Do not go gentle into that good night…

Posted in Photography, San Diego on December 5th, 2015 by Admin
Mission Bay East Twilight

Mission Bay East Twilight

Late afternoon in this cold dreary Thursday, I was napping in the back of my car, where it was quite warm. But when I climbed out, sun was about to set and I was hit by bitter cold wind in this spot well known to wind surfers.

But what warmed me up was the surprising change in light, colors and cloudscape at the end of a day fit for hibernation! I had only my iPhone 5 with me, and started to fool around as the light and colors swiftly changed.

This more expressionistic photo is somehow my preferred one, as it conveyed my feelings for an otherwise dull day that seized me by its end: beautiful and somehow ominous in its unseen depths.

Born and raised in a tropical country and then living in Hawai’i the best years of my adult life, it’s in my genes that unrelenting cold always feels to me like a prelude to death. Not any death, but one’s own, when one’s body loses its grip and for the last time it slides away from light and warmth.

For, let’s face it: the Sun is everything for us humans, right? Yes, everything, the beginning and the end. No Sun, no little lives, no big lives.

Most ancient cultures, always erroneously (and arrogantly) described as “primitive”, had a special place in their mythological/religious pantheon for the Sun. Which makes complete sense to me.

To start with Egypt, the proto-ancestors of our male-driven Western Civilization (you’d be surprised to know why women today paint their lips red! :-). The Egyptians had not one but several male gods associated with the Sun: Khepri for the rising sun; Atum for the setting Sun, and Ra, at noon, who rode across the sky in a solar chariot.

In our current “new agey” mishmash culture, it’s common to associate the Sun with male deities or the male principle, and the feminine with the Moon as a universal, but world religions and mythologies (and the human spirit) are way more complex and subtle than that. There are goddesses of the Sun just as there are male deities of the Moon. In Norse mythology, Sunna is a Sun goddess, for example.

In Greece and Rome, as expected, Apollo (and Helios before him) are male deities. But in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, for example, Amaterasu is a female goddess. Makes sense. Shinto, the primeval religion of Japan, is filled with powerful female entities, from the comforting to the revengeful and destructive, and you can see this, literally, in films about Japan Ghost Stories. How to forget the haunting scene with the “Snow Woman” in one of the episodes of Kurosawa’s Dreams?

Snow Woman

Rage against the dying of the light. It’s what can be seen.

But how to rage against what cannot be seen, that which does not die, but it’s simply withdrawn, in the final cold embrace of nature.

Death comes to us from the same direction which Life always came: from behind.

We are creatures condemned to look ahead, what’s in front of us. We are nothing but Life propelled ahead, each one of us a all-too-brief Big Bang, which is also the Big Bang (or whatever we can imagine and speculate, always looking ahead 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Coronado Fairy Tale

Posted in San Diego, San Diego on January 25th, 2011 by Admin

wpid-coronado_sunset_012410_0015_3_4_adjust-2011-01-25-13-22.jpg This is an exceptionally nice area of Coronado to explore, walking or biking.

Beautiful houses (plus the egregious moneyed sins against good taste and aesthetics!), and close to a wide expanse of sandy beach facing west.
If you don’t like crowds, avoid the weekends and holidays. Otherwise it’s peaceful, except for the constant roar of military aircraft taking off and landing nearby.
And the Hamburger Lounge nearby is one of the best hamburger joints in San Diego.

The castle is real and you can’t miss it on Isabella Avenue. The ground floor  was being remodeled for a while and it was an ugly mess. Frustrated, I just took some wide-angled photos away from the castle, most of them deletable. Composition-wise, this one was the least frustrating, except that green and (high-frequency) foliage tend to mess up the process of digital imaging. Instead of discarding the image, I started messing up with it, and to tell you the truth, I even forgot the procedures and effects I followed until I was struck by this image out of old European Fairy Tale books, images I grew up with in my childhood in Brazil.

As for the writing, yes, once upon a time I did send the “postcard” to someone, and she indeed has beautiful green eyes.

Sweetwater Ride

Posted in Bonita, Music, Place, San Diego, video on February 15th, 2010 by Admin

[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/brazilfox/4359243892/in/set-72157623319132625/[/flickrvideo]

Finally, uploaded one of my video clips to Flickr, starting a Video Set.

You can watch and listen the 50 seconds clip in high resolution, with options for medium and large, by clicking here (Mobile.me Gallery). Be sure to have your speakers on.

As it so often happens, I created — both in the outdoors and later in the computer — something that I personally like, by acting on the spur of the moment, impulsively, instead of searching for a certain place and checking for imaging opportunities.

