Saturday, January 26, 2013

Round Robin Challenge: Long Ago And Far Away

"Boy life takes a long time to live."

~Stephen Wright

RRC: Long Ago And Far Away

LOL. Yep, life does take a long time to live, which has it's pluses and minuses I suppose. I know one thing, I am so happy my camera, for the most part, has been by my side. Gosh, I say camera like I have only had one, when in fact, I think it's more like 25 or so cameras in my lifetime. I began taking pictures at a young age. I was about 7 or so, or maybe younger. I don't remember when I took my first picture, but I do know when I made the connection in my mind about how important it was to me to save the little moments. The BIG ones, usually took care of themselves... and weren't moments I cared to ever see again.

So let's begin a small journey shall we?

The 580 Angel 1998

Unless you know exactly where to look while traveling east on HWY 580, between Castro Valley and Pleasanton, in the East Bay, you wouldn't see her. But she is there, watching over the travelers that pass by each day. Honestly, I don't know much about who, or why the statue was placed where it is, I think I heard that it was simply put there to inspire travelers to be careful. In any case, she makes me feel good when I see her, especially at night when the owners of the property she is on, turns on the soft lights that frame her. I always smile and say goodnight to the angel.

The Autumn Church 1992

In 1992 Alan and I took a couple weeks in October to visit family in West Virginia, and Ohio. At last count, Alan had somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 family members... who all keep in touch... and who all love you... at first sight! YIKES! I could not have grown up more differently. Not only were my parents NOT close with their siblings, but if an aunt or uncle would call to say they were coming over, Dad would pack us all into the car, and we would head out on a picnic until after he was sure they had left! And the thing is I haven't seen my siblings...or those I laughingly refer to as my siblings, in well over a decade! And if there is a God in heaven, I never will. It's not that I wish them bad... I don't. But I don't wish them well either! I wish them NOTHING AT ALL! Anyway, I love Alan's family, one can't help but love them, and besides, now I have a family, and it didn't take long to get used to feeling happy to see them.

Did You Know I Am An Actress?

Okay, if you look very close at this photo, you will see that half of it is a newspaper clipping for a casting call, and half of it is an actual photograph of red seats. I took that photo at the Oakland Coliseum the day Alan and I were hired to play extras in the movie Angels In The Outfield. Okay, it wasn't a credited part, and you kinda had to squint to see me, and oh yeah, I had to share my screen time with the cardboard cutout of baseball fans, but all in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend 15 hours, to film one moment of movie magic! LOL. Besides, I got a nifty sports bottle, and Danny Glover's personal thanks. What more could I ask for? (It was actually 15 hours... no joke!)

My Girl 1980

This was the first cat I ever owned. Her name was Chloe and she loved me. She would follow me around, and she would do silly things, but most of all, she loved me. I miss her so much, and even now, 39 or so years later, I would give anything to see her come running toward me. One day, when I am done on earth, if God doesn't think I lived too bad a life, maybe he will let us be reunited on the other side. Whenever I felt lost or scared, she was there for me. She was my family, when my own was unrecognizable. Being with her again, well, that would be my idea of heaven.

Crow Canyon 1986

I love driving along old canyon roads here in the East Bay. Sometimes it just feels nice to be away from all the noise in the city. I visit Crow Canyon often, and Cull canyon also. It's lovely there and I need to do more photography of the hillsides and wonderful rustic old barns and farm scenes.

Point Reyes National Seashore PT. Reyes Station, Ca 1998

Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes Station, Ca 1998

This is the road that leads to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. But if you look toward the shoreline, on a clear day, you almost feel like you could see forever. It's rare to find a completely clear day along the coast, so we considered ourselves amazingly lucky to be able to see the beauty of not only the lighthouse itself, but the gorgeous shoreline as well. I didn't want to go home that day, I could have stayed right there forever.

Daffodils In A Red Vase 1999

Without getting into details, I went through a bout of major depression which began in 1998 and I basically staid there until about 2003 when I began to get back in touch with my creativity. When I took this photo, there hadn't been a day in months that I could find any joy in. I was empty inside, and little did I know, it was only the beginning of what turned into years of devastation, which ended in 2003, when one day I started a blog on AOL Journals called Ellipsis. The day I took this photo, was early on in my illness, and some well meaning friends demanded I accompany them on a trip up the coast to Mendocino County, Ca.

