Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Monday, December 27, 2010

and then the sun came out

At least I finally got out for a couple of rides around the waterfront this past week.  Nothing too strenuous, but mighty fine to turn the pedals a bit.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still not much new

Which doesn't mean I haven't been busy.  Jill had a birthday Monday and after dinner here with Jason we all went to see "Black Swan."  I'd already gone to see it with Jane the week before but it was so stunningly intense that I wanted to see it again; and I'm glad I did.  Whew, what a film!
For her birthday card I made a new scan of this fuzzy, faded photo of us together, taken when she was a few days old.  So sweet.

The sun was shining today for a nice change, but I stuck it out with my Photoshop tutorials.  Sibyl insists on playing fetch just when I get really involved and I stop to play with her for a while.  Then I'll make a meal for one or both of us.  Takes a lot of time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nothing new

Aside from crackin' the books to learn new software, I'm not doing much.  

Today I'm cooking vegetable soup and a beef and vegetable stew. I bought a package of celery hearts over a week ago and have had to figure out how not to waste them.  The ol' celery conundrum.  Wish one could just buy a few stalks of the stuff and be done with it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another B&W week

. . . with a bit of split-tone thrown in
This gull kept me company as I sat on the dock of the bay eating my lunch.
It's very difficult to take a picture of a picture in a gallery without getting reflections from the lights.  This photograph is in the lower floor at City Hall.  After I left there I saw the same image reproduced in the bus stop shelter across the street.  Click it to see the bus driver feeding the raccoons.  I wonder if he got in trouble for it.  (You can read more about it here)

You really have to click on these images to see their detail (back arrow to return).

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Work work work

Yesterday I went to Kit's in Menlo Park and she loaned me her old tripod.  I took this when she still had wet hair, but I used it to learn more about file handling in my new software, Lightroom3.

I spent all of today working with the new programs, making one new print and trying out the tripod.
 My eyes are falling out from all this work. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Knuckle hills

Today Kaethe and I drove to Pt. Reyes with the excuse of going to the local artists' Open Studios, where I learned from Marty Knapp's photographs that what I've always called Knuckle Hills is named Black Mountain - and I wonder why. Not exactly black.

We drove up and up and up, and up some more on a skinny road to see Richard Blair's studio and it was worth doing.  He has an 8 x 10 view camera, big enough by itself, but it's on an industrial-sized rolling tripod, practically a crane.  He also has the largest printer in private hands that I've ever seen.

This photo was taken from Tom Killion's back yard.  He makes meticulous colored woodcut prints of bay area views, much in the traditional Japanese style.   I love his craftsmanship, if not his palette.

Good day.  Drove home on Hwy 1 and decided I like it better by bike; it's too scary in a car.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brrrrr, it's cold!

And this was the only turtle at Stow Lake not buried in the mud for the winter.  He was stretching both webbed feet to catch every last bit of sun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wasting time?

I've been searching old files for images to work on while I learn new software and then I get tired of that and read other blogs.  Now it's past lunchtime, and then I'm going over to Berkeley for dinner.  I like rainy days to putter around and today was supposed to be rainy.  The sun has been in and out from behind dark clouds all day and it would have been grand to go out and make new pictures to work on.  But here I sit.

Blogspot has changed how they handle pictures.  I can use X-Large for verticals, but horizontals get cropped.  You have to click on the image above to get its full, colorful impact.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rocket ship on The Embarcadero

See full story at Raygun Gothic Rocketship

Press Release

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Black Rock Arts Foundation And Port Of San Francisco Unveil Monumental Raygun Gothic Rocketship Sculpture
08/06/2010- Mayor Gavin Newsom today joined the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) and the Port of San Francisco to celebrate the unveiling of Raygun Gothic Rocketship , a 40-foot-tall sculpture created by a team of Bay Area artists lead by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, and David Shulman. The Rocketship , poised as if to board passengers for a typical run to a nearby stellar destination, will remain at the Pier 14 Tidal Plaza, at the base of Mission Street, on the Embarcadero for a 14-month temporary exhibition.

The 40-foot-tall artwork offers a retro-futuristic, highly-stylized vision of space travel circa 1930’s-1940’s science fiction and is the latest in a series of temporary public art exhibitions sponsored by BRAF to enliven and activate public spaces. The sculpture will be accompanied by a companion piece, the Rocket Stop designed by Alan Rorie, which tells the story of the Rocketship ’s exploits, providing route, schedule and other information. The installation will be illuminated for nighttime viewing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A whole lot of images today

I went out on my old Miyata today, lugging a tripod to shoot the arches and doorways inside Fort Point.  On the way there I came across the new white tents for this year's Cirque de Soleil, a passel of Giant's fans huddled under the palms at the ballpark, people enjoying the Rocket Ship on The Embarcadero and even caught In 'n Out Burger without a crowd at lunchtime.  I took my burger & fries to the newly restored seating in Aquatic Park for a picnic.  It was very warm in the sun.