Beautiful, exceptionally warm Sunday for San Diego in February. I decided to explore the trails in Sweetwater Reservoir Park. Left the Canon at home and took with me the small Sony HDR-CX500V, a wonderful toy I hadn’t touch for a while.

I was not familiar with a city with a fitting name, Bonita, and was impressed by the mellow countryside atmosphere barely thirty minutes east of San Diego. It’s an atmosphere that… envelops you.

I use the word because, that’s what I tried to transmit in the video when I later edited it in the iMac.

Despite all my experimental and just-testing-what-I-can-get-here attitude while I was on the road at that moment, I was surprised with what I managed to get close to midnight at home in my screen: a very simple short video that captured for me pretty much the feeling I was having then, driving east in that part of the road.

After a couple of blocks eastward, I just told myself: stop this car, get the camera ready, turn around and start over! While hearing the ever patient ”recalculating” from the GPS, I drove back for a minute or so.

What you see in the beginning of the clip, it’s exactly the moment I finish making the second u-turn using a transversal street.

So flows the currentAs for the soundtrack, I acquired recently Patrick O’Hearn’s album So flows the current, after finding about him in Pandora. I’m still pretty much amazed by the beauty of some of the tracks in this album. And my choice for soundtrack just followed naturally.

At the end, something I was not planning for: the title of the song.

A Lovely Place to Be.

Exactly.

Flowers in Nu’uanu Memorial Park

Posted in Hawai'i, macro, Photography on February 9th, 2010 by Admin
Pincushion Protea

It was a cloudy somewhat dreary afternoon when these photos were taken in September 2007. Fitting to spend some reflective time in a small quiet cemetery that is surrounded by the luxuriousnes of Nu’uanu Valley, the Ko’olau range in the background showing through the myst, like in a Chinese scroll painting.

I was not in a photo mission, just giving myself a quiet time in one of my preferred places in Honolulu, a beautiful but overcrowded city with not that many peaceful places left. I had the small Canon A720 in my backpack as usual, when I felt that the Ko’olau range and the granitic, shiny spare elegance of the Japanese tombs were a natural match. My preferred photo of that afternoon is the one that best captured the evanescent moment, which I titled simply, Mortality.

But, down at my feet, were the many flowers. And I started shooting, always in a certain train of thought, as it happens for me in cemeteries.

It is the fact that, in a cemetery, all vegetation you see around you has a more immediate relation to the bodies that have vanished or are slowly vanishing under you. They vanish in shape, but materially they are just changing into something else.

Into the petals you see in this flower, perhaps.

Scorpion Gulch (how it felt)

Posted in Arizona, Photography, scorpion gulch on February 8th, 2010 by Admin

(If you haven’t read my first post about Scorpion Gulch, please do that first to know a little more about this place.)

Bracketed exposures > Photomatix Pro > Photoshop > Nik Siver Efex Pro

All to be where I wanted to be: back in time an in a place of my imagination.

Again, the dilemma of taste and of sharing or not a manipulated image. (See post Abstract Rose)

After getting used to my color photos of Scorpion Gulch, I started to pose myself some questions:
…  still, there’s something more in this little forgotten place I can’t get to.

Is Scorpion Gulch a colorful place?

No, it isn’t.

Scorpion Gulch was in business and belongs to a time when we would take our priceless roll of exposed film to a specialized photo store to be developed and printed. And we would wait, and wait, crossing our fingers, wondering whether buying the Kodak 200 instead the Agfa 400 weeks ago was the right decision.

Yes, if you are young, the photo is awful.

But the time in which most photos looked like these, was not necessarily so.

The interesting thing about the history of photography, is that it not only keeps documenting the world we live in, but at the same time keeps record of how our perception of the world changes. (And this second history is much more subtle and partly unconscious).

To really enjoy the history of photography, you always need to be old enough.

* * *

Scorpion Gulch (Phoenix, Arizona)

Posted in Photography, Place, scorpion gulch on February 7th, 2010 by Admin

As you drive south from downtown Phoenix into South Mountain Park, the ruins of Scorpion Gulch will surely grab your attention.

They are just there, forlorn and abandoned. No fences, no no-trespassing signs, no people, some graffittis but no trash (at least when I was there December 09)

My first time in Phoenix, I was just exploring around that morning with no plans or “attractions” in mind. I drove south attracted by the beautiful profile of that mountain against the deep blue horizon.

In the first stretch of quiet road, it’s just there. Wow, this is incredible! was my first reaction.

Not a very crowded place...

I parked accross the street and walked around the place, trying to figure out whether I was trespassing or expecting someone to show up “Can I help you?”

