood" by Elton John and Neil Sedaka, and how the lyric was "... the lyings on the lips." Not... "...the lions got a lisp." LOL. Sheesh Again! That god for the Internet, and sites that give you the actual lyrics to songs!
(Insert Crossed Eyes Here)
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."
"Ghosts have a way of misleading you; they can make your thoughts as heavy as branches after a storm."
~Rebecca Maizel, Infinite Days
Yesterday was our made up holiday of Family Day. Alan and I came up with the idea of a special holiday while on our honeymoon back in 1990. On October 23rd of that year, he and I decided to venture over to Half Moon Bay to pick out some pumpkins for Halloween. Half Moon Bay is pretty much pumpkin central for the Bay Area. Anyway, while we walked around the pumpkin patch we took lots of photos. LOTS OF PHOTOS. I pretty much wanted to remember every bit of our first pumpkin hunting expedition as a married couple. At one point, Alan and I decided to see who could get the best photo of the day, so we went in opposite directions with the intent of meeting back together in 20 minutes.
As I searched around the pumpkin patch, I spotted a rather nice looking young man picking out small pumpkins with his young son. I thought it would make a sweet photo, so as the man began toward me with two pumpkins under his arms, and his son by his side carrying pumpkins in the exact same manner, I decided to take a photo of the two fellas. As they came closer to me, the father filled the frame of his camera... and he didn't look at all happy with me! Yikes! Had I made them feel uncomfortable? Well, within a couple seconds I figured out what had upset the man. You see, he wasn't just any man visiting a pumpkin patch with his child, no, it was Joe Montana and he was not happy with my taking his photo! Suddenly I got a lesson what it looks like when a pissed off pro quarterback looks like coming at you.
He and his family wanted to spend a quiet day as a family. I didn't realize it was him until he was coming toward me. I took a couple photos, and then put the camera away. It was almost time to meet Alan, so I walked away quickly. As Alan and I sat at the picnic table, enjoying a slice of pie, he and I traded stories about what he had found. Needless to say, I had the best story! LOL. A short time later, the Montanas sat down a row behind us, and we could hear them talking about how nice it had been to have a nice long family day together. And that was it. Family Day was born. Alan and I also reasoned that since our wedding day was just 10 days earlier, it would be good to have a special day to spend with our future children, so they wouldn't feel left out from anniversary days, or getaways.
We never had children. It just wasn't in the cards. But Family Day is still something we look forward to.
Since that time of meeting Joe Montana, Alan and I have had spontaneous encounters with celebrities every year around our anniversary vacation. We have met... Joe Montana, Helen Hunt, Elvira, Regis Philbin, Kathy Lee Gifford, Howard Stern, Harry Hamlin, Jessie Jackson, the Duchess of York Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, and a few others. It's always fun to contemplate who we might come across. It's a tradition. Well, it's our tradition. It wouldn't be autumn... or our anniversary vacation without it. It's just fun! :)
So, this post is only a small part of what all we did and saw. I lots to share over the next few weeks.
Yesterday, I saw ghosts. Or orbs. Or ghostly orbs... again. Hmmmm. Someone is following me. I think. Spooky. Especially since I have only been having trouble with orbs the last few weeks.
"Art is the window to man's soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within."
~Claudia Lady Bird Johnson
The windows of San Francisco never disappoint me. There is something interesting to see in every neighborhood. The windows bring about all kinds of emotion and they make me think about things on a different level than conversation does. It's a quiet conversation between myself and the person behind the window. Opinions, wishes, observations, political statements and dreams shared, and all I am required to do as the observer is to allow myself to consider how I feel about it. I hate it when I ask someone who has just spoken with passion about an issue why they feel the way they do, and I get a lazy "I don't know"or "Just because" as an response. Path of least resistance? Indifference? Fear of sharing one's decision making process? Whatever! You can't make someone have the courage of their own convictions sometimes, but with window statements, you know what the statement is, and the reasoning behind it.
Here is what I am seeing in the windows in the last several months. I have shared some of these before, some are very recent, all challenged my opinions in some way.
The Windows Of San Francisco...
Don't you hate it when Christmas decorations begin being displayed before Halloween? And yet seeing the "Major Award" won by the father in A Christmas Story warmed my heart. Christmas in October is sometimes a good thing methinks.
LOL. Now I have seen everything... a Count Dracula blow up doll! Kinky! And cute!
I stopped by a little honey shop on 20th Street that I spotted when Woody Allen was filming up the street in August. While walking to the shop I spotted this lady in a window. Isn't she stylish? She faces the building that the movie was being filmed in, I think she's awesome. Maybe she can star in Woody's next film. LOL.
This window is one of my all time favorites. A classic thoughtful question. Rarely answered. Too bad because it's a legitimate question.
