Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's Beautiful Here

Early Spring

It was a lovely day, yesterday. Shirtsleeves weather. Short shirtsleeves.

The Redding area is a realtor's dream when the weather is like this. Not everyone would buy a house here when it’s 110 degrees, but everybody loves sunshine and low 70’s.

These are great days for photographing nature.

Yesterday, my neighbor, Margaret, and I went to take a few pix at some favorite photo spots.

Photo credit - Margaret Miller

A tiny spot of blue in the grass caught my attention, so I got a close-up shot.

Trees are budding and flowers are blooming at least a month too soon for their regular pollinators. These are interesting times for botanists and entomologists.

Today is another gorgeous day. I look forward to finding more subjects to tickle the Leica lenses on the Panasonic Lumix cameras.

Today’s Revealing Video;

A Day in India from The Perennial Plate on">Vimeo

What A World

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Life's Wonderful Mysteries

Appliances With Separation Anxiety?

Wind turbines on Hatchet Ridge

This morning, I turned off the noisy refrigerator while I had coffee, read the news, checked my email, and had breakfast. It was heavenly peaceful in my little abode. A wonderful way to start the day.

Still feeding the baby

Since it has been back on, it is only cycling up to about three fourths the volume it was yesterday. It is not cycling as often, either.

I could chalk this up to it having reset itself, like a computer, or it could be possessed with a personality that has an aversion to being replaced.

Today was a lenticular cloud day. This one pictured here, that Mount Shasta created, was particularly fun to watch as it changed shape. I could easily imagine that something so big and active would contain a personality of sorts, “I spin, therefore I am”.

I followed it over time, and from different locations. I even made the rookie mistake of shooting a few pictures in portrait mode. I was enamored, enchanted, and clearly not in complete control of my photographic impulses. Ah well, I just stuck them side by side in Pages, made a PDF, exported it as a JPEG, shrank it to blog size, and they fit on the page that way, “I find solutions, therefore I am”.

Sometimes, I enjoy finding character and personalities in appliances, clouds, chairs, cars, shoes, and umbrellas. My life is a lot richer when it is populated with whimsy, imagination, and magical creations.

So, if my refrigerator is quieter now because it likes it here and wants to stay, or if it was a mechanical reset, at least it is less noisome.

I choose to use my imagination to make living with the noisy creature more fun, but I will be happier when I get a quieter refrigerator.

Today’s Musical Video;
( I think this is the best Marie Daniels video, so far.)

Object Personality

Listen Closely

Hear The Changing Tides

Many a Sunday evening, I have driven home from opening the Jefferson State Blues Society Sunday Jam, and, while crossing the Sacramento river on the Market street bridge, I have seen the lights of the Sundial Bridge reflecting on the river.

Each time that it looks tantalizingly photogenic, I say to myself, “You should drive over to the kayak launching spot near the bridge, and take a picture”. This Sunday, I finally did.

My neighbor, Doris, let me know that one of her cacti was blooming, so I took a few pictures. I like the new place she has put the cactus. The images can be staged in a number of interesting ways.

Tonight I am writing the blog post from my, ‘study’. When I am finished, the study will be dismantled and the bedroom will reappear.

This move to the bedroom was provoked by the roaring, gurgling, mind erasing, relentless sound of the refrigerator. Sometimes it is extremely uncomfortable for me to be in the otherwise delightful living space of this apartment because of the sound level of the refrigerator. That’s a shame. I love living in this place.

I guess I will ask Kathern, our manager, again to replace it. She and Tony, our maintenance person, came in last year to listen, but it didn’t seem loud to them. Like most people, their hearing is not as acute as mine, so I can understand how they might not have thought it was too loud. Since it is even louder this year, maybe they will hear it this time.

I searched my blog with the word ‘refrigerator’, and it found THESE POSTS where I wrote about the noisy refrigerator. They go back to 2009!

I even considered turning the thing off entirely and just using it to store potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots, but where would I keep the Trader Joe’s vanilla ice cream?

