Monday, September 28, 2020

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Green wrapped gifts

If you ever needed to keep me distracted, some beautiful Physalis ixocarpa with complete, green calyxes and a basket of Physalis peruviana could both occupy me in study AND result in tasty snacks!

(Aside: These bright indirect light highlights are challenging for my phone in a way I hadn't noticed in other situations, even while having it focus on the brightest areas, there is some blowing out...  The solution would be to get them closer to the light source, so there is less range. It's still funny to see.)

Autumn in tomatoes

It's better than looking for autumn colors in the many wildfires raging in my state.

Lone tomatillo

Physalis ixocarpa, what a beauty you are!

I feel so lucky to have grown up with access to these, especially prepared by others in beloved salsa verde (green sauce).

I received gorgeous tomatillos this week with my produce subscription, carefully wrapped, with the husks fresh and completely intact, and immediately lost my mind wanting to photograph them, because - OF COURSE I DID. You know what I'm like by now. (It's this, a door, a cactus, or a cloud, right?)

I can't find the phone macro lens that I want to use (because it is TINY), or even the phone microscope attachment (less tiny, in a clearly labeled box, SOMEWHERE).

The Wikipedia tomatillo page says that scientists have found tomatillo fossils dating back 52 million years. That is the first thing I learned today. I am trying not to name anything "tomatillo fossil," though there is something satisfying about that combination of words.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Neighborhood flora

The upside of running an errand during a brief window when the air was clean!
Hooray for neighborhood gardeners!

Indoor patterns

You know I love my teleidoscopes.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Indoor sports

So, there's a pandemic on AND a heatwave AND the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups due to wildfire smoke.  Every time I try to get some "fresh" air, I wind up with burning eyes.  So, it's time to catch  up on my photography chores, and that includes doing some Polaroid peel-apart print scanning from my most recent (yet not very recent) outing with my gorgeous Polaroid Land Camera from the early to mid 1960s.

You should be impressed that film that has been in refrigerators since about 2008 still works!  Yes, there are lots of odd edges, spots and areas that just won't develop on some of the prints, but they are kind of charming, in their way.

The only problem with catching up on scanning is that I wonder where other sepia peel-apart prints I made wound up.  I've got some favorites that...  I can't account for.  Where are they now?

Mountains hiding in smoke

The San Francisco Bay Area is still subject to vast plumes of wildfire smoke.  Here's a view north/northwest last night vs. this morning.  (The angle of the sunlight matters a lot.)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Beautiful beets

On the outside, they looked like rather sad turnips, ruddy and red-brown.

On the inside, they are striped and bright and gorgeous.

This time I steamed them for half an hour, and am working through them slowly.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Weekend of acrylic ink joy

Yes, I still love my Montana Markers.  

Yes, I did go out and buy the 15mm wide tipped versions of my two favorites, white and silver.  

Yes, using a wide marker DOES change the way I use the ink and make the differences between negative and positive space ambiguous.

Also, I did some drawings on some interior office windows that people kept trying to walk into, and the ink sticks beautifully to clean, smooth glass.  Yes, my colleagues all came by and touched it (gently), and it held up really well.  Yes, I am afraid I'll buy lots of transparent films and draw on those now - thanks for asking!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

San Mateo-Santa Cruz August Lightning Complex smoke

I went out to drop my mail in the mailbox, and looked off to the right to see a WALL of smoke.  So, I took a walk to see how far it has spread.  The answer: far.  So far.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Tender greens and pinks

Some of the old giant eucalyptus have been taken down, and around their stumps are gorgeous sprouts in lovely pastels...  Yes, I took too many photos.  No, my friends don't understand why, as if I'm the only one who things that green-to-red transition is MAGICAL.  (But it is!)

Before blooming

I've never noticed these buds on acacias before...  What's confusing right now is that the acacias around Lake Merced seem to be experiencing every possible season: there is new growth, there are drying up branches missing lots of leaves and covered in seed pods, and there are these.  WHEN ARE WE?

