Saturday, July 31, 2010

A whiter shade of pale

I saw on the news the other day the very last roll of Kodachrome slide film had been processed and a colorful film institution slipped into the history books.  Our nice bright colors on a sunny day are gone forever.  But is it such a bad thing after all?

I don't spend enough time thinking in black and white.  I am so programmed for colors and hues that sometimes I forget to look at tones and textures.  Photography the way I learned it long ago.  With my Canon 40D selecting monochrome mode is easy as I have programmed a custom function on the settings dial to easily slip into the world of subtle shades of gray and black.

During today's hike at Point Reyes I really tried to see what would look good in good old black and white.  I tried to concentrate on tones, highlights and shadow values and I think I captured some nice shades of gray.  I will be posting color shots of the hike but I thought I would share these monochrome images first.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Covering the house fires on 7th Street the next day I came across this laying on the front yard of one of the burned out homes. It's a page from a dictionary that had charred but survived the burn.  It just seemed odd laying on the grass.

Cat wrangling

"Trust me, I'm a professional."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free speech

So I new we would be walking into a problem when a call came in this morning about a group protesting at the Tracy Post Office on 9th Street.  An irate caller was complaining that someone had a poster of president Barrack Obama doctored to make him look like Adolph Hitler.

It turns out that a group of Lyndon LaRouche supporters were in town to drum up support for write-in candidate Summer Shields to face Nancy Pelosi for a seat in the 8th Congressional District.  This seemed odd to me as Tracy is in the 11th Congressional District.  They were merely looking for supporters to help in their campaign.  They were told “it was a good area”. 

The sign it self was poster-size print of President Obama’s official portrait.  A “Hitler moustache” had been drawn in.  A crudely drawn impeach comment had been drawn in with a marker. 

Do I find the caricature offensive and tasteless? It seems hard to believe someone would compare the Presidents financial policies to man who killed six million Jews and another six million ethnic minorities while plunging the world into a war that would leave hundreds of thousands dead or maimed.  But the campaign workers have the right to express their opinion about the president however they want, that is their constitutional right under the first amendments right of free speech. 

Just as they have the right their express their free speech I have the right to photograph them.  As they were intentionally trying to draw attention to themselves any right of privacy is thrown away.  You can’t put a sign like that in public and then say I can’t photograph them.  The two men manning the information table didn’t want to talk too much to the press and never asked me not to photograph them but such a request would have fallen on deaf ears anyway.  Step into the public like that and expect the consequences.

Did the photo cast the two men and their campaign in a negative light?  I don’t care, that is their problem for bringing a sign like that out into public view.  Free speech carries responsibilities and a price tag.  I was surprised later to see my photos picked up later that night by a Sacramento television station.  The caricature is a sore subject with many and the story has spread a little more.

The campaigners had told us they were going to be back at the post office today but driving by they were nowhere to be found.  I’m not sure whether they got enough signatures or they decided too much controversy and publicity.  Now I just have to wait for the next sign.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beach break

With temperatures hovering near the triple digit mark Alice and I headed for the coast and ocean breezes to cool off with a hike around the Ano Nuevo State Park.

The park is famous for its elephant seal population and at the the entrance gate we were told there was one on the beach.  We headed out along the sandy trail passing through fields of wild grass, thistle and some colorful plants that lined the trail.  An eerie abandoned lighthouse station sat on a small island covered with thousands of birds and the barks of seals resting on the island's rocks.

Off in the distance we could hear the bellows of the elephant seals echoing off the cliffs.  Rounding a bend we could see a dozen or more of the large lumbering animals taking a much deserved nap on the beach while other swam offshore and challenged each other to show of dominance.  A few seals on the beach woke from the slumber to battle others on land making for some interesting views.

It was a great hike far from the sweltering valley heat.  We will have to think of another coastal excursion as we keep the heat at bay in the summer hikes.