gurdymonkey: (gurdymonkey2)
Cranes may be icons
Of good fortune, but I saw
Silver clad herons.
They watched me from riverbed
And garden, like tall shadows.

Day 1, Jingumichi bridge.

Day 2, Ujigawa. 

Day 3, roof of Sanjusangendo.

Day 4, Oi River, Arashiyama.

Day 5, garden at Heian Jingu shrine.

The daily heron-sighting streak broke at this point, until a final sighting on the canal in Fushimi on Day 11.
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Sometimes you get a happy accident. THIS is a crop from a test shot I took to see what the light was like in the atrium of the Oakland Museum, right before I took the one below. James just happened to turn around and look up as I snapped it. When I downloaded it, I realized yes, that is his Starfleet Academy sweatshirt and the hanging ceramic things look rather UFO-like.  Or some trippy birdhouses, maybe.

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Tired and sore with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie for breakfast and a chance of chair massage this afternoon.

To elaborate, I did go into SF on Friday night  to check out [ profile] kproche's entry in the Barbot 2012 thingy. The spectral glow of LED lights led me to the proud parents of Thinbot and I got to be the first victim of the night.

The little black box on the table at lower right is a touch-screen controller which allows you to order one of several pre-programmed cocktails (or mix your own). Once ordered, Thinbot dispenses the necessary ingredients in the necessary amounts via a nifty multiple nozzle unit into your waiting cocktail glass, or in this case, plastic champagne flute. My guinea-piggery was a classic Gimlet, and the discovery that the hollow stem caused the ingredients to layer instead of mixing themselves. A stir with a plastic straw improved matters. If the guts of the thing interest you, visit K's blog. I'm not an engineer, but I thought it was kinda neat, myself.

There were other entries, of course, including a brass and wood steam-punkish elixir producer and a beautiful, bright red 50's looking butler robot. I only stayed about an hour though, as it was crowded and noisy, conditions I don't particularly enjoy. More photos can be seen here.

Got up Saturday morning with delusions of trying to go to the Oakland Library White Elephant Sale early, as it's just across the estuary. Parked on the Alameda side of the bridge, walked two blocks, saw a HUGE crowd and snarled traffic when I hit the corner and turned around. I had to be in Sebastopol by 3 for a taiko workshop anyway, so I got in the truck and decided to hit the outlets in Petaluma: the haul includes some clearance priced tops, bras and panties (my main goal!) and a pair of Bass clogs.

I drove through Sebastopol and had a leisurely tuna melt with sweet potato fries and very good coleslaw at the Henweigh Cafe and caught up on my latest issue of Smithsonian, then headed back to the south end of town to the local Buddhist Temple for a three hour workshop with Sonoma County Taiko. Some of you may recall that they played at Takeshi and Sora's Investiture last January, which is why Micah had tipped me off about the workshop and invited me to come up. Pretty good turnout and a mix of complete beginners, plus ringers (me and two of my classmates who had come up, plus a couple SCT members). In the course of the workshop we learned a piece for performance, which we did in front of an audience at the beginning of a concert in the evening. Then we got to enjoy a performance by our hosts. I made some mistakes during the performance, by which time I had a pounding headache that the Advil was not touching - the room was a wooden gymnasium, basically. Still, it was great fun and I got some nice photos of the performance.

The rest of the set (huge and unretouched) is here. .

And on that note, I need to eat some breakfast and pleat my mo already.
gurdymonkey: (Default)

I'd made plans to meet friends at the Asian Art Museum at 10:30 this morning.

