Abstract Eye

Light of color

Light of color

Whenever I shoot images, I always have a number that are not the traditionally “pretty” pictures.  These images speak to me because of their forms, textures, angles or colors.  Abstract pictures are everywhere.  Look closely.  Don’t make judgments about what you see.  You may be the only one that ever saw this particular object in this particular way.

Image

Ron Bigelow who frequently writes about photography says that abstract photography doesn’t rely on image detail, so that when we view an abstract photo, our “reaction is more instinctual.”  I know what he means. Many of the abstract images I’ve photographed were shot intuitively. Whether it’s a pattern that repeats, or a color that pops, my eye is engaged and the shutter clicks.

Bigelow suggests that our responses to curves and shapes are  “…hard wired into the human perceptual system.”

Image

I love the symmetry of the above picture and the repetitive pattern of the round shapes.

Arabesque

Black and white squares, swirls, and shadows on a San Francisco street.

Pt. Bonita Bridge, Marin Headlands

Pt. Bonita Bridge, Marin Headlands

The lines of the bridge draw your eye to the woman at the end.

Lake Ladder

Lake Ladder

A different viewpoint or playing with shutter speed produces interesting results.

Dream Daisies

Dream Daisies

Double rows of cacti marching side by side coupled with their perfect roundness stopped me in my tracks.

Prickly

Prickly

Periodically, I’ll return to abstract images in my blog because they are my favorite to shoot.  Do you like abstract images?  Why or why not?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Black and White – Round 3

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Next week, I start a third semester of black and white photography.  We use film cameras and my current film of choice is Kodak Professional 400TMax.  We develop the film in the classroom lab through what is chemical magic to me.  I’ve learned to use an enlarger, negative carrier, contrast filters, and an easel.  A year ago, I didn’t have a clue what these items were.

The first semester of this class produced high anxiety.  The worst task for me was going into a pitch black closet, extracting the film, and then rolling it on a metal spool.  As I blindly looked for the correct prongs to attach the film to, my hands began to sweat, and my head started to ache.  I’d slump down on the floor, methodically turning the spool to attach to the little square openings on the film.  After an eternity, I’d complete this task and then gently feel the film to see if it was smoothly wrapped.  Instead of the required uniform consistency, I’d feel a large wart-like protrusion immediately signifying I’d screwed up again.

Question

Question

Another huge challenge for me was developing a perfect print.  Most of what I learned in the first two semesters were the myriad ways you can actually improve a mediocre print: e.g., changing your f/stop and exposure; using contrast filters; adjusting the enlarger head; and selecting different developing times.  While this may sound straightforward, it isn’t.  The path to a perfect print is scattered with one quarter inch test strips, and later, full sheets of expensive Ilford Photographic Paper.

                                                                          North Beach
North Beach

You might wonder why I am taking a third semester of this class.  I’ve learned more about photography using a black and white film camera than any digital class I’ve taken.  I’ve learned patience and persistence…beautiful photos just don’t happen.  I’ve collaborated with talented photographers in my class and I’ve learned from them.  My instructor’s demand for excellence has pushed me to improve.  The number one reason I’m returning for round three…to see a print magically appear before my eyes again and again.

Man with Cane

Man with Cane

Skyscrapers-SFO

Skyscrapers-SFO

Shadow  Book

Shadow Book

The above prints are some of the framed and matted images from my black and white portfolios over the last two semesters.  I took a digital picture of each.  Just for comparison, I then shot the following digital photos which have a black and white vibe.  So much to learn, so little time.

Angel Wing

Angel Wing

Shadow Line

Shadow Line

“U. S. Route 395 – Manzanar War Relocation Center”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

       

EntrySign

Desolation

Desolation

Manzanar Story

Manzanar Story     

“This travesty of justice could easily happen to any other group…Educating people about the incarceration of one group will help prevent its happening to other minorities in our American democracy.”  Personal Justice Denied:  Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians”

My recent trip to Manzanar, one of a number of “relocation” camps for Japanese-Americans in World War II, brought to vivid reality one of the worst chapters of American history.

The Manzanar National Historic site is located on the west side of U.S. Highway 395, 9 miles north of Lone Pine, California and 6 miles south of Independence, CA.  Having spent many years in Hawaii and counting many Japanese-Americans as my friends, I had heard of Manzanar, but had little knowledge of the detailed circumstances that gave birth to the “relocation” camps.

American citizens were uprooted from their communities, their homes, their friends and transported to camps for their “protection.”

American Family

American Family

James D. Phelan, mayor of San Francisco and later U. S. Senator,  is representative of the majority of white America at the time.  Mayor Phelan clearly establishes the racism and economic basis for Japanese-American citizens to be incarcerated,  He called the influx of the Japanese (making no distinction as to whether they were citizens or not) “a silent invasion” that would convert the United States into “a Japanese colony.”  “But California is a white man’s country, and the two races cannot live side by side in peace….”

Mayor James Phelan San Francisco

Mayor James Phelan
San Francisco

Hate

Hate

Hatred

Hatred

Racism at Work

Racism at Work

My children and I walked the grounds of the encampment.  Very little of the original camp is left, torn down after World War II.  A sleeping area, dining hall, and watchtower have been recreated.

Sleeping

Sleeping

Mess Hall

Mess Hall

Watchtower

Watchtower

Waves of heat beat down on our heads.  The landscape was barren and hauntingly lonely.  The wind picked up the dust and spun the fine sand into tiny tornadoes.

Lonely

Lonely

Many of the people that came to this camp had left picturesque areas with their own homes.  They arrived to a very hot area in the summer and a freezing cold area in the winter.  Utilitarian barracks were shared with strangers.  A picture of toilets described in stark language the embarrassment they felt at sharing intimate bodily functions with people they had never met.