But no. Just me and the tumbleweeds stirred by the wind. There is this eerie sensation that you are in a western movie set: all quiet, everybody hidden before the shootout.

Photographically, the place is full of “frames”: windows that once were, walls partially crumbled, and plenty of light and sky in and through, as there is hardly any roof left.

Only then I walked back to the car to get the Canon. As I kept shooting, I already knew that I would not be able to entirely capture the feeling of being there, which for me is one (major) reason to photograph a place. In this case, you’d need a quiet video with a soundtrack to match, like it’s done here on another subject by rustyjaw: http://vimeo.com/9164713.  (Whoever likes David Lynch, should see this video!)

The Scorpion Gulch photos I brought home betray the permanent temptation to use the natural frames offered by the place, most of all compositions that try to show the interplay of stony decay, abandonment, desolation, and the ever present deep blue sky profiling the mountain rising just behind it. My two other photos posted on Flickr are typical examples of that. In them, using HDR and multiple exposures (handheld! tsk!) was essential to capture the interplay of light and shadow, the majesty and permanence of sky and mountain, and in the foreground the transitory nature of all things human.

Ten minutes south of dazzling downtown Phoenix, this small forlorn place is a reminder that you are in the desert, always. And that’s how all things human fade back into nature, slow and quietly.

In the end, Nature always wins.

=========================

Links on the historical background of Scorpion Gulch:

South Mountain History: Scorpion Gulch? It’s ‘Grandpa’

There’s a photo in Flickr of the original 1966 article in the South Phoenix News, where you can read about the interesting history behind Scorpion Gulch:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/phx_chuck/3618092355/in/pool-scorpiongulch

* * *

Tags:

Abstract Rose

Posted in macro, Photography on February 7th, 2010 by Admin

I was surprised by the number of views this photo accumulated in just a short time.
It seems more popular than photos I consider more unique.

A Red Rose. Again?

That’s what I thought when I realized I had a correct and rightly framed, exposed & focused photo.

So… what’s new?

As the what-if temptation of digital manipulation is always near, I brought the image into Photoshop and played with it, until I got something that seemed unusual and pleasing… to me!

And I liked the effect on the dewey web between petals.

I personally liked the resulting image, and uploaded to Flickr more for personal satisfaction.

Sharing a digitally manipulated image always entails a dilemma — at least for me.
In your subjective enthusiasm, what looks at first awesome to you, can be bad taste for another. And sometimes it really is!

But the reverse sometimes applies: what looks odd and just fooling around to you, might be attractive and pleasantly unusual for someone else.

It’s always an easy decision not to upload those many photos we – at least I 🙂 – screwup right from the beginning. But once you transit into the domain of manipulated images, the principles of aesthetics and correct photography are up for grabs, squished amidst layers, curves, filters, and whatever else we can find out and explore.

Intermezzo Espresso (Portuguese text)

Posted in Photography on February 7th, 2010 by Admin

Saí sábado a noite para visitar uma livraria e não ficar em casa. E levei minha antiga Sony F828 para ver como estava e testar o RAW dela (uma versão mais completa do JPG que alguma máquinas oferecem).

Vou nesse lugar algumas vêzes no almoço, que eles tem a melhor chicken quesadilla da cidade por 5 dólares. O lugar é pequeno, agradável, e NÃO tem música alta! Isso prá mim é 5 *!

No mesmo parking lot está a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Antes de ir para a bookstore, peguei a câmara e brinquei de dentro do carro mesmo, apoiando no vidro da janela para evitar tremido. Tipo de foto “vamos ver o que dá ISSO?”

No Mac, porque era arquivo RAW, tive mais opções para manipular cor e luz, e acabei gostando pessoalmente do resultado.

Para mim, é uma dessas fotos em que o momento (da minha vida) ficou embutido nela.

É pra isso que a gente fotografa?

Ricardo


Redondo Beach Pier 1

Posted in Photography on February 7th, 2010 by Admin

This photo was a casual shoot, handheld with the Sony  DSC-F828

I took three exposures, and merged them in Photomatix Pro.
I was expecting the blurry effect of the water because of its movement, and I enhanced the effect in Adobe Photoshop.

Lost Sunset (Portuguese text)

Posted in Photography on January 10th, 2010 by Admin

Sábado. Passei o dia fora, meio cinza, luz duvidosa.

As 5 entrei no Best Buy para devolver uma coisa, quando saí… putz. Tinha perdido O por-do-sol!

Estava com a compacta no meu carro, e deu para documentar (tremidamente, pouca luz sem tripé), a minha perda.

Exatamente no dia que eu queria variar e não terminar meu dia em Mission Bay !!!

Whatever…

Tags: