Saturday, October 31, 2015

Looney Tunes!

Yeah, Looney Tunes.  That's what everyone is going to say after they see that I am posting yet another photograph of white paint!  Clearly I am obsessed with trying to capture the feeling of what it feels like to paint the new addition every day with white paint, hour after hour.  I'm not sure I have it just right yet, so you may see even more white paint pictures.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Cat Saga Continues II

The last you saw of one of these, the latest kittens, was a portrait of one hiding in a watering can.  I am happy to report that when we picked up the kittens from the vet after being checked out, they were in great shape.   The vet said that all we needed to do was to play with them and hold them as much as we could.  That would "socialize" them and ultimately, make them adoptable.  So we got a cage from the vet, and set it up in the new back room.  The sense is that we will need to care for them for a month or so, then the shelters will accept them, once their weight gets up to two-pounds.  They are so cute, and such a joy to watch.  Buy it will actually nice not to have to care for four more kittens!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Regal Cat

The cats are an endless fascination.  I looked up the other day from my reading and noticed Grace sitting in the rocking chair, with one of her forepaws extended.  I have no idea why she does this, but she looked so regal.  The trick, of course, is getting a camera and taking the shot and hoping that she won't move before I can capture the scene.  It was my lucky day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

White Paint

I have been looking at a lot of white paint lately.  I do love to paint, and I particularly love to paint things with white paint - it makes everything so fresh and clean looking.  I have been staring into a can of white paint for about a couple of weeks now as I put two coats of paint on the new addition.  I have to look into the can each time I dip the brush in, so I don't put too much paint on the brush.  Then I stare at the shingles as I paint all of them white.  There is something almost mystical about looking into a can of white paint.  I can't seem to put it any other way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Kitties Await My Arrival

I had to go out to a meeting tonight - a board of directors meeting of the astronomy club.  I got home about 10:30 PM and walked across the porch and was about to unlock the front door when I remembered that I had left my computer bag in the car.  So I walked back across the porch to the car, got the bag and came back to open the door.  Look who was waiting to greet me!  How cute is this, with all three cats waiting expectantly!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Flowers

I went out to the mailbox the other day and happened to notice this bunch of some kind of wildflowers (or weeds) that seemed to appear overnight behind the newly painted fence.  I love how the blossoms are so delicate and how subtle their color is.  And I love how pretty the fence is now that it has been painted.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Photo Shoot

All over the floor of Photo Expo there were photographers shooting models.  Some were demonstrating lighting, some cameras, some lenses, and I guess other stuff as well.  I didn't pay too much attention to most of the shoots, but this one caught my eye.  I think it was the dramatic lighting and the intense look of the model.  She was really intense, I guess to make a more dramatic portrait.  So I shot over the photographer's shoulder and this is what I got.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How To Clean A Camera

At Photo Expo the various camera manufacturers had booths where you could drop your camera off and they would clean the CCD sensor, as well as other parts of the camera and the lens.  Cleaning the sensor is tricky business, which is why photographers bring their cameras to professionals.  I have cleaned my sensor a couple of times, so I decided to watch this professional at work to see how he goes about it.  I learned a thing or two about how he prepared the cleaning stick and wrapped the special cleaning paper around the stick.  Anyhow, here he is at work.  And of course you know that this photo is not about cleaning a camera at all.  It is about this magnificent shaved head!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Moonrise, Over the Empire State Building

I went to the city today to go to Photo Plus Expo to see all the new photographic goodies.  Mainly what I did was wander around the trade show with my friend Stan, and we met a whole bunch of photographers, some that I knew, but mostly all the people he knew who I got to meet.  When we left the Javits Center, we walked east along 34th street, and saw a beautiful rising moon over the Empire State Building.  We both photographed the scene as we walked east, until the moon ended up hidden behind the Empire State Building.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


This is a statue on the Embarcadero called "Skygate" by the sculptor Roger Barr, done in 1985.  The thing that caught my eye was the text that said that this sculpture is dedicated to Eric Hoffer - "Longshoreman, Poet, and Philosopher."  Hoffer was born in the Bronx, and went blind when he was seven, and his eyesight returned at age fifteen, but then his mother and father died.  He then took a bus to California and lived on skid row for ten years, and later worked as a longshoreman on the docks in San Francisco.  Hoffer was influenced by his modest roots and working-class surroundings, seeing in it vast human potential.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Along the Embarcadero

