Archive for October, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset


2009
10.30


Yesterday I talked about waves – how there is infinite variety in a wave, even when taken from one place in a short time period.  Today, I can say the same about sunrises and sunsets.  As a photographer, you have to be aware of how quickly light changes.  Sometimes, it’s as if you are photographing two different sunsets yet it may be a matter of minutes or less between photos.

I’m a sunset kind of girl.  I’m surprised I have as many photos as I do of sunrises because I don’t usually like to be up that early!  But if I’m up under duress, sometimes I get lucky.  It helps to know where the camera is because I can’t think clearly in the morning.  And that’s a photography tip I’ve forgotten to share:  keep your camera in the same place so you don’t have to search the house looking for it.

So let’s look at some sunrises.  These were taken from the bedroom balcony of my house in Riverlakes.

sunrise bakersfield

This one is special.  It was an auspicious beginning for President Obama’s inauguration day.  I’ve used it for a collage. Flip through the art gallery until you find it.  It currently hanging in a show at Metro Galleries where you can see it and even purchase it until Thanksgiving weekend.

sunrise on lake 1

Isn’t it amazing to have an orangey-red sunrise and then a pinky-blue one?

sunrise on lake 2

The same sunrise but the colors have deepened; also, I zoomed in.

sunrise on lake 3

Same cloud pattern so it must have been the same sunrise.

sunrise on lake 4

Same sunrise.  What a variation in colors!  This would explain why I was amazed I’d been up early so many times.  I hadn’t!

sunrise on lake 5

I do believe we have another sunrise.

sunrise on lake 6

Wow!  The fourth sunrise.  This one is a beauty.  And that does it for sunrises.  Let’s take a look at the infinite variety of sunsets.

sunset costa rica 1

This is Tortuguero, Costa Rica, a small village – almost too small to be called a village – that you can only reach by plane or boat.  It’s an amazing jungle.

sunset tortuguero

This is the same sunset, but you can see that I’ve zoomed in.  The coulds are forming a different pattern.  When I travel I just use one lens – an 18 – 250 telephoto.  In fact, that’s the only lens I use anytime.  It saves carting lots of lenses around, having to change lenses which gives dust a chance to get on the sensor, and – it saves money.  Sensor dust is a real problem with digital SLR.

sunset big sur

This is a sunset in Big Sur reflected on the water.  If you go back to the art gallery, you’ll see this as well as inauguration sunrise on a canvas.  I alternated torn strips of each in an abstract American Flag.

sunset shanghai

I’ve used this sunset in other blogs, but I’m including it here to show that you don’t have to be out in nature to shoot a gorgeous sunset.  This is Shanghai, China.  You can see this and other China photos in the China gallery.

sunset bakersfield

This is one of my favorites and I took it right here in Bakersfield on Riverlakes Drive, from my car window, using my Canon Elph.  This illustrates some of the introductory items I wrote about in earlier posts – it’s the photographer more than the equipment.  By the way, there is an index of former posts if you want to locate one quickly.

sunset pismo 2

This is a sunset in Pismo.  I had the camera on a tripod because of the low light, and just happened to be looking through the viewfinder when this bird flew by.  I didn’t think – I pushed the shutter.  The joys of digital – I didn’t have to worry about the cost of developing and whether it would turn out, etc. etc.

sunset pismo 3

This was sunset the following night.  I almost didn’t bother, and in fact the sun had already set.  But I couldn’t help myself – I had to take a picture anyhow.

sunset pismo 1

Sunset was just beginning in this picture taken in Shell Beach last year.

sunset cinque terre 1

Sunset in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy.  How dramatic can it get! Love this.

sunset cinque terre 2

And this – a little later, same night.  I like the way the sun sort of bounces off the water.

sunset cinque terre 3

Same sunset, same night.  See how quickly things change?  There are more photos of Italy here.

salt lake sunset

I like this sunset.  I was waiting for a street car in Salt Lake City and I like the industrial look.

sunset sedona

Sedona, Arizona.  Beautiful.  The red rocks are at their best at sunset.

sunset venice

Last, Venice, Italy.  Wow.  I love Venice.

