pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: July 2017

22 July 2017

No filter


Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
21 March 2017

Same photo as yesterday, but unfiltered.

When the daughter and I took this trip, it was intended to work as a replacement to a noir film class she was set to take that had been cancelled. I don't use Hipstamatic routinely, but I'd just picked up the Bucktown pack, and really liked the supersaturated tones to the monochromatic "film." It looked like noir with a 2017 edge. So I shot almost every single photo on the trip with that pack, and composed photos with the pack in mind. The actual looks a bit different in terms of space and color.

Outdoors, I do as much composition through the lens as my overall blindness allows, and then may tweak in Photoshop depending on mood or what I ended up with. Yesterday, I was in a mood. OBVIOUSLY.

I thought about 'shopping the people out, but then I realized they were important to the scale of this place and tell a story by their presence. The Palace of Fine Arts is monumental. Almost to a frightening degree. Weird. Otherworldly. I'd never been on the grounds before, and felt like I'd just walked into the Land of the Giants. Yesterday's red wash was grief, pain, frustration, anger, and just sheer exhaustion, but it also worked with the weirdness of the place. It looked like some Greek god inferno. Actually quite satisfying.

I don't really like to talk about what I'm thinking or think I'm doing when I take photos. It sounds weirdly arrogant to my own ears because I'm aware of not being more than a hobbyist, and certainly I'm neither an artist nor an artiste. But to be fair to myself (not something I'm good at, either), I'm not just playing P&S, and there is a process at work.

Okay, I'm going to stop talking now.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Some years back, I took a workshop with a photographer whose work I admire. I still read his posts because I learn a lot, and he's really one of the first people I saw push phone photography as a viable art form. This has been good for me when I travel because carrying cameras and lenses has become more difficult.
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21 July 2017

...and I'm about to break


Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
21 March 2017

I am fine.

But this is how it feels.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6, using the Hipstamatic Bucktown pack. Edited in Adobe Photoshop.
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17 July 2017

The last of them


Olivier (?-15 July 2017)
8 September 2011

I was unloading the groceries from the back of my car this morning when my elderly neighbor drove up. She asked how I was, and I knew already what she'd come to tell me. And sure enough, she said that Olivier died on Saturday.

It used to be the three of them: Max, who lived across the street and died of cancer in 2009, Milton and Olivier. The End of the Cul-de-Sac Boys. So weird that they all died of cancer, though Milton could have just as easily been taken by his bowel obstruction and complications, or Olivier by his run in with the coyote. And both Milton and Olivier lived to ripe old ages. None of us knew exactly how old Olivier was but the first photo I have of him was taken in 2003, and we knew he was about a year old when he came to live on my front porch one cold and wet winter. So he was near Milton's age.

"He liked you," E. said to me, after she'd imparted the news.

"Well, I used to feed him," I laughed. But it was funny. After his last surgery, they invited me in to see him, and he crawled over to me, purring and asking to be petted.

Poor little beast. I will miss seeing him skulking around. I will miss the way he came running to say hello if he saw the daughter or me. I will miss the way he used to walk his people. I will miss his presence at parties. I will miss his people standing in the doorway, calling for him at night.

I will miss him.

And I expect Milton was there, on the other side of The Rainbow Bridge, waiting to whack Olivier when he arrived, while Max stood at a safe distance and watched.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.
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15 July 2017

...but not here


Arizona Biltmore
Phoenix, Arizona
14 August 2009

I was listening to music tonight. Sometimes, music is, as the old song says, more than a feeling. And that feeling really can't be put into words. Or pictures.

But I liked the picture.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.
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09 July 2017

They come out at night


Somewhere around Tucson Mountain Park
Tucson, Arizona
27 March 2005

Somehow, I got engrossed in a trip down memory lane (as one does) while reading the newspaper tonight. First it was houses in Georgetown, next apartments in Dupont Circle and then suddenly, I was flipping through then-and-now photos of Tucson. While I was feeling mild regret for all the places that I saw as a kid and never visited--and are now gone--out of nowhere popped a story about mesquite bugs.

And I thought, "Mesquite bugs. Ha! Nothing! Nothing compared to Derobrachus geminatus!"

(No, I didn't think that. I thought, "PALO VERDE BUGS!")

We had several palo verde trees in the yard, and every summer, like clockwork, with the monsoons, we'd have palo verde bugs flying around. They would generally show up by either the front or back door at night, apparently attracted by the outside light. You couldn't miss them. These puppies were 5-6 inches long and they looked like cockroaches.

Absorb that one. A six-inch long flying cockroach that comes zooming out of the night...and into your hair.

They were harmless. Hideous, but harmless. But put yourself in my position. In those days, I had waist-length hair. Lots and lots of fine, waist-length hair.

And a six-inch long flying cockroach flailing around trying to disentangle itself from all that hair.

Ugh.

But the time one flew down my shirt may have been worse, though I'm not sure who was more scarred: me, the bug, or the people watching while I practically undressed to get rid of it.

Good times!

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110. There was more, mostly about how you really can't go home again, especially when you fought so hard to get out of Dodge in the first place. But I miss the landmarks of my own history that have long since disappeared.
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06 July 2017

Throwback Thursday


And you wondered why I complained...
Santa Ana, California
4 June 2015

If you were reading here for any part of the four years that I carted the daughter to and from high school, you are familiar with my delightful drive home every afternoon and my endless bitching about it.

Kids on bikes, kids on skateboards, kids texting, drunk people driving, drunk people walking in the middle of the street, impatient people on their horns and on their phones, car accidents, lost people on jury duty, people running across the street without looking to join their friends at the food truck, news crews at the court house, angry people at Probation and Child Protective Services, serial killers. It was a non-stop grab bag of fun.

By the daughter's senior year, I had a GoPro mounted to my windshield just in case. The photo above is a grab from the video from the daughter's second to last day of high school. I mean second to last day EVER. I'd just pulled away from the curb when three cars from various agencies pulled around the corner and officers swarmed the street to take down a guy on the sidewalk. The woman he'd assaulted was nearby yelling. Complete chaos. And something that had never happened to us before on the drive!

In the end, it was fine except maybe for Mr. Problem who wound up cuffed in one of the police cars.

I made my way around the mess and drove us home.

Tech stuff: Taken with my GoPro. For the first five or six years that I lived in California, I lived in an incredibly rough part of Los Angeles, so I developed something of a combat mentality toward this sort of thing. I never felt particularly unsafe in Santa Ana--I'm really good at taking care of myself--but I was absolutely terrified of harming some damn hapless person who wasn't paying attention. That the fault wouldn't have been mine didn't signify.
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02 July 2017

Girl, you'll be a woman soon


Baby orb weaver
Orange County, California
2 July 2017

Right now, she's about 1/4" long. So tiny, that I saw her web first and then I located her in her wee orange glory alongside her little bitty bug dinner.

(I'm guessing it's a female. I couldn't even tell you which type of orb weaver it is. Maybe Metepeira?)

Anyway, by Halloween, assuming she isn't eaten or stepped on or otherwise harmed--not by me. I love watching these spiders--she'll be a lot bigger and very hard to miss.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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