We were on the way to visit the sister of a good friend of mine, but little did I know, it was actually just my friends, trying to encourage me to not give up me photography. As much as I resented it at the time, I look back on this photo with happiness. I was doing photography on demand, and as much as I resented their butting into my business, I see the pain and and profound grief I was experiencing in this photo. Years later I would find out that, for whatever reason, I tend to do my best photography under pressure, and sometimes, when I am at my saddest. My photograph is very personal to me, and yet at the same time, I enjoy sharing the things I see. For me, taking photos is more important than breathing. LOL. Of course, without the one, you really don't have the other! LOL.

And finally...


Elvira wasn't the first celebrity I have photographed, but without a doubt she is in the top 3! Elvira was appearing at a Halloween Super Store here in the East Bay, and since Alan and I are big fans, there was no way I could pass up the chance to brave the crowds to get some photos! Honestly, she is such a warm and inviting lady, and you can tell she is a sweetheart! I loved her interaction with those who came to see her, and she was especially nice to those who participated in the Elvira Lookalike Contest! And no... I didn't win! But hey, it was the right way to go, who ever heard of an Elvira that only stands 4ft 11 inches? LOL.

Okay, that's my photographic moments from Long "Ago And Far Away."

Now it's your turn! Please go and visit the other Round Robin participants, and see for yourself how talented they are with a camera! And if you would like to join the fun, I know Karen would love to have you come along for the fun! Simply click the link at the beginning of this post to be redirected to the official Round Robin Photo Challenge blog!

Mood: Reflective

~Me :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Moon Rising

Waxing Gibbous Moon 83% Of Full

"If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."

~George Carlin

Not all that long ago, it came up in conversation with Alan that when he was a child, he thought it was odd that he could sometimes see the moon so clearly in the middle of the day. The mere fact that he had, on occasion, seen the moon while on his way home from school, or while playing outside, or at any time before dark, had ruined all werewolf stories for him. It was a closed case! All werewolf stories must be total crap!

For me, I didn't give up on werewolves because I saw the moon in the daytime. I just figured that the person who was inflicted with lycanthropy was especially sensitive to the moon at night, because everything got colder and darker, which in my child mind meant that while the sun was sleeping, there was no heavenly body keeping track of the moons actions. In short, while the suns away, the moon will play!

Now, just a few short years ago I did have quite an epiphany about the Invisible Man. Did you know that the Invisible Man, while always well dressed for the time, had the habit of going... commando? Well, he did! I made that observation one night while watching, Abbot And Costello Meet The Invisible Man, on Turner Classic Movies. In one scene, the invisible man began to disrobe, to prove that he was indeed invisible, and off came the tie, shirt and jacket, followed by his undershirt and then his pants. I was kind of intrigued, because I always wondered if the Invisible Man was a boxers or briefs kind of guy. Well, as it turned out, he was apparently a commando kind of guy!

Hmmm. Odd. I posted an entry in the old AOL Ellipsis blog about the situation, musing that it probably upset the censors to see a grown man take off his underwear, it was 1951 after all, but as it turns out, that had nothing to do with it. It was something much more routine and pertinent to the day. You see, during WWII there had been a shortage in elastic, like what is generally found in the waistband of men's underwear. Even a few years later, things were still being caught up in the availability. So, as it turned out, the Invisible Man was simply doing his part for the war effort!

One never knows where one might find a fine example of patriotism!

Let Freedom Ring!

Now, you have a story to share with your family and friends on Memorial Day!

You are welcome!


Mood: Silly

~Me :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A January Sunset

From For Ellipsis Album 2

"To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."

~Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind's Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

Alan and I took a trip out to Treasure Island last Monday night, to photograph the buildings that are lit up in red and gold in honor of the 49ers making to the Super Bowl. There wasn't any fog to worry about, and the day itself had been warm for January, but you have to always keep in mind that the Bay Area consists of micro-climates, and the East Bay can be warm, but San Francisco more than likely isn't. Of course, that depends on what part of San Francisco you are in. If you are downtown, either in the financial district or the theater district, it will be warmer than if you are out at Ocean Beach, or anywhere along the coast. All those lovely tall buildings work as lovely cold and windbreakers.

