My website and my blog are usually about photos I have taken. However, once a year a good friend and I do an Academy Award movie marathon. I say once a year. I should say a couple of weekends a year. We have been doing this for probably ten years now.
We look forward to cramming four or more movies in to a weekend and running from theater to theater (sometimes town to town.) Yes, we get tired but we end up seeing movies we probably would never see any other way.
I start by watching the Golden Globe nominations and then the actual event to get an idea of the movies that may get nominated for Best Picture. Then I check to see the date that the Oscar nominations will be made. After that the planning starts. Which weekends are we both free and once the dates are set I start the tedious task of figuring out how long the movies are and where and when they are playing.
This past weekend we saw the movies, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies and Spot Light. I had already seen two of them but my friend had not so I saw them again. Both of us had also already seen The Martian so that was one less movie we had to schedule.
Our movie watching started at 10:15 in the morning in San Jose. Brooklyn started at 1:15 and the time in two theaters was the same. That meant we had to set that as the primary movie and juggle the two other movies around it. It might not sound difficult but it can be. The first movie, Spot Light ended about 40 minutes before Brooklyn started at the same theater. If we wanted to avoid a 30 minute drive and early morning start time, we could have seen all the movies in Santa Cruz. However, Bridge of Spies was playing at 7:00 and ended at 9:22. Spot Light started at 9:20 in a different theater about 4 blocks away. We would have had to run from one theater to the next and miss about 15 or more minutes of the movie. So, we drove and saw Spot Light at 10:15 in the morning.
It is making me tired just thinking about this. However, we must be glutton for punishment because we love doing it each year.
In case you are interested, these are our thoughts on the four movies we saw. All of them were well done, in fact, all of them were excellent. I liked The Martian more then my friend. We both loved Brooklyn but neither of us think it will win Best Picture. It is a toss up between Spot Light and Bridge of Spies but we are leaning toward Spot Light having a better chance of winning. However, it was a difficult movie to watch.
Speaking of difficult movies, we are in for much more of that when we have our second movie marathon weekend in three weeks. We plan on seeing the last four movies and hope they are all playing. More juggling of time and theaters will be in store for me. Mad Max is out on DVD and I am glad. This is the movie that both of us least want to watch. We will watch it at home and don't have to add it to the movie theater schedules.
Hopefully I didn't bore you with this blog. I just wanted to write about something that I look forward to doing each year. After we see the last four movies I will write and let you know what we want to win the Best Picture Oscar and what we think will probably win.
I am once again writing about warm sunshine since it is quite gray and wet outside. Mind you I am glad it is raining and has been. We need at least a few more years of this in order to truly affect the water situation in California. However, I just need to think about sun.
I have gone to Virginia City a couple of times in the last few years. This trip was taken last year. I went on a Monday in high hopes that I could get some photos on the main street through town. I was excited just thinking about it as I drove from Genoa. To my dismay instead of finding quiet empty streets that were filled with motor cycles on a previous trip, I found the area filled with tourists. I guess I should have known this would happen but I just hadn't thought about it. I drove through town and there were cars parked on both sides of the street and people all over the place. There went my dreams of photographs filled with wonderful historic buildings. Yes, I could have still taken the photos but I really don't think that seeing cars and people dressed in modern day clothes would have made great framed pictures to hang on the walls. I would not have liked that and I have to go by my tastes in order to stay in line with my style.
I decided to not waste the fact that I was in such a fun historic town and, since I was not on a schedule to be anywhere in particular, I drove around. I was able to get photos taken from a hill above the town. I looked down and saw beautiful sites and beautiful buildings without a trace of cars and people.
Virginia City is in the middle of high desert. Some people think that the desert is just a dry and desolate place but to me it is beautiful. As I walked around looking for angles to take my photos I could hear the quail calling out. Quail are not only my favorite bird but their sound just cheers me up.
After I left the town area I made a stop at the historic cemetery. Even though I am not a believer in ghosts, I still will only visit a cemetery when the sun is shining. Just something kind of scary about walking around tombstones at night....... "I don't believe in no ghosts!" Anyways, after getting a few photos at the cemetery I proceeded to leave town and head home. I made a quick stop at Donner Lake and the Donner Party memorial in that area and then headed the rest of the way home. That trip will be written about at another time on another blog.
It is wonderful that California is experiencing this fantastic rain and snow. We need it so badly and right now we are getting a lot of it. However, sometimes as I am looking outside my window at the daily dark and gray sky, I wish for the warmth of summer. When I do this I try to think about summer days and nights when I visited the ocean at Santa Cruz.