Full Wolf Moon

I watched 60 minutes Sunday night. I am really glad that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are representing our country. It was so refreshing to see that there are at least two people in our government who are intelligent, educated, and experienced in matters of state.

Today’s Imaginative Video;

"Cool Unicorn Bruv" // Short film from Ninian Doff on">Vimeo

Waves Of Happiness

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Years First Full Moon

Full Wolf Moon

Moon last night, Jan 25

Yes, it’s that time again. The hungry wolves can be heard outside the teepee's, on the snow covered hills, howling at the moon. We call this the Full Wolf Moon, because the wolves bellies are empty and the moon is full.

I realize it doesn’t make perfect sense, but I suspect it was difficult to translate Algonquin into English. Sometimes it’s hard to translate English into English.

John Harrison was kind enough to put a new set of strings on my guitar this week. He would rather do it than have to look at the way my guitar looks after I change the strings. They stay in tune better while playing a gig after he has strung them, too.

My guitar always sounds so nice with fresh strings.

Photo credit - Rocky Evans

“La Primera Vez”, or, “The First Time”, is the name of the new song that John and I started writing this week. It feels really good to play, and I have almost finished writing the words and story.

John came up with a beautiful Spanish sounding musical hook, so I translated the main phrase into Spanish. It works. Stay tuned.

A Couple Of Contrasting Headlines

The Assault Weapons Ban Just Doesn't Have the Votes

UPDATE: Man on probation found with 15 guns, meth, possible explosives, deputies say

I can see why this fellow wouldn’t want a background check, or a ban on assault weapons.

I also understand why the NRA would mount a media campaign against anything that might have a negative effect on weapons manufacturers.

But why are people so quick to embrace those blatant lies and misrepresentations of the NRA propaganda that are in opposition to facts and common sense?  

My new favorite side dish is Trader Joe’s frozen stir fry vegetables. I put half a package in a covered microwave container for about 3 min and presto, add some fresh ground pepper and eat. This way I have something healthy on my plate while I continue to use up the food in my freezer that contains creepy, factory animal parts.

Today’s Video Offering;

Revelation, a Visual Poem. from sebastien montaz-rosset on">Vimeo

Harmoniously Happy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Expanding Universe

Of An Enlightened Mind

Last night, I got to watch Jupiter as it appeared to move from one side of the moon to the other.

It was a bit more spectacular than my current, ‘night moon camera’, (Lumix FZ5), can capture, but the dust speck in the image, (above at 1 o’clock), is an image of Jupiter.

Today, got off to a tasty start with an all organic breakfast. The fruit, cereal, and milk were all as nutritious, and tasty, one can get without growing it oneself. Do you know anyone who grows their own organic bananas?

The Treehouse flowers looked happy, and healthy when I stepped outside to check the mail. I had plans to go on a photo excursion to take some train pictures with my neighbor, Margaret, down by the trestle that crosses the Sacramento river.

While waiting for a train, we noticed a large flock of robins descending onto the Shasta Horseshoe Club, horseshoe pit area. The photography subject of the outing was changed to robins.

There were between 75 and 100 robins, pecking in the ground for worms. A few came close enough to get many good pictures of them. I plan to study the pix until I can identify the differences between the robins.

There was no 3:30, or 4:00 train to photograph, but it was a great day to snap pictures of robins. I wonder if it is the same flock that I have seen here at the Treehouse. I will have to compare pictures after I learn how to tell them apart.

Meanwhile, back at the Treehouse, I took a few more pictures.

This resident bird wanted it’s picture taken. I was experimenting with using the manual focus toggle, so the bird posed patiently while I ‘dialed in’ a nice portrait of it perched on the bush that it calls home.

I took this picture of the colorful flowers that Steve grows in a flower box on his porch, then headed up to see what goodies I might have brought back in the Lumix FZ8.

I am trying different methods to put groups of photos here, on the blog, in ways that might show the light, shadow, and color dynamics of the original images. Today’s video is a slightly better version of the video shown on the previous post.