No Privacy

No Privacy

An original, bright yellow fire hydrant splashed color against the arid land.

Hydrant

Hydrant

A stark monument surrounded with hundreds of origami cranes beckoned.

Remember

Remember

Cranes

Cranes

A short distance away, a few graves remained.

Final Resting Place

Final Resting Place

One grave brought tears to my eyes.

Baby Jerry

Baby Jerry

Baby Jerry Ogata died in Manzanar, an American prison camp on American soil.  I don’t know if he was born in America.  It doesn’t matter to me.

The fence surrounding the graveyard cast shadows on the ground imprisoning Baby Jerry for eternity.  I wiped away my tears and turned away.

Imprisoned

Besides prior noted links, more information about Manzanar can be found at the following links:

Internment of Japanese Americans-newspapers 

HistoryLink.org- the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History 

WW2 LETTERS TO THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY ABOUT JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMPS,WW2 WHITE AMERICANS AGAINST JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMPS,1940S WHITE AMERICANS OPPOSED TO JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMPS,AMERICAN SOLDIERS RAIL AGAINST THE INJUSTICE OF JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMPS,JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMP HISTORY LESSON,PROTEST AGAINST JAPANESE-AMERICAN INTERNMENT 1944 – Article Preview – Old Magazine Articles

Interview with James D. Phelan – 1906

Children of the Camps | HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

“U. S. Route 395 – Alabama Hills”

Sculpted

Sculpted

I grew up watching movies and television shows about the Wild West.  My brothers and I attended Saturday afternoon matinees at the base movie theatre in Berlin, Germany where my Dad was stationed.  The landscape portrayed in these shows was ruggedly beautiful. Mountains soared to the heavens and snowdust capped their peaks.

Eastern Sierra Magic

Eastern Sierra Magic

Many of these Western movies and television shows were filmed in the Eastern Sierra mountains’ Alabama Hills area,  a short drive from Lone Pine, Calfornia.  As I drove toward the entrance to Alabama Hills, the palette of colors in the mountain terrain surprised me.  I snapped pictures from the car.

Red Heart

Red Heart

Subtle shades of gold and the palest of oranges and pinks created a tapestry of soft hues.

Softly

Softly

The mountains changed with the miles and the light.

Shadow Hill

Shadow Hill

The unique geology of the area caught my attention.

Cowboy Country

Cowboy Country

Three Rock

Three Rock

Masterwork

Masterwork

Inner Sanctum

Inner Sanctum

Rock Study

Rock Study

Mobius Arch

Mobius Arch

Future posts will highlight other scenic vistas from U. S. 395, the majestic route through the Eastern Sierras.

“One Lovely Blog Award”

unknown-2Kat McDaniel of Synkroniciti generously awarded  The Third Trimester of Life the “One Lovely Blog Award.”  This recognition by Kat is significant given her background as a creative artist.  She is a classically trained opera singer, a poet, and a writer.  She founded Synkroniciti, a venue for collaborative projects between “…artists of any discipline working in any medium.”  Among other topics, she blogs about creativity, exploring culture, and what inspires her, read here.

As part of the award, I need to reveal seven things about myself:

1.  I am a rabid Motown fan.

2.  I have taken two semesters in black and white photography (we develop our own film) and will complete the advanced class this fall semester.

3.  I grew up an Army brat and lived in Salzburg, Austria and Berlin, Germany as well as numerous places in the United States.

4.  I have kept journals since I was ten years old.

5.  I have run many marathons and one ultra-marathon.

6.  I love to hike in nature for peace, inspiration, and thinking.

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

7.  I enjoy my family and friends, but I like being alone as well.

In the spirit of “passing it on,” I recommend the following blogs:

  1. Cat in Water (online magazine/blog filled with creative posts on many different artistic mediums)
  2. Brian Cooney Photography
  3. Karen Lawrence Photography
  4. Leanne Cole Photography
  5. At Zoom
  6. McAlisterium
  7. Wide Angle Photography
  8. Clouds 365
  9. Chase Jarvis (photographer who blogs on many creative topics)
  10. Gnostic Bent (humor)

Thanks again, Kat for your kind words about my blog.

2013 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade

This gallery contains 15 photos.

The 2013 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade is a photographer’s paradise.  I’ve done one blog post (see http://www.photographyforcommunitygood.com) about this year’s parade,  I decided to do another post to reflect the diversity of the parade.  The Gay Pride Parade permits people, for one day, to dress up, reveal their true natures, and be accepted. The […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

Early summer shot of Spring Lake hills

Photography permits me to indulge in fleeting moments, but only if I take the time to slow, observe, and wait.

As I hike Spring Lake Park, the transitory nature of the lake, the earth, and the wildlife are revealed.  Within a few steps and moments, the lake has changed from a moody gray to a view worthy of an Impressionist painter.

Overcast
Overcast
Color, Light

Color, Light

With each step, I see new lake faces.

Reed Reflection

Reed Reflection

Spring Lake’s summer gold grasses’ gentle movement mesmerize me as I stop and sit on a bench.

Gold Grass

Gold Grass

Later, I spy a black-crowned heron perched on a rock in a sea of algae.  I sit down along the water’s edge and watch the heron.

Looking

Looking

Refreshment

Refreshment

Heron Hunt

Heron Hunt

The heron moves deliberately and without concern.  He is completely in the present moment. Suddenly, he decides to leave.

Glorious

Glorious

Taking Off

Taking Off

Without taking the time to look and slow down, these fleeting moments are missed.