So this is just a smattering of the variety you can get in color, setting, timing – it’s infinite.  And after the sunset, the moon comes out.

full moon

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Waves: Infinite Variety


2009
10.29


There’s the new Google Wave (and by the way, if any of you have Google Wave, please invite me), the Queen’s wave, the wave that goes around the ballpark, the hair wave, the goodbye wave, and on and on.  But I’m in Pismo Beach right now so I’m focused on the waves in the ocean.  I took pictures of waves today from the pier.  Once in a while I do a little exercise – I stay in one place and take as many different photos as I can from that spot.  Try it – it helps focus your eye and see things differently as you try to make interest from a seemingly dull scene or object.  However, there is nothing dull about the ocean.

I’m going to post 16 photos of waves, all taken from the pier – some on the south side and some on the north.  Waves are mesmerizing – I don’t believe any are exactly the same.  There’s the splash, the swell, the break, the trickling out, the retreat, all in infinite variety.   So this is a post just to look at and enjoy and reflect on the mightiness and mystery of the ocean.

wave 1

wave 2

wave 3

wave 4

wave 5

wave 6

wave 7

wave 8

wave 9

wave 10

wave 11

wave 12

wave 13

wave 14

wave 15

wave 16

So there you have it.  Sixteen waves. Believe me, I could have stood on that pier for hours and taken hundreds of photos.  Every single movement I thought, Wow, look at that, what a beautiful pattern.  But I had to move on.  For one thing, besides taking the pictures there’s downloading the pictures, deleting most of them, uploading to an internet site, etc. etc.

Coming soon:  Sunrise, Sunset; Patterns; and Yellowstone National Park.


Back Roads and Beaches: Hidden Treasures


2009
10.28


As a photographer, one has to be alert at all times.  I’ve done a post on developing your eye and what to look for in a photo.  I’ve gotten pretty good at scanning the area around me when I drive and I can turn up all sorts of interesting things.  Of course, it helps to have an interesting road.  Interstate 5 doesn’t turn up that many possibilities, partly because you can’t really stop or pull over.  When I go to Pismo Beach, I take the long way.  Highway 58 from Bakersfield to the 101 is the long way, and what a splendid road it is.  Best of all, there is very little traffic.

drive to pismo

First of all, there is beauty in the barren, dry hills.  Sure, they are great when lush with new, baby green.  But I like them like this too.  Tumbleweeds, fences, dry low hills, mountains, blue sky with clouds.

fence and sky

Look at this.  As I drove by I quickly pulled over.  The two fence posts, or rods, are bent in towards each other.  And the vapor trail in the sky is curved in the same way.  I happen to find this particularly interesting.  I should point out as I often do, that even though the purpose of this trip was to get to Pismo, not to take photographs, that doesn’t mean I can’t document interesting things.  Who knows what might turn out to be an inspriation for a collage or work of art?

dead bird

I drove right on past this mail box and then it registered:  there was a dead bird draped over the post.  I backed up (safely, don’t worry), got out, and looked.  What the heck?  Someone must have put the bird there because I don’t see how a bird can fly into a mailbox and drape its wings over the post.  Bizarre.  Glad I was looking around!

I always keep a sharp eye out for wildlife but so far I’d managed squirrels (hard to get excited about squirrels) and dead skunks.  Now I had some dead wildlife – and it was pretty interesting.

me

Just to be clear, it was me in the car.  I’ve gotten pretty good at holding the camera in front of me and clicking.  I kind of like this picture.  I feel like a sophisticated lady or an angel, the way the headrest frames my head.  (I’m neither, really.)

So I continued in my quest for wildlife.  Other than me and dead things.

buffalo

Buffalo qualify.  Sort of.  Not like Yellowstone, but it was a buffalo and I’d not previously seen them on this highway.  They must have been visiting a different part of their pasture.  But by keeping my eyes open I got to see this, and yes, buffalo still excite me.  I could have a “wide-open prairie” moment.

As I pulled away I passed a tree and did a double-take.  Stuffed wildlife?

animals in tree

Yes, there were stuffed animals in that tree arranged rather intricately.  There didn’t seem to be any roadside monuments or memorials – just some animals in a tree.  Never seen that before.  Being alert was producing all kinds of strange things.  But I finally got some real, honest-to-goodness wildlife.

turkey

Wild turkeys!  Just in time for Thanksgiving.  Mine are already ordered, but it was nice to see these guys.  I mean, I’m assuming they were wild turkeys because I’ve seen flocks of them in Glennville and in Colorado, and I don’t think a turkey farmer would have his birds wandering around at will.