When it comes to Treasure Island, you pretty much have to start all over! LOL. Winter, spring, summer, or autumn, it's a good idea to have a sweater or jacket with you! LOL. San Francisco weather... you got to love it! It always has a little something for everyone, and I wouldn't give it up for the world! I love having as many choices as possible when I am out with the camera. I have learned to bring all three of my current cameras with me when I go to the city. I sometimes have to work really hard to accomplish what I would consider a good photo, and then there are those times when all I have to do is point and shoot.

This particular sunset illustrates that point I think. You can't fake a moment like that. The city lights were down, but the light in the sunset was more than enough color to bounce the ambient light off the water. Again, each and every day I get a reminder about things I need to work on when it comes to my photography. I need to be better about documenting times of day, weather conditions, temperature and surrounding conditions. I like to keep track of why I chose a particular scene, or perspective. Was I in pain from my arthritis when I took a photo? Was the weather warm enough to allow me plenty of mobility? It's not just enough to know the basic environment, I need to know how my Fibromyalgia factors in.

In a lot of ways I believe that my Fibromyalgia and my arthritis has made me a better photographer. I can say without reservation that I work to achieve a photo, rather than just aiming without regard and hoping for the best. Because of my Fibromyalgia, I have learned patience. I have learned that my instincts are, generally speaking, pretty good when it comes to my photography. It's so strange that I struggle sometimes to find simple words, and they allude me. I will sit here and compose a blog entry and read it over and check it a second time, and yet there can be all kinds of mistakes that I don't catch. It's so disheartening. But when it comes to the visual... the taking of a photograph... the seeing of an extraordinary moment... it's almost as if my mind speaks to my hands and tells them when to press the shutter, to find hold that moment, and I am let in on the secret only after the picture is taken.

Apparently, I have an angel on my shoulder, or a muse in my camera bag, either way, I know I never deserve full credit for the photos I take. I just took the picture.

~Mood: Grateful

~Me :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frozen Hot Cocoa

"Withstanding the cold develops vigor for the relaxing days of spring and summer. Besides, in this matter as in many others, it is evident that nature abhors a quitter."

~Arthur C. Crandall, New England Joke Lore: The Tonic Of Yankee Humor

I went out to the rose garden yesterday, to see how my roses have been faring in this unusually cold winter that the Bay Area has been experiencing. I knew that there would be at least a little damage, and of course, there was, but it broke my heart, just a little, to see what would have been some lovely new Hot Cocoa roses, almost open completely, but instead blackened and dead from the frost damage. The leaves have some black spotty fungus, which is easily taken care of. The key to all of it is letting nature take it's course. The current freeze damage is just a matter of ignoring it, as the dead parts of the rose stems protects the plant from further damage, and as for the fungus, a simple removal of the affected leaves in early in spring, along applying with a healthy dose of plant food, and a heavy dose of cinnamon at the base of each plant, will promote new, slow growth starting about a month or so after the first application.

All and all I have high hopes for the garden this year. :)


The key is to NOT PANIC! Believe me, thats easier said than done!


~Mood: Hopeful :)

~Me :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's The Har-Bowl, Unless It's The Bro-Bowl Either Way, It's The Super Bowl

"I love seeing other channels counter program the Super Bowl. PBS: "DAMN RIGHT we're airing a new 'Masterpiece Classic'! Fuck off, sports!"

~Tara Ariano


Yep, San Francisco is definitely going to be RED and GOLD another two weeks! San Francisco 49ers will meet the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. As you might have already guessed, I will be rooting for the 49ers, but even Las Vegas has them winning by 5, or 4.5 depending on who you ask.

I don't know, I have to admit the 49ers did have me a bit worried last Sunday when they played the Atlanta Falcons. The first quarter was unreal, as the team seemed to have no real defense, but by the time they came back from half-time, they had corrected whatever short circuit that was going on, and came back to win by 4 ending with a score of 28 - 24.

Oh well, stuff happens... right? We won't dwell on the mistakes of last Sunday, or the god awful record Akers has as a place kicker, or the nasty little accusation against Michael Crabtree. There's NO crying in football! On February 3rd, the only thing I will be thinking about is whether or not we have enough munchies for the game. I think I will do an special menu of football worthy nibbles.

We'll see.

Stay tuned!

But in the mean time, tell me, who do you like in this year's Super Bowl?

Is Las Vegas right with their projected point spread?

Buffalo Wings or BBQ Sliders?

Har-Bowl or Bro-Bowl?

Red & Gold or Purple & Gold

Jim or John?