I have had so much fun going to the Friday night concerts with friends and sitting on the sand waiting for the entertainment to begin. I love the late afternoon sun warming me as I gaze out at the sailboats that are sitting right off shore. I always like to imagine being one of the passengers on those boats as the music plays from the stage.
I took this photo while I waited for the band to start. The waters of Monterey Bay seem quite peaceful but the waves were crashing on to the shore closer to where we were sitting. I zoomed in on the sailboats and that made them appear closer then they actually were. The mountains of Monterey on the other side looked like they were right there but in actuality they weren't that close. The magic of photography.
Over the years I have gone to many of the concerts on the Boardwalk. Sometimes I would go with a lot of friends and other times, just one. We always sneak in the wine and beer and pray that the guards at the beach would not think to look at us 'older' beach goers as we try to disguise the beer as apple cider and wishing the foam at the top would go away.
As we calmly sit on the sand, I can hear the screams coming from the rides at the Boardwalk next to us. No way would I go on a ride that takes people up to the top and then just drops. It is hard enough for me to even look at it as it goes swiftly down. However, this is part of the magic of the Friday night concerts.
So, even though it is gray and wet outside, in July I will once again be at the beach with wonderful companions, the warm sun, sailboats, screaming people on rides, hiding beer and wine and listening to great music. Knowing this will get me through the days and nights of rain and snow.
Four of us had gone to see the beautiful Ananda Gardens outside of Nevada City. I read about it on line and knew that their famous tulips were only available for viewing a few weekends a year. It was when we were on our way home that we stumbled upon this old barn.
Everything about the barn was saying "Do not trespass!" however as we passed it we knew we had to stop and check it out. Two of us had our cameras out and were taking photographs. Three had the nerve to step over the yellow caution tape and get close. However, since I don't always use the restraint that I should use, I walked inside the barn along with one of my companions.
It was a mess inside. I wasn't thinking as much about the barn falling in on me while I was standing there as I was about snakes and any other living things that might be lurking in the weeds that were growing on the barn floor. I very carefully stepped over pieces of wood and items of unknown origin lying on the ground as I walked around the barn.
I really wanted a good photo of this old dilapidated building. It was my friend who discovered the 'prize' that was inside the barn. I heard him say something that caused me to turn around and discover this old beat up pick up truck in a separate part of the building. I knew, then, that it would be the only truly worthwhile photo I would take that day. It also became my first sale of a large photograph later that year. I believe this represents the old and the new. The old barn and truck next to the new young tree and the beginnings of my new love of photography.
When I got up this morning I had decided that I was not going to write a blog. It just wasn't there in my head and I never want to force words just because. However, a friend tagged me on FaceBook and I went to the tag to see what it was about. I saw a posting of Quotes from L.M. Montgomery. She wrote the Anne Of Green Gable books. I have never read the books but I loved the movies so much that I bought them. I would never have even known they existed except for having a daughter who loved watching them. She helped to draw me in to the wonderful world of Anne.
I was wondering why he tagged me until I read on and began to understand. We had a discussion about politics the night before after he watched the State of the Union Address by President Obama. My friend leans to the right and I lean to the left. However, we both have something in common. We are tired of politics and our political leaders who don't seem to care.
While I was reading the delightful and inspirational quotes my mind started drifting away from them and thinking about my photography and what I would like to write about today.
The photograph above is one that I took when I was in Oregon in 2014. I had taken the trip to see and photograph beautiful Multnomah Falls in Northern Oregon. I made the mistake of going there on Memorial Day weekend. But, by some miracle, I was able to find a parking spot. I did the tourist thing and had my camera so I could take photos. I even hiked to the top of the falls and, after nearly dying from the one mile up hill trail, was able to look down on the parking lot below and the beautiful Columbia River.
It was, however, the accidental discovery of Bridal Veil falls a little further up the Columbia River Gorge Highway that took my breath away. I felt like I was in another world as I made the short hike to view the falls.
I need to spend more time viewing the beauty and less time thinking about the ugly. I look for this beauty when I take my photos. Everything else that is stressful about the time we live in just goes away.
Why should we dwell on the bad when we can live the good? If we would all think this way maybe something positive would come about. Sadly I don't see that happening. However, as I read the quotes that I had been tagged in I thought about the positive Anne Shirley at Green Gables and how she always put the good first.
I hope I can always take the positive and not the negative path to my final destination. I think I may have to go now and watch the movie again.
I am waiting for my place to warm up. Lately I have been waking up to a house that is 59 or 60 degrees and it is a few hours before my wood stove and space heater bring it up to a comfortable temperature.
While I am sitting at my computer I am thinking about warm times and looking outside to a cold and wet day. I decided to help myself get warmer more quickly by thinking about a photo taking trip I took earlier last year.
