Monday, April 30, 2012



The other day a very heavy cloud cover turned morning into evening, and the Sun into the Moon.  Light in Dark, Dark in Light -- both at the same time.  If, after my death, I must stay for a time in one particular plane of the next world, I hope it would be a place with this type of lighting.

Related Posts:  Hazy SunsetDriving Home In February

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Little More Old Art


This device was found in a dream I once had.  Sadly, in the process of being brought out of the dream it was damaged, and the dream itself -- as usually happens -- was forgotten.  Now I cannot remember what it did before or how to repair it.

Related post:  D'Un Rêve

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kachina Doorway, Revisited

The picture above was taken just a few days ago, and with the deliberate intention of comparing with the earlier photos, shown below, of the same doorway shot some four or five years ago (and posted near the beginning of this blog).  The earlier two were taken in early to mid-afternoon, the new one was shot in the evening.

My initial response when comparing the new image with the earlier ones was one of sadness.  The older images, taken in the full hard light of the afternoon sun, were exciting and clear-cut, with one showing a shadowy face (which reminded me of Kachina dolls, hence the title) and the other seeming to be a mystical map showing the light and dark halves of the world.  By contrast, the mood in the new photo was as if youthful exuberance had retreated before the inevitable, entropic decay... In the diffuse light of the evening the sharp shadows that on the earlier occasions carved out such definitive, hard-edged realms are gone, replaced by a cold gloom that paradoxically reveals more yet leads to a deeper darkness.

It is perhaps an unequal consolation that the doorway is no longer a flat design but actually provides a visual point of entry, that even as the steps leading into the interior are swallowed up in shadow, they suggest mystery and secrets hidden within.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sun-Dappled Blacktop

Fooled ya -- this is not a pool, but the asphalt surface of a restaurant parking lot (I guess we do eat out a lot).  Soon as I noticed the 'rippling' cracks, I knew all I had to do was add blue.


Airplane Crossing Into The Iridescent Part Of The Sky

Wonder if the passengers felt anything.  When the plane landed, did they emerge looking glowing and beautiful?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finally, Another One Of Those Really Hard-To-Get Shots Of A Hummingbird In Mid-Flight

So perfect, I could shed tears of joy.  Hummingbirds move so fast and unpredictably that catching them in the middle of open flight like this (as opposed to when they are conveniently hovering in front of a flower, like this) is no small matter -- yup, almost ALL photos of hummingbirds in flight you'll find anywhere are of ones hovering to feed -- and I've been trying so long and hard to obtain more of these clear, well-framed shots of one against the open sky.

Why even try?  What's the point of a photo in which the main subject is so tiny as to be barely even visible?  Well, to me there is something special about the flight of hummingbirds -- birds may be freer than landbound mammals, but being so small and possessing an insect-like ability to stop and hover in the air, and even fly backwards, hummingbirds seem completely free; and I find that nothing expresses their freedom better than the image of these tiny creatures darting bullet-like from spot to spot, abruptly stopping in midair then resuming, seemingly defying the rules set by inertia and gravity.  Silhouetted against the vastness of the open, empty sky, so comically tiny and vulnerable, they seem to embody the very concept of freedom, naked freedom that is both scary and exhilarating.

There were other fairly successful efforts before (for example like this, and these) but this shot is the undisputed best so far. Just to illustrate the point, 99% of my prior attempts resulted in either no bird at all, or something like this.

It's just a coincidence that the spread-eagle pose reminds me of the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro (that's enough, Sam).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Mysterious Object


Early yesterday afternoon I picked up my mother for a Sunday lunch together.  I took Normandie Avenue north to our favorite Mexican restaurant in East Hollywood.  It's not the best route to take to get there, as the road is narrow for much of the drive and the traffic is often quite heavy;  however, it so happens that Griffith Observatory is visible directly ahead for the whole length of the drive along Normandie, and some time ago I had seen a man painting an image of the observatory on a traffic signal control box at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard.  I had been planning to photograph the painting of the observatory with the actual observatory in view in the background.

The photo below is the first of three shots taken from inside my car at the intersection, while I was waiting to turn right.  In it the observatory is the small white building in the distance at the left, below and to the right of the red signal light;  its painted image is near the right edge of the photo, at mid-level.

Photo #1

While checking out this photo, however, I noticed something odd.  Floating in the air, positioned just above the observatory, is a blurry object, round and brownish.  It stood out because it's the only thing that's blurred out while everything else in the picture is in sharp focus;  and I don't think the blurring is due to its being much closer to the camera -- on the windshield of the car, for example.  The main reason for this will be made clear after an examination of the third photo -- but even aside from that, if the object were something that struck the windshield and stuck there, the part in contact with the glass would be flat;  all of that flat area would be in shadow and the shadow would be even throughout, with an abrupt boundary -- but the closeup below clearly shows the object has a gradual turning shadow, meaning it has a rounded contour, and is not in contact with the glass.  Also, it does not cast a shadow on the glass as any object with significant thickness, however small, would, if it were sitting on the glass with the sun shining onto the oblique glass from almost zenith.

