Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Monday, June 30, 2008

Still in B&W

I'm trying different conversion techniques to see which will produce the best prints. I'm really getting quite tired of doing the same images, though.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

White sky

Here's the photo to go with yesterday's blog. I went riding again today and my chest feels heavy, like it did when I had asthma, but I can breathe O.K.

I have a feeling that this is the leading edge of how it will be as the world warms up, but, like cockroaches, we'll no doubt adapt and learn to love white skies and dim views.

I've missed writing my idle thoughts. DB has been living with me off & on since leaving Paris in April. It's been a lot of years since anyone lived with me and he's probably the easiest of them all. But, I am used to being alone and haven't quite figured out how to not feel like someone is looking over my shoulder while I write. Once, I was writing something I'd rather he not read and I thought he was reading over my shoulder so I then explained what I meant - turned out he couldn't read the screen without his glasses. But, still. It's like always waiting for the other shoe to drop when there is someone else in your force-field.

Turns out he doesn't read my blog, says he gets it first-hand. Here's his picture from one of our photo safaris last month - can you believe we walked across the bridge, just like tourists!?

Note the blue, blue sky. Well, considering that folks are losing their homes - not to mention the zillion critters losing their lives and homes - in these wild fires, we shouldn't complain about white skies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fog & smoke

A year ago today, DB and I were driving from Italy into France through these alps.

I guess I need to be more careful about what I wish for, though getting the fog back can only be a plus after the kind of heat we had last week. I can't ever remember having our sky stay white with the smoke from distant wild fires the way it's been for several days now. Usually, the wind moves whatever we have, fog, smog, haze, out of the city quickly. But this pale white sky just stays, morning to night.

I took DB for a long ride yesterday, did some climbing, but we took it fairly easy because the air is so bad. Rode downtown this afternoon, slowly. Got the screw replaced in my glasses, picked up some test prints from a second lab I'm trying - will try a third tomorrow. We sat behind the Ferry Building for a while, just watching the people and the ferries go in and out. Nice. On the way home I stopped in the new Mission Bay library, picked up some movies and books. I miss reading mysteries.

In a month four people will be visiting here from Japan and I'm going to try to show them as much as I can squeeze into one day of sight-seeing by bicycle. They spent an enormous amount of time, traveling great distances on two separate weekends, to show my group their cities and historic sights when we toured there last September. They don't speak much, if any, English, but it will be wonderful to see them again and I look forward to it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sitting naked

I finally got back on the bike this morning, but didn't go very far or ride very hard (though I did climb through the Presidio and then back up Potrero Hill). I stopped in Japantown to watch an Asian Island Festival (hula dancers) and see about finding a hotel for some visitors coming from Japan (no luck with that).

There was a cool sea breeze at the beach in the Presidio. It was very, very nice. By afternoon I bet there were a lot more people there.

After I got home, I took a second shower and then worked on my b&w images some more (the small test prints show them to be too dark), but I haven't felt the need to put on any clothes.

Where's the fog?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Onion domes & beef stew

After visiting Chuck yesterday I drove down Geary and found myself stopping to capture the golden mosaic onion domes on this Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia cathedral. It took me a quick Google search to learn more about it, but I'll spare you the details.

So far today I've done three loads of laundry at the laundromat on 18th Street, where I was pretty much the only person there - most people avoid laundromats during a heat wave - and then chopped veggies and browned meat and made my great stew, which is simmering right now.

Close call at the laundromat: my camera's extra battery appeared in my basket where it most fortunately fell out of a pants pocket before going through the wash; that would have cost me $60 or more to replace.

The stew is smelling delicious. New habit: sandwich for lunch, instead of soup and crackers. I sure make new habits easily. Anyway, while I was sitting there eating lunch just now the light changed and I could see beyond the avocado tree next door a white, no longer blue sky. Uh oh. It is still warm and whatever it is, a cloud or fog, it is up high. We used to say "this feels like earthquake weather," not sure why. Maybe because it's warm and gloomy, not warm and sunny. No wind.

I'm all set to go back to reshoot the houses on Divisadero at sunset, because the foliage is too dark and won't print detail. I reworked it, still too dark. Wish I knew how to seamlessly plop new foliage into the old file and keep the rest as is. Not sure if I can capture this scene as well again, but I'll try. The chances of catching the same light and the trees in the same place are pretty slight.