Read more... )

EDIT: I found the information about the seal carver in one of my emails from the museum:
" Year of the Dragon with Master Seal Maker, Jun Pei Cui
Every Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm

Happy Lunar New Year! Put a stamp on the Year of the Dragon with your own customized seal. Also known as a chop, this is a stamp bearing a person's name, and is used in lieu of a signature. Master Seal Maker and author Jun Pei Cui trained at the Guangzhou Painting Institute in China. His experience with photography and painting has honed his eye for composition and detail, evident in all the seals he's designed and carved. Mr. Cui has created seals for artists, poets, collectors, visitors from around the world, and he can create one for you. He's here Saturdays and Sundays at the museum store. Come by, say hi, and watch him work on your seal."
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Now, I have to tell you that art glass is generally Not My Thing. Pottery, yes. If I had more hours in my life, I'd even maybe like to learn it, but art glass, not so much. So when Randy Strong started shoving pipes into ovens at his studio this afternoon and announced, "Wanna see me make something ugly?" I asked permission to take pictures and shot a bunch of him working with his assistant Brendan Dreaper on an odd, art-glass take on a witch ball.

The whole set is at

Ethnic Arts

Nov. 6th, 2011 07:15 pm
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Shot these today at Ethnic Arts on Tenth Street in Berkeley. They have beautiful things and I'll probably do a little Christmas shopping there.

While we're at it, here's an eye-roll for the members of the [ profile] lj_photophile community who post positive comments (I put up the black and white shot of the baskets there) but can't be bothered to clicky a vote for a photo. (I don't get that. One can vote for as many photos as one likes.)  At least [ profile] didjiman and [ profile] karisu_sama still love me.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
I don't often dig out the camera at events. I don't claim to be all authenticity all the time, but there are times I don't want to view the world through a viewfinder or LED screen. However, Rolf and Aurora are Go Big Or Go Home kind of folks and their Coronation procession was suitably epic.Read more... )
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Woke up early Saturday morning courtesy of my deranged biological clock. Looked at the laundry basket and felt no love. Checked email, recognized my restlessness for what it was, got dressed, got in the truck and started driving.

Drove up 101 up through Santa Rosa (where previous experience reminded me to top up the gas tank and use a rest room) and took the River Road (116 West) exit. I knew it would be a pretty drive along the Russian River from previous jaunts to the June Crown sites in Duncans Mills. Besides, some wags had decided to revive the Burma Shave signs along that route and they're kind of amusing.  Stopped at a farm stand, bought cherries, Gravenstein apples, cukes and a kabocha (Japanese pumpkin).

Picked up Highway 1 where 116 spills out near Jenner and turned north, admiring the misty glimpses of the Pacific as I navigated around the iconic turns that show up in commercials for sports cars. Even in a light pick up it's kinda fun, but you can't get distracted by the view when you've got "15 mph We Really Mean It" signs and madmen and women coming up the opposite lane on road bikes on pure will and stubbornness.

And on the northbound run, it's kind of hard to pull over and take pictures - it's just plain the wrong side of the road and there are an awful lot of blind curves. So I didn't stop on 1 until I saw the turn off for the lighthouse at Point Arena.

Definitely a black-and-white kind of day, with mist and a chilly breeze.

I took this one through my windshield during a hasty pullover into a turnout. I love these rows of looming trees and saw it coming in time that it just worked out.

Stopped when I got to Fort Bragg, my object being to get to somewhere I'd never been. Of course the name of the place [ profile] sasha_khan had mentioned as being good had gone clean out of my head. I don't even want to know if I missed it by only a block. I'd been in the truck for hours at that point.  I pulled up a side street, parked and began scoping out the neighborhood for a quick lunch and restroom. But first I had to browse a couple of book stores. Managed to put down the battered first American edition of Little Dorrit and make a clean getaway from one shop, but scored a clean, cheap paperback copy of Mark Twain's Following the Equator and a recommendation for a cheap, quick lunch at the second. I walked into Bernillo's Pizza a couple doors down, ordered a slice. "Pepperoni's up right now," I was informed, so pepperoni it was, and a can of Pepsi which I couldn't finish because I don't drink soda very often any more. Bathroom was clean, the couple behind the counter were friendly, and while the crust was too thick to be true NY pizza, it hit the spot. 

