Archives for the month of: October, 2009
Sometimes my mind wanders when I am sitting in my quiet office trying to work. At moments like this, I find it is often best to go out, carry my notebook and computer even, and put myself into the midst of the hubbub of a local cafe. Somehow the noise and carryings on of people around me allow me to concentrate better, focus on my reading or my work. 

This was exactly what I saw as I watched this woman and her book. It was on the J-Church MUNI line during the Trolley Dance festival … The trolley was jammed with people, with group leaders talking, with people climbing around and watching the dance exhibitions on the streets we passed through. She never flinched, lived entirely in that world of the book in front of her, and seemed to enjoy the private space it gave her. 



Media Center – Workshops update! 

There’s still time to register for the Photoshop (Oct 26-27) and Lightroom (Nov 7-8) workshops I’m offering at the Media Center. I’ve got a couple of seats left in the Photoshop sessions and am about half full on the Lightroom sessions. I’d love to see you there! See for more info on this blog … 

Or go directly to the Media Center website at for registration. 
Going to San Francisco, I often prefer to leave my car at the BART station in Millbrae and ride the train in. Both for reasons of cost … it’s cheaper to pay the train fare than most parking garages nowadays … and just for the photo opportunities that riding the train might provide: street work in and around the platforms, through the window landscape work, etc. 


Going to SF on Sunday the Millbrae trains always detour to San Francisco Airport now and for a moment I had this beautiful view of the parking garage as we passed through. Luckily, I had the camera ready to shoot in my bag, with the 25mm lens fitted, and set to Manual focus. A quick twist of the ring and a snap … and the view was gone. 

I like the way the train passageway frames the parking structure, the glow of the lights reflecting in the window but not overpowering it. The structure soars massive and modern, constrained behind the beams and railings. 

An “over the couch” architectural shot, well maybe for the office wall. 
I have to make a print… 
It was called Trolley Dance 2009 … the Sixth Annual San Francisco Trolley Dance. I’d never heard of it before, a news commentator talked about it on an NPR local news piece a few days before. Meet up at Dolores Park in San Francisco, buy a day pass on the J Church line trolley. Ride the trolley to Balboa Park, stopping along the way to watch modern dance pieces performed on the street. 

Sounded interesting to me. Sounded like a photo opportunity.


This portrait of a woman I made at Balboa Park keeps drawing me back over and over again. The dance exhibition as we arrived began at the street and carried us into the park proper, into a ring of trees. She’d been sleeping there until the music and the movements of people wakened her, and then she stood and watched, enchanted like the rest of us. Her face drew me in: such a radiant smile, such beautiful eyes. A true royalty of the street, a Queen in a different world and time. 

I wished I’d had the chance to talk with her; her eyes told me there was much to hear. But I was distracted as the dance moved away and drew me along to the next piece. Instead I have this photo to ponder: colors and smile, replete in mystery and shining beauty. A solid presence in the trees of Balboa Park.

It will have to be enough. 

A call went out from the Media Center in Palo Alto for a studio video production that sounded interesting. I had the time but no experience. So I went anyway. Ended up they were short-handed and I was trained on the spot in the use of the graphics unit, so I got to participate in the shoot as the Graphics person. 


Loved it. Back in the control room again … memories of when I was doing amateur theater, running the stage lighting, working production, etc. A very seductive thing for me. Must do more. 

Speaking of the Media Center, I’m offering two image processing workshop sessions and they’re coming up soon…

Adobe Photoshop for Photographers: A Simple Approach

This two-session workshop focuses on learning how to get the most from just a few of Photoshop’s tools to achieve great results: Levels, Curves, Layers and Masks. In both lecture and lab time, we will examine organizing your files and how to work efficiently. You’ll be introduced to methods and concepts for sharpening and printing. No prior Photoshop experience required. Lab time throughout to practice techniques.

Monday-Tuesday, October 26 & 27

Adobe Lightroom: Starting in the Middle

A two-session workshop for photographers interested to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom. Learn how to transition your work from Photoshop into Lightroom, or start from scratch with Lightroom as the principal tool for your image processing workflow. No prerequisites, some familiarity with Photoshop and image processing workflow is helpful. Students are welcome to bring a library of their own work, either on external hard drive or laptop. There will be time given throughout the session for hands-on. 

Saturday-Sunday, November 7 & 8

For more information and registration, see the Media Center website at 

And feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions! 
It has been hard to write these last two weeks. My head has been full of too many things to think about, too much stuff to do, too much writing to do outside of photography and journaling. 

I’ve been out walking every morning, though, and collecting photos. This morning as I returned home, I heard a rustle in the trees next to me so I stopped. I looked up. And there I found this fat fellow looking back at me. Not skittering away as they usually do, just looking. I had only a normal lens on the camera and it was still quite dark, but better to try than not to get any picture at all… 


176 – The Observer – Sunnyvale 2009

He was a handsome little guy and darted away around the trunk after three exposures. I guess the shutter broke his cool. 

But the seasons have changed. It’s been cool to cold this past weeks’ mornings. Dark when I leave the apartment; quieter too. And another season’s change is happening: time to think out this blog on a different footing rather than doing it as a day by day ‘whatever comes to mind’ ramble. I have some ideas, it will be fun. 

Thinking, looking for inspiration, I reached for the Tao Te Ching again. My intelligent book fell open to  … 

Verse 35

Hold fast to the Great Form within
and let the world pass as it may
The changes of life will not bring pain
but contentment, joy, and well-being.

Music and sweets are passing pleasures
yet they cause people to stop
How bland and insipid are the things of this world
when one compares them with Tao!
One tastes, but the sweetness turns bitter
One sees, but the colors grow faint
One hears, but the sound fades into silence

One may look for fulfillment in this world
but his longings will never be exhausted
The only thing he ever finds
is that he himself is exhausted.

I hope that squirrel has his winter store of food laid aside.