turkey backs

All in all, I was satisfied.  It’d been an interesting drive and I reached my destination.  My true destination?  Not just the Kon Tiki, but the sand – actually getting down with the sand and water.  So I did, promptly underestimated the tide, got soaked (with my camera high above my head because salt water is a camera killer).

pelicans and rock

I saw pelicans.  Dozens and dozens of pelicans.

seagull tracks

I saw seagull tracks in the sand.    Staying observant isn’t just about the big things like waves and masses of birds, it’s about the small treasures too.

white rocks

I saw the mysterious blue patterns in the white cliffs.  Always wonder about that but I don’t really want to know.  I’d rather just marvel at it.

seagull

Looking at this seagull, I saw not only a seagull, but its shadow and reflection.  That’s a threefur!  I was pretty excited.

shell and feather

This was fun to discover also.  A sand dollar, a feather, and a line in the sand connecting them.  I chose to take the picture in a diagonal instead of lining them up.

me in wind

I found myself on the beach also.  Whipped by the wind – it’s a wonder I have any hair left – but I took this into the sun so it was very dark and I didn’t show.  I lightened it on photoshop so I showed and the background disappeared.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset.

sunset

But since I stayed alert and open to possibility, I was ready to snap the shutter when this gull flew in front of the sun.

sunset and gull

It was a day of hidden treasures on the back roads and beaches.

And the moon came out.

moon


Pismo Beach: What am I Doing Here?


2009
10.27


Once again, I find my self at the Kon Tiki Inn in Pismo Beach.  Alone by choice.  I’ve always needed “alone” time, ever since I was a little girl.

kon tiki

When I come here, the larger question is not “What am I doing here?” It’s more like,  “What am I doing?”  I find that answer often by letting my mind go free-form, not thinking about anything in particular but knowing the larger question.  Since I retired a little over two years ago, I’ve been redefining myself as an artist.  I stumbled onto a new form of photo collage and have produced a rather large body of work considering I started after our trip to China in May of 2007.  Photos I took of Chinese lanterns started the whole venture.

G4-13; Lantern in Bei Hei Park

I love what I’m doing.  But the corollary arises, it’s not enough just to do art – because I have to sell art.  To sell art I have to engage in self-promotion, which is an uncomfortable activity.  I blogged about it earlier this year in a post which I cannot presently find.  It’s like they are disappearing on me.  But the point is blogging.

I’m blogging and my readership is building.  I get about 500 new readers a month which I suppose is pretty good for a new blog.  That is, if I understand what “unique visitors” are.  To what end?  I suppose that’s one of the things that has to muddle around in my head.  Because I would guess it’s about building a brand and ultimately selling photos – but no one’s buying.  Not that I expected them to – there’s a bazillion excellent photos for sale online, and basically, people can take good photos themselves.  Or good enough photos.

I’m writing articles on eZines, posting articles on eHow, and participating more in art life of the community.  All these things are fun, but I’m not kidding myself – I don’t expect to be famous or a guru about anything.  I would like to make some money.  And of course, I’ve fallen into the venture least likely to make money – art.  So how long do I continue?  How much do I blog?  Are my blogs worthwhile?  And that brings me partly to Pismo.

So here’s what I do at the beach all by myself.

morning pelicans

I watch the endless lines of pelicans fly to and fro, never tiring of the patterns they form, always wondering how they know who takes the lead and why they are going anywhere in particular.  I can watch them without noticing time passing.

ocean

I watch the ocean.  It lulls me into a trance almost.  The waves form such intricate patterns and always change, even though they never stop.

water ripple pattern

I look at patterns.  I walk up and down the beach looking at the larger view, but especially interested in the smaller view.  The patterns of water, sand and wind are endlessly fascinating.

During all this, I know my mind is working on the problem at hand on deep background.

ocean into sun

I look at the light and take pictures directly into the light.  I watch the sparkles on the sand and waves and the play of light and dark.

wind sand pattern

I look at the sand.  Today, it was very windy and it blew the sand into ripples.  It doesn’t usually look like this.

sand light pattern

I notice how the water contours the sand differently in different parts of the beach.