:) I am going to keep looking at windows, and thinking about their messages. It's good to challenge my own opinions from time to time. It's called growth. :)
I have this friend named JR, he is an awesome photographer. Go see for yourself. :)
On the day before Thanksgiving last year, Alan and I decided to check out the Times Square cam to see if we could see any of the preparations being made for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was fairly late here, so it was really late in New York, but it's the city that never sleeps, right? Well, we didn't see a lot going on as far as the parade prep went, but we did see a lot of folks still milling about Times Square, and there was the occasional parade-like person doing a bit of public relations. It was fun to sit and watch in real time, the city at the top of our bucket list of must see places before we die. It's such a great city, and since 9/11 the point has been driven home that life is unsure, so do what you can to live and experience as much as possible.
Well, we made some hot chocolate and shook off the stress of preparing for Thanksgiving by watching the live camera view of Times Square. Then suddenly the almost black and white scene became red as Elmo walked in front of the camera! Okay, yes, I know it wasn't the real Sesame Street Elmo, merely an Elmo performer, but it was kinda fun all the same. It's that kind of thing I most want to see in cities I haven't visited before. Not the common. Not the everyday. I want to see the strange. The odd. The misplaced. The weird. Little did I know all those Wednesdays ago, I had just seen exactly what I was hoping to see. As it turns out, Times Square Elmo is indeed... not your everyday Elmo!
Last week I caught a brief story on my local news about a mystery surrounding a new character that had been seen around San Francisco. His name was Elmo. I didn't think much of it at the time because, after all, we are coming up on the holiday season which will officially kick off with Halloween. Halloween in a big city like San Francisco can be quite the adventure! In years past I have seen more than one Marilyn Monroe with an Adams Apple as big as Ann Coulter's! LOL. Sorry, couldn't resist! Anyway, I simply assumed that it was a new street performer, they are all over the place, and usually quite friendly and entertaining.
The next day Alan and I were in Fisherman's Wharf, on Thursday to be exact, to Ride The Duck, and as luck would have it we spotted the new Elmo first at Pier 39, then later near where we were at the wharf. I was kinda happy to be able to do some photos of Elmo to add them to my collection of street performers. He seemed friendly enough, and the kids really seemed to like him. But when I got home, I heard on the news that this new San Francisco character wasn't just any Elmo... he was Times Square Elmo. And he isn't the warm fuzzy type, in fact, he had gotten into trouble in Manhattan for yelling obscenities at children and at times anti-Semitic statements at their parents! Or in general, as the mood turned.
At first San Francisco Elmo denied being the same man from Times Square, but the dead giveaway was the moneybag he carried which matched perfectly with New York Elmo. Apparently Time Square Elmo relocated to San Francisco after a couple of arrests for yelling his obscenities, but was released as his speech is protected under Freedom of Speech. And it is. It's his right. Not that I am saying what he did was appropriate. It wasn't. But he hadn't done anything wrong, legally speaking. But to add to his over all charm he also ran a website a while back that NO ONE would probably approve of, so I am not sure what bi-coastal Elmo's story is, but from what I have read he has changed his name to Adam Sandler, and he is living out of his car. So really, it's not a new story.
I think he might be one of those lost souls that you cross paths with sometimes. I didn't think about it until today, but Sesame Street does deal with the plight of folks less fortunate then ourselves. I am going to err on the side of compassion here. San Francisco Elmo may be Manhattan Elmo, but when the red suit comes off he is also Adam Sandler. Perhaps he changed his name because of some family event that hurt him. Boy can I relate to that. I considered the same action a number of years back. Or maybe he suffers from some other difficulty. All I know is that the Elmo I observed the other day made no obscene gesture, nor did he yell any kind of mean or racist words. He was just Elmo, going about his business, making a living, posing for pictures with folks of all ages.
According to the news, Fisherman's Wharf Elmo was planning on moving south to Los Angeles this weekend. He is probably now Santa Monica Pier Elmo... and at the end of the day... Adam Sandler.
Good Luck Elmo Sandler!
You can't judge a book by it's cover. Good or bad.
"Bush gave an interview and he said people will vote him because, 'They've seen me weep, they've seen me laugh, and they've seen me hug." These are the same qualifications for a Tickle Me Elmo."
"The days may not be so bright and balmy... yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell... some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power."
I finally noticed that I skipped a day. This entry would be #164 but instead it's #157 and the apple car is upright again. LOL. It was golden everywhere today. In Berkeley. in San Francisco. In Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. I took a lot of photos, so good, some with a touch of the surreal. It's October, and surreal is allowed... hell... encouraged by me, and of me. I love the way that golden light looks on the organic vegetables that are available along the coast at Half Moon Bay. The gold that dances on the roses in the yard fills me up, and makes me feel like if I did nothing else right, I did the roses right. It turned dark and cold tonight, and there is a massive amount of rain on the way. Something I both adore, and hate. I may not be able to visit Plumas County for the light show of Autumn leaves. There is snow in the works. I am just praying that the snow will not knock all the leaves off the trees. It's been three years since I was there, I miss Plumas like an old dear friend.