Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So I have seriously done nothing since my last post because my life has been so crazy.  I have been relegated to taking opportunistic photos of San Francisco, only because I went to a meeting downtown and I was on the 20th floor.  I post them to share what a glorious place I live in.  These are (almost) completely unedited, so take them at face value. 

 This is our summer.  We get fog overnight, then it clears up during the day, then it comes back again.  Occasionally, it looks really pretty, but it certainly lends credence to Mark Twain's alleged comment about summers in San Francisco being the coldest winter he can remember, or something like that.

Okay, this one wasn't taken from the 20th floor, but I found myself on Treasure Island at the golden hour the other day and I couldn't resist stopping for this.  I love living here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cherokee Nation

The last couple of days of our vacation were spent in Cherokee, North Carolina, along the southern edge of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  I posted a little bit about the Cherokee history here and it seemed somewhat fitting that we were able to "close the circle" by seeing firsthand a re-creation of what Cherokee life was like before Andrew Jackson got in the way.

Oconoluftee Village is a step back in time, before the Trail of Tears, before the tribe was separated into what is now the Western Band, in Oklahoma, and the Qualla Band, in North Carolina.  Different stations are set up where you can watch people making pottery and baskets, weaving and making weapons.

We saw demonstrations of how the Cherokee lived, how they danced, how they governed themselves, how they traveled and how they fought.

There was also a botanic garden adjacent to the village, including a farm that grew flowers, vegetables and herbs for use in the village and outside.

A very peaceful place, to which I would like to return someday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Evolution of an image

I thought it would be fun to show how one of my favorite images came into being.  Backstory: I commute each day across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  Yes, that's the one where the roadway collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.  It's one of those drives where you don't usually expect to see anything even remotely photogenic.  But there's a spot on the western approach to the lower deck where you can see through the traffic and there's this one tree, almost perfectly placed against the sky and the horizon. 

I've been wanting to get this shot for a couple of years now, and a couple of months ago, I had my camera on the front seat with me as I was stuck in traffic, and traffic stopped just long enough for me to snap this photo.  As you can see, it's pretty ugly, but I thought just maybe, I can clean it up enough to make it look like the image I knew it could be. 

Several months, and several hours of careful editing later:

Then I thought to myself, I wonder what this could look like if I converted it to black-and-white:

Et voila!  Good enough for framing.  Or entering into a contest, which I have done, but have no chance of even being recognized, let alone winning.  But a girl can dream, right?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Scavenger hunt results - July

I host a monthly scavenger hunt on a photo board that I belong to.  Each month I (or someone else) come up with five themes and the challenge is to go out and take a photo that fits each theme.  Each month, you can take one image from your archives, but the other four have to be taken during that month. Sometimes the themes are specific, like a color, sometimes they are vague, like an emotion, and sometimes they are downright impossible, like one that a friend of mine came up with called "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go".  Quick, what kind of image comes to mind? 

The themes for July were:


Long exposure:

Long exposure:



It's always fun to see how differently people interpret each theme.  These are my interpretations.  What might you have come up with?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mind the Newfound Gap

We return you now to the days of yester-month, wherein our heroes are lost in the wilds of the Great Smoky Mountains, trying to find their way back to civilization.  No, really.....  Okay, not really, but we did have to go over the mountain and through the woods to Grandma's house....  No?  We didn't?  We went where?  Oh, that's right!  Cherokee, North Carolina.  Through the Newfound Gap, which is a funny Eastern and Southern Way of saying a pass or a road that goes between two peaks.  The cool thing is, it crosses the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to the top of Mount Katahdin, in Maine.

That's a hella long way to walk!  But some people do it, and more power to them!  We, on the other hand, decided to walk about ten feet, just to say that we did it. 

There's a rest area at the top that marks the spot where Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the park in 1940, and it features a memorial to the Rockefeller Family to thank them for the donation that completed the acquisition of the Park's land.

Going down the other side of the pass toward Cherokee, we passed by Mingus Mill, a corn mill built in 1886, restored in 1937 and undergoing restoration yet again in 2011. 

Pandora, of course, had to play a little bit in the stream but by then, we were pretty close to our destination, so the wet dog in the car mattered less than it would have at some other time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not enough time on my hands

There has been WAY too much going on in the last week.  I have a huge deadline at work in about two and a half weeks, and we have to move because our apartment building is being sold.  Needless to say, I haven't been able to get out to do too much photography.  I did get to our local farmers market the other day, and I just love the sights and sounds you can hear there.  There's always the kettle corn guys and someone is always providing entertainment.  The colors are wonderful and bright, even on a foggy Bay Area summer morning.

I really just like walking around and taking it all in.