And now I have 118 images to work on.  What a day!

(I just noticed the blue in this image and have no idea how it got there, but I like the way it reverses Sky.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A break

I'm looking at about 8 weeks of time before the Winter Session starts at school.  I'm trying to decide which classes to sign up for, with a choice of wide-ranging subjects like Cities, Corporations, Famous Trials, Short Stories and Film Noir - and a whole lot more. These are all lecture courses, with nothing required of me but some reading and my attendance.

I wish there was a class in printing with my new printer, but being self-taught keeps my gray matter exercised.

For a long time I'd been thinking about printing my photographs and recently took advantage of generous rebates to finally buy a good, pro-level printer.  After hours of research and reading reviews, I went with the Canon instead of the more widely used Epson.  I will probably regret it, but it's done.  I spent some time learning the software and trying different methods, and after only four color prints of the Cliff House flowers, above, it began to jam.  Grrrrrr!  Apparently, the damp weather gave the paper a slight curl, enough to be a problem.  I can work with that, now that I know about it.  Already, I like the results better than what the photo lab had made with this, my very first B&W print.  Richer blacks.

Now I have to take some new pictures to work on.  What fun!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A million fans

O.K., I'm just a fair-weather fan, but I watched the playoffs and the Series and even rode my bike to the parade today - more on that later.  I have a bittersweet history with the Giants, going back the 52 years they've been in San Francisco.

In July 1958, I met my father at the then Southern Pacific Station for dinner, after which we drove to a parking spot on Potrero Hill, and walked over the highway on the pedestrian bridge to the old Seals Stadium for a Giants' ballgame.  It went 11 innings without a hit.  I don't remember now who won that game because my 15-year old brother was in a fatal auto accident that day and we didn't learn of it until we'd driven home late that night.

Some years later, after my father died, my mother moved into a condo in San Mateo, where the outfielder for the Giants, Jack Clark, was her neighbor.  I'm pretty sure she was already a fan before he moved in, but she'd giggle about knowing Jack all season, like icing on her cake.

I've kept her Giants' cap with its 1984 All-Star Game button on the side.  I got it out last week and set it in front of the TV, and she was very much with me, rooting for her team.

And with her in mind I decided to ride my bike to the parade.  Usually, parades in this town draw a decent crowd, but nothing I can't ride through.  Today was different. 

There were fans walking on 7th Street from as far away as Townsend.  By the time I got to Market it was clear that this was an unusual turnout.  I could see and hear the helicopters and knew it would be a long time before they got to us but I amused myself taking pictures of the crowd.  I kept moving toward Civic Center - and with my big bike it became more and more of a challenge.

Fans at Market & 7th Street at 11:15.
Fan on street light at Grove & Larkin

But one thing I saw in Civic Center that touched me, and that I did not photograph, was a family with a framed picture of a man and a shrine of Giants' memorabilia and flowers and a glass of what I guessed was his favorite beverage sitting on the pavement so he could join them for the fun this week. 

And then it got really crazy as I continued walking my bike west on Grove, hoping to get to the other side and continue on to school.  By Polk Street the crowd was gridlocked and I had to fight against claustrophobia, fear of stampede, but my bike and I finally popped out the other side and I pedaled away. 

It said in the paper there really were a million fans in that 1.5 mile stretch of Market Street.  A lot of them were still there when I rode back through Civic Center at 3:00.  Such a day. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hats on parade

With a double bill of a Columbus Day Parade and Fleet Week, North Beach was really jumpin' on Sunday. I took my Bike Friday, my big camera and a long lens to see what I would see. Because one can't easily change lenses in a crowd, I settled on the long lens for the parade. I stood at the corner of Stockton and Filbert, or the northeast corner of Washington Square, with the parade coming at me from out of the sun - less than ideal.

Looking through my images later, I was struck by the hats and caps and crowns. Here's a sampling:

 Christopher Columbus landing in North Beach.

I guess there would have been Italian cowboys (love the Stetson).

And then there were the crowns.

Many streets were turned into outdoor cafes.  Italians in this town sure know how to party.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Street Art vs Tags

I took this picture of Greta Shred's mural in Clarion Alley in late 2006. When I went back last week I found it much changed by taggers.

What I can't figure out is why some murals have been seriously defaced and others left totally intact for years and years. The subject matter doesn't seem to make a lot of difference.

