Saturday, November 14, 2015

Je Suis Paris

"If you were lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you,
 for Paris is a moveable feast."

~Ernest Hemingway 
A Moveable Feast

Mood: Sad


Friday, November 13, 2015

Altamont Pass Sunrise #4

"You've gotta taste the light, like my friend and fellow shooter Chip Maury says. And when you see the light like this, trust me, it's like a strawberry sundae with sprinkles"

~Joe McNally
The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets From One Of The World's Top Shooters

While I was photographing the sunrise last Monday, I was seeing all kinds of things on the Altamont Pass that I wanted to stop, and include in the photos, but instead I just tried to make some visual notes, and grab those fleeting moments as fast as I could. We were in a car, on the 580 freeway, and the whole scene was just unfolding so fast that I just kept clicking the camera as I saw the possibilities! One of those most striking aspects of the pass that morning were the power lines.

Ordinarily I don't pay that much attention to them, in fact I try really hard to keep them out of my shots, but like the wind turbines, the power lines seemed transformed by the colors of the sunrise into something really beautiful. I am glad I went ahead and included them in the series. I think I will be looking at them differently in the future. That's what I love about photography, it changes your world view and creativity. It changes the way you see things, and any chance for growth is a good thing!
And then finally as we exited the Altamont Pass the sky transitioned into a beautiful morning sky over Stockton. Slightly cloudy, slightly foggy and really cold. But I was happy inside. I got a lot done on that car ride. The photos I took were rewarding to me and I got them in one of my favorite ways to do photography, out the car's passenger window, as a casual observer, with no real time to overthink the photo, just the instinct and inspiration to take it!
Leaf Of The Day
November 13th 2015
Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Altamont Sunrise #3

"That time of day when the sun hasn't come up yet,
 but you can already feel it coming.
 It's an elusive warmth, like a subtle promise whispered in your ear and you can go on with your day knowing you've been give another chance to get it right."

~Cassia Leo

As I was admiring this amazing sunrise Monday morning, it occurred to me that I have seen more sunrises this year, then in a very long time, but none quite as striking as this one! I am not an early riser, in fact more times than not if I want to see a sunrise, I simply don't go to bed. I am a lifelong insomniac and then there are times when Alan's snoring makes it impossible to sleep, so I stay up and do my cleaning, or photo editing, and then I turn in for some sleep after he leaves for work. But last Sunday evening I went with him to work, as he did the graveyard shift, and as we came home we were treated to this lovely, vibrant, romantic sunrise, I was glad I had been able to see it! It was inspiring, and I am hoping to be able to do a lot more sunrise photography. I have to do some research and find some good places to park on the side roads off the Altamont Pass, so I can get as many different perspectives as possible. One good thing about moving, it has opened me up to all the new possibilities for photo jaunts. There is a lot of interesting history in this part of California, and I think it will be fun to learn all I can about where I live. It is time to explore new horizons I think.

Leaf Of The Day
November 12th 2015
Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunrise On Over The Altamont Pass Wind Farm

"Faeries come take me out of this dull world
For I would ride with you upon the wind
Run on the top of the disheveled tide
And dance upon the mountains like a flame."

~W.B. Yeats
The Land Of Heart's Desire

To me, there was something oddly beautiful about the Altamont Wind Farm turbines. I never really knew what about them kept my gaze each time we drove past them on the Altamont Pass, but something about them just resonated with me, kind of like the way the back of cereal boxes do. The facts on cereal boxes aren't particularly profound, but when I eat my breakfast cereal I more often times than not, find myself completely enthralled in whatever trivia, fast facts, or silly game is printed there. I passed these turbines, at least once a year, when I lived in the Bay Area, and now each time we drive from our new home in Stockton, to the Bay Area, as the closet route takes us right past them on HWY 580! When they are all running they came be quite beautiful, long arms stretched out spinning, and as you can see, they have a certain mysterious beauty as silhouettes against the rising sun, but it never occurred to me, until recently, how dangerous they had been to certain birds in the area. 

In a study, however, recently conducted by the Audubon Society, it was revealed that the windmills caused the deaths annually of some 75 - 110 Golden Eagles alone, but Burrowing Owls, and American Kestrels are killed in the hundreds as well! It's sad, but there is some encouraging news of late. It seems the site was recently purchased by Google, who will try installing smaller more slim-lined turbines which will be safer for the birds, while continuing to harvest wind energy. It will be interesting to see the transformation to the smaller windmills, I will kind of miss those giant, blades, but it makes me smile that the birds will be a lot safer in the process. I have never seen a golden eagle, I now look forward to that one day! One things for sure, I will keep my camera ready!

Leaf Of The Day
November 11th 2015

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Altamont Sunrise

"I love that this morning's sunrise does not define itself by last night's sunset."