I can watch all this for hours, not noticing the time pass.  In fact, I can sit on the balcony with the newspaper or a book, and never quite open them to read.

kon tiki view

This is the view from the balcony.  I go to the hot tub several times a day also and from the tub, I watch the ocean.

empty beach

I marvel at how the entire big beach can be mine and mine alone.

shell

I look for the details.  Even in a big, empty beach, there are little treasures.  It’s like the desert in that regard.

me on beach

I take pictures of myself because my camera confuses other people when I ask them to take a picture of me.

waves

I look at how the waves seem to stack up head on.

You get the idea.  I spend hours noticing small things and letting my mind go off on its own.  And it does.  Where it leads, I’m not sure, but I hope I will emerge on Friday with some idea of how I should continue, if I should continue with this blogging business.

And now I’m going to watch the sunset from the hot tub, come back and eat buffalo mozarella, crackers, proscuitto and nibbles in my room, and watch So You Think You Can Dance.


Interstate 70: The Desert, Utah, the San Rafael Swell and the San Rafael Reef


2009
10.26

USA_Interstate-70

I am partial to the desert.   That wide expanse of nothing, really an illusion.  Because everything you want is in the desert if you know where to find it.  If you can sit still long enough, the desert will reveal its secrets and the rhythm of its life: slow, quiet, spare.  But there is life.

Both my husband and I are happy in the desert, whether it be the beauty of the high desert full of Joshua Trees, the scrubby Mojave, or a desert of dunes.  But there is no place quite like the high desert that runs through Utah and the Western Slope of Colorado.

vista with trees

Interstate 70 through Utah is almost indescribable.  A stretch called the San Rafael Swell and the San Rafael Reef is our favorite road, at least of the roads we’ve discovered so far.  There are many pull-outs and we stop at each one and marvel.  How can there be spaces so vast with such spare beauty?

san rafael reef sign

The San Rafael Reef

vista

What a magic place to drive.  And it’s never crowded.

My daughter lives in Paonia, CO, and when we drive, we always take this route.  The skies are always spectaular, whether blue or cloudy.

something and clouds

road between mtns

san rafael swell sign

I hope you’ll be able to read these signs to get some of the geologic background.  A good site to read more is here.

vista after nobody wanted

place nobody wanted

No one wanted this territory, and at one time no one wanted the Mormons.  After being chased out of several states, they settled in Utah.  In my opinion, they got the best deal because this inhospitable, desolate country is some of the most beautiful in existence.

Three National Parks can be accessed from I70 – Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef.  Never heard of Capitol Reef?  Neither had we, but we saw a sign, turned, and were wowed.

vista after tree

It seems like I’d posted on I70 previously but I couldn’t locate it.  It may have been deleted during my “technical difficulties” episode.  So I’ll just enter some more photos for you to enjoy quietly, which is how the desert should be enjoyed.

like canyonlands

deep canyon

vista after outlaw

like monitor

poop mtn

Certainly the best time to visit these areas is Spring or Fall.  But we went in July!  It was hot, but that’s the time we had, and with lots of water and an air-conditioned car anything is doable.

outlaw country

If you need to disappear, there is no place better than these inaccessible canyons.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid did some of their hiding out here.

canyon

more canyon

Right now, I’m at Pismo Beach in the Kon Tiki Inn.  This is one of my favorite places to come to relax and just think.  The desert is another good thinking place.  In fact, it’s a quieter thinking place.  Sometimes at the beach, I want to turn the ocean off.  I have to close the door instead because it never stops!  As much as I like the ocean, the desert is a more spiritual experience.

In my art gallery, you’ll spot many snippits of desert worked into collages.  And in the photo galleries, you’ll see many other desert photographs as well as Pismo.  Don’t forget that these photos can be purchased in various sizes.  The original art can be purchased also.

road clouds

Next time you take a road trip, give some thought to Interstate 70 through Utah and stop at the National Parks.  The author Byrd Baylor has some wonderful children’s poetry books about the desert.  I find them profound enough for adults, but we all find in a book what we seek based upon our own experiences.


Here Kitty Kitty: Cats from Little to Big to Bigger


2009
10.23

This is a post about cats.  Kitties.  I had forgotten how absolutely sweet kittens are.  But when I was returning from the cabin recently, I stopped for lunch at Hassano’s in Glennville which, by the way, is an astonishingly good restaurant.  Hassano has a trained chef, not a cook!

