Archive for the ‘RANDOM IMAGES’ Category
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Wow it’s been four years since I posted this other Memorial Day image. It’s one of my favorites, but as is typical with the “Random Images” category, it’s just a pleasing photo with nothing to do with bicycles.
Steps from Cady’s Alley and a little pocket park named after Francis Scott Key, there’s access to the C & O canal bike path.
The picture above is the view east standing on the pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides. Below is the view toward the west.
The C & O towpath is a 184 mile trail connecting DC to Cumberland, MD. The towpath is one and the same as the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) for the first few miles. Then the CCT veers east toward Silver Spring, MD.
I want to explore these bike ways while I’m still here!
Wherever I go alleys draw me in. I’m not talking about creepy, dirty alleys.
No, the visceral appeal of certain alleys or small streets comes from their aesthetically correct, pedestrian-friendly, human-scale. The lack of powerful gasoline motors constantly churning is a big part of it.
Cady’s Alley is a little street in DC that I love from an architectural and urban design perspective. The emphasis is because I’m not sure how I feel about it from a community development perspective.
The space feels geared to a very exclusive, corporate, brand name, retail shopping experience. Urban revitalization and planning can expose many thorny issues relating to social equity and civic participation. So I want to be clear that what I’m singling out for praise about Cady’s Alley is something very particular: the actual feeling of the physical space.
In short, if we compare the feeling of Cady’s Alley to that of M Street (running parallel one block away) it passes the Mirror-of-the-Self Test outlined by the visionary architect, Christopher Alexander in his book The Phenomenon of Life:
“Comparing A and B, which one makes me feel the most wholeness in myself, which allows me to come closest to my own life, which makes me experience life most deeply?”. That is, when architecture is functioning properly “its space is awakened to a very high degree. It becomes alive. The space itself becomes alive.”
Note: DC recently released a comprehensive survey that maps all the historic alley ways in the city. Click on The DC Historic Alley Buildings Survey if you’re curious.
This is a cool, little street of row houses a block from the train tracks leading into Union Station in NE Washington. There’s a Greenwich Village/Brooklyn feel to this block. I get the sense artsy, bohemian-types are moving into these parts possibly causing a bit of friction in the neighborhood.
There could even be rooftop vegetable gardens, urban bee hives, and maybe even a few chicken coops (not sure if that’s legal in DC) in the vicinity.
There was this handsome Trek mixte, with front and rear racks and a wicker errand basket.
Judging by all the evidence, I can only conclude that I must have stumbled into Hipster territory.
Lest I forget — there’s an amazing punjabi Indian restaurant right around the corner.
(sketch made with Paper53 app on iPad)
My ebisu, like a greyhound straining at the start, yearns to run free.
But instead she sits in an apartment, leaning up against the wall, gathering dust, through the long, cold winter — while I ignore her.
She whispers to me: why don’t we go out exploring the way we once did?
I change the subject. Or pretend not to hear.
I have many, oh so many reasons (read excuses), why it cannot be. Through it all she doesn’t complain. But her disappointment is palpable. And for that I cannot blame her.
I think one day it will be different. So I say, “one day it will be as it once was”. She is cheered by the news. But I know it is a lie, not in the spirit behind the words, but in the actual words.
For there is no such thing as: it being as it once was.
And although we cannot go back to how it once was, we must always know there will be new springs, new summers. And that yes, one day, this long dark winter will cease.
The sun will rise high overhead. The ice will melt. New life — tindered with joy and longing — will tremble, cry out, and reach up to embrace the very apex of the universe.
And together we will have new experiences that we could not have imagined.
En route, this old Schwinn with a vintage Brooks saddle caught my eye. The saddle is disintegrating, but still serving its intended purpose — carrying its rider along life’s unfolding, luminous path.
I spotted this Brompton in front of the SFMOMA. The image was made near the museum’s entrance while facing 3rd Street around 5pm. The bike belongs to Sunny (from the comments section of this post).
Photographing a black bike is challenging, especially in patchy, bright sunlight. But I like how this picture turned out. The orange taxi pleases me a great deal.
The only problem is you can’t really see how good-looking this bike is (I especially like the generator-powered headlight and Brooks saddle).
Sunny purchased his bike from the same dealer in Palo Alto as I did, which, according to the website, is the first authorized Brompton retailer in the US. The shop operates out of the palatial home of Mr. Channell Wasson. Channell is an interesting character and a truly passionate Brompton enthusiast.