In an ongoing effort to find the names of the mural artists, I've been researching on the Web. Under Clarion Alley images, there are about 22k to plow through, looking for someone who dependably knows the attribution for a given mural. I also bought the just released book, "Street Art San Francisco, Mission Muralismo," but it has limited use for finding names, since it covers a wider area.

And that makes me wonder why I'm doing this, since it's so already done . . . maybe because the murals are often beautiful, tell stories - and that they fascinate me?

For instance, when I found Greta's name, but not a title for the mural above, I also discovered she was the publisher of a 'zine called mudflap, and that her street address was 666, hence the devil on her handlebars. If you click to enlarge the top image, you'll see all the neighborhood influences, including early Spanish, Irish, Italian, as well as the recent Latin. (But, ice hockey?)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It began on Sunday

Last Sunday, I hopped on my old Miyata, and taking along the big camera and a long lens, went on a photo safari, primarily to revisit the murals around town.

I never know when I will get back in the groove, but since Sunday I've made about 420 new files. One or two might be worth keeping.

First on my list was the fence-mural near 228 Clara, somewhere south of Market. I hadn't seen it for six years and didn't know if it had survived. I found it intact, though a bit changed as the owner paints over rude tags.

Before I had my camera out I heard the chain in the fence rattling. A man emerged from whatever was behind the fence. I asked him if he was the painter. No, he said, he thought the artist lived in the house next door, he'd only been here for five months.

After he left, I took lots of new pictures of this reproduction of Matisse's dancers, and then I looked through the chain-hole in the fence.

I was surprised to see a large, well kept garden behind the fence. I think I expected a car park or a garage. And another surprise was a big backpacker-type tent.

Perhaps that is where the man is living now.

There are many stories here and I wish I knew them.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

More murals

I've taken a lot of new pictures of the Market Street Storefront Art Project, though this is a mural, a very long sidewalk mural. More to come . . . if I can find time to work on the files.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Toucan overhead

All three of these women were snapping their fingers. I don't know why.
(Click on image to enlarge it and see the toucan.)

Saturday: Fort Mason & beyond

It was still cool when I rode over to Fort Mason for the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale yesterday. I only bought a now defunct photography magazine, photo metro, which was published locally and was of unexpectedly high quality. Sorry, but not surprised, that it failed.

From there I rode in the heat over the hill from the Presidio into Golden Gate Park to check out the Tour de Fat. It's the first time I've been there when the sun was shining. There were hundreds of bikes in the valet parking lot, but I didn't stay.

And for a real treat, last night I went with my old friend Ron to Yoshi's on Fillmore for dinner and McCoy Tyner. Ron is on his way to Paris with his new S&S-coupled Surly, and since we'd been to the early set, we sat over maps talking about Paris and bike packing strategies afterward.

It's still cool in my house this morning, but it's expected to be in the 80's again today. I'll still go out exploring the city by bike and then to Kaethe's for a visit. Better get going.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I have a crazy turtle

Hercules, like no other box turtle in the world I know of, chases dogs!

Whenever Denali or Cinderella (lab and husky) come near, Hercules goes ballistic trying to bite the nose poking through his fence.

This afternoon I sat on the porch steps watching the drama and when the dogs came to visit me, Herc made a beeline across his yard, head held high to see us above the plants, racing for all he was worth. I wonder what he would do if he actually caught a dog, or heaven forbid, a raccoon. (That really worries me.)

Seeing a box turtle run is way up there on the bizarro-scale!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy season begins

. . . and I'm too busy to write about it. Maybe tomorrow.

10/6/10: I just discovered this is Chor Boogie at work. See the mural on Market Street posted Sunday, 10/3/10.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Working in b&w

I will work in black & white for a while, if only for the practice.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Boring day

I am so restless after a day spent reading murder mysteries, working on old images from Holland and doing little else. The wind was blowing so hard this morning that I decided not to go riding. That was a mistake. I'm so bored with my own company, sitting in a chair either reading or fuming about my TV, that I could scream. Arrrg!

Yesterday Kit and I went to SFMoMA for the day and had a great time. I didn't have my camera, but when I got home I made two new galleries of old images in pbase: "Museums and Art," and "Murals, Hearts and Street Art."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The view from here

My new table was delivered last Thursday evening and I assembled it in less than two hours, without cursing even once. (Slow but sure, that's me). It's very nice and made with real wood. Solid.

On Monday I had the satellite dish installed and was immediately disappointed to see ghosts in my mostly lousy image. It turns out one needs an HD receiver for the new HDTVs. Since I had a crystal clear picture on this set with my old rabbit ears, albeit on only the one station they pulled in, I simply couldn't accept paying big bucks for a lousy picture; nor could I stomach paying even more for an HD receiver for the crap I knew I'd be getting on my 200+ stations.