I ran into this performer on the Embarcadero in San Francisco after dinner one night.  This is Oscar Reynolds, born in Bolivia, and an accomplished composer, Andean master flutist, guitarist, and flute maker.  Here he is playing the Andean panpipes and guitar simultaneously. His music was just beautiful, and soulful, and the panpipes give a haunting quality.  Look at his intensity when blowing across the panpipes.   I stood there for quite a while just drinking the music in.  And of course I put money into his jar.  Maybe I should have bought one of his DVD's. If you would like to hear some of his music go here: then click on "Discography" and click on an album cover to listen to some of his music.  (Hey Dean, look, I remembered how to embed a link!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Warm and Beautiful October Day

I love to paint, and this is my favorite time of year for that.   And today was a perfect day, blue sky and sunshine and the temperature was almost 70 degrees.  So I spent the day on ladders, changing the color of the addition.  The original idea was always to have it painted white to match the house, but there was no denying the beauty of the cedar shingles with the white trim. The only thing is, that the beautiful cedar color would not last in this climate.  You can see some shingles in the lower right of the photo are starting to get grungy brown and there are water stains on some.  So white paint it is.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Alcatraz Plumbing

You might ask yourself, "Why on earth is he shooting plumbing and broken toilets?"  I don't have an answer for that question, other than the fact these are all interesting objects.  These photographs were taken in the Industry building, where prisoners worked manufacturing things.  And I have never seen plumbing quite like this before.  I do like the design of the waste pipes against the wall - another of my "abstract art" photographs.  Or not.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Alcatraz Week

I have so many photographs left over from California, and a whole bunch from just Alcatraz, that I am going to have an "Alcatraz Week."  And then maybe a "California Week" after that.  Stay tuned.  Earlier I posted a photograph of the warden's home that was destroyed by arson during the Indian occupation.  This is the other building that suffered the same fate.  This was the officer's club when this was a military base, and later it was the social club, for the guards and their families who lived on the island.  It seems such a shame to lose these historical buildings.  I do love, as you know, photographing "urban decay" and this island has subjects like that from one end to the other!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Cat Saga Continues

I will give a quick recap.  The mother cat was pregnant, and then she wasn't.  The mother came by to eat here from time to time, but without any kittens.  Judy, our neighbor said that the mother showed up with four baby kittens at her house.  So she fed the mother and stayed away from the kittens.  She decided to trap the mother finally, to take her to the vet - something we had not been successful at.  Today she was successful, and then we had to find the 4-week old kittens.  She found two in the bushes and the three of us went looking for the other two.  THIS is where we found the two of them!  They had climbed into the watering can.  One is curled up on the bottom, and this is the other one.  Is this amazing or what!  So all five cats were taken to the vet today.  The mother will finally be spayed.  The sad thing is that the vet said that the kittens need to be immediately separated from the mother so she can't teach them her feral ways.  At four weeks, there is hope that they can be acclimated to humans, and then there is hope that they can be adopted.  It is so painful to think of them taken from their mother like this, but it will better for the kittens in the long run.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Great Salt Lake

I am not done with posting California pictures - not by a long shot.  But I needed to post something tonight.  It is late - 12:45AM and I just got in from the airport, so I am posting a shot from the flight home from San Francisco.  It is interesting, because San Francisco is more northerly than Los Angeles, the route of flight across the United States is more northerly as well.  So this is an unfamiliar route for me - I haven't been to San Francisco in something like 25 years, so I kept my nose to the window.  I was not disappointed!  This is right along the shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and I could see that there were some walls or barriers that controlled whatever this material is - perhaps these are drying ponds.  But I am not sure for what, and the deep purple color is really interesting.  Of course I love this because it looks like an abstract painting.  Let's face it the world is a stunning place from the air!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I took the ferry over to Alcatraz today and what a great trip it was!  There were photographs everywhere I looked!  What a stunning site.  I have so many photos, that I will probably have to have "Alcatraz Week" when I get back home.  It was perfect that it was an overcast day, so I didn't have to worry about the sun and shadows.  And the grey clouds are luminous.  So the first photographs is approaching the dock, showing the lighthouse and the burned-out warden's home.  The home was set ablaze back during the Indian occupation back in the 1970's.  But there are two versions of the story.  Did some of the people that the native american occupiers allowed on the island set the fire, OR was is a government plot where agents infiltrated the group and set the fire to turn public opinion against the occupiers?  The second photograph is the exercise yard with the bay and mountains in the background.  Looks kind of bleak, but compared to the cells, it is a refreshing change.  Today with the wind blowing off the bay, it was really cold  Can you imagine this in the winter?  Yikes!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