LITTLE

cabin 249


I sat on the patio – it was just me.  I ordered clam chowder and turned to look at the end of the bench I was sitting on, and this is what I saw.  Not just this pretty kitty, but three of them!  My heart melted instantly and thoughts raced through my head.  Where’s the mother? Are they wild? Could I – but no, of course I can’t, Lily and Tiger are enough.  We can’t add three kittens.  But, oh…

…those little balls of fur and those sweet kitten faces.

cabin 245

cabin 235

My mind was still fighting the mental battle although I knew for a certainty the kitties were staying in Glennville.

cabin 234

They were a little ruffled from living outside – or running around outside anyhow, but still irresistable.

cabin 240

cabin 233

Mom did show up and I concluded that they lived in the very small hotel office behind the restaurant.  I left some clam chowder in my bowl and got up to leave.  From inside I watched Mama drink the chowder and the little ones, one by one, tried to jump on the table only to fall back to the ground.  Finally, mom was done and some of the babes finished off the chowder.  No pictures of this.  For once, I just wanted to watch the scene.

BIG

IMG_9309

juju april 7

These are my cats – Lily and Tiger – when I brought them home from the shelter six months ago, on April 7, 2009.  At that time they were named Abba Zaba and Jujube, however.  They were about six months old – I didn’t want small kittens.  Abba Zaba (Lily) was very sick and fearful although I didn’t know about the sick part when she got home.  But she hardly let anyone touch her and I suspect she had been a semi-feral kitten.

IMG_9542

I think they were still Abba Zaba and Jujube at this point, but they could have entered the second permutation of their names to B’Elanna Torres and Beverly Crusher.  At least they had become friends and Beverly was well.

IMG_0085

By now, B’Elanna and Beverly had probably become Tiger and Lily, because it turned out that while Lily (above) reminded me more of Beverly in movement and grace, she really had the personality of B’Elanna!  She had certainly become more comfortable as she now slept, belly exposed, trusting the world.

They’ve grown into sweet and wonderful cats.  Tiger, the orange one, likes to be rubbed on the belly and jumps on my bed the second I get into it at night, flops over, and expects a belly rub.  Lily jumps on me as soon as I get in bed, lies on my chest, and expects to be scratched behind the ears.

IMG_0071

IMG_0002

And Lily, it turns out, loves water.  The second the bathroom sink is on, or the tub is filling, Lily is there like a shot.  I can’t brush my teeth unobstructed.  She all but puts her head under the fawcet because as any cat person knows, water is only good from a source other than the water bowl.

She even likes the sink empty.  My granddaughter Ali calls her a water Lily.

lily rs

BIGGER

I have been very fortunate in that, as I’ve driven from home to cabin and back, I’ve had three bobcat sightings!  Five, actually, but only three that I’ve managed photos of.  Unless you want to see the photo of the gully where the wildcat was.

IMG_0090

This was the first.  And, photographers, this is a great example of always having your camera ready.  The picture isn’t great – but at least there is a picture!  The camera was on the seat next to me as I drove, and I quickly pulled over when I saw movement, grabbed the camera and shot.  I knew I didn’t have time to worry about anything but pushing the shutter button.

IMG_0087

I was so excited!  I mean, I was excited enough to merit more than one exclamation mark!!!!!

And then came this one.  Wow.

IMG_0068

This was amazing.  I knew I’d seen something move so I pulled over and got out of the car to look for it.  Nothing.  I knew it was there, however, so I slowly scanned the area until I was looking into the eyes of this cat.  As soon as it saw me make eye contact, it was off.  I had to be fast but these pictures were pretty good.

IMG_0067

That was a magic moment right up there with the time I turned a corner and came face-to-face with a fox.  I sat down, the fox sat down, and we watched each other for what was probably 45 seconds but seemed like forever, and then the fox left.

Finally, I was coming home yet again, spotted movement, grabbed the camera and shot.  At first I though it was a house cat running through a field, but you know, it’s just too big.  The dead grass was high and a house cat would have almost been hidden.

cabin 231

So that is the end of  my Here, Kitty Kitty tail, um, tale.  If you want to see more wildlife (none as exciting as wildcats in my opinion, but nice) look here.

Also, with the holidays approaching, if you see photos you like in any of the galleries, you can order them and give a personalized (to the recipient’s interests) Christmas or Chanukah gift.  Or, in the case of Chanukah, you can give eight photos in a row!