I got up before the sun rose in the morning and set off on an adventure all by myself. I am always a bit nervous about taking trips alone but usually get back to my excited state of mind once I am in the car and driving.
I drove up through Chico and Redding California before I headed East toward McArthur Burney State Park. It was a nice drive until I got on to Highway 299. Road construction will take any normal short trip and turn it in to a day long trip. Not only was I stuck at a total standstill but I also couldn't get cell reception so I was unable to entertain myself while I waited for traffic to move. I think if I could have even seen that I might be moving in the next few hours, it would have made it a bit better. However, traffic finally started inching along and I was on my way.
Arriving at Burney Falls I knew that I had made the right decision to take this trip. If you have never seen these falls I highly suggest planning a visit. Because it is a state park, there are accommodations for staying over night. Here is a link to the park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=455
I didn't have a lot of time at Burney Falls because I was also going to be stopping at Mt. Lassen National Park before I headed back home. I decided to hike the trail around the falls and take photographs along the way. This is where the 'thinking about warm weather' comes in. By the time I made the short loop from the top of the water fall to the parking lot on the other side I was sweating like a pig. Thankfully I was by myself so no one got to witness this 'unlady like' occurrence happening to my body.
It was not a long trail but it was downhill to the water falls but then it became uphill on the way back to the parking lot at the top of the falls. It was the uphill that got to me. I passed a couple of people who were going the opposite way. They were nice to tell me that I didn't have much further to go. It sure didn't feel that way as I continued to hike, though.
The most exciting thing about this trip (other then seeing the magnificent falls) was when I spotted what I thought was a Bald Eagle nest sitting on top of a dead tree. The effort to try and keep my camera still while I zoomed in on the nest convinced me I needed a tripod. It was later that I began to realize that the Eagle nest was actually an Osprey nest. None the less it was still quite exciting!
I left the park after that so I could continue my photography adventure south to Mt. Lassen.
This morning as I looked out my window and saw a beautiful red sunrise I thought about photography and what goes in to making a beautiful picture.
As it has been pointed out to me countless times by people who say that they are just trying to help me, "anyone can take a photograph." I do know that and I see it every day as I watch people bringing out their cell phones to take pictures. However, this does not discourage me from wanting to continue this part of my life.
Anyone can take a photograph. Just pick up your cell phone and 'snap,' you have a photo. However, you also have to ask yourself various questions. I think the biggest one is whether or not you have an 'eye' for photography. Look around at galleries and art shows to observe what professional photographers 'see' when they take a picture. Can you also see this type of image when you are snapping your photos with your cell phone or other device?
Another question would be, how big you can enlarge the photo you just took without it being totally distorted. I took a wonderful photograph of two swans at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco a couple of years ago. It was perfect. However, I had taken it with my cell phone. I had a camera but, being my normal self, I had not brought the battery charger with me on my visit. I had taken so many photos previously that I had drained my battery. I didn't give up and started taking photographs with my cell phone. I was asked at a show recently if I could blow up the photo of the swans in to a larger size. Sadly my answer was 'no.' The largest I had was a 5x7. It would have distorted the picture because of the pixilation. I doubt I could go back to the site and find the swans in the same formation and so it was a picture lost.
When I take my photographs I don't just take one or two. I take lots. The hardest part for me is sorting through hundreds of photos that I have downloaded so that I might find one or two that I feel are worthy of being on my web site and at my shows. I then go through the fun, but tedious job of editing the photos I have chosen.
After taking photographs for a few years now, I am afraid that I am addicted. It is almost impossible for me to go anywhere without looking at things around me to see how they would look hanging on a wall. My mind automatically looks at a tree on the street and frames it. I have kicked myself a number of times for not having my camera with me when I went somewhere. I don't regret it. I love it! This is an addiction I do not mind having.
I enjoy writing. Of course when I was in school I didn't know that. I learned it when I went back to college as an adult and took the mandatory English and Literature classes.
At first I didn't realize that I really enjoyed it. I just cringed when I would get a corrected paper back with all sorts of red markings all over it. However, as time continued to go on and I realized that my teachers were just trying to help me, I started taking their constructive criticism to heart and actually looked forward to turning in more essays.
My writings in this blog will mainly be about the experiences I have. I will try to make them funny and hope that you actually laugh when reading them. Trust me when I say that I have the strangest things happen to me at times. However, other writings may be more touching and I hope that I don't bring tears to people.
My experiences will be ones that I remember and probably all of them happening from the period that I started taking my photographs a few years ago. As much as I love photography, I also love the companions that are with me (when they decide they want to go on a slow - VERY slow walk) and the journey to get to a particular location. I may write every day or I may just write when I am in the mood or something strikes my fancy.
Please join me in these journeys.