Monday, June 29, 2009

The Indian Subcontinent

It's raining again today in southwest Florida. That's good; it's about time. I planted several Crape-Mertyls in the front yard about five years ago and finally they are getting healthy. The blossoms were irresistable this morning. This moment was recorded before I discovered these trees are native to the Indian subcontinent. How did they get here?

The Indian Subcontinent? What else around this place is from that distant part of the world?

Of course, there is our favorite kitty, Popi. Popi is a Bengal breed of feline. The myth is that her breed is 4 generations removed from the mating of a Bengal Tiger with a domestic house cat. I choose to believe that; she is a terrific mouser.

Of course, she's not chasing mice at the moment above. She is doing what many of Pam's quilting friends report about their cats: she is claiming a nest, spreading her scent, and endearing herself to the sewing lady. She's also halting progress on Pam's latest project, but that's what cats do.

At this moment I believe she's lamenting the departure of her recent caretaking companions, Sarah and Kim. I won't say they spoiled Popi, but I would guess I'm not as much fun any more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Citadel Guns


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stress Test

Vanity be gone! This is my latest self-portrait during a doctor-ordered stress test.

So, the quick nurse raised some blood and blood pressure hacking off the top of your favorite mole! So what? Those blue things don’t stick to four inch chest hairs! And Medicare is paying for this portrait anyway, aren’t they?

Your nose looks so big from down here at lap level. And that doesn’t look like a fresh shave to me. Are those worry lines around your eyes? When are you going to trim your mustache? Who are those kids in the background any way? And what does that light switch mean?

Awk! There you go again, attempting to interpret everything in a picture!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jacaranda John

One of the things we love about a photograph is its power to resurrect a moment locked inside of ourselves for days, months, and even years. This bonding association can trigger a psychic rampage to the edge of desolation or the peak of pleasure.

This snapshot reveals jacaranda blossoms lying atop some pitted concrete. The picture either lives or dies as a composition of naturally fallen detritus. What the picture does not tell you is left for personal thoughts and possibly words.

Words are necessary to explain the nostalgia that permeates this personal view. The concrete pad is where my friend John used to park his truck when he came over to join us for a swim. The fallen blossoms remind me of my friend who had just passed away. Jacaranda John.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Embassy Suites Atrium

Over the weekend we attended another web site workshop. I promise to invite you to its grand opening.

After a long drive from Sarasota and a longer workshop, we decided to stay at the Embassy Suites in Miami. The Suites have a central atrium filled with a cacophony of visual information waiting to be gathered into pleasant photo compositions.

Peering over the rail from the 5th floor balcony, I realized that irrational urge to make a swan dive had returned. So, I snapped a couple of quick shots with my trusty Kodak, then looked around for safer views.

A much safer view of the atrium, below. I feel anchored by Pam's feet, the rug, and the rail, despite the vertical movement of elemental lines. And I've got another shot for my collection of Curious Feet photos.

It's always entertaining looking down on one's subject. As a land lubbing Floridian, I don't often get to appreciate the sky view. In fact, I share many more visual perspectives with alligators.

Here is a quietly dynamic view from above. The action of the two moving people (central, left) seems to animate the whole tile floor space which comprises much of the composition. I like the way the square tiles carve up space here.

Not content to leave it alone, I recomposed the scene and waited. Here, the balanced placement of people vis-a-vis each other seems to quiet the floor space and movement seems frozen. Lots of fun to play with movement in a series of still shots, but swan divers cannot afford to linger too long.

We finally made it to the floor of the atrium for our free breakfast. Sitting down with my eggs and coffee I spied my girlfriend, one hot companion, across the table. Spicey, too. Nummy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bean Here, Bean There?

I am amused. Photography has been such great fun. Just ran across this 12 year old self-promotion image while cleaning out the files. Do I still wonder about the effectiveness of off-the-wall post card promotions? No, but I still laugh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carmel Valley Nudes

Landscape supply yard, Carmel Valley, California

Art gallery rest room, Carmel Valley, California

First Guests ~ Last Guests

A suspicious soul might think we planned it; we didn't. Three years ago it was our dumb luck to be the last guests at Otter Cove; this year we enjoyed more dumb luck being the first guests at Trail's End.  Pam and I won't eschew our good fortune to be with cousin Linda and Mike during their transition from one home to another.

I'll start with dessert, if you please. The first dessert served in the new digs. Nummy!

Mike, a modest chef served salmon, broccoli, and potatoes.