As promised, a few observations about the Dutch paintings exhibit currently on view at the de Young Museum.
Here are my six takeaways:
- The light from within. When I walked into the opening room of the exhibit I gasped — audibly — shocked by the sensory perceptions and emotions that flooded in as I first cast my eyes on the landscape paintings that radiated an inner glow. The light from within these paintings was so palpable I actually began to question my own experience, rationalizing that the museum’s sophisticated lighting had something to do with it.
- Presentation matters. The de Young did a superb job with the the overall design and display of the exhibit. How the paintings were arranged, the size and flow of the rooms, and even the space between paintings and their height from the floor, all seemed perfect. I’ve seen Vermeer paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in NY and Vermeer paintings at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. This kind of art has never looked as good as it does here in San Francisco.
- I prefer “old” art to “modern” art. A huge generalization, but so much of modern art seems designed to provoke or to extol things like irony, cynicism, and even ugliness. Yet these paintings inspired and uplifted me and that is the best justification for art in my opinion.
- My appreciation grows with age. My capacity to appreciate and be affected by this kind of art has truly deepened over time. My life experiences and accumulated wisdom (at least what there is of it) allows me to see and feel deeper than I could when I was in my 20s, for instance. This may not be anything revelatory, but it was a big takeaway for me.
- On masterpieces. Is there such a thing? Are they overrated? Some of the “greatest hits” from the masters are now devalued cliches. Derivatives and crude, poorly reproduced facsimiles show up in pop culture, in digital media, or on billboards. So I stood in front the actual physical object of Girl with a pearl earring looking for a long time to decide for myself if it is, indeed, a masterpiece. The answer: Yes it is. By the way, so too is Rembrandt’s Portrait of an elderly man, which is also part of the show.
- Fewer is better. I prefer small exhibits to large exhibits, and this is a relatively small exhibit. In fact, a long time ago I stumbled upon a useful practice after spending many grueling hours at the Louvre in Paris. This simple principal has guided me ever since: Never spend more than 45 minutes in a museum, 30 minutes would be even better. It’s much more satisfying to look intensely for 30 minutes, rather than to look superficially for 1-2 hours. That’s my advice. Plus, you can always return another day. Return I will because I didn’t have time to see all Rembrandt’s pencil drawings and etchings.
I don’t know why, but I went in with low expectations and, instead, came away pleasantly surprised.
Overall rating: Five stars!
The show runs through June 2nd.
A quick snapshot through the window of Golden Gate Transit’s #2 bus at approximately 7:20am.
It looks like something from Hitchcock’s The Birds – which incidentally was filmed locally in nearby Bodega Bay.
As a follow-up to the previous post, here’s one final traditional B&W darkroom variation called a duotone (For an in-depth, but slightly outdated photoshop tutorial and explanation of dutones see this article on the Luminous Landscape website.)
The highlights (i.e. the brightest areas of the tonal range) receive the sepia tint and the shadows (the darkest areas) receive the blue tint.
Actually, this may be my favorite version so far.
Happy MLK day!
Since today was a day off from work, I spent a leisurely morning luxuriating over breakfast and a cup of PJ Tips tea.
Here’s the idyllic view — from this morning — from my apartment’s dining nook.
I thought I’d use the image to demonstrate different types of traditional black and white tinting techniques — techniques that are now regularly applied digitally, but which photographers originated in old fashioned, physical darkrooms.
For example, here it is as a neutral, black and white image:
Here it is as a warm sepia-toned image:
Here it is as a cool blue-toned image:
Click this link to view the original image in color.
I first saw this image on the back cover of The New Yorker magazine. I find it to be a beautiful and tender portrait.
Forget that it is a Louis Vuitton ad. Forget that the world’s highest paid and most famous portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, created it. Just appreciate it.
And this reminds me to add Muhammad Ali to my personal list of heroes, which was published in a previous post.
January 1, 2013
6:05pm to 6:07pm
The little nub of land (barely visible) on the right side of the horizon are the Farallones (also known as California’s Galapagos), a set of small islands which help form a highly productive ecological web of sea birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles including the Black-footed Albatross, Chinook Salmon, and Great White Shark.
Mailbox art work.
It was a partly solitary Thanksgiving. I took a hike by myself and then gathered in Fairfax with a small group of friends and family. On the hike I made this image.
I’m so thankful this year. Words cannot describe how grateful I am. But here goes:
To all beings. To everyone who contributes to my sustenance wherever on this planet you may be. To those who came before me and brought me to life. And to anyone who needs to hear it.