Took a look through a bead shop, a craft coop which was closing for business (bought a hand knit scarf for my work-mate who is leaving in a month for a new home in Tennessee), and hit a place on the way out of town which sold overpriced sea glass jewelry.

Back down Highway 1 past Mendocino, then I cut east on Highway 128, which I knew would put me back on 101 at Cloverdale for a less challenging homeward drive. 128 winds through an impressive coastal redwood grove for about 10 miles before the country opens up into vineyards and ranches.

Stopped briefly in Petaluma to top up on gas and use a rest room, then homeward.

For the record, I did do the laundry. This morning.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Last time I went it was before the summer season ferries were available directly - or should I say indirectly - from Alameda and Oakland. This time I decided wisely or unwisely to bike to the ferry. The Peralta picked us up promptly at 9:10 and I racked Mimi at her stern.  Cut for copious photos )


Jul. 29th, 2011 07:32 pm
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
You've heard about the famed San Francisco fog, you've read my comments about the marine layer and how it works. I shot this on my way home from the grocery store this evening.

Go here for the large size - you can really see the "wave crest" on top of those hills across the bay. I also got a color shot, but I really like the contrast in the B&W.

I don't get tired of stuff like this.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Didn't take as many photos this year and the ones I did at our firing demo were not great because I was too busy on crowd-control duty.
Still, managed a few fun one, including two serendipitously lucky shots of members of Legio X Fretensis creating anachronisms.

I rather like this one of Grant in front of his pavilion.

The rest of the set is at

Great weather, not too hot, did some hurdy gurdying for the parade now that we have another man who can drum, got in some hand sewing on my hakama, plus got to hang out with friends. Lots of fun.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
So I posted two of my B&W Yosemite shots to [ profile] lj_photophile , namely these two.

To my amusement, they're garnering votes: at this writing, the road-to-El-Cap has 8 and the more classic view of El Capitan, 7. I also got an inquiry as to whether I was riding a mountain or road bike at the time, and gleefully fessed up as to the antique nature of my ride. I can't help thinking it would be a complete hoot if both of them ended up in a gunfight for the photo of the week poll. 

Or not. I could just as easily be dismissed as yet another Ansel Adams imitator. Kind of hard not to be, not when my father's go-to choice for a calendar to hang in his study was Adams photos. At least three different people in my company have big Adams B&W posters framed and hanging in their offices. Sure, yes, he's probably an influence just because I've been seeing his work most of my life.

We absorb what we are exposed to. Sometimes we are more conscious of it than other times. A few weeks back [ profile] didjiman  posted a link to some B&W pano shots he'd taken up in Inverness. I boggled when I saw them, then sent him a link to some B&W stuff I'd shot at the Berkeley Marina a week or two before he shot his. I'm taking baby steps with a point-and-shoot camera, he's got more advanced tools and the know- how to use them. It's no secret I love his work.

For that matter, we always had all sorts of art books around the house when I was growing up. That filing cabinet inside my brain contains everything from Renoir to Paul Klee to Henri Cartier Bresson to Aubrey Beardsley to Albrecht Durer to Julia Margaret Cameron to Paul Cezanne to Maxfield Parrish and on and on.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
So I'll describe this tomorrow 'cause I need to sleep. However, photos are up at
gurdymonkey: (Default)
Remember how I shot a tree in the Taco Bell drivethrough through my windshield with the wipers off a week or so ago? It made the Photo of the Week poll.

It's solidly in last place behind the other finalists. Do take note of the gushing over the cat. Anything with a cat in it gets gooshy comments and lots of votes.

See, told ya response to art is completely subjective.

In unrelated news, I saw a story about a photo exhibition at a small gallery here on The Island - and of course, you can't actually see the photos online in the story, though a few are on the gallery website here.  So I thought, that's kind of cool and started poking around to see what it would take to submit something to hang there and realized it would probably cost me more to print, mount, frame, become a member ($65/year, plus $20 submission fee for each thematic exhibit) and give them their cut (45% of any sale) than it would be worth - assuming anyone would actually buy anything. I have no idea if this is usual as I've never done this sort of thing, but 45% commission? For a photo by unknown me at a little local gallery that gets an unknown amount of traffic? Think I'd be losing money on this vain little scheme? Yeah. Me too.

