Friday, November 16

Giving Thanks

This year - this week actually - I have so much to be happy about and thankful for.
  • Mom is back in her own apartment, sleeping in her own bed, running her own day. And we've returned her checkbooks and credit cards.
  • The CamCo fundraising auction proceeded successfully. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I brought home some nice photos, too.
  • A new reference librarian starts on Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. That spells relief for Agnes and Mei as well.
  • My budget was completed and submitted pretty much on time and on target and I didn't resort to soda pop and cookies to get through it.
  • A delicate contract negotiation at work seems to be winding down.
  • I was supposed to be camping this weekend but instead I am planning and prepping for a Thanksgiving Feast.  If I am not camping, at least I'll be cooking (and eating).
  • It rained yesterday and what a relief that is.
What have I to look forward to besides turkey leftovers?  I'll be leading a small backpack at the end of the year and getting away from work for at least five days and finishing some prints in my newly renovated workroom (another blessing to be thankful for). I'm considering a new years card for my family and friends.
Most of all, I'm looking forward to quiet evenings at home in my kitchen or my workroom.
Simple  pleasures.

Saturday, October 20

Camera Committee Auction - November 10

Remember this shot from my Grand Canyon outing at New Years?  
I donated a cleaned-up version to the Camera Committee Auction. It will be one of scores of lovely photos up for bidding on November 10. Check out the auction gallery (see the links in the right column) to see most of the offerings.

Bill Bett's Lotus Flower
The Camera Committee Auction is an occasional event. It happens whenever our till gets low. We'll keep about two year's operating expenses and the rest of the proceeds will be donated to the Angeles Chapter's groups and sections to sustain conservation and educational activities.

The Camera Committee Auction is a fun event with food, beverages, socializing, and, of course, art!  If you have always been curious about but intimidated by art auctions, this is a "starter" event.  Beautiful works by friends and some Photographers of Renown, low pressure bidding and usually some bargains.  I guarantee that you will not need a second mortgage to acquire art here. Bring your checkbook.

I hope to see you at the auction.

Sunday, October 14

Me, Too - Shuttle-Spotting

"Didja see the Shuttle fly by?" 
Years from now, Angelenos and other Californians will be comparing their shuttle fly-by stories and snapshots.  Not me - I missed it. Sitting on the 38th floor at my desk with my camera on my belt, keeping one eye on the window and I still missed it - twice. Grrr!
I consoled myself with the idea of walking the Endeavour into its new home (a la Heizer's rock), but all the transportater logistics, sidewalk closures and yellow tape nixed that idea.
Ultimately, this morning, I did get to walk with the Endeavour, if only for a couple of blocks. Then we just hung out at the Forum for a couple of hours. Me, Endeavour and thousands of our dearest friends. It was actually quite a lovely time.
I fell in love with the hands and cameras that popped up over the crowd. You can see a gallery of Shuttle Snaps on my Picasa page.

Sunday, September 30

Full Moon

This moon peeked through a ruined window in the Antelope Valley long ago - it's the Milk Moon in May.

Mom and I have been observing the progress of September's Harvest Moon from the south and east windows of St. Vincent's where she is waiting for a pressure wound to heal. I hope it's the last cycle we'll watch there, but it seems like there is no telling when she will be ready to return home.

She is really too "well" to be in the TCU at St. Vincent's but she can not return to her room at St. John's until the wound has reached stage 1 (almost healed).  There is a meeting on Thursday with family, doctors and other medical advisors. We'll be trying to sort out a solution.

Monday, August 20

Resilient Mom

In February 2010, my Mom had a fall at her home in Lindsay. She spent several days in the hospital for diagnostics and then almost four weeks in convalescent care. The family spent a lot of time on State Highways 99 and 65. I snapped this picture on 65, south of Porterville.

When she was released, she agreed to move south, closer to her kids. It was not too long before she was walking laps of the garden at St. John of God Retirement Center twice a day. She participated with Team Marlene in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Exeter in 2010 (four laps of the track) and 2011 (six laps). This year, she was committed to other engagements and had to forgo the relay.

