Exotic Infrastructure

There is so much beauty in modern infrastructure. No wonder I take so many pictures of that stuff.

Admittedly, I’m obsessed with subways. I could fill a whole other blog with subway photos and videos. (<– Hmm. Am I the only one who thinks that’s a good idea?) Meanwhile, here’s a recent moody image from NYC:

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This power line runs through my neighborhood (although not precisely at this angle):

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Can you guess what this is?:

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It’s the crumbling (sideways) letters of a storm drain warning. NO DUMPING DRAINS TO OCEAN.

And how about this?:

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Well, if you’ve been a reader of this blog for long, that’s an easy one to answer. It’s part of a pair of decaying sea walls that fascinate me. (Fascination is a kinder word than obsession.) Here’s a wider shot of the same wall (earlier that same sunrise):

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If you ever want to visit this wall, it is just east of East Beach in Santa Barbara, CA.

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge was Abstract.)

 

 

 

 

More Than States of Mind?

I like my absurdly early, outdoor exercise class because it lets me watch the sun come up. To me, every sunrise offers hope and promise – so seeing the sun rise starts my day right. I do my best to appreciate sunset, too, which brings me calm, an easing of the day’s stresses. When you think about it, it really is amazing that we have these glories to enjoy every single day!

Given the difference in psychological impact between sunrise and sunset, I would expect the two events to be readily distinguishable in my photographs. But I don’t think I could tell one from the other if I didn’t remember when I took the pictures. So maybe it’s not sunlight at a low angle that makes these times of day so special. Maybe it’s the quality of the air that has such distinct impacts on me each morning and evening. Or maybe it’s the sounds of all the birds who are so active as the sun rises or sets.

Or maybe the difference is all in my expectations.

Or maybe I am missing some obvious distinguishing feature of the photos. How about you? Can you tell which of the photos below show sunrise, and which show sunset? (Answers on page 2.)

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

Sunrise or sunset?

(The topic of a recent WP Weekly Photo Challenge was contrasts.)

An Adoration of Pelicans

A gaggle of geese. A leap of leopards. A covey of quail. My vet has a poster with line after line of phrases that describe collections of critters, in ever-odder terms. A dule of doves. A charm of finches. A deceit of lapwings. An unkindness of ravens. Perhaps my favorite is a siege of herons. (Surely the crawfish in a local pond see herons that way, even though there is only one heron that plagues them. No, wait, plague would be locusts.) Have all these phrases truly been used? Maybe not – but for a richer language, let’s start today! (To get us started, I include more of the phrases at the bottom of this post.)

If I were to add pelicans to the list of phrases, I would have to call them an adoration of pelicans. What a spectacular creature the pelican is. Sitting around a dock, it may look homely and awkward, but airborne, it rules the coast. Pelicans fly together in innovative formations, skim the waves fearlessly, dive with conviction – and always get their fish.

I’ve taken many pictures of pelicans. In most of them, the bird appears as a speck on my camera lens. Last weekend, two pelicans put on an amazing show as I walked the beach. For the first time, I saw two pelicans dive simultaneously and hit the water a few feet apart. But they were coy and whenever I raised my phone camera, they masqueraded as specks. This was the closest I got to a good picture, so you can imagine the others:

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But I’ve had better luck in the past. Here are some pelicans enjoying sunrise on both coasts of the U.S.:

Pelican at sunrise, East River, NYC.

Pelican at sunrise, East River, NYC.

Pelicans at sunrise, Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, CA

Pelicans at sunrise, Carlsbad Beach, San Diego County, CA

And here is a particularly fine squadron, which always reminds me of that Far Side cartoon. You know the one, right? Birds of prey know they’re cool.

pelicansquadron

My best capture to date was this … er ….

HOLY FRIGGING — I’ve just spent what feels like a year scrolling through endless directories of unsorted photo files, in an unsuccessful search for one of my favorite shots. Ho-kay. Check back to this post later, I will add the photo when/if I find it. Perhaps it is finally time to attempt to organize my photos.

