I saw this incredible sculpture at Tiburon, California a few weeks ago. The community had commissioned a sailboat for their plaza by the bay. I was having coffee across the street when the glint of the sun off the sails caught my eye. Looking across the street I saw the base of the piece was actually a seat placed in front of the sail. How clever, I thought. Closer examination revealed the sails were placed above a reflecting pond. I was hooked so I picked up my camera and started to take a few photos. I decided to leave out people and focus solely on the sculpture itself.
You can see from the examples, the artist created a cornucopia of possibilities from his simple task to make a sailboat. As you view the photos remember that the photo you had in mind when you decided to take the picture is not the only view or picture to be taken. Move around and discover other possibilities that you might not have seen in the beginning.
David duChemin writes about composition and intent all the time. The overarching theme on his blog and in his classes is composition is more important than equipment. I couldn’t agree more. The two photos here are a good example. I’m happy with each but for a different reason. The top photo gives the impression the artist is doing a self portrait. In the second photo you can see she is working from an image and has something other than a self portrait in mind. The second photo is about multiple artists working next to each other. Each photo tells a different story.
A photograph without intent is a snapshot. A carefully composed photograph can tell a story.
We stopped by the Palo Alto Art show on August 25. Of course I took my camera but being an artist I had no intention to photograph other people’s art. That would be like stealing their intellectual property. So what do I photograph? The answer jumped out at me as watched the chalk artists create their art on the street. Amazing talent!
I love the island life. My island doesn’t have umbrella
drinks, hot sandy beaches or reggae music. My island has foggy mornings,
evergreens and conifers, and orcas. I can drive to my island. San Juan is my
island. Situated below Victoria Island in Canada and northwest of Seattle it is
famous for orcas, mild weather, a laid back atmosphere, and beautiful forested
The journey gets it start on a ferry. While it may seem as
though the ferry is still part of the getting-there, this ferry frequently has
surprises in store. As the highest peak north of Seattle, Mount Baker is one of
those surprises. One of the volcanos in the Cascade mountain range, it’s snowy
peak can be seen from the water on nearly the entire journey from Anacortes all
the way to Friday Harbor. It’s majesty can easily be eclipsed by a pod of
resident or transient orcas. While I strongly recommend a trip on one of the
whale watching boats (I call them the whale paparazzi) during your visit, it is
still possible to spot orcas, dolphins, and other large sea life on the ferry
going to Friday Harbor. Another surprise might include a tall sailing ship in
the Salish Sea as you traverse the distance. The Spike Africa is one of the
schooners you’re likely to spot.
Once on San
Juan Island, you’ll find multiple opportunities to visit an island that is both
a tourist destination and has an agricultural economy. Don’t miss a drive
around the island to view the coastline but look to the interior as you go. If
you from an urban area, it’s almost like stepping back in time. Highlights in
your circumnavigation of the island include Roche Harbor and Lime Kiln Point
State Park. The lighthouse at Lime Kiln State Park is one of the locations the
resident pods of orcas have been studied for decades. The folks in the
lighthouse are anxious to talk about their observations if you strike up a
A big plus when
stopping at Lime Kiln is the immediate depth of the water. I have stood at the
viewing location and seen orcas go by so close it seemed I could reach out and
touch them as they went by. Don’t count of seeing the orcas so close but it is
common. If you miss your chance I highly recommend you spend your $100 a
head to join the whale paparazzi
boat for a 3-4 tour. Regardless if the orca are one of the three
resident pods or a transient group, the boats will find them. On a recent visit
we ended up in Canada in the search for orcas. Of course since we were on the
boat we didn’t need passports to enter Canadian waters.
One of the joys of a visit to San Juan Island is the
opportunity to rent a kayak and paddle the waters around the island. You can
pick a short one hour paddle or go out for multiple days. Outfitters will show
you how to paddle the boats, you’ll be with a group of people, and the guides
are ready to point out the seals, bald eagles, and other abundant wildlife
during your paddle.
I know the islands that get all the press are the ones with
hot sunny white sandy beaches and lots of umbrella drinks. I like those islands
too, but stretch you life experience a little and check out the islands of
Pacific Northwest. Don’t forget your camera.
Susanville is a unique place. Situated near the base of Mr.
Lassen National Park, it is the only town with full services in the Mt. Lassen
neighborhood. Long the staging place for cowboys, ranchers, logging, and mining.
The town was profiled in a 2007 PBS special titled “Prison Town” that examines
the economic effects to a community that chose to host a state prison, however,
I wasn’t interested in the prison, I wanted to see the old town and learn a
little about this part of California.
