Monthly Archives: February 2015

Wisdom on a Bike Rack. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds)

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Good Evening:

I have written many times that someone once said that the surreal is that which lies at your feet, but this afternoon I found it on a bike rack on the sidewalk in front of San Francisco City Hall.

You Are the Love of Your Life. Yes. You. 24 February 2015

You Are the Love of Your Life. Yes. You. 24 February 2015

I have not seen this form of disposable art before, and should I happen to blunder into more examples will try to remember to record them for your inspection.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco Snippets, 23 February 2015.

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Good Evening:

Overheard on the 6-Parnassus.

First: “No, that’s serendipity! This is schadenfreude!”

Two Women Studying a Video Selfie of Themselves Kissing, 22 February 2015.

Two Women Studying a Video Selfie of Themselves Kissing, 22 February 2015.

Second: “No! Rainbow Chard! Not kale! Kale?! Kale?? Kale is so over!”

Good thing my latest recipe (a Moroccan chickpea stew) used chard. That means I’m not over.

Vonn Scott Bair

Cormorant @ Sunrise. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Thirds)

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Good Evening:

This fine feathered fellow proved most cooperative as I practiced various compositions based upon The Rule of Thirds.

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Funny; the “story” seems to change depending upon the composition. I rather like the middle, as the log fits in with the reflected clouds as they seem to “fan out” from left to right in the water.

Vonn Scott Bair

Answer: A Slice of Heaven. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Thirds.)

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Good Evening:

Question: What do you get when you combine the world’s finest creatures, their obedient human servants, perfect Saturday morning weather, and San Francisco’s Park Presidio?

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Turns out one finds a lot of ways to use Thirds in your photo composition. If you mentally divide your pictures into imaginary 9 rectangle (3×3) grids as I do, you can put your subject in a variety of spaces. In the above portrait shot, the dog stands in the middle of the imaginary lower horizontal line, and the armrests and human head all point to the pup. The next shot shows the same treatment in a landscape orientation.

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And sometimes a picture “thirds” itself–here it’s sky, headlands, bay and beach.

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The above shot also shows a comparatively rare phenomenon–the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Marin Headlands. Most of the time, the morning fog won’t lift until the sun is well up into the sky.

The next show proved tricky to edit, especially when it came to arranging the composition in the 3×3 grid pattern.

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It’s a little subtle. The taller woman’s head rests at the intersection of the upper horizontal line and the left vertical line. Meanwhile, the darker dog rests at the intersection of the lower horizontal line and the right vertical line. So you have that nice 45 degree diagonal directing your eye to the happy canines.

Of course, the dogs care nothing of any of this. It’s Saturday, their humans treat them as they deserve, and they get to hang out with their fellow furry superior critters. Just one heck of a good day for a dog.

Vonn Scott Bair

A Weekend Puzzle!

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Good Evening:

I have done a few of these before; the idea is simple. First, close ups of a large sign:

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Now, the large sign itself:

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Can you find within the bigger picture the little ones I photographed?

Some of these might pose a greater challenge than usual. Have fun with this, and have fun with your weekend!

Vonn Scott Bair

Grey Series, City Hall @ Dusk. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry)

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Good Evening:

San Francisco enjoyed a striking color-free grey sunset today, and City Hall looked rather grand in its symmetry.

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I took this shot with my iPhone 6 Plus, and cannot deny that the results surprised me. Vastly superior to my old iPhone 4.

Vonn Scott Bair

Mardi Gras, Work Style!

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Good Evening:

I’ve written before about the peculiar perils of working in an environment where everyone likes each other. I’ve also written about my distinctive honor last year, when I won the Baby. Everything came together on Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.

I bought this year’s King Cake for the festivities–one of the privileges when you win the Baby and become the King of Mardi Gras–and our native New Orleans person brought the cake from her favorite bakery along with lots of beads, as seen below.

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And here is the young lady herself, who did an outstanding job of organizing.

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This is how a King Cake appears shortly before its devouring.

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This cake was beautiful–never saw such a good looking King before. Even better, it was still warm when my colleague bought it, and therefore it was the freshest and therefore best King Cake I’ve ever eaten.

Now as the King, I did receive one extra privilege. Everyone else received a strand or two of beads. my strand included something extra.

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I now have permission to spell “crew” with a K at the front and an E at the end.

Obviously, I’m still not big on selfies.

Other co-workers brought pastries and chocolates, and yes indeed, my place remains a bad place for a diet.

Wishing a Happy Belated Mardi Gras to My Krewe, I Remain,

Yours Truly,

Vonn Scott Bair

Asymmetry Above Symmetry: San Francisco City Hall. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry)

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Good Morning:

Working a block away from San Francisco’s magnificent City Hall did make this week’s Challenge a little easier. The architects and landscape designers of our Civic Center had an obvious fixation upon symmetry. The San Francisco skies, obviously, do not:

San Francisco City Hall Near Sunset, 13 February 2015.

San Francisco City Hall Near Sunset, 13 February 2015.

