Saturday, September 29, 2012



Quail at the Treehouse

I guess I've been busy. Apparently too busy to write any new blog posts for a few days. I suppose I could fire myself for being a slacker, but I am an understanding boss.

I played and sang at the usual venues, here in Redding this week. The live recordings turned out well, and the music on them sounded pretty good too.

Next weekend I will be in Richmond as part of the LMP Trio at the Richmond Museum of History. I hope to get some good recordings and a lot of pictures of that event, so I can post some here, and on the LMP Trio website.

I could say I was busy taking pictures, and that would be true. And that I've been spending some time turning some of those pictures into pieces of art. That would be true also.

I did have the time, and opportunity to meet the person running for District 1. I was planning on voting for him anyhow but I had a chance to meet and hear him talk on the steps of the Shasta County Courthouse.

On the courthouse steps

His name is Jim Reed.

He reminds me of other politicians that I've met, respected, and liked over the years, who are knowledgeable, fully qualified, and have answered the call to represent their constituents.

Jim Reed

His message is positive and solution oriented. He recognizes that Social Security and Medicare belong to the people of this country and not to those corporations and captains of industry who want to privatize these services so they can make more profits.

Waterfall reflected in county building windows

He explained solutions to the debt problem that won’t add any additional burden on the middle class, seniors, veterans, poor, or disabled. His experience as a tax attorney gives weight to his proposals for balancing the budget.

I hope you have candidates like him to vote for in your districts.

There was a lot of ‘lens candy’ on, and around the courthouse steps. I had plenty of artistic tableau's to take pictures of, and I took full advantage of the opportunity.

So there you have it; my visit to the press conference and the beautiful flowers that grew around the courthouse.

Speaking of beautiful flowers, and who wasn't? I have here a slideshow featuring some beautiful flowers that I photographed in the waning sunlight on last Tuesday’s, beautiful, Redding afternoon around the Treehouse.

Today’s Amusing Video;

Cementing Communications

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ups and Downs

Of Updates and Upgrades

There have been several updates and upgrades over the last few days. Over all, that is good. New features are now available, my Apple products/devices are even more interconnected, and some of my software/apps are chock full of new capabilities and functions.

Some of these upgrades are pushing my 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor beyond its comfort zone, and it takes extra time for it to handle the increased data load. This, when combined with the recent update to iPhoto was more than it could handle last night when I was editing some pictures of the moon. They simply went away, along with the previous import.

Lucky for me, I had pulled a few of those lost images onto the desktop earlier, before the vanishing act. I move the images during the first viewing if I see especially interesting pictures that I want to play with in some of my editing and production software. I am glad I did.

As for all those shots I took of the moon last night, well...tonights moon was a good one for pictures, too. Everything is satisfactory.

Tomorrow, provided I get up early, I plan to go to Jim Reed’s press conference on the steps of the county courthouse. He is one of the people I am voting for, so it is a great opportunity to hear what he has to say for himself. Maybe I will get to ask a question or two.

One more fun sunset;

Today’s Selected Video;

Sagrada Familia (Ode à la vie) - Démo officiel from Moment Factory on">Vimeo


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Letting A Little Magic

Into My Life

Some days I might try to move ahead of my cog in the wheel of destiny, but a long line and a slow checker, or some other delaying factor will make sure I arrive at the right place at the right time, no matter how hard I try to change the pace.

This evening, it was my feeling that there was going to be a picturesque sunset moment when the clouds in the west would light up in living color for a brief and beautiful display of nature’s splendor.

I began my photo adventure at the Treehouse by testing my cameras from the second floor landings of A and B buildings about an hour before the actual sunset. The results were not particularly impressive, so I made plans to go to the store to pick up something for dinner and to see how things might look just off Masonic, at a spot above the homeless camp there.

The western sky was just starting to get a little pink as I parked to pop into the dollar store to pick up some ibuprofen. Activity in the store was not going according to my plan, but being philosophical in spirit, I accepted that I was probably where I should be at that time, ( “Wherever you go, there you are”, and other 60’s hippie, zen-like slogans crossed my mind. )

Eventually a second checker opened a register and beckoned me to lane 4. I was relieved of a couple of dollars plus tax, and out the door with two containers of ibuprofen.

As I stepped out of the store, the sky was beginning to light the clouds with a red glow that seemed to come from within some of them. I considered getting the camera out and taking pictures right there, but the fast food joints and lights on poles didn’t belong in my vision of natures enchanting magnificence.

The photo spot that I had in mind was just across the way, so I got in the Buick and headed out of the parking lot to get on Masonic and, wouldn’t you know, there was a big blue city bus blocking the way as it slowly turned around in the cul de sac.

I finally pulled in on the dirt road where I knew I could get clear shots that would include Shasta Bally. I got the Lumix and stepped outside just as the clouds in the western sky were set ablaze.