Busy as a bee

She seemed very busy! And big!  (I was going to guess she is a carpenter bee, but I don't know enough about bees to be sure.  I think carpenters have a dot in the middle, and she doesn't?)  

Nearby: very red rose hips, and more blooming climbing roses.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Color scraps

These are little artifacts from my monotype printing projects.  

Monotype printing and acrylic ink drawing have sustained me while my darkroom is packed up.  I still need to figure out how to share or organize my output...

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fan-fold Facade

Massive housing developments in Mission Bay continue to sprout up, trying to keep up with overwhelming demand in a city bound on three sides by water.  We can't sprawl, as other cities have, so we redevelop and go denser.  

For those of us who like New York City, this isn't a bad thing - this is nowhere near the density of Manhattan! - but accommodates more people and does allow us to grow.  It's good when a city has variety - NYC has brownstones AND highrises!  We have a collection of housing styles going back to the Mission era, with a great stock of Victorians AND very new/contemporary styles.  I enjoy the variety in texture.


San Francisco's old Victorians were known for their "bay windows," which are usually three-sided and part of an extension over the sidewalk below.  It's a local version of the historic "oriel window," and gives a room a bit more of a view than a flat window would.

Here's a modern take on that, popular in the Mission Bay neighborhood generally.  

Bay Bridge, as always

I adore this bridge.  Even just parts of it, even backlit...

Colorful Coit-like tower

I enjoy the many temporary sculpture installations we have along our bay-facing public waterfront.  We've had everything from giant spiders by Louise Bourgeois to enormous local sculptures destined for display at Burning Man by welding artists from Oakland. 

I <3 public art!

Growing stack of building

This stacking-box style of buildings has been popular in other cities (think of the New Museum in New York City) for a while, but I haven't seen much of it here.  Vertical windows have been popular in Europe for a while, while alternating-width windows are still catching on here. 

Cupid’s new neighbors

It's always nice to see this sculpture, and now (after months away from it), I can see it has a new backdrop!  San Francisco is a VERY dynamic city, and real estate prices have meant that new office buildings are always going up, so I shouldn't be surprised.  But I am!

I think I'll need them to finish the building before I can make a new postcard of it from this side.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Guardian with large paws

Gently pollen smudged

Poppies with these centers are just fantastic.

Glory in peach

It looksl ike some of the petals have been watercolored...

Tender cups

Wild sweet


Monday, July 6, 2020

Evening toil (scanning project)

I devoted my evening to scanning prints while listening to a great audio book (the English translation of The Vegetarian by Han Kang).  It is something I should not have put off - the experimental new emulsions (from the Impossible Project, later Polaroid Originals, and now just Polaroid) aren't entirely stable, and some of my earlier work has faded into a dull haze.  It is disappointing, considering how much each print costs, but also that the images briefly look SO GOOD.  The monochrome emulsions keep improving in contrast, but I don't know how long I'll have them... The color is still a mixed bag.  

(This is a big contrast to Fuji's instant prints, which are much more vivid, saturated, and possibly even stable.)


Stepping up the level of detail

Vivid charm

Taller skyline (above Duboce Park)

Salesforce Tower is still a surprise, somehow...

Together on Dividadero

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Southbound panorama

I went out for exercise, and took this south-looking panorama from Monterey Blvd in Sunnyside.  On the far left is City College of San Francisco; center left between the tree and lightpole is San Bruno Mountain; center right is my current hill.



Saturday, July 4, 2020

Marine layer scented with mesquite

Our municipal fireworks show has been cancelled, which somehow also cancelled the fog that so often accompanies what evolves into a 'colorful fog show.'  There IS a marine layer, but it is diffuse.

The call-and-response of M-80 to car alarms has continued all week, and reached a peak earlier this evening.