Headachy this afternoon, possibly as a result of my sinuses mimicking a barometer, combined with working on a brain numbing make-work project at work. Definitely glad I decided not to attempt to camp this weekend, particularly as the site logistics mean carrying (or dragging a wagon) from the parking area to wherever one ends up pitching a tent. (Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty park and we're lucky to have a good relationship with the county and be able to use it, but the portaging of crap gets old pretty quickly.) I'm going to try to get a decent night's sleep and day trip the event.

Just watched The Men Who Stare At Goats, which was fun. I admit I wasn't sure whether I was going to like it, but it was pretty good.
gurdymonkey: (Default)

I finally figured out WHY my night photos with this camera were always so blurry there didn't seem much point without a tripod. There's a "hand shake" minimization mode on the thing which has to be engaged, otherwise the camera knows you're breathing, which matters when the shutter takes several seconds to do its thing. The above was shot while leaning up against a building. It's actually the second "insurance" shot as I wasn't confident of how steadily I was holding it the first time I pressed the shutter button.

It's not as crisp as daytime shots and I did tweak the exposure and contrast a lot more than I normally would. Still, this experiment paid off and I'll be more likely to try night shots again. 

As [ profile] ladycelia  is moving away next week, I'd messaged her about getting together before Her Grand Adventure, so we decided to do dinner last night. I met her at her place. She had some rose petal syrup she wanted to drop off to a friend, so off we went. To a speakeasy. (Please to be clickying the linkie!) After consultation with one of the period-attired bartenders about my drinking tastes (I admitted my go-to mixed drink is gin and tonic, lime, of course lime!) , he mixed me a basil gimlet (with fresh basil), the palest jade green in the glass. It was insanely good. I also tried a Sidecar - mostly because I liked the name and it's SO Prohibition, also delicious. At which point it was obvious my feet had been drinking and food was of the utmost. (Fast Friday, remember? I hadn't eaten all day.)

Fortunately for my blood alcohol level, Original Joe's was a short walk away, and a big plate of pasta and garlic bread set me to rights.  Best Italian I've had since moving from New Jersey, and I'll be eating fettucine for days on the leftovers. 

We had a lovely time. Having had my own Grand Adventure (uprooting oneself to live across the country without being sure it's going to work out), I wish her all the best - and am really sorry she's going to be so far away.

Earlier this week, Her Highness announced that she wanted to head over to the Fettburg Championship event and do a little fighting and could anyone make it. Now, honestly, I had been sorta planning on maybe actually shoveling out the third floor closet and doing some spring cleaning, but as the court and guard RSVPs rolled in along the lines of "I'm already committed to X" this weekend, I agreed to go. It's a pretty good thing I did, because it was just me and Shishio in attendance and he spent much of the day keeping an eye on Their Highnesses' three children and did the heavy lifting bits. Sora-joo is actually pretty low maintenance, so I dragged out one of my camp stools and the lid from the sugoroku box as a temporary table, put her cup on it (and kept it filled), and made her up a plate from the lunch board so she could graze between melees and bye fights. (For those not in the SCA, sometimes there's not an even number of fighters for tourney rounds - someone who is not competing to win the tourney can fill in and give the odd fighter someone to win or lose against in that round.) I ran a few errands for her, took her daughter to the restroom in the church hall, stuff like that. It was a nice event, I even got a little sewing done here and there.
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Earlier today a friend posted to his FB that the situation in Japan had him wondering about how much he was living on borrowed time. I answered that all time is borrowed and what one does with it is what counts.

Certainly the last couple days have been the case with me. Cut for length, photos )
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I went kind of bonkers, particularly at the Grand Canyon. Raw photo dump to Flickr is at


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