Never mind. I just did the foliage again and I can see sufficient detail. It's too damn hot to get in the car tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visiting Chuck

Yesterday I wrote a long boring story about who and what Chuck was to me when I was growing up in San Carlos and he lived across the street, but it was too dumb so I took it down.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wild radish

I finally Wikied wild radish, just to be sure the wild flowers I grew up naming Wild Radish, really were wild radish. And they are. They're my second favorite, my first is Wild Mustard.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gray day in black & white

So much of what I've photographed is pleasing only because of its color, and once that's removed I'm left with form & composition. And content, of course.

Something about this image of a stairwell in the main entrance on Lone Mountain makes me smile. I see a face, with eyebrows and a yawning mouth.

So, I'm spending another foggy summer day learning how to work in digital b&w.

It's been a long time since I had a darkroom, using chemicals and dodging and burning - and let me tell you, this is sooooo much better. But not as much fun, really, as seeing the print come to life. I don't know yet if these images will go the next step and make deep rich prints. We will soon find out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Coit Tower & North Beach

Coit Tower is actually fun to visit during the dinner hour when almost no one is there.

The murals have clearly been restored and are bright again. Many have dark subjects like the homeless camp, or can be unexpectedly funny like the city scene with someone being robbed between the postman and Mae West.

In Bologna, Italy, DB also stood inside a busy intersection to photograph some buildings and overhead wires; this reminded me of that one (click here to see it), though this is way too dark and hard to see him on the island

- but I have to get back to work on my B&W project and quit fooling around.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A new routine

DB is right, the best time to take any photo is when the sun is low - either sunrise (not likely), or just before sunset. The trouble is, when do you cook and eat dinner? In Italy we often ate at bedtime, which was fine in Italy when you didn't have to shop for food, cook or do dishes. Neither one of us likes to deal with making meals; we both like to eat. It means either being hungry a lot, or making new routines.

So yesterday we ate dinner by 5:30 and were parking on Russian Hill in front of the Art Institute (where when classes are out, there is plenty of parking) before 7:00, to walk over to Telegraph Hill, to see what we'd see.

Coit Tower is free to walk around inside - the elevator to the top isn't, but we didn't need to go up on a hot, hazy evening. Neither of us had seen the murals since we were kids and they're quite wonderful.

While we were there the fog moved in under the bridge and the wind was getting colder, but we walked all over North Beach and back up Russian Hill, climbing more hills than we really needed to.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

From the sublime

to the mundane.

The garbage collectors left me a note that they saw compost items in my black garbage can and I should mend my ways. And the next week, I got a letter in the mail.

When we first got the big green can for compost I diligently collected it - and it amounted to a half-gallon milk carton of stuff for the entire week. It seemed silly to take that huge can out to the sidewalk for so little.

Now with an extra person often in the house, there is a tiny bundle a day. I don't go through enough milk to have a carton a day, so I'm doing what we did when I was a kid, wrap the garbage in newspaper. Of course, I don't take a newspaper so I have to take it from my neighbor's blue can. I tie the twine in a shoelace bow.

It all works out. I hope they notice.

Today I cleaned house and did some mending. Sibyl really likes my sewing machine.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sunset on the fishing pier

....and then riding home along the Embarcadero....

....in the dark.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Riding the ridge, again

I met Sarah at 29th St. & San Jose to ride down the peninsula, via the Skyline ridge. The fog was very dense at times, especially at the top of the hill behind Pacifica, and we didn't stop often or for long; we had to keep pedaling to keep warm.

I took this photo at the first sign of sun (it was short-lived).

I don't care about dense fog - at least we usually had a tail wind - that's one of my favorite rides, down through Sawyer Camp Trail along the San Andreas fault, lake and reservoir.

We had lunch at the bakery in Woodside and then rode down (and down and down) to the train station in Redwood City - where the sun was shining, of course, and it was sooo nice.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Work, work, work

In my next life I'll have no pets.

I spent hours today making a new batch of turtle chow, chopping and pulverizing chicken and beef, a huge bunch of store-bought dandelion greens and Purina Trout Chow, making it all into a pureed gelatin, and then, finally, slicing it into 1" squares to freeze individually. Fortunately, I don't do this often.

Before that I went to the laundromat, cleaned up after Sibyl, who for mess-making rivals a 2-year old, and in between making the chow and cutting it into squares, I weeded the yard.

I'm tired.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Confusing Sibyl

Actually, what I mean is, this image of Sibyl is confusing; she is preening under a wing. Makes me dizzy looking at it.