Detail from Photo #1

According to the shooting data the first shot was taken at 01:02:51 PM.  Seven seconds later at 01:02:58, the second shot was taken.

Photo #2

Here the object has moved westward a little.  I am certain the movement is real, not a parallactic displacement caused by my car moving, as everything else has stayed in more or less the same relative position it occupied in the first photo.  There are some tiny differences apparent in the positions of some objects, but they are so small that they are almost certainly due to the movement of my hand holding the camera.  Below is a detail from the second shot.

Detail from Photo #2

Below is the last of the three shots.  It was taken at 01:03:07, nine seconds after the second image.  In it is a decisive reason for concluding the object was really a body floating 'out there', not a small blot on the windshield.

Photo #3

When I examined this photo, at first I thought the object had disappeared.  Luckily -- and I mean really lucky -- I had zoomed out for a wider shot;  the object is now at the top of the frame, above the white spot on the windshield (at first I thought it was gravel damage, but it turned out to be something filmy on the inner side of the glass).  Note that the windshield wipers are in sharp focus -- meaning anything else sitting on the glass should also be in focus.  It goes without saying that if the wipers are in focus and so are objects in the 'infinite' distance, everything in between should be, as well.  Below is a blowup of the image.

Detail from Photo #3

It's moving away upward and eastward, seemingly at a fair clip -- it actually looks as though the acceleration is causing the object to be flattened in the direction of movement.

What could it be?  It's clearly not a balloon -- a balloon does not flatten out as it gently floats away, nor does it maintain the same altitude without rising for seven seconds in calm weather (if it be a helium-filled balloon).  And anyway, a balloon (nor an empty plastic bag, a bird, a piece of litter, etc.) would not be selectively blurred out while everything else in the shot is sharply defined.  It's also a little curious I didn't notice it when I took these pictures, although I suppose that could just be due to the many distractions of the road -- or maybe it wasn't visible to the naked eye..?! (cue Twilight Zone music).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oppressive Evening

Sometimes you get into a strange detached mood, and the world seems like a set for the play that is your life.  I suppose people all over the world and all throughout history have pondered different versions of that idea, from ancient Hindu philosophers to Shakespeare ("All the world's a stage") to Rod Serling.

My life, however, is a movie.  And the sky is a blank green screen just yards away, continuously filled in with various images on a monitor.  The other day it was filled in with a stiflingly warm, flat, deep-yellow sky late in the afternoon.  The Moon and the sky seemed a flat 2-D backdrop.

If only I could get a copy of the script.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Airliners Are Viviparous

And they give birth on the wing. It was a rare stroke of luck this happened while I happened to have this mother in sight.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunday's Lunchtime Doodle

The first 'abstract' one.

Actually, I was going for the usual 3- or 4-legged standing biomorphic 'figure', but didn't have time to finish before my order arrived. On the other hand, I like the result -- I'm going to do more like this.

Saturday's Lunchtime Doodle

More from the chopstick-cover school of sculpture.

The Versatile Self-Adhesive Gauze Bandage

This past Saturday I went to give blood at the Red Cross again, and while there I made two interesting discoveries:

#1. They will not let you take a picture of the needle being inserted into your arm -- there's some kind of legal restriction;  although the phlebotomist attending to me wasn't too sure of the technical details, she said they could get into trouble for allowing me to shoot the needle actually going in;  once it's in, it's fine to photograph it.

#2. The colorful self-adhesive bandage (most often blood-red) they use to bind you up after you're done,

which usually looks like this once it comes off,

is used by someone on the staff there to make 'roses':

Actually, I had already found another and more practical, if less poetic, use for it long before.  In my loft I've got noren curtains separating the sleeping nook from the rest of the space, and I used the same material to make finials for the curtain rod.


Today's Thrift Shop Purchase

Another book-box!  And this one even has a title -- yay!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Meaningful Distinction?

One Eye Blind


One Eye Seeing

Fill In The Blank

For Example:

The Thought Police
The Fashion Police
The PC Police
The Culture Police
The Tech Police

1.  I think this is the closest thing I've done to Political Satire, such as it is.

2.  Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Screwy Twisty

An unusual instance of contrail twisting -- not only does this one twist on itself, it actually winds around an axis exterior to itself, like a winding staircase.  Minor examples of this epiphenomenon have been seen before, but this one is the clearest, best illustration I have seen so far.

Or maybe it's the trail of one of those Asiatic dragons of Southern California descending to earth..? (for explanation see:  Dracovolans australocaliforniensis maximus)

Seen On The Drive Home Yesterevening


At first, it was just an interesting reflection on some windows on a building I passed.

Until I took a closer look, and saw a pair of big staring eyes.

A person with paranoid tendencies might well conclude that he was being watched.

Other posts about being stared at#1#2#3#4#5