Monthly Archives: August 2012

Multi-Tasking, Haight Street Style, on a Saturday Afternoon in June

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Good Evening:

I flagged him down because I feared that his bicycle was on fire. Not true.

Bicyclist with Working Grill, Haight & Pierce, 23 June 2012. Taken with an iPhone 4.

His bike was smoking. He was multi-tasking.

San Franciscans, despite our reputation for living in a vegetarian/vegan Nirvana, love grilling. We might grill summer squash on occasion, but most of the time we are a bovine nightmare: “Eat your grass, Junior, or the Boogeymen from San Francisco will come in the night when you’re asleep and turn you into hamburger.”

San Franciscans also love exercise, especially bicycling. You can see mighty packs of them riding to work on specially designated bike lanes on Market Street. Finally, San Franciscans love to party. Oh, yeah. We do.

So I probably should not have felt too surprised to see that his bicycle was not on fire. This gentleman and his buddies were taking a trip throughout the city. Now their destination was a party, but they were expected to provide some of the burgers. Simple problem, simply solved: he strapped a miniature grill to the back of his vehicle, loaded it with charcoal, lit a fire and threw some brurgers on the grill.

Cooking, exercising and partying. Simultaneously.

This is how we mult-task on Haight Street on a Saturday afternoon in June.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Is his T-shirt slogan appropriate or what?

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Urban: Running for the Italian Trolley in San Francisco on a Sunday Afternoon

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Good Morning:

I knew I had an “Urban” picture in my collection that also represented San Francisco, and yet did not feature the usual cliched destinations. I also wanted to find something that represented this modern, high-tech techno-hub of a city with its high-tech economy. And nothing represents this like foreign streetcars that are almost 100 years old:

Urban: Running for the Italian Trolley in San Francisco on a Sunday Afternoon

During the Willie Brown administration, someone had the neat idea of running vintage streetcars from around the nation and around the world on Market Street and along the Embarcadero. The first additions to the collection were a set of vintage 1925 streetcars from Italy, complete with their Italian advertising placards. They have proved wildly popular with visitors, and even more wildly popular with San Franciscans.

This photo seems a bit above average for me, and I suspect it’s a matter of pure dumb luck and accidental good timing. The eye focuses on the woman, not on the brightly colored streetcar, because there are so many lines that point to her: the Muni signpost, the safety railing at the trolley stop, the green paint on the street constitute three examples. Enjoy studying it.

Vonn Scott Bair

Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White

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Good Evening:

My sincerest apologies to Counting Crows for slightly twisting the lyrics of one of their best songs. During my latest probably doomed efforts to organize 22,111 photographs (!), not including the dozens not yet downloaded from my Nikons and my iPhone (!!), I noticed that the Instant Minimalism series included a few hundred exploring textures and shadows involving the “color” (or lack thereof) white.

Exterior Wall of Orpheum Theater, San Francisco

White Onions

The irony is that white is rarely white; shadows have a way of affecting the color. Light is critical to the pictures in the Instant Minimalism series. Light casts the shadows that bring out the textures and help the human eye see what is really there.

I think the above picture represents a portion of a wall at Yerba Buena Park. I think.

“Diamonds 6.” From an exterior wall near Theater Artaud.

I do feel fairly certain that the pictures are color, not B&W–but not completely certain.

I didn’t have geotagging on my Coolpix 4300; who knows where this is.

Nature does a pretty good job with white; here are some mushrooms from the Civic Center Farmers Market. But note how nature knows when to add a little color:

White Cultivated Mushrooms at the Civic Center Farmers Market

The next one illustrates the never-ending change that is San Francisco. The last time I looked, this wall near the Museum of Modern Art looked nothing like this. But it’s been awhile and the wall probably looks still more different today.

Wall Near Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

The next time you find yourself next to a “plain old white” wall, take a closer look. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair

Urban: 181.

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Good Morning:

My submission for this week’s Photo challenge. Living in San Francisco, my collection contains thousands of possibilities, and I might submit a second photo if I can find something that screams out, “Now this is San Francisco!”

Urban: 181.

Vonn Scott Bair

600+. Thank You Again!

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Good Evening:

And the next thing you know, The San Francisco Scene–Seen! crosses the 600 views/month mark. Once again, I can’t tell you how grateful I feel that my little creative outlet has entertained so many people. As thanks, here are a selection of recent photographs I took at my beloved Civic Center farmers market.

Bike Messenger Relaxing During Lunch

Anaheim Chilis

Multi-Color Bell Peppers

The cherries have gone for the year, but Melon Season has arrived, and my oh my, does that ever compensate for the loss.

Melon Season Has Arrived!

There’s a gentleman at the market who sells nothing but mushrooms, but he sells vast quantities of vast varieties. He always has something unusual, even pink ‘shrooms.