I took as many composition shots as I could during the few minutes the sky was lit with color and character, then headed over to Raley’s to pick up some veggie lasagna. The cogs and gears that fit my existence on the cosmic wheel of life, are once again aligned with my state of being. All is well with the world at this juncture of time and Phil’s Place.

Today’s Timely Video;

A Good Time To Be Alive

Friday, September 21, 2012

Enjoying The Weather

And Blue Skies

This week has been mild, with temperatures just tickling the underside of the 100 degree mark. The skies remain relatively clear and the breezes are welcome refreshment when one steps into the shade.

I enjoy these fine days, here in Redding. The nights have been pleasantly cool.

Temperatures have been dropping into the mid 50s out there in the night. Because of the orientation of my apartment to the northerly breezes, this translates to mid 70s inside with the windows open.

Monday Music

Monday Music at the Treehouse is a wonderful uplifting time for everyone who comes to the dining room from 4 to 5 pm on Monday afternoons. I look forward to playing and singing with the great bunch of neighbors who share familiar melodies and the words that made the unforgettable songs that fill our lives.

So far, we also fill up on the tasty desserts that Jackie and Darlene bring and serve up afterward. Last monday it was a banana cream delight with ice cream on top.

Thursday Music

Last night, Sarah Pappenheim played a few tunes with John, Billy, and myself.

I want to thank the people who are nice enough to take a few pictures that I can play with when I get home. Margaret has been taking pictures at the Monday Music fest, and Rocky has snapped a few pix while I play at the Shasta Blues Society, Thursday Jams.

The flowers perform daily, and I get to take their pictures, myself.

Solar Butterfly

Today’s Official Video;

Monsterbox from Bellecour 3D on">Vimeo

All Sizes

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Couple Of Things

That Crossed My Mind

I really enjoy breakfast.

Particularly with all the fresh organic fruit that is available.

Most of the smoke from the wildfires has dissipated and we were greeted today with a clear blue sky. The blue made nice backgrounds when taking photographs of the flowers.

Everybody had a nice smile on today, including Carlos, and his mail truck.

This zinnia, or as I call it, “pineapple looking thing”, was real happy to have some blue sky and direct sunlight today. I found this, among others, in a happy garden box behind B building.

The Band At Lulu’s

Billy on bass, and Mike on drums, have been helping John and I fill out the band for the last few weeks. We're beginning to make knowledgeable adjustments and the sound is turning out alright. We even have worked out some arrangements of the original tunes that sound pretty good.

Sometimes I'm amazed at the mind’s ability to store data. Like the data I have stored to be able to recall all the information necessary to sing and play the hundreds of songs that I have learned, heard, or written through the years.

Life is amazing, fascinating, and filled with an abundance of delightful experiences.

I am grateful that we have all been given this precious present of possibilities.

I could see Lassen this evening, and so could the camera.

Today’s Video;

Listen to the heart of Tuscany from Gunther Machu on">Vimeo

Sound Observations 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Comparatively Speaking

Distinctions Abound

This cat thought I was such a nuisance. Didn’t I understand it was trying to stalk and catch that bird out there on the grass?

The F and the T, side by side

These are images from my two favorite cameras side-by-side for comparative purposes. I am showing them, (pretty much), straight from the camera without any post production.

I took the pictures from the same distance, and with the same settings. The FZ5 pictures are on the left, and the TZ3 pictures are on the right.

Both cameras have a 10x optical zoom lens, but the TZ3 has a wide angle lens so the reach is not as far. The lens on the TZ3 is smaller in diameter as well, but it’s sensor has more mega-pixels, so details are sharper and it can be cropped without obvious deterioration.

Here is an example where I cropped the cereal picture from the TZ3 so it would match the size ratio of the FZ5. It still holds it’s sharpness. I also lightened it a bit to match.

The TZ3 image, (on the right), has a flatter perspective and lacks the obvious depth of field of the FZ5, but the colors are richer in tone and luminosity.

Now back to the unadulterated, straight from the camera results...

Once again, the FZ gets closer, but the TZ has stronger color density.

The reds and blues of these appear the same, but the greens are different.

That concludes today’s comparison. I find that both cameras serve me well, and have become a natural part of my creative composition experience. They are both Panasonic Lumix cameras and fit my idea of how digital images can work.

There is a visual quality, and tactile sense that these cameras give to me, that I don’t feel when using some of the other brands. I am very fortunate that these cameras managed to find me.

This is one of those rare times that one can see MT Lassen from the Treehouse, lately. It is nice when the smoke and haze clears enough to view this magnificent mountain. Some of the wildfires continue to stubbornly resist the efforts of our valiant fire fighting crews, but in another week or so, most of the fires should be extinguished.

Today’s Video;

Purely Pacific Northwest from John Eklund on">Vimeo

Very Vast Vivid View