It still lacks the vibrant color and detail that exists in the original pictures. I have a couple more experiments left that might achieve the results I seek. I will continue to make improvements each time inspiration chooses to visit this experiment. In the meantime...

Today’s Improved Video;

The Never-ending Path Of Improvement

Monday, January 21, 2013

Helpful, And

Kind People

You may have read about the new prescription drug provider, (or whatever one is supposed to call this unnecessary attachment to Medicare), that took over the previous company. The old one was Orange Slush fund, or something. The new one is Silver Platter Partners, or some such name for the private prescription plan the republicans inserted into the Medicare program during the Bush administration.

I went to Safeway to pick up a prescription today, and forgot to bring the card for this years corporate money leaching device, ah hem, prescription plan. I would have had to return the next day with my card in hand had it not been for John, the helpful pharmacist.

He took it upon himself to negotiate the twists and turns of the information highway on my behalf. He tapped, clicked, watched for the results, and even made a few trips to the other end of the prescription counter to get papers with codes and numbers to enter into the computer when the previous numbers led down the wrong electron path. I mean to say that this determined and dedicated person wrestled with that computer, (and with whatever entity was on the other end), for at least 15 minutes until, with a fist-pump of satisfaction, he got me fixed up with the new set of numbers.

I am in the system now, until the next conglomerate swallows the Silver Spoon prescription plan. When they do, I hope I will remember to bring the new card they send me.

John, the kind pharmacist at Safeway, handed me my prescription. I thanked him profusely, and headed over to the library.

As I was walking from the Buick to the library entrance, I noticed that I could see Mount Shasta through a space between a tree branch and a wall about 100 feet away at the end of the building. As usual, I had a camera with me and got this shot between the wall and branch, and through the net on the softball field on the next lot. What fun.

My next stop was Trader Joe’s, where the moon was showing me it’s good side, and I got this nice detailed hand held shot of Luna.

I made a slide show with the Apple program, Keynote. I had forgotten that I could make slideshows with that full featured presentation tool which came as part of the iWork software package.

There was a way to just use HTML code to post it to this blog, but I wasn’t sure how to time my music track and the video transitions that way, so I made it into a movie and added music I produced with a keyboard and GarageBand then put them together in iMovie.

I hope you enjoy...

Today’s Varied Views Video;

Determined Dreamers

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Different Perspectives

Based On Where One Stands

I just finished reading Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill. It is an interesting and entertaining detective story set in Thailand. The mix of Western and Asian influences in family dynamics would be story enough, but the many plot lines are thicker than sticky rice.

A faster read, for me, was the latest Walt Longmire mystery by Craig Johnson, As The Crow Flies. This is one of those kind of books that I will consume in one reading if I don’t make myself put it on the nightstand to finish reading the next night.

The past few days have been a treasure trove of delight for photography, and just plain old viewing enjoyment. I have been clicking away at so many interesting subjects, that I have created a logjam of images. Any one of the hundreds of pictures would be a keeper, and even after pareing that number down by disqualifying images with correctable flaws, I still have a lot of really nice photos.

I would like to find an HTML5 App that I can use to display art and graphics in new ways, but so far, I haven’t found any that work well for me. I really don’t want to write computer applications. For me, that is the antithesis of creativity and best left to someone who finds joy in writing programs.

In the meantime, there are a few other ways in which I can display many pictures at once. There are galleries, slideshows, and presentations, in addition to video’s.

I have sorted the new images into files of manageable numbers. My plan is to make a few new videos combining the images with some of my recent recordings. I just need to set aside the time to do it.

It takes me about 10 hours to produce a simple 3 minute video. That is after the images and music have already been edited and are in their presentable forms.

What a wonderful world I got plopped into. I have been given opportunities to make the best of the person that is me. This hasn’t always been the case. There were years when I stood in opposition to my best interests, but I think those times were necessary learning experiences and the value of the knowledge gained could not have been achieved any other way.

Today’s Light Video;

LUX AETERNA from Cristóbal Vila on">Vimeo

Time To Love