Last month, on July 22, she had a fall at home and has been at St Vincent Medical Center in the weeks since. Now in their Transitional Care Unit, she has daily physical and occupational therapy sessions. It's pretty easy for us kids to drop in and take her for walks and exercises, too. She has been beating me at Gin Rummy and has me on the ropes in an interrupted game of Canasta.

She is a tough, old bird and is making great progress on her return to normal. We are hoping to see her release this week. (With fingers crossed for luck, we are open to prayers and mountain sage. We'll take all the good vibrations we can get.)

Mom may not walk the Exeter Relay next year because the four-hour journey is pretty taxing, but I expect to see her scooting around behind her red walker real soon.  I'd love to see her walking a local relay in solidarity with Team Marlene in May. We'll see.

Monday, July 9

Wrong Rock Story

Opending Day at LACMA. Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass. The masses are out there looking and milling around. Lots of pixels firing as people pose with their hands in the air while their friends direct "higher...little bit higher.. now flatter" [snap]

See this guy in the green shorts and billed cap? Watch him.

He's making his way up the west end of the trench. Carrying the lady's bag, right? Snaps a picture here and there.
So, as he approaches he says to this little clutch of people
"You know it's the wrong rock, don't you?"
The dark haired lady with the sunglasses catching her breath exclaims "What?!?"
"Yeah" he says, "there was a mix up at the quarry. They put the wrong rock on the transporter."
"No..." we all say.
Yep, he says, "the ART rock is still sitting in the quarry. This is just a rock." And he saunters on.

We all look at each other and break out in laughter. We shake our heads muttering "that's a good story!"

A good story levitates the moment.

Wednesday, June 27

Levitated Mass Culmination

On Sunday, the big rock officially took its place in a work called Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. It was the opening of the installation on the LACMA grounds with speeches and a red ribbon cutting. Politicians, philanthropists, curators, art lovers, rock watchers and rock followers were all in attendance and walked the trench that married the rock to become art.  
I want to say this is the culmination of decades of work and waiting, but I hope it is just the beginning of a long history.
Don't worry, I have more pictures.

Monday, June 11

The Rock Revealed.

The drape is gone.
The Rock is revealed.
It's a beauty!

I visited the Rock at LACMA on Sunday morning and was happy to see that the green drape has been removed. There remains the debris that accompanies finishing touches, like drop cloths, piles of decomposed granite, earth-moving equipment and a wagon filled with very large water tanks. There are workmen in white outfits like painters. I was hoping I could see what they were up to but I had to get on with my day.

Landscaping seems to be underway or "land-scraping" maybe. It's barren at this point.

The banner that describes Michael Heizer's project is posted on the construction fence. It looks like it will hold up - only 13 days left to the official opening on June 24!

Something I noticed on LACMA's website
     Special: Free museum admission June 24 to July 1, 2012, for
     residents in zip codes along the transport route. Find out more


Tuesday, May 15

It's been a long time . . .

. . . and I don't have much to say except I wish I was shooting more and working less.

Just to make a post, I'm putting up some shots from the Camera Committee Hummingbird Photo Workshop presented by my friend Allan Der.

I didn't do very well with pre-focus and anticipate exercise of it. But these folks made some remarkable images. Check them out on the Meetup page.

Here is my best shot. Don't look too closely unless you are wondering how not to capture a hummingbird in flight.

Thanks to Allan, there are more good photos out there.

Sunday, April 22

The Rock is Perched in New Dress

The view to north. Doesn't the Rock look like a catalog model, hip-cocked and left leg extended to emphasize the elegant lines of the gown?

The view from Fairfax and Sixth Street, through the trench.
I was surprised to see a green cloak (a parachute maybe) settled on Michael Heizer's Rock this morning. Viewed from the Broad (looking north to Park La Brea), it's fairly elegant, draping nicely and pooling about the base.  From the West, it looks a bit shabby.