MISSION INN: Part Two, plus, a Christmas Surprise


2009
10.22

NOTE:  see bottom of post for personal Christmas gift ideas.

warning rs


As we continued our exploration of the Mission Inn, we stumbled upon (not down, luckily) a wonderful spiral staircase in the rotunda.  Of course, we stumbled upon the rotunda also.  This wing was added in 1931 and filled out the city block, so from then on additions had to go upwards.

rotunda stairs two

The Rotunda Wing has this spiral staircase, the St. Francis Chapel,

IMG_0039

and a dome called Amistad, or Friendship Dome.

rotunda rs

Emblems of many countries are cemented into the walls of this wing since it’s dedicated to friendship among all nations.

This place was full of surprises.  We walked down the stairs, not worrying about the non-compliance with safety codes.  Here are some of the doors and windows we saw as we explored different floors.

glass color window

glass detail

stud door detail

Plus, we found a reflecting pool.

IMG_0053

and an herb garden

herb garden

in this lovely wing.

suite

And in a hallway, we found more evidence of the wedding:

IMG_0105

We spotted her counterpart in a patio by a fountain.

ring bearer

We went to the bottom, found this patio and encountered something incongruous.  This Inn is a combination of whatever suited someone’s fancy at the time.  Frank Miller’s son-in-law created this Famous Flier’s Wall in 1932 when the St. Francis Chapel was dedicated.  I think it goes that since St. Francis was the patron saint of animals and birds, fliers, or “birdmen,” should be honored.  The chapel was dedicated as an international shrine for aviators.

flight wings rs

Famous aviators visited the Inn and signed and dated their “wings.”  The wall includes Lt. Gen. Doolittle, Jackie Cochran, Amelia Earhart, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, and on October 13 Buzz Aldrin had been there to sign his wings.

chapel courtyard rs

We weren’t able to get into the Assisi chapel but we did go into the room on the right (smaller brown door).  Among all the statuary in the room was this:

mural rs

It didn’t seem to have any religious symbolism but I love the colors.

When we checked out, we asked the desk clerk if he could show us the chapel.  We were particularly interested in the Golden Rayas Altar.  Although you normally see that chapel by taking a docent tour, he was kind enough to show it to us.

chapel rs

The altar was commissioned and made in Italy, but it’s first real home was Vincent Manuel Sardaneta Y Legaspi’s home chapel in Guanajuato, Mexico.  It was built in the 1720s and brought to the Inn in 1921.

altar rs

Miller was not really aware of the implications of buying an altar sight-unseen, and at 25 feet high, his original vision of perhaps putting it in a bedroom or sitting room was kaput.  The chapel was constructed.  Chapels need stained glass windows, so he secured Tiffany windows and mosaics from Stanford White’s Madison Square Presbyterian Church when it was razed in 1919.  Tiffany himself aided Miller in acquiring the windows.

tiffany windows rs

Neither the Inn nor Riverside has anything at all to do with missions, but they adopted an identity that perpetuated the association,  like an invented history.  Whatever the origin, the Inn and the surrounding pedestrian mall are fantastic.  We walked around a bit but the mall is under renovation so we didn’t tarry, but headed back to the Inn to retrieve our luggage and car.

front walk rs

A last picture of a bell from the Mission Inn that has nothing to do with missions.

bell resized

Christmas at the Mission Inn: The Inn has an annual Festival of Lights and it must be really something.  Nearly 3.5 million lights and hundreds of holiday characters are put up by 15 full-time employees who work for over two months on this alone!  Parts of the Inn are decorated in different themes:  Spanish, Victorian, nutcrackers, Santa’s Workshop, etc.  We saw many of the decorations going up and it looks like it is worth a trip.  Wow.  This page of google images makes me want to go this year!

COMING SOON:  new photos in my web page galleries.  Don’t forget, these are for sale!  Help a starving artist.  Ok, ok, I know I don’t look like I’m starving. But – Christmas is coming and a nice matted photograph, using all archival materials of course, of someone’s favorite type of landscape or animal, etc. could make a lovely personal gift.


