Fire Restrictions

I did not get an “official” notice from the USFS, but signs were posted down here in the Silver Peak Wilderness Area today. It has been incredibly hot, very low humidity, so I am not surprised.

And now, for tonight’s sunset:
That’s the long view. Here’s the close up:
Have a blessed week, everyone!

Wandering through a photo collection

Today, Saturday, I am finally taking a day off from work, mostly, and doing a few things I like, like wandering through iPhoto. My son is getting into photography, and wants me to teach him via the internet.

The first thing I told him is that photo+graphy = light+writing, or writing with light. After I told him this, he took a lovely photo of literally writing with light. So look at the light, first. My favorite is window lighting. Here’s a sample:
Tomatoes by Window Light
Tomatoes by Window Light
This same image, had it been shot with flash, would have been harsh, flat, and with stark shadows, rather than soft and inviting.

Here is another example where the light is the key factor in turning a boring shot into a more interesting one:
The Leaf, the Moss, and the Light
The leaf, the moss, and the Light
With this one, I was driving in the back country, and the spot of isolated lighting caught my eye. I cannot say about other photographers, but it is always the light first, for me.

The second thing is shapes – the shapes of the objects and how they interact with each other and their surroundings. Sometimes, it helps to isolate the shapes, as in the examples below. But, again, with both these samples, lighting is first.
Roman Soldier
Roman Soldier. Here, the lighting off to the left helps emphasize the bas-relief of the statute.
Here, the shape IS the lighting, at the MGM Grand.

The third aspect is composition. The rule of thirds helps keep shots much more interesting than always just centering the image. Imagine a tick-tac-toe grid. Nine squares. Three rows of three. Try placing your subject at one of the intersections. As in this one:
Sunset, blurred
You will see that the main subject — the setting sun — is at the intersection of the upper left quadrant. I also used the Orton Effect, which used to be accomplished in the camera, but is now done with photo editing software. Another subject, for another time.

Another “trick” in composition, is that the eye leads in from the lower left hand corner, and travels across and up. Try a “leading” edge, so-to-speak, leading back to the subject. Here is an extreme example:
As I said, this is an extreme example. It would have been better if the subject in the back were stronger. As it is, which is actually fine, the hibiscus hedge becomes the subject.

Another aspect of composition is point of view (POV). Changing the point of view from the usual perspective can yield some fascinating photographs. Get down on the ground and shoot up. Get above your subject and shoot down. Get alongside your subject and shoot its length. There are no end of possibilities. Also, wide-angle lenses provide depth otherwise not obtained. I’ll look for examples of this later today.
Looking up, at architectural detail.

Again, looking up from the side of the road at the camel. This was luck, but I recognized a good shot when I came upon it. I am too old to crawl up on a wild camel with my belly on the ground, which would have been an even better shot, IF I’d been able to get closer, which I doubt!

And then there is focus. Focus deserves a whole post all its own, and perhaps I will do that. There is crystal clear, sharp focus, there is blurred and fuzzy focus, there is narrow focus, and bokeh, and wide focus (all related to aperature.)

With only these few areas, even a point and shoot can provide amazing results. But with a DSLR, what is possible is truly unlimited. Of course, there are the technical aspects, such as speed, aperature, ISO, etc. And, if shooting in color, white balance, saturation, etc. Using B&W is a great tool to assist in getting the basic aspects of photography down, as then one is not “distracted” by color. I’ll find one of my B&Ws to illustrate how light, shape, and composition come together, and post it later.

BSCWPP meeting

Got this great flyer, with photo, tried to just upload it here, but noooo. So here’s the text, anyway.

Come find out about the Big Sur Community
Wildfire Protection Plan and make sure your
views are included in the planning process.
The program for the two-hour public meeting
will include:
 Information about the project team;
 Description of the goals and objectives of the plan
preparation process;
 Status of the technical parts of the project;
 Public comment period, and;
 Next steps.
Date: July 8, 2009
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: Pacific Valley School

It’s heating up in California!

… in Sacramento, where the legislators battle it out over the “No IOUs” bill …

… in Reno, where, south of which, a new fire broke out this afternoon, called Eastlake. They called for the evacuation of the homes in the area …

… and in Klamath NF, where the Sims fire, which began yesterday was making a run this afternoon …

… and a brand-new one off of Highway 41 and Road 207 but it looks like they got that one down fast!

Whew! I think I’ll head to my cyber meditation space, now!

Zen & the Art of State Budgets

My income has stopped. I haven’t been able to bill in a month. The state will start issuing IOUs next week, not redeeming them until 10/1, so I created this space (cyber only, I haven’t actually built it in the real world) for me to come and meditate when I stop paying my bills, stop going places, and hunker down for the long haul. Come here anytime the world gets you down. I’ll be here with a cup of tea for you.
(taken at Cambria Nursery)

LUAC Meeting Report, 6/23/09

IIf you don’t live in Big Sur, or even if you do, but aren’t interested in Land Use Planning, skip this post. It is rather boring, though I do try to lighten it up, a tad. I had written a very factual report, but even I could not stand to read it!