~Steve Maraboli

By Suzy Kassem

Each day is born with a sunrise
and ends in a sunset, the same way we
open our eyes to see the light,
and close them to hear the dark.

You have no control over 
how your story begins or ends.
But by now, you should know that
all things have an ending.

Every spark returns to darkness.
Every sound returns to sleep
with the earth.

This journey of the sun
and moon is predictable.
But yours is your ultimate ART."

Isn't that a stunning sunrise, and don't the words of that poem fit it nicely? That is how the sunrise looked over the Altamont Pass yesterday morning. I got to enjoy it for about 40 minutes or so, and the colors kept changing first from a soft, almost depressing shade of violet, into this vibrant red/gold sky that reminded me of a type of rose I had grown while living in Berkeley. It's hard knowing I will probably never be able to afford the home prices in the Bay Area again, but at the same time I am coming to terms with that fact, and it hasn't killed me. In fact, I seem to be finding the art in my sadness and that is the best therapy of all! Picking up the camera makes me feel better in a very personal way. It helps me see the ART in the sadness! I will be posting more sunset photos as we go along, so stay tuned!

Leaf Of The Day
November 10th 2015

Mood: Encouraged/Artistic

~Me :)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Rainy Day Roses And Cats

"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
 So we sat in the house. All that cold, wet day."

~Dr. Suess
The Cat In The Hat

I woke up yesterday morning, to the sounds of rain softly tapping the rood, and my cat Dylan purring as he slept on my arm. He is a complicated cat, but when Dylan tells you are loved, you can believe it because he doesn't lie! He makes me feel like a success because he is very picky about who he trusts, and who he loves. Believe me, you haven't been ignored until you have been ignored by a cat, and no cat is more adept at ignoring than my Dylan. He loves me to the point of green eyed jealousy and allows only me to put him in his cat kennel for those odd times we have to take a ride in the car! He is a complicated cat, but he is worth all the fuss we go to from time to time. He just needs a little more understanding than most. And really don't we all need that from time to time? 

As if waking up the way I did wasn't enough to get my day off to just the right start... I woke up to this gorgeous pink rose bloom in the yard by the pool! Isn't it stunning? I am looking forward to nurturing it along this winter, and planting some new varieties next spring. Roses, and miniature Japanese Maples are on the agenda. Ideally my yard will look like an autumn wonderland next year at this time, but we'll see. There is a lot to come to terms with between now and then. Hopefully we can get some bills under control, and I need to get my homesickness/grieving under control, but in some ways I am already feeling better. With every new amazing autumn leaf I find, I feel a little better. It's all a matter of putting one leaf in front of the last, and moving on. 

Rainy Days and Tabby Cats certainly help!

Leaf Of The Day
November 9th 2015

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Reading On A Dark Sunny Autumn Day...

"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements
 will never do any harm to the world."


I was doing a lot of thinking under this gorgeous tree the other day. Mostly depressing myself, and whining about what was. But I also did some musing about who I wouldn't have to worry about running into anymore. Boy do I have a knack for that. I could go on vacation, probably to some out of the way, exotically horrific place, like downtown Baghdad, and there he would be... Mr. November. Unexpectedly. Poof... a giant part of my life, right there, in front of me, and there I would be... helpless... praying a bomb would just hit me already! But really, I ask you, why would I plan a vacation to Iraq? Not very likely. But also unlikely is the remote chance that Mr. November will jump out at me here in Stockton! That's a definite plus to moving here! My thoughts the other afternoon made me smile in the middle of all that dwelling and contemplation. Of course now that I have said there is NO chance of running into him, I probably will, but we will worry about that if and when it ever happens. 

But while I was sitting under the tree I did think about other things, like how much I used to enjoy packing a water, a small snack, and a book, and sitting  in this very park reading, especially this time of year! I would get all my photography out of the way, then crack open my latest read, and just lose myself in the pages. I suddenly realized that it has been nearly a year since I read a book! That is a strange circumstance for me. I have been a voracious reader my whole life. It's one of the many things I always had in common with Alan. We love sharing books with each other! That's how we both became fans of Dean Koontz. Alan loved Stephen King, and one day I decided to help him broaden his horizon's by buying him something of the same genre, by a different author! The book was Dragon Tears, and he loved it, so the next one I bought him was this one...

He really enjoyed it, but I never got around to reading it, so when I saw it a box I was unpacking the other day, I knew it was about time I did! So today, I will open it and just jump right back into myself. Well, a little more of myself anyway! Is there anything like getting back to who you are? I need to kick up some leaves, eat some cheese, and do some reading.

 It's a start... right?

Leaf Of The Day
November 8th 2015

Mood: Happy

~Me :)