After many phone calls and a repeat visit from the installer, I plunked my angry self down in front of the set all day yesterday, watched a DVD for awhile, stewing in the heat wave as my house heated up, and then as I fixed my dinner I could see my huge TV from the kitchen and thought, gosh, it looks better from a distance.

But, oddly enough, on most stations the ghosts are disappearing and the picture, while not crystal clear and wonderful, is more acceptable. They did say in one followup call that it takes up to 24 hours to download, whatever that means.

But I'm going to watch a movie in an air-conditioned theater this afternoon and pray the fog comes back in soon. This has been a summer of cold windy days and then, suddenly, this other extreme. My house was over 90F yesterday; even the fan didn't help much.

later . . . and as I left the movie in Stonestown the fog was on the way back. Whew!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer-la Mission-Commitments

Riding around town in sandals, I know it's finally almost maybe summer in Fog City. Perhaps 74F inside my house doesn't quite make it a heat wave, but considering that I've had to turn on the furnace several times lately, it's warm enough.

I watched the DVD film "La Mission" this week. Knocked me out; it's so good I started it from the beginning again when it ended.

I rode around the Mission this morning and took a few new Mission murals, but it was midday and so I didn't get what I wanted, but the murals will still be there another day (I hope).

After picking up more Tube Times to distribute, and after my super vegetarian taco on Valencia, I crossed the street and bought a new cheap prepaid cell phone. Now I have to enter all the old phone's numbers into it.

And from there I rode around, hemming and hawing about my need for cable service for my new TV, and finally committed to two years with AT&T/DirecTV. Really hurts to pay big bucks to watch c.r.a.p., especially when most of what I'll probably watch has always been free. Grrrrrrr . . . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rabbit Ear Blues

I knew I would probably have to break down and get some sort of cable service, but I've put it off for years and years. Last year I grudgingly got the analog to digital converter and better rabbit ears for my old hand-me-down T.V., but it was time to finally get a new flat screen. After much research I bought this 32" Samsung from CostCo today, using Jill's membership.

But using her card meant they would only take cash, and that meant making a trip to my bank. And so that's what we did.

Once back home, we set it up in minutes . . . and only saw a lot of snow, and a message about either a missing connection or a weak signal. I tried punching in channel numbers and the only thing to pop up was Channel 7-1, -2 and -3. My DVD player works fine, but my stereo isn't being recognized.

Now I have to decide which cable company to be fleeced by, and get something better than a typewriter stand to put it on.

So far, I've watched Oprah for the first time ever and endless newscasts, amazed at how some folks look like overly made up plastic action figures (think Schwarzenegger) and others look perfectly normal.

It does hide the rabbit ears---it's too skinny to set them on top.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

What I did today

I'd set the alarm too early and was up at 07:00. I got a message from Ron wanting to postpone today's ride because of our crummy weather, so I went back to bed. I was determined to get out, no matter the gloom, and rode off on my town bike by noon, wearing my high-top sneakers and layers of warm clothes, heading into the Mission along always colorful 24th Street. I kept riding along Valencia, only detouring to the Rainbow Grocery for sunflower seeds for Sibyl (they were out), and then rode via The Wiggle to Golden Gate Park, around the Conservatory of Flowers and north along Arguello, wondering if I had it in me to go up that last steep block into The Presidio (I did).

No sign of sun, anywhere.

I whizzed down hill and stopped at the Officers' Club to see the annual watercolor exhibit. Good stuff. Afterwards, I went into the visitor center shop, and for the very first time noticed the murals all around the room. How could I not have seen them the half-dozen times I've been there?

By then I was hungry and wandered through the Pacific Islanders' event in the old parade grounds without trying to get food (lines too long), thinking I'd go on to In 'n Out Burger in Fishermens Wharf (lines waaaay too long), and kept riding through the Financial District, and SOMA, and finally settled for french fries and a milk shake from the McDonald's near the ballpark. And they were good.

I took my bag of guilty pleasures to a bench near the Mission Bay library along Mission Creek (no sun there, either, but I could see it off to the east), ate, and then got a book and two CDs before heading back up my hill home.

Not the best ride, but I liked it.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

So gloomy!

It has been overcast every single day for weeks and weeks, even in my southeast corner of this foggy city, where the sun usually shines. It's nearly noon and I'm not dressed yet because I can't figure out what I'll be doing today. I like to ride my city bike around town on Saturdays, seeing whatever, photographing stuff, watching tourists and having low-key adventures along the way. Lately I've been riding around with my camera on my back and never taking it out.

. . . . the sun appeared this afternoon, but all too briefly. Hercules made friends with his turtle statue again and then ate the food I put out. I fear he won't gain enough weight for the winter if this cold weather keeps up.