Nice color, though.

In what I assume is its ultimate position, I begin to see the levitation effect. I can't wait for the big reveal!

The west end of the concrete trench seems to be finished, and the red transporter and gantry equipment has been reduced to one trailer load of stuff (glimpsed behind the Rock above. Heavy equipment still dots the yard and the trench.

Friday, April 13

Rainy Day at the Getty Villa

I visited the Getty Villa today for the first time since it re-opened. 
I don't know why it has taken me so long! Here is a link to these details photos and their parent frames.

Sunday, April 1

Rock of a Different Color

Touring Red Rock Canyon State Park with Bob and Carole was enlightening.
You have driven through the park many times on Highway 14 as you make your way to greater adventures up Highway 395, headed for Mt. Whitney, Mammoth, Trona Pinnacles, Death Valley. Maybe you have driven into the campground to use the bathroom. Maybe you even thought you'd visit...some day.

For me that day turned into three this weekend. It was great.

You can see this formation from Highway 14. It might be called the Temple of Heliopolis

Turk's Turban

Ancient Petroglyphs in Last Chase Canyon

Orion and Taurus over Ricardo Campground
Thanks to Red Rock Canyon-enthusiast Bob for introducing me to this wonderful "neighborhood" park.  Thanks to Carole for facilitating the great outing and for getting up before dawn, motivating me to go out and capture the Turban pictures.

Saturday, March 24

The Rock Waits.

Now that Michael Heizer's rock has arrived in the backyard at LACMA, the museum can finish the preparation of the installation site. I didn't get it. I thought the site was ready for the rock, but when I saw it roll in I realized that they had to roll over the west end of the trench.
The rock waits.
So now the rock waits for the setting to be completed.  This is the view from a hole in the fence on Sixth Street. The red structure behind is a gantry that will somehow magically lift the rock and very gently settle into place over the concrete foundation.
That's engineering magic. If I was 14 years old and watching this process, I'd like to think I would pay more attention to my math and science classes and major in engineering instead of english.

Saturday, March 10

Midnight on the Street With a Big Rock

Call me crazy.  I don't care.  I walked the Rock home last night.
We connected about 10:30 at Exposition and Figueroa and then made our way to Sixth and Fairfax. It took all night.

Making the turn from Adams to Western

Passng by the historic Los Altos Apartments.
Rock Escort

Tuesday, March 6

You meet the nicest people

This evening, Nan and I left work a little early trying to meet Jerry and Kay in Cerritos in time to catch a little evening light on Michael Heizer's big rock en route to LACMA.  Clouds on the horizon made a muddy sunset but we had a good time visiting the rock anyway.
It was so fun because of the people we met. A large crowd of curious locals and dedicated rock gawkers lined South Street just east of Palo Verde Avenue. It was all very orderly and so friendly. It was obvious that many people stopped on their way home from work. Some walked from the immediate neighborhood (many brought their dogs).  Others apparently had picked up the kids and driven over. Everyone had a camera or video recorder or smart phone.
LACMA had several red-shirted volunteers there answering questions and interacting with visitors. They all seemed to be having fun, too. [At dinner, Nan, Jerry, Kay and I agreed that the volunteers should have been handing out pebbles from the quarry, like they hand out fabric swatches at Christo installations. Maybe next time.]
With street traffic reduced to one lane in each direction, you would think drivers would be annoyed or irate. But many of them crept along snapping pix over the steering wheel and leaning out to ask questions. No honking horns, no rude hand gestures.
It seems that the big rock travels with a surplus of good will.  I hope that good will lingers around the installation on Sixth Street!

Monday, February 20

Trona Pinnacles

Don't fool around - go ahead and click the images to see the larger versions.

All of these were made using the high contrast black and white feature on my Sony Nex 5N.

Pretty cool, but I think the better practice will be to do the color to black and white conversion back at home.