During the early morning hours when the fog was rolling in I awoke to the smell of bacon cooking. Such awake dreams this old man enjoyed! The smell was determined to be the last of the wood that was slowly burning in the stove (Nonetheless, a great idea for product development: bacon fagots?).  The edible bacon came later with our sumptuous breakfast.

Cousin Linda. You are a jewel.

Textures at Trail's End

A misty fog rolled into Trail's End to blanket the oaks, the mustard, and the summack. During our first morning I walked this road in search of mustard and thistle.

Not knowing, I began to wonder whether or not the thistle leaf was edible.

Does the delicious color intend to seduce? 
This flower appeared as a virgin wrapped safely in her chastity belt. 

View from the high road.

What makes valleys so beautiful and alluring?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Trail's End

Soon, cousin Linda's brother, Doug, will be driving from Illinois to the Carmel Valley in California carrying a large log upon which is carved "Trail's End", the name Mike and Linda have chosen for their new home. 

Here are some early summer scenes from Trail's End in the beautiful Carmel Valley of California.

Wild Mustard sprang up unexpectedly in the Spring.

Why is mustard yellow? Because ...

Ah ha! A foggy morning may greet log bearer Doug on the high road to Trail's End. Note the barn on the right and the caretaker's house on the left.

Another view of the ranch will show the barn (foreground), the caretaker's house (middle left) and the hill upon which the main house shall be constructed.

The moist air is delicious, scattered oak trees invite your soul, and who can resist a feel good smile when they view wild yellow Mustard?

Jack Dowd

You will have to imagine my shock while walking down the sidewalk in Mariposa, California last week. I thought I saw Jack Dowd sitting there imitating one of his sculptures.

A little background: Jack is a Sarasota, Florida sculptor of some national repute (hot link above) and a former neighbor of my son, Chris. Chris left Sarasota and moved to the Mariposa area about a dozen years ago. When visiting Chris and family the last thing I expected to see was someone from my town of Sarasota. 

How could I even know about Dolls by Alinda much less Jack's doppleganger awaiting me? Small world; funny world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mid Pines

Mid Pines, California consists of a country store and gas station, a post office, and something like 341 scattered human beings in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. It's pretty there and it's dry this time of year. But despite the heat and the dryness, no one wants to leave these hills.

My grandson Johann (below), his big brother Shayne, my eldest son Chris, and his saintly wife, my sweet daughter-in-law, Regina live there in Mid Pines. Johann just celebrated his 5th birthday in Mid Pines. He has a nonstop motor and his vocabulary includes words like "realistically" and "indefatigable". I am gapingly agog.


Life isn't easy around Mid Pines and my son, Chris, knows full well how much he has to pay for his hillside dream. It's summer and dry grasses have blossomed to fill every sunny, treeless spot with danger; it's fire season. Below, Chris searches for the right nut to repair his weed wacker.

The last, big fire in these hills burned as close as the brown ridges in the photo's background. Too close for comfort; close enough to force an evacuation. The fire risk is the paramount consideration for Mid Pineans at this time of year. I'm wishing them a cool and uneventful summer.

The hills all around Chris' front porch were green when I left him Sunday morning. There are neighbors around these hills, but you don't often see them until you come down from your place.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A California Primer

Joe Kady's yard is special. He's located at the top of a ridge in Hayward, California. 

In the front yard he can look out to see San Francisco on the distant horizon.   In the back yard he can see a steep tree-covered slope with a stream at the bottom and he can hear the gobbling of wild turkies. 

This wild turkey was a solo act. I suspect he was looking for the delectable veggies he found and a few females. Several females passed through later in the evening, but Wild Turkey was long gone. What's so different in the animal world?

Pt. Lobos, on the Monterrey coast of Northern California, has attracted me for over fifty years. Despite the popularity of the park, it has remained a magical place throughout time. You will be seeing more of Pt. Lobos in the near future.

This ridge top road leads to Trail's End, cousin Linda and Mike's Carmel Valley ranch. Not  long ago the top of the ridge erupted in mustard yellow. A lovely road to walk or ride. 

At MidPines, in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, my eldest son, Christopher, has fashioned a lifestyle for his family that encompasses manzanita, pines, and wild flowers. The aesthetic is humbly simple, colorful, and tactile. There are many more views of this ranch land to show you.

Recent fires, drought, and beetles have taken a toll at Chris' ranch lately. He lost the pines at the top of his hill. Still the manzanita must be managed and the grasses cut in order to deplete potential fuel for fire.

The Catalpa Tree, below, is a new planting to replace the lost pines. Several trees have been planted for shade and fruits.