And in the meantime, enjoy some more critter phrases:

A crash of rhinoceroses.
A gang of elk.
A singular of boars.
A cast of woodpeckers.
A barren of moles.
A shrewdness of apes.
A smack of jellyfish.
A parliament of owls.

(This post is slightly in response to the recent WP photo challenge, “Split-Second Story”.)

PhotoTravelog: From Waikiki to Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii

There are a lot of great scenes waiting for cameras in Hawaii as I learned when I visited the Hawaiian island of Oahu for the first time.  I made the trip for work, so I spent most of my time at the convention center, or near my hotel on Waikiki Beach. My last day there, I walked a few miles from my hotel to another set of meetings near Diamond Head, and took lots of photos.

That distant hill and point is Diamond Head. I took this photo from the harbor near my hotel on the afternoon of my arrival. I didn’t see any bugs in Hawaii but saw much evidence of their existence, such as in the trunk of this tree.

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The walk to Diamond Head was the most ambitious excursion of my trip and most of it took me through spectacular scenery. in the distance is my goal, lit by dawn sunlight.

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The banyan tree is a common sight on Oahu. Older trees have roots that grow up and add themselves to the trunk, creating a broad, ropey base, like this tree en route to Diamond Head.

 HawaiiBanyanTree2014-03-14 09.12.08

Whatever you do, don’t feed those …. um …. those…. Altered signs seem to be a trend here.

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 And then there are signs that promise other alterations. Why wait until dinner? I call this one cutting to the chase.

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I loved the rough surface of this jetty, which exists to protect tourists from slipping into the sea. It may be too close to the lunchtime happy hour  to succeed at all times, however.

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Now I’m on the Diamond Head side of my earlier photos, looking west and back toward the Waikiki Beach hotels.

HawaiiLookingBacktoHotel2014-03-14 09.21.14

The road took me uphill through neighborhoods that reminded me of Santa Barbara, California. Only 9a but it was getting warm.

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I went past cliffside parks with trails down to the ocean, some of which were not safe to hike. Or anyway I think that’s what the sign was trying to tell me.

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There was an old lighthouse, now occupied by an island bigwig.

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Surfers in Hawaii have so many choices of places with great waves!

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During my week on Oahu, the weather fluctuated continuously although the temperature held to the high 70s, low 80s. Sunny then cloudy then drizzle then wind. Blasts of rain punctuated with balmy breeze. Humid then less humid then more humid again. Clouds from the north were always piled up against the mountains that stretch along the center of the island. I took this photo of the clouds and mountains from the glass elevator at my hotel.

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Here is a cloudy moment near Diamond Head.

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It came amidst the sunny moments like this one.

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This is the second of three posts about my trip to Hawaii.

I also blogged about the sights near Waikiki and glimpses of non-tourist Oahu.

PhotoTravelog: Honolulu, Hawaii

Recently, I was lucky enough to visit the Hawaiian island of Oahu for the first time, and now here are some posts to share some of the experience.

Oahu is one of the smallest of the Hawaiian islands, and by far the most densely populated. I made the trip for work, so I spent most of my time indoors in meetings. Still, I managed to enjoy a week of sunrise and sunset at the beach, and although I was “stuck” in tourist-riddled Waikiki Beach – well, there are reasons that locations become popular, and here the natural beauty shines through the murk of tourism and overpopulation. Honolulu may be the least lovely spot in Hawaii, but that least surpasses many a most.

To get to Hawaii from Los Angeles I took a five hour flight over the Pacific Ocean.

HawaiiFromJet2014-03-09 12.44.43

Traffic sucked on the shuttle from the airport to Waikiki. Turns out traffic sucks everywhere in Honolulu. I could even see traffic snarls from my hotel room.

HawaiiTrafficfromRoom2014-03-09 16.54.49

Fortunately my room had a big window and this was the rest of the view, at night

HawaiiRoomViewNight2014-03-09 19.23.18 HDR

and during the day.

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I was on the 17th floor and I kept the large window open all the time to luscious warm fresh air.

HawaiiMyRoom2014-03-09 17.01.38

The harbor water is brown for at least two reasons. The rocks and dirt are all volcanic – very high in iron –  which makes standing water look rusty.