This is the square-rigged ship "Balclutha" built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1886.    It was built to haul California wheat to Europe, and in order to get there, it had to round Cape Horn, one of the most dangerous passages in the world.  She did that 17 times.  She is the only square rigged ship left in the San Francisco Bay area and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is currently preserved at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in San Francisco.  I have been photographing her for several days now, and finally got the shot I want - late in the afternoon, the fog moved in through the Golden Gate, and nearly completely obscured the hills in the distance - it is the perfect background for my photograph.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Golden Gate

What a day!  I drove up from San Jose this morning and wandered around the San Francisco waterfront, touring a submarine and a liberty ship.  Then my friend Glenn picked me up at my hotel, and he had promised to show me all the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from.  Well, he did that, and more.  This is one of the classic views of the bridge from the Marin side of the bridge, and we started photographing just after sunset, and photographed until two hours after that.  This is my favorite shot from all the spots we stopped at.  Glenn was a member of the astronomy club on Long Island for a bunch of years, then decided to change everything and move to San Francisco where he got a job with a software company.  He loves the new company, and the work,  and the vibe in San Francisco, and by now is a really accomplished photographer, and self taught as well!  We had a great evening together and a nice dinner, and I have a bunch of photographs to show for it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

And I Thought I Was a Cyclist!

And I thought I was a cyclist!  Well, I guess not!  These are cyclists who arrived in the parking lot of Lick Observatory on the weekend days we were up there for our convention.  We had also passed a number of them on the curving roads that go to the top of Mount Hamilton.  The mountain is 4200 feet tall.  The trip from the bottom is 18 miles, and I asked the cyclists I talked to how long it took them.  They said between 2 hours, and 2 hours and 30 minutes!  OK, so these are iron men and iron women!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Today we toured two different observatories to see more telescopes.  The first was the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.  We came to see three beautiful telescopes - two "antiques" and one modern Cassegrain.  After seeing and photographing the telescopes which were in separate observatories outdoors, I wandered into the Science Center and was stunned to find this Mercury capsule.  I have seen several of these original capsules in other museums around the country, but I have NEVER seen one that you can climb into.  And I was in shock when I got inside.  I didn't feel claustrophobic while in there, but when I tried to imagine one of the Mercury astronauts, all suited up, and locked in with the door bolted closed, sitting on top of a rocket, it freaked me out!  These capsules are SMALL!  I cannot begin to imagine being blasted into space in such a confining place. You certainly had to have "the right stuff" in order to do that!  I mean I was impressed with astronauts in general, but this brought my appreciation to a whole new level.  There is a photo as well of the panel in the capsule - this was clearly not a complete capsule, but rather some sort of training device.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lick Observatory

Yesterday I showed you the views on the way up to Lick Observatory, and today I want to show you just one of the many telescopes on the mountain.  The first photograph shows the main observatory building at sundown, showing two of the domes - one at each end of the building.  The second photograph is of the Shane Telescope which has a 120" diameter mirror - it is an enormous instrument.  The third photograph gives a sense of how large it really is, when you see the fork arm that holds the telescope itself, with three men at the bottom so you get an idea of size.  The last photograph was taken when most of us took a stroll on the catwalk around the outside of the dome.  The floor of the catwalk is an open metal grating, and some people were not completely comfortable walking on that, fifty feet above the ground.  I just love the feeling I get when looking at the brilliant white dome, and the deep blue sky on the horizon.  It sure is fun being around large telescopes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Stunning Landscape