Thank you…Thank you…Thank you!
Here’s another image from my hike, but I judged it too melancholic to lead off the post. In fact, I nearly deleted it for being too sad. Anyhow, if you’re interested check out some of my previous holiday images like this Christmas day photo or even last year’s Thanksgiving photo.
Ecker Place is a narrow, two-block, pedestrian alley that connects Mission and Market Streets. I love walking down this street!
The graffiti marks the entrance as you turn down the alley from Mission. The little street has a modern, urban, reclaimed vibe that just works for me architecturally. About half way down, there is a Dim Sum place and a little vegan cafe and chocolate shop. I’ve never tried either place, but may stop in for some Dim Sum soon!
I pass this scene almost every morning riding from the Ferry Building to work.
On this morning, there was a feeling of intense presence infusing the whole cityscape created by the arrangement of the sculpture, the bridge, the plaza, the water, the sky, and the light!
Christopher Alexander‘s writings come to mind:
Centers are those particular identified sets, or systems, which appear within the larger whole as distinct and noticeable parts. They appear because they have noticeable distinctness, which makes them separate out from their surroundings and makes them cohere, and it is from the arrangements of these coherent parts that other coherent parts appear. The life or intensity of one center is increased or decreased according to the position and intensity of other nearby centers. Above all, centers become most intense when the centers which they are made of help each other. (From Volume I, The Nature of Order)
The mysterious ‘Bubbleman’ of Dunphy Park.
Han and Chewy taking a breather after tearing up some single track.
Maybe it’s time to go a new direction and change our attitude vis-a-vis our relationship to Mother Earth.
I’m beginning to accept that on my short bike rides around central Tucson I can only photograph the landscape that exists — which is a landscape resplendent with concrete, abandoned shopping carts, and dumpsters.
However, paying close attention to the details of this landscape, I believe, creates a more intimate connection to the physical world.
For beauty is everywhere — even in ugliness it is possible to see beauty.
But the opposite is also true — ugliness exists within beauty. This is the paradox of living in duality.
Looking through the eyes of God — from within the unity of existence — what do you see?
Click here for some of TheFridaycyclotouriste’s previous holiday images/posts
Speaking of art.
Did you hear a new painting by Van Gogh has been discovered? It’s stunning!
Read about the discovery here.
I love bikes and photography — and this talented artist does too.
Read about his creative process (and peruse his dreamlike and whimsical images) in this interview by Alexandra Cameron on her blog .
I thought summer was coming early to Tucson. Just last week, some of the Ocotillos (Fouquieria splendens) were beginning to bloom. Then came a sudden cold snap and today there’s snow on the mountaintops!
But here’s a taste of things to come in the Sonoran Desert as winter begins to leave us (the images below are from my 2011 photo archives):
Staying with the theme from my previous post here’s another image from the world mecca of bicycle-friendliness — Copenhagen.
I heart good public transportation options (especially when coupled with wonderful graphic design like this).
An image made on the patio of my Dad’s place on New Year’s Day.
The green and magenta color combination is always striking. These two colors are on opposite sides of the color wheel, making them complimentary.
As a side note, when two complimentary colors are combined at the proper intensities they produce white light. So, Green (G) + Magenta (M) = White (W). In addition, if you combine the three primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) white light is also produced (R+G+B=W). The great physicist James Clerk Maxwell figured this out (along with his theories of electromagnetism) in the late 1800s, but now I’ve completely digressed.
I didn’t get much bicycle riding in during 2011 due to distractions (like my job and other photography projects) and the natural fall-off that came along with moving to an auto-centric city with a hot desert climate. I’m not sure what 2012 will produce. A multi-day bicycle tour would sure be fun. Europe would be great.
One thing that is clear: since I began this blog in early 2009, the so-called bicycling movement has gone from a niche activity to a fully mainstream cultural phenomenon. Core77 has an interesting year-end review titled How the Cycling Movement Gained Momentum in 2011.
Anyhow, today’s landscape image was made while riding through the parking lot of the El Con Mall (home to Target, Home Depot, and a 20-screen cineplex). I didn’t have a reason to post this during 2011, but I enjoy the photo so I’m making it my 2012 New Year’s Day image.
I hope everyone has a year full of joyful bicycle riding with family, friends, and loved ones.
Happy New Year!
A beautiful Thanksgiving Day in Sabino Canyon with the sun streaming through a large Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii).