HawaiiRustWater2014-03-09 14.15.14

Also, the harbor water is filthy. You probably can’t see the black fish nibbling this trash from below.

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Best to view the harbor at night, especially when the neighboring hotel stages its weekly fireworks display.

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One wonders whether the hotels also stage the vast number of rainbows that materialize over their roofs. Many are double rainbows.

HawaiiRainbowHotels2014-03-12 18.27.25

Here’s a rainbow with a nearly full moon, just prior to a golden sunset.

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I spent my days at meetings in the convention center, where this was the view of the ocean.

HawaiiViewFromConventionCenter2014-03-12 10.15.42

But the sunsets were my own to enjoy.

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And I was up to await the dawn, just like these palm trees.

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Amazing how many people were in the water at dawn!

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Hawaiian beaches are gorgeous yet incomplete, as they lack pelicans. There are plenty of pigeons and seagulls. Also, this handsome bird hung out with fisherman near a bridge.

HawaiiBird2014-03-09 14.07.08

He never let me get any closer than this. Catlike, he would walk  as though indifferent to me, but aware of my every move, to maintain this distance whether I slowed down, sped up, or stopped.

HawaiiBirdAway2014-03-09 14.07.21

I have multiple  pictures of this bird, taken on more than one day, all at this distance.

This is the first of three posts about my trip to Hawaii. I also blogged about a walk from Waikiki to Diamond Head and glimpses of non-tourist Oahu.

Guaranteed Me Time

Parents and other grown-ups know that as life’s demands escalate, it gets harder to take care of our own needs. I attend an exercise class that starts at 530 am because that seems to be the only way that I can guarantee fitting exercise into my daily routine. Lately I’ve been getting up even earlier, to crowbar some writing into my day. Four am is so early that even the dog is still asleep. (By 5 am, her optimism kicks in and she follows me around, hoping for a very early breakfast.)

My exercise class is outside. I love that. I love seeing sunrises like this,  instead of the walls of a gym:

The view shortly after class began this morning.

The view shortly after class began this morning.

Admittedly this was one of the nicest sunrises ever. But you get the idea.

sunrise2

The view as class concluded.

Outside, you cry? Are you nuts!? Maybe, but I’m not a masochist, I’m a southern Californian. There are scant few days each year when it is unpleasant to be outside.

(This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge wants to see habits.)

Before The Day Gets Used

The WordPress Daily Prompt asks: “6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?”

Neither. Both. Sometimes.

alarmclock-clock-broken_~u10900682

Don’t shoot the messenger.

My answer has changed over the years. It used to be that I was only up at dawn if I was still up from the night before. If I could set my own schedule, that would probably still be true.  Actually, what I would prefer is to sleep a few hours at night and the rest of my hours in the afternoon. Afternoons are useless. I like afternoons about as much as Camus’ Stranger likes Sundays. But I digress.  Somebody told me that 4 hrs night/4 hrs afternoon is a paleo sleep schedule: it’s how our distant ancestors slept. Alas, not sure when or if I can give it a try. My sleep schedule has rarely been up to me.  Jobs, schools, doctors, repair guys – they’re the ones in control.

Nowadays, half my body clock seems to be permanently broken. I can still stay up until all hours and most nights I must force myself to go to bed at a decent hour. But – after so many years as a night owl trapped in an early bird world – I cannot sleep in. Period.  So I am now quite familiar with 6 am.

Fortunately, 6a is a marvelous time of day, when all is fresh and full of potential.  In my household, I am the only dawn enthusiast, which makes 6a a “me” time of day. You will find me writing then. Or exercising at my outdoor bootcamp class. Or hiking.  Hiking into a sunrise requires a bit of planning – it all changes so remarkably quickly. The photos below were taken scant minutes apart. Every single day, the world starts in this beautiful way, whether we are there to witness it or not.

A couple minutes before 6a.

A couple minutes before 6a. Goodbye to night.

A couple minutes after 6a.
A couple minutes after 6a. Hello to day.

Clock photo from fotosearch.com