Three of us left our hotel in San Jose this morning, and drove in my car up to the Lick Observatory.  The minute we got out of the city, we were in a stunning California landscape, as seen during the brown time of year.  There were golden grasses growing everywhere, backlit by the sun.  It is simply a stunning landscape.  We stopped a couple of times along the way because we all wanted to take pictures.  Click on the second photograph, and in the right top of the picture, on the furthest mountains - the ones the most blue - there are tiny bumps on the top of the mountain to the left - those are the domes of the observatory we were headed to.  Lick Observatory was the world's first permanently occupied mountain top observatory, and it opened in1887.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

California Dreaming

Here I am, on the road again, westbound at Flight Level 380.  I am on the way to San Francisco, for the Antique Telescope Convention.  I have not been to San Francisco in over 20 years!  What a shame.  I meant to shoot something completely different for this flying post, but I am so taken with the beauty of the United States from the air, that I am starting with a couple of photographs of the Earth.  They are in the vicinity of Utah, Nevada, and California.  I was so busy shooting that I forgot to check the moving map display.  In any case, they are stunning abstractions, don't you think?  And the last photo is something different.  On the long approach to San Francisco Airport over San Francisco Bay I watched as the shadow of the plane got larger as we got lower.  Oh well, at least it is a bit different from what I have shot before.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gantry Cranes

These machines are astounding!  They are called "container handling gantry cranes" and they are used for loading and unloading intermodal containers from container ships.  I photographed these in Long Beach, California, when the ferry to Santa Catalina island was heading down the Los Angeles River and out through the harbor.  These things are huge!  You can see some containers on the left side of the photograph, and each one is twenty feet tall.  So do the math.  When a ship docks for loading, the crane part which is at an angle here, will come down to the horizontal position, and start lifting containers either on or off the ships.  I love this photograph because it looks at these machines as sculptures.  Please click on the image to see it in more detail.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


This is my friend John.  He is a brilliant photographer of nature, and he was an art director who did a lot of record covers for 33 1/3 LP records, among other things, during his career.  He has done some stunning images by taking things like a sunflower, and then scanning it on a flatbed scanner, then printing it.  I have one of his framed images done like that, hanging on the wall in our living room.  I was helping him today do an upgrade to the Macintosh operating system on his computer, and we had a while to wait for the process, so we both were playing with some of the apps on our iPhones.  I liked this image so much, though, that I used my toy camera for this picture, because the quality is much better.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Warm and Cozy Fireplace

The gas fireplace has been in place for a while now, and a week or so ago one of the finishing carpenters installed the three pieces of black and green marble, and built the mantelpiece and installed it.  Today a technician came from the fireplace installer, and checked the hookups of gas and electric, and fired up the fireplace for the first time!  We have to let it burn for six hours or more, because the heat causes fumes to be emitted by the paint covering the metal pieces that make up the fireplace.  After it burns for a while, the fumes will go away.  Hey, this is pretty, isn't it?  Wait until the mantel is painted white, and the walls a light gray-green color.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I am not sure if Trifecta is the correct term, but it is unusual that I can get all three of the cats in one photograph.  I loved the arrangement of them in this shot, with Bebe curled up on the folded blanket on the back of the couch.  Funny thing when taking this - Sam, the gray kitten to the left - was originally facing me when I took the first shot - slightly out of focus.  By the time I snapped this one, he had changed his position.  Who would guess that you would need the reaction times of a sports photographer to photograph three sleeping kittens!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

High Water

Thank heavens that the hurricane passed safely offshore.  We had a lot of rain and gray skies, and a fair amount of wind, but nothing serious.  It is interesting that I drove to the Apple store today and it was closed because they had no power.  The water was really high, at high tide today, but there were no waves to speak of.

Friday, October 2, 2015

CA Wheels

Does this car say "California" or what!  Found it in Liz' neighborhood while out walking one day.  I am not a motorhead, but this thing is a beauty.  Only thing is, there is a lot missing inside the car!  There is no horn in the steering wheel, and I forget some of the other things.  I guess that can be forgiven because this machine is so cool!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wilshire Blvd

We were walking along Wilshire Boulevard between a restaurant and a grocery store, and I was just looking around when I noticed this hedge and the grasses.  It seemed so out of place somehow to find this amongst all the concrete.  And yet is was like an oasis.  So I stopped to look at it carefully and I loved finding all the waves and swirls in the grasses.  Please click on it to see it with more detail.