Today is the 29th annual El Tour de Tucson — a 111 mile ride around the perimeter of the city.
This image has nothing to do with the Tour…(It was made on 4th Ave. last week-end)…but I really dig it!
Plus, for days afterward my housemates and I could not stop belting out Taaacooo Barrachooo in absurd operatic fashion.
Click below to hear award winning singer-songwriter and Bay Area troubadour, Forest Sun, giving his rendition:
Staying with the Italian theme from yesterday’s post, I bring you this architectural wonder currently under construction in Milan.
According to the Financial Times, it is “the most exciting new tower in the world“. Read more at Stefano Boeri Architetti.
Ascending from the valley floor in Tucson to the top of Mt. Lemmon is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada — in terms of the biological diversity and the number of ecological zones one passes through.
These high elevation mountain zones are called Sky Islands:
Weldon Heald coined the term “sky islands” in 1967 to denote mountain ranges that are isolated from each other by intervening valleys of grassland or desert. The valleys of this basin and range country act as barriers to the movement of certain woodland and forest species, somewhat like saltwater seas isolate plants and animals on oceanic islands – hence the common association with the archipelago phenomenon. Other species, such as mountain lions and black bears, depend on movement corridors between mountain islands to maintain genetic diversity and population size. (from The Sky Island Alliance website)
In Tucson summer is still hanging around with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80′s, but up at 8,000 feet in the Santa Catalina Mountains Autumn is in full swing.
The Aspen Loop from Marshall Gulch is alive with color this week.
Full disclosure: I didn’t bike all the way up Mt. Lemmon — I took an automobile — but there is precedent for me posting a holiday (e.g. Haloween, Xmas, Solstice) photograph, whether or not there was any riding involved. And now that the weather is cooling down, I plan to revisit the idea of bicycling to the top……really I do!
Many of the pictures posted over the last few months were created with the iPhone’s built-in camera.
The image quality is inferior to my Lumix LX-3, but the LX-3 was itself a compromise. I used it mainly because it was smaller and more convenient to carry on my bicycle than the alternatives.
Now, size and convenience are winning out again — hence the increased use of the iPhone.
Since these images are primarily intended for the web (and never larger than 650 pixels wide) I have some margin for error in terms of image quality. That’s why I can still produce acceptable results even when facing tricky lighting situations like those seen in these desert vistas. (However, for the first shot I had to combine two exposures in order to retain marginal detail in the foreground shadow areas.)
The biggest drawback is that printing larger images for a gallery show or portfolio may not be achievable. For this, I could really use a larger sensor, but still compact, Olympus EP-3 or Fuji X-100 — which are the cameras I’m drooling over currently.
However, at this point, I should remind myself of the unlimited nature of material desire and the profound teachings of the Buddha — especially his “Second Noble Truth.”
The word monsoon is derived from the Arabic word mausim, which means season. Traders plying the waters off the Arabian and Indian coasts noted for centuries that dry northeast winds in the winter suddenly turn to the southwest during the summer, and bring beneficial yet torrential rains to the Asian subcontinent.
Supposedly, it’s so hot in this desert that moist air from the distant Sea of Cortez is sucked inland and becomes rain here in Tucson.
The National Weather Service reports 1.6 inches of rainfall so far this month.
I estimate that this evening’s storm dumped another 0.25 to 0.50 inches (I just avoided getting caught in the deluge bicycling back from the grocery store) bringing July’s total to around 2 inches.
The wettest July on record: 6.24 inches in 1921.
Gracias, St. John!
An image that really has nothing much to do with bicycles (like many of my other “Random Images“), but it feels very autumnal and fitting for the holiday.
This was made on the way up the Cataract trail toward Mt. Tam.
In months past, I’ve written extensively about the area around Cataract.
I found this beautiful, nearly 6 inch long, praying mantis in a container plant on my back patio.
Since reading Laurens van der Post’s A Mantis Carol, and learning the Bushmen of the Kalahari regard them as manifestations of God, I always approach these creatures with a special reverence. In the Islamic world, they are also important religious symbols. Plus, their subtle movements evoke meditation and mindfulness.
I like to think this little creature’s visit was a reminder to have more subtle awareness of my life and to not get too caught up in the day’s chaos.
What does this have to do with bicycling?
Well…for me riding a bike is good mindfulness practice: It helps me to regain peace of mind after a hard day and helps me to observe my everyday world with a somewhat greater sense of clarity.