Armed with my curiosity and my camera, I walked from the county fair uptown to the old retail section on Main Street. Not unlike how we shop for art, I was looking for a place that would capture my imagination and lunch. I took a few photos as I walked, looking for something artsy and something that would set Susanville apart from any other California town in the Sierra Nevada’s or the foothills. Obviously, the local CVS wouldn’t do. I needed something that had been around for a while, something with secrets.
As I wandered Main street the sign for the Pioneer Café caught my attention, in part because at two o’clock in the afternoon it was illuminated. The sign has a certain style to it that speaks of yesteryear which called me like one of the sirens in the Odyssey. I was greeted by the 36 foot long bar, the longest bar in northeast California. I knew this place has stories to tell.
The 19th century residents of Susanville were no more anxious to pay taxes than you or me. With so much ranchland both states of Nevada and California claimed the area for taxable purposes. One common tale is that the when tax collectors came by residents “agreed” to be part of whichever state suited their lowest-tax-needs. For some taxes Nevada was chosen but for others California was a better choice. Some residents naturally preferred one state over the other which caused some hard feelings. Legend has it there was a scuttle between the two sides as they worked out the border. Instead of shooting each other they went to the bar and settled the issue over a few beers. Is this the bar where the fabled event happened? No one knows for sure so the Pioneer Bar claims it must be the place!
Over the years the Pioneer has been the site for a good drink, a place to play pool and snooker. For a while it had a “Gentleman’s Room” upstairs. You don’t have to give it much thought to figure out what was going on. They don’t call it the wild west for nothin’.
Today the building is occupied by the Lassen Ale Works. Home of a couple
of unique brews and good food. I had a Pastrami Ruben served on marbled rye
with a good horseradishy-based dressing and wonderful beer battered onion rings
with and their Uptown Pale Ale
. I’m no Guy Fieri so I‘ll just say I enjoyed my meal and recommend it. Their menu has a brief history of the place. For more details check out their history tab of the website https://www.lassenaleworks.com/history. As I waited for my meal the murals on the wall that tell the story of the county and the overall attitude of the place worked on me. The back room is a good place for the little league team to celebrate their on-field victory while the front of the store has that marvelous bar and white linen tableclothed dining. In the back is a painting that commemorates the racing heritage of Moto Guzzi, a tip of the hat to the passions one of the owner’s.
I had a great conversation with the manager, Margaret
Liddiard who is full of stories about the bar and the area. She filled me with
stories that fit in the category of “things I forgot” and her pleasant attitude
was the icing on the experience.
Here’s a few photos to give you a feel for the place. Don’t
take my word for it, when you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for a meal, a
brew, and some old tyme eye candy.
Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is a local gem for mid-state Oregonians. For us urban Californians it offers a couple of things we generally need to drive to see, waterfalls and endless forests. According to the Oregon state parks website (www.oregonstateparks.org) this is the “Crown jewel” of their state parks system. The Trail of the Ten Falls is a 7.2 mile loop with a view of ten falls including a behind the falls view. We did the two ends of the trail during our visit.
Photographically it’s always a challenge to take a photo that is somehow unique. It could be from a different perspective or perhaps include a member of your party. When we return from a vacation place we put a collage of photos from the trip on a wall. We get a revolving art show and warm fuzzies from our trip. Of course, there are always phone pics to show off when we’re out and about.
We visited on a sunny clear day. Anytime we visit Oregon we are ready for rain (why else would it be so green year-round?) but there was no need for ponchos on this visit. With only 800 feet of elevation change throughout the hike the attitude is easy and there is a lot of company.
Here are a couple of “Wish you were here” postcards.
Memorial Day was established as a remembrance of Civil War soldiers, all of them American. According to History.com tributes to the fallen began as early as 1866. While the exact chronology seems to be a little vague, it became a federal holiday in 1971. Originally known as Decoration Day, it has since been the country’s opportunity to honor all soldiers.
Here in nearby Felton we have an annual reenactment of the Civil War at a place called Roaring Camp. The American Civil War Association (www.awca.org) stage the annual event which includes camp followers and soldiers.
-Our feature today is Frank. Frank is an engineer turned blacksmith. When we met him he was working on a bottle opener for a couple who stood close by intently watching him ply his trade. Blacksmiths were the local go-to for any part, tool, or trinket made from iron. During the Civil War Frank would have been responsible for repairing or replacing weapons, utensils, building tools and what not.
Of course there’s more fun to be had than just the blacksmith.
What’s a battle without a big boom?
And a little music…
And we have to shoot at each other (even if the aiming isn’t too good). Of course it is nearly 60″ long and weighs about 9 pounds.