(This is a view looking north/northwest from the highest point in the Ingleside.  The range and peak in the lower right distance is Mount Tamalpais.  It isn't clear enough to see the white observatory on the ridge there.)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Floating holiday of monotyping

I had an actual VACATION DAY that would expire if I didn't use it.  So I used it, in that fanatical way that I use days off.  It was FUN, and I learned new things.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Bowl brush

I prefer this style of "bottle brush"for its upright-ness, and the rounder, fuller shape of the shrub.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Bay breezes with distancing

Yes, the wind still picks up in the afternoons, creating whitecaps.  Yes, people really were keeping their distance from each other.  No, I don't own a watercolor paint that is the exact color of the bay in these images, and I am trying to resist buying one, because I should be able to mix it from my various blues.

Socially distant daisies

You can tell something is wrong in this picture, because the sun is shining, yet you can see the lawn.  

Pandemic times are the strangest times.

PofA in the sunshine

So, we still have coronavirus restrictions in place, and under those restrictions, we shouldn't GO anywhere.  The instructions say things like, if you can't walk there, you shouldn't go.  This sounds like a dare (if you know me), but I haven't taken it that way, and so my world has been pretty small.  I've ventured out no more than 3 miles from home in any direction, in a city that is 7 miles wide and 7 wide the other way.  (Saying 7 long and 7 tall doesn't sound right, because I am describing a square.  Argue with the screen if you want - I have the comments turned off.)

However, a friend flew 10+ hours into town for a funeral for an immediate family member, and those same pandemic restrictions applied to the series of events associated with a funeral, which made the funeral not really happen, in the traditional way (wake + funeral + burial ceremony + banquet).  Those of us who would ordinarily attend to support him unable to do so.  (Based on what we know of funerals in Italy, these are sensible precautions, and we respect them.)

So we had a picnic, because that is something we can do while staying about six feet apart and wearing masks, aside from the eating times.

The sun was shining.  I was nearly 7 full miles from home.  I was able to speak with my friend about his loss.  It was a good use of time.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Vividly [an ambiguous color]

One of the visible limits of digital sensors is their struggle with intense red-violet-fuchsia colors, which never seem quite right in the image.  This is pretty close to how it looked, though I believe that is because it was in part shade.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Holiday colors

If I go too long without painting, I kind of forget how, and have to teach myself again with simple exercises.  It's awkward, really.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Feeling “mallow”

I hadn't really noticed the tiny hairs in the center between the petals before...  The buds are interestingly shaped as pods, and the petals are rolled up beautifully...  I keep thinking that it must be difficult to grow such delicate, separate layers when they are so tightly wound, but plants are great at it!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Triangle testing

I exhausted my supply of letter-sized photo paper, and finally got a new order in.  What better way to test it than with some abstract, software-derived, photo-based compositions?

Conclusions: the paper is good. 44 lbs / 165 g weight holds the ink much better than my prior selections.  I wish I'd increased the resolution of some of these abstracts sooner (I had intended to print them very small when I first started generating them).  I've used a couple as the back of stationery recently, and if I keep that up, I should really consider having my printer do a run of them for me, because this is a lot of photo-quality, archival ink!  Yes, I really do sit around, converting photos into triangles.  Yes, it is rather therapeutic, now that you mention it.  

Friday, May 15, 2020

Halos of detail

I like to show the flowers on these succulents as a sort of carpet, but they are interesting up close as well!

Early summer color

Yes, I left the house today. 

Yes, it felt strange.  I've been indoors engaging in self-quarantine / shelter-in-place to quite successfully minimize the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infections for TEN WEEKS now, going out only for essential supplies, and just twice for exercise.  So, I am well-supplied, but also in terrible physical shape!

Here are some plants within half an hour's walking distance of my house, from various domestic gardens in my area.  

Unfurling of the bottle brush

I've always founds plants in the Callistemon family to look rather "messy," as many shrubs that grow upward and then have hanging branches look to me.  (Yes, I'm in some European-style garden, talking to other plants with similar structure in an encouraging tone: "Weeping willow, pull yourself together!") 

I do like the way the buds unfurl to show all those wild stamens, though.  The complexity of those buds, with so many separate bits growing together, coiled tightly, is impressive. 

So here is a set of three images showing the buds when they first begin to open, as the stamens spread, and when they are completely out.  I like them more up close than I do from afar!