Saturday, February 18

Consolation Trip

When plans for a Presidents' Weekend trip fell through, I pursued a consolation trip. It's working out pretty well.  Nice skies over Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve.

More images on my Picasa page. If all goes well on Sunday, I'll add a few more shots.

Saturday, February 4

SoCal Winter Day

Days like this are not exactly typical but they happen often enough that sometimes we Angelinos take them for granted. It's February 4 and there we were hanging out at the beach, poking around in tidepools, hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and then supping on the patio of a beach cafe as the moon looked on. We'll pay for this later with dry, fire-prone hillsides and only a whisper of a Spring wildflower bloom, but today we rejoiced.

I went out with Susan to scout a potential location for a pre-dawn photo excursion. Our destination was the Castro Crest, but since we had tidepools relatively near by at the completely-accessible Leo Carillo State Beach and an early-afternoon minus-low-tide, we took a little diversion.
The tidepools held many sandy anemones (see my January 22 post about that), a few starfish, sea grass, urchins, and mussels. And still I had no polarizer. So, how about that clever "foot print" (at top) left by some sand celebrant!
When we turned our attention to Corral Canyon and the Castro Crest, I was glad we dawdled sea-side. The flat light at our arrival was much improved by the time we departed. While Susan was busy composing lovely images, I caught a casual panorama from the parking area.
Our last stop was Malibu Seafood where we had fish and fries while the sun settled behind Point Dume. It was a beautiful sunset but as you know, I'm a luna-tic. The moon was what caught my attention in her 89% full glory.
It was a super Saturday.

Sunday, January 29

Stretching Our Legs on Mt Lowe

On the spur of the moment, Mary and I headed for Mt. Lowe (in the San Gabriel Mountains above Altadena*) on sunny Saturday morning. This was a sort of warm-up as Mary will be leading her famous Seven SoCal Summits for the Angeles Chapter in the spring. It proved to be a great mid-winter stretch with a little bit of elevation for us flatlanders. The whole day was a reminder of how lucky we are to live in paradise.

With the unseasonable weather we've been enjoying, Mary thought we might see some early wildflowers. The manzanita and ceanothus were blooming but for wildflowers, we saw only one little red Indian Paintbrush. We'll have to keep looking I guess!

The San Gabriels are green and lush at the moment so you probably want to get out there and hike around. You'll be happy you did. The views are marvelous as the hillsides have been opened up by the Station Fire and the ground plants are waking up.Speaking of which...

Beware! Poodledog bush is everywhere since it was activated by the fire. It is not blooming yet so it looks like a shrub with long droopy leaves on tall stalks. It can be just the right height to brush your uncovered arm as you skirt by on a narrow slopping trail. I wish I had taken a picture because the ones I've seen on the web show the plant in bloom - which isn't due for weeks.

*The Angeles Chapter's Hundred Peaks Section describes the hike here.

Sunday, January 22

Point Dume with Alison and Bill

 It is too late to be writing a post, I should be in bed already. But...
Point Dume - Alison confers with Norm
Angeles Chapter Camera Committee leader Alison deserves an acknowledgement. She took me to Point Dume years ago at the beginning of her tidepool tour. She lured me back this weekend and she leads a great trip.
She stared down the rain and got 10 people out there with her.

Same tidepools, new adverse conditions, better pictures, no complaints. I wish I'd brought a polarizer - not complaining, just saying...

Also, welcome back to Bill, who has been sidelined for so many months now. He returned this weekend to assist on the tidepools outing as usual. He's coping.
We're glad to have you back, Bill.
Ed and Bill work the angles on the starfish

Friday, January 13

It's a wrap

Working up my vacation photos and daily blog posts has been a great way to kick-off 2012 but, with this post, I'm closing the Grand Canyon series. I'll probably add more shots to my Picasa gallery, so if you are really a Grand Canyon fanatic, check it out occassionally.
If you are curious about my travel companion, Vaughn, check out this experimental video of park portraits that I compiled.

Thanks for visiting.