Oyster Mushrooms

The farmers’ market is also a haven for musicians. I haven’t seen this gentleman before:

Busker with Silver Guitar and Amp

Busy weekend ahead: an eight-hour rehearsal on Saturday, performance on Monday night, and much work on my upcoming stage reading. I hope you will also have an entertaining weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair

Vonn Scott Bair, Danger Photographer!

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Good Evening:

Welcome to another exciting episode of “Vonn Scott Bair, Danger Photographer!”

Well, what can I say; amateur photographers are suckers for dark and mysterious places illuminated by only one or two stark overhead lights. So when I was wandering through the Mission District late at night, and walked passed a small parking lot near Guerrero Street, naturally I would be a sucker for the deep shadows that filled the lot except for the metal stairs. A single floodlight at the bottom of the stairs illuminated the first few steps, plus the metal double doors at ground level. A second floodlight illuminated the top of the stairs and the double metal doors to which they led.

Classic film noir scene, except it was better than the movies.

There was nothing in the parking lot except for an old three-ton truck with the back doors wide open, so I figured there was no harm in taking a few pictures. I walked into the lot, framed my shot of the stairs, and starting snapping shots.

“Whuh you doon?”

I had no idea where this came from–it just seemed to float on the air.

“I sai’, whuh you doon?”

The truck was talking to me.

I looked into the jet blackness of the truck’s cargo hold and for the first time spotted a tiny orange dot in the darkness. The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. A few seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light.

“Fo’ duh las’ time, whuh you doon?”

“Uh, I’m a photographer.”

The dot said, “I can see duh camera.”

“I’m taking pictures of the stairs.”

“Pitchers uh duh stairs.”

The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. A few seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light.

“Why you doon ‘at?”

“Because it’s, um, art.”

The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. About five seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light, followed by a short dry cough.

“You lyin’ a’ me?”

“No, not at all. Look at the stairs, the metal contrasting with the brick wall behind it, and the very shape of the stairway itself, plus the doors at both the base and top, and the chiaroscuro of light and shadow caused by the floodlights is really beautiful. This is really am impressive and artistic scene.”

“Key-R-what?”

“Chiaroscuro. It’s an Italian word for the interplay of light and shadow.”

The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. A few seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light.

“An’ you think that stairs is a work of art?”

“Yes I do. It looks like a scene from those black and white detective movies from the Thirties.”

The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. About five seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light, followed by a short dry cough.

“You so craz’ you migh’ be tellin’ duh troot.”

“So it’s OK if I take some pic-”

“No.”

“OK, so I’jll just leave now.”

“Now tha’ a good idea.”

“And I’ll just get rid of the pictures I’ve already taken.”

“Tha’ ‘nuther good idea.”

“And I won’t come back.”

“You gettin’ smar’er alla time,” said the dot.

“Have a good night.”

The dot grew brighter and larger for a few seconds, then faded back to its original size and brightness. A few seconds later, a puff of smoke billowed into the light.

“You be careful, man. This ain’t a good neighborhood.”

And thus the truck with the tiny orange dot in the back and I parted.

Tune in next week for another exciting episode of “Vonn Scott Bair, Danger Photographer!”

Yours in the Everlasting Pursuit of Great Chiaroscuro, I Remain,

Yours Truly,

Vonn Scott Bair

500+. Thank You.

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Good Evening:

At some point within the past 6 hours (I’m write this at 11:25 Pacific Time, 20 August 2012; I just returned home from a stage reading of a work in progress), my blog hosted its 500th visitor this month. That is the first time that The San Francisco Scene–Seen! has received so many visitors in a single month. To all of you, and of course to all of my followers, thank you, thank you, thank you. The post which provided the most powerful push was Merge: Building & Reflection, the picture that I submitted to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge blog. Thanks to Gary Ng for moderating this week’s Challenge.

To show my gratitude to everyone, here are a few more pictures covering some of my favorite themes with links to earlier examples. First, Ocean Beach, San Francisco.

Ocean Beach Boulder, 30 June 2007

A picture of leeks from my beloved Civic Center Farmers Market.

Leeks at the Civic Center Farmers Market, 20 January 2008

Something from “The Instant Art of Instant Abstract Art.”

To be honest with you, I’ve forgotten where I took that picture. Now for something from “The Minimally Artistic Art of Instand Minimalist Art.”

Finally, a portrait of some of my fellow San Franciscans, some of the most creative and colorful creatures cavorting throughout creation.

Fire Spinners at Ocean Beach, Three-Kidney Formation, 1 July 2011

In case you’re wondering, one way to attract visitors is to include “Photography” and “Digital Photography” in your categories and tags. WordPress is unquestionably one of the great online feasts of really, really, good photography (I feel humbled on a daily basis). My posts without pictures tend not to draw as many visitors as the posts that do. Anyway, thanks again for visiting, and I hope you like the new set.

Vonn Scott Bair