The Mission Inn: An Unexpected Surprise in Riverside


2009
10.21

We headed down to Riverside, CA, for a relative’s wedding. We’ve never heard anything of note about Riverside, but we’d never been there either. I find that wherever one goes, there’s something of interest. But we didn’t expect the Mission Inn. While looking for a hotel online, the Mission Inn seemed priced reasonably enough, and the website promised a wonderful, historic hotel. I didn’t believe it. Or, I should say, on most claims, I’ll believe them when I see them.

entrance rs

I believed this all right!  We were completely unprepared for the wonderful surprise of this hotel.  Everywhere we walked, every turn we made, revealed a new, exciting element.  It’s going to take two posts to include everything we found.

lobby

The lobby was extensive and off to each side were interesting sitting areas.  They didn’t conform to a particular style but had unexpected personalities.  Like this one.

setees rs

The Mission Inn has nothing to do with a mission – wasn’t associated with one, and wasn’t patterned after one.  It started back in 1875 when someone named Christopher Columbus Miller was given a block of land instead of $324 in back wages that the Riverside colony owed him.  He build a home there, called the place the Glenwood Cottage and took in boarders.  We stayed in the Glenwood rooms.  This next photo is the beautiful outdoor entrance verandah in the most modern-looking section of the Inn.  And we also reserved the least expensive type of room, although we were upgraded to the next level – the Glenwood rooms.  At that, it was comfortable with all the amenities and the most comfortable bed ever.

balcony

Our view from this balcony, or verandah, was of the swimming pool and spa area where, if we’d had more time, we would have relaxed and ordered cocktails poolside.

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I only have one picture of the spa and I’m in it.  You won’t catch me in a swimsuit very often! We did find time to relax and soak after the wedding.

me in spa

Back to the history.  Frank Miller bought the Glenwood from his father in 1880.  In fact, he bought the entire city block.  The New Glenwood Hotel opened in 1903, and for the next 30 years he kept expanding.  The furnishings and eclectic art objects from Miller’s trips around the world gave the Mission Inn its style – which I’m not sure has a name.  But it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Presidential Lounge is also off the lobby.  It’s aptly named because it was originally a suite constructed for Teddy Roosevelt’s visit in 1903.  It had a sitting room and two bedrooms with another bedroom upstairs.  President Taft also stayed in these rooms.  The Nixons were married here, and many other presidents including Kennedy stayed here.  In 1957 it was converted to a lounge.

There are five restaurants in the hotel and a tavern.  The Spanish Court is a beautiful dining area.

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There is a ramp from this patio into the Spanish Art Gallery but we weren’t able to go in.  Also on the ground floor is Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood.  Beautiful doors leading in:

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I don’t think there is a way to “tour” the hotel in a particular order – in my post, anyway.  We just walked and wandered and here is some of what we discovered.

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This is a pleasant sitting area near our room.  The chest against the wall is beautiful.

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Some of the areas around the Spanish courtyard on different levels:

round room rs

I don’t know what this is.  But it’s near the Tavern, which is near the music room, which we didn’t discover in time to see.  A huge organ is in the music room and has been restored and from a photo we saw looks very impressive.  I guess this means a visit back!

clock

The clock you see was purchased in 1911, but the clock face says 1709. What we see now is a reconstruction of the face with the original in the Mission Inn Museum.  The Millers purchased it in Europe, and it’s called Anton’s Clock.  Why?  Don’t know.  But it was installed in 1914 when the Spanish wing was under construction.  In the little opening under the face, figures rotate – a California Native American, Father Serra, a bear, Juan Bautista de Anza, and St. Francis.  That component of the clock was installed in 1952.  The Mission Inn is like Disneyland – always something being added.

clock closeup

wedding pic

As we explored further, we saw wedding photos being taken in an idyllic location.  What a place for a wedding!

detail

I love this detail ofa section of room called Author’s Row.  These rooms overlook the Spanish Patio and are named for authors who have visited the Inn.  Here’s some tile detail from this wing.

tile detail

more tile detail

Finally for today, as we rounded the corner where this tile is, we encountered a nice reflecting pool and fountain.  Something around every corner!  Tomorrow – the Rotunda, St. Francis of Assisi Chapel and the Golden Altar, something worthy of an Italian church.  Oh, right.  It was made in Italy!

fountain

mark and me

I balanced the camera, put it on remote, and got a photo of Mark and me.  Had I been prepared with tripod, etc. I could have taken spectacular photos.  Who would have thought?  This is a hotel for which the hype is truly understated.  Next time have tripod, will travel.

Tomorrow – Mission Inn, part two.


BURN THE WITCH: Bakersfield’s Annual All-Women Art Show


2009
10.20

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Bakersfield’s all-woman art show has opened!  The opening reception was October 17, but the closing reception is Oct. 31 – Halloween.  It promises to be a rousing good time.