South Coast LUAC (Land Use Advisory Committee or Council or Cuckolds (I’m kidding here, I’ve never been clear on which) meetings are generally pretty boring. We are supposed to “advise” the County Planning and Building Commission about building projects. Typically, only Cal-Trans is going through the process. Gorda does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, without regard to the rules or repercussions. (of which I have seen absolutely zilch.) This is the South Coast, after all.

Anyway, there are five of us on this LUAC: Jerry Provost, President; Harry Harris, Secretary; and general members – Robert Willett, Ken Harlan, and yours truly. Most have been on this LUAC for decades. I am a newcomer. Most of the time, Jerry has to talk one of the three general members into coming, so he can get a quorum. This meeting, I had planned to attend, so Ken and Robert were off the hook. Jerry, Harry, and I show up for an 11:15 am meeting. It starts at 11:50. This is Cal-Trans, remember.

Anyway, there are 4 items the Planning Department and Cal-Trans wants to discuss. Two are minor changes. But two, are significant. Cal-Trans wants to take away the office trailer to free up that space for a 7th residence, and build a new office down below. Granted, this has been in the plans for about 25 years, and the State of California is drowning in debt, and it is not likely to be funded. (If they do, I’ll be asking why it is I can’t get paid for the $$ the state is making me front, and all the work I am not getting paid for!!) But it is a significant change from the status quo. One that deserves some thought. What’s wrong with the current office?? I’ve been in it many times. It is nice.

But, the kicker is, in order to accomplish the building of the new office, of course, the County wants CT to get the designation changed from “viewshed/watershed” zoning to Gorda Rural Community Center zoning. Cool, now Cal-Trans can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, just like Gorda. (I’m sorta kidding here, I think.) CT claims that the County said it was left out of the contentious General Plan (I think it is #5, now?) by accident, and should have been changed with the CP. Of course, the CP hasn’t been adopted, yet, because there have been so many difficulties and fighting factions.

Sure, it doesn’t matter that Cal-Trans has been at this same location since the mid-30’s or over 70 years, now they need to change the zoning on this historical place. (I used this time to let them know if they tried to tear down the original bunk house, I would come after them!) As to “grandfathering” in this old location, there is a reason it cannot be done, but I’ll be damned if I understood it.

Being the new kid on the block, and being an attorney who engages in argument just for fun, I don’t want to “rubber-stamp” the project, as I have seen done at all the prior LUACs I have attended, few though they may have been. I want to ask questions, seek answers — engage in dialogue. I think this change in zoning requires some dialogue. I suggested that a public meeting be held down on the South Coast, with adequate notice, so that South Coasters can be involved, if they want to be. At least they should have the opportunity. What could it hurt? A little time wasted, right? Probably no one gives a hoot and wouldn’t attend. We all love CT down here. They keep the road open for us, fer gawd’s sake. That’s serious business to us South Coasters. Really serious. We’ll give them whatever they want. Always have, always will. But could we talk first? (hm … reminds me of some partners I have had.)

Apparently not. Jerry & Harry voted to advise the County to approve the zoning change without further input, while I voted against. Democracy in action. You know, I probably would vote to give my blessing, eventually, after I was confident that this was not going to bite me in the ass sometime in the future. I just don’t think we had enough information to make an informed decision. But when has that stopped us? Americans prefer ignorance.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. That’s how this damned state got in this mess in the first place, in my opinion. Voters voting for short term, without thinking of long-terms repercussions and possible solutions. That’s tough and requires thinking, which is work. Please, lord, don’t make me think!!

Okay, this is one of my rare (hopefully) rants, and I thank those of you who bothered to take the time to read it. For the rest of you, who aren’t reading this anyway, I’ll go back to some visuals soon, or reporting on local events, or doing what you’ve come to expect from me.

Bigsurkate, 6/23/09

June 21, 2008

The Gallery Fire, as it was named originally, started this date.

If you would like to see a blow-by-blow account of the first 5 days, complete with photos and maps by one who knows the back country like no other, click the link below:

Here is a photo taken that day at 7:30 pm by Dave Egbert after he was released from the fire. Thanks, Dave for sending this and allowing me to share it with my readers.


Here is one I took the next day from my house.
Smoke Dance
I call this “Smoke Dance.”

Happy Solstice and Happy Father’s Day! Don’t forget the rally at the State Park today, starting at 2 pm. Should be a wonderful time. Unfortunately, I have to work today, but I’ll be thinking of all of you celebrating souls, wherever you may be.

Honoring & Celebrating

Such a sweet gathering yesterday of north and south to honor and celebrate the life of Paul Vieregge. Seven years ago, I remember attending he and Penny’s 50th wedding anniversary at the same spot. I have lots of photos, and hope to upload some at some point to this post, but I really have a tremendous amount of work over the next few days, PLUS my son is down from Oregon, staying in Monterey for a few days, so I need to get up there to see him. Few “dull” moments in my world right now.
And two of my most favorite ladies: Penny & Peggy.
Josh Vieregge
Penny Vieregge
Peter Harding
Paul’s Friends
Dualing cameras. Okay, I give. His is bigger than mine!
Kirk Gafill