Tell Me Everything!


~Me :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Feels Like A New Day

"National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today."

~John F. Kennedy
World Conference On National Parks (June 23 1962)

I was born six days after John F. Kennedy spoke those words. I wish public parks were as important today as they were in 1962. For that matter, I wish there wasn't such a drive to continue to invade and impose into our places of natural beauty for any reason, let alone for the greedy reasons that we tend to hear about most often... drill baby drill.

California has some magnificent parks. From the great big ones where one could get lost for days, to the small ones like this one, Greenridge Park, but more and more they are taking a financial hit, and it came very close to the permanent closure of many California parks after Governor Schwarzenegger's his term in office. Thank goodness, Governor Brown was able to take steps to fund most of the parks, at least in the short term, but there is still a lot to be concerned about. But with a surplus in the budget that California is currently enjoying, there is a lot of possibilities.

Sometimes things work out so strange. I was hoping President Obama would be more proactive with the environment, but he hasn't done much in regards to conservation. And I thought we had a champion in Al Gore, but I don't think I really know what his values are anymore. If I ever really did. I guess some things aren't always what they seem to be, but it really hurts all the same when someone you thought you could count on becomes someone you don't recognize.

When all is said and done, I voted for President Obama, and I wouldn't change my mind for anything. I think I have grown to appreciate the man for his ability to try and now his ability to know when to stop trying. The bible says even God stops knocking at some point. In retrospect, I think the frustration I would feel over President Obama's over reaching in his efforts to reach bipartisan conclusions, forced me to put a little more thought into what I really hold important. Perhaps in the next four years President Obama will do more about protecting the environment, so when I am finally at the age that all I can do is sit on a park bench and feed the birds, there will be a park bench to sit on.

Hope... it does a body good!

It's a strange feeling as I sit here writing this. President Obama was sworn in yesterday, officially, and today he is sworn in again for all to see. In some ways it feels like he is beginning his first term, and not his second. He has shown a lot of strength since the shooting in Connecticut. And a lot of courage to. I know that if the republicans, and the NRA wanted to be a part of a positive change in how we go forward concerning gun ownership, he would have been happy to have their input. Unfortunately, the NRA only wants their way or no way. And they don't care who they threaten. But President Obama didn't cower in fear, instead his is walking into the future and allowing his conscience to be his guide.

Thank You SO Much Mr. President!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Sarah Palin once asked... "So, hows that hopey, changey stuff workin' out for you?"

Well, 1/2 term Governor Palin... Pretty DAMN WELL! Oh and by the way, the British didn't want to take our arms, they didn't want us to begin our own nation. Sheesh. And shes allowed to pretend she knows how to sue a gun.

~Happiness :)


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wishes Granted

"Squeeze your eyes closed, as tight as you can, and think of all your favorite autumns, crisp and perfect, all bound up together like a stack of cards. That is what it is like, the awful, wonderful brightness of fairy colors. Try to smell the hard, pale wood sending up sharp, green smoke into the afternoon. To feel the mellow, golden sun on your skin, more gentle and cozier and more golden than even the light of your favorite reading nook at the close of the day."

~Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

Autumn, this year, seems a little reluctant to let go of it's day in the sun. I don't remember too many years when it was this colorful, for this long. To me it is an absolute delight. It is wonderful to see that colorful burst of autumn color and life, among a forest of stick figure trees. It's January, and to my delight I am still able to find all kinds of color and light, that if I didn't know better, I would swear could only occur in deep October to mid November. I know I should probably move onto more subjects unique to January or winter, but as along as the leaves are smiling at me, I am only too happy to stop and spend a little time with them, because clearly there is a message in them, or at least something to be learned. A little more practice with low light photography, if nothing else. Or maybe, someone who decides these things grants silly wishes like... "I wish I didn't have to wait so long for autumn to come around again." Hey, who knows, what does it hurt to throw out a wish once in a while, you never know when Mother Nature, or God, or Goddess, might just say... "WISH GRANTED!"

And it doesn't hurt that the leaves seem to be showing off their finest shades of red and gold, almost like encouragement for the San Francisco 49ers to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.

Just Saying :)

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."

~Eric Sloane


~Me :)

UPDATE: Go see what my pal JR has been up to! He always has wonderful inspiring photography posted on his blog, and his latest work is no exception! :)

JR Cline Photography