Here in Bakersfield, CA, of which it’s often been said, “There’s nothing to do!”, we have a thriving art community.  Some very hard working ladies, or “witches” as we call each other this time of year, organize a huge show annually.  Jen Raven founded the show and curated the first three, but this year Nyoka took over.

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Nyoka is a dynamo and an excellent artist who also holds down a job and is pursuing her master’s degree.  I must be old because it just sounds so tiring to be a whirlwind!

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This is me – I have six works in the show.  But you can see that an entire large venue, Metro Special Events in Westchester, is full of dynamic art.  I’m going to include just a few images.

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This amazing work, along with others, was actually vandalized by some of the bingo people who use the hall regularly. More information here on Bakersfield Express.  It took the artist a long time to restore it, but here it hangs proudly.

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Yes, indeed, bingo is the usual use of this venue, but you’d never know it from this marvelous exhibition.

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There is always a Wall of Infamy, or a Wall of Fame, depending upon the way you wish to view it, with information about all the artists.

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Here’s mine:

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Next year I’ll get a new picture – I used this last year also.  Just lazy.

This is a good time to say that the art is for sale – and that all the photos and art on my web site are for sale also, unless already marked SOLD (Original art only).

In fact, this piece sold at the opening.

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It’s a mixed-media piece called Carry Me Home (I’ve blogged about it previously) and selling it was difficult – it’s one of my favorites.  But that’s what art is about – expression, sharing that expression and meaning with others, and making money also if one is lucky.  And certainly, I can’t keep everything I create but still, and I’m sure all artists feel this way, it’s like giving away a very small part of yourself when you sell.

The second piece is called Roots and Wings.  I’ll put it in as soon as word press stops acting up and allows me to upload!

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Another sampling of works, with the horse one of mine.

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All the King’s Horses – I blogged about this one also on the same page as the previous work.  The title is a reference to the very fragmented journey this horse had to and from and back again to St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.  It’s for sale also!

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Costumes are among the forms of art represented.  The next photo is a costume that I dearly wish I could fit into.  A flight of fantasy…

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Even though I despise fish and don’t want to be a half-fish or swim amongst them, I can’t deny a secret wish to be Ariel or Madison.  Not to be.  But some of the new artists to the show were featured in an article and someone was actually wearing this!  Check out the article in Bakotopia.

Ok, flight of fantasy over.

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This photo of mine, Catch Me if you Can, in which I made polka dots on the swimsuit, is my granddaughter Annabelle.   There seems to be some confusion on who is chasing her – I think it’s my granddaughter Ali, but some say it’s granddaughter Sarah.  Anyway, I love the way their arms and legs are in sync.

IMG_0080These are the last two of my works.  The bottom is Inauguration Sunrise with strips of a photo taken from my balcony inauguration morning, and the one on top is Into the Malestrom, a very focused and intense piece for such a small canvas.  You can’t see the four glass fish who are swimming into the malestrom, a symbol for the very survival of our oceans and world for that matter.   These pieces are both for sale.

As an aside, I should mention that both Carry Me Home (which sold) and Into the Malestrom, were works I struggled with and almost gave up on.  I’m glad I didn’t because they are two of my best (in my opinion).

Do try to attend the closing reception on Oct. 31, if just for a moment. Admission is $5 and benefit Bakersfield’s Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.


Fall Colors: Colorado


2009
10.16


As promised yesterday, here are some more splashes of color to remind us that yes, autumn does occur.  What we get in Bakersfield comes very late, almost into winter.  I took these photos while visiting my daughter, her husband and her children in Colorado.  Most – well, all really – were quick photos taken as we were sightseeing with three children under 5!  Nonetheless, quick or not, it’s hard to go wrong in Colorado.

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Annabelle and I snuck some time alone and went to buy pumpkins.  I don’t know what could be cuter than this.

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Colorado is a little like heaven.  We were on our way to Ouray.

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This next photo is from Domaine Alfredo, a winery in the Edna Valley near Pismo.  Most of the leaves were off the vines, but wow!  Not these.

G4-80; Edna Valley Vineyard

Lastly, a sunflower that is saying goodbye to summer.

G4-141; Sunflower, Edna Valley

I’ll be back Monday, if not sooner.  Now, I’m turning my attention to the Dodgers and Phillies.  Rooting for the Dogs of course!