I did edit the shot in iPhoto to increase the definition and details of the clouds, and also to increase the darkness of City Hall for a more silhouette-like effect.

Vonn Scott Bair

Asymmetry within Symmetry within Asymmetry: Ned Kahn’s Firefly. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry)

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Good Morning:

Nature seems a bit more apathetic towards symmetry than humans. Insects, some crystals, fish when you look at them straight down, but humans seem more enamored of the subject. Unless you examine modern office architecture, my workplace the HQ of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission constituting one example. Most of the building isn’t even a proper rectangle–but not all of it. Ned Kahn’s Firefly stands out as the most prominent exception.

Ned Kahn's Firefly, 13 February 2015.

Ned Kahn’s Firefly, 13 February 2015.

But even here, you can see asymmetry within the symmetry. Since those little plastic squares flap in the wind, and since the wind is anything but symmetrical, you can see the randomly chaotic asymmetrical shape of the late afternoon breeze formed within the symmetrical squares of the rectangular sculpture outside the asymmetrical office building beneath the asymmetrical clouds in the sky.

All of which I suspect Mr. Kahn wanted to capture in art.

Vonn Scott Bair

Wordless Wednesday: San Francisco Civic Center Farmers Market, 11 February 2015.

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Good Evening:

Got a bit lucky with this one.

Civic Center Farmers Market, San Francisco, 11 February 2015.

Civic Center Farmers Market, San Francisco, 11 February 2015.

Vonn Scott Bair

Don’t Walk & Talk on Market Street, San Francisco, 10 February 2015.

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Good Evening:

I disembarked from one of San Francisco’s vintage trolley cars at the Market & Dolores stop this afternoon, along with a man in a black suit with white shirt and black tie who kept looking straight down as he spoke on his cell phone. He never looked about as he crossed the street to the sidewalk, he only looked straight down–not a very good idea when you step into the path of a speeding bicyclist.

“Look out!” said the bicyclist.

“You don’t say that to me!” said Black Suit.

“Look out!” shouted the bicyclist.

“You don’t say that to me!” said Black Suit.

“LOOK OUT!!”

“You don’t say that to me!” said Black Suit.

The bicyclist finally swerved around Black Suit at the last instant, saying, “Are you nuts?!”

“You don’t say that to me!” said Black Suit.

The bicyclist continued on his way home, and I followed Black Suit. I could have sworn that he never looked up, but it certainly seemed that he had responded to the bicyclist. Black Suit had no idea I walked behind him, and I listened to his ongoing conversation.

“No…no…no…no, you listen to me, you don’t say that to me. Hey, you know what? You know something? Let’s just break up. I am sick of this…What? What did you say? You don’t say that to me!”

Sure enough, he never had any idea of his surroundings, nor had he any idea that a bicyclist had nearly hit him. By a weird coincidence of timing, it just appeared that he had had an argument with a guy bearing down on him at 30+ mph.

Oh, well. Sunset looked good, although the good stuff floated above the eastern horizon:

Eastern Horizon at Sunset, San Francisco, California, 10 February 2015

Eastern Horizon at Sunset, San Francisco, California, 10 February 2015

Vonn Scott Bair

Lovers @ Magnolia’s. (One Four Challenge: Feb Week 1)

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Good Evening:

Sorry to have gotten a little with this month’s One Four Challenge, but life has gotten a little, um, challenging but in a good way, details to follow later. Here is the raw material for this month’s study, a candid street photo of two people who seem to have found The One, which just happens to be each other. Taken with my point-and-shoot, I have not edited anything in the picture yet.

Magnolia's, Masonic & Haight, San Francisco, California.

Magnolia’s, Masonic & Haight, San Francisco, California.

Magnolia’s is a terrific brewpub at the intersection of Haight & Masonic, and something interesting always seems to happen there.

Vonn Scott Bair

Still Life Pictures, 8 February 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale)

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Good Afternoon:

I could not resist having a bit of fun with this week’s Challenge; besides, I hadn’t practiced close up still life photography with my new iPhone yet. Made a few very interesting discoveries.

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First, I can’t clean my kitchen scale without smearing the markings. Second, I also discovered that strawberries are surprisingly hard to photograph…

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…which is why you won’t see any. Unlike the onions and citrus, the strawberries always lost their brilliant luster. I suspect that professional food photogs have a few tricks up their sleeves (spritzing with water? Furniture polish?).

However, citrus performs well:

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And for good clean dramatic fun, there’s nothing quite the contrast of white on white.


IMG_6801Finally, I learned that I cannot balance a banana without help.

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One of these days, I’ll figure out food photography.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

San Francisco Skies, 27 January – 6 February, 2015.

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Good Evening:

We won’t receive enough, but the recent spate of rain that has Northern California has done some good. We’ll take anything that relieves the current drought even a little, and if you like to take pictures, the skies have become diversely splendid and splendidly diverse.

Starting with an oddity, this 27 January shot shows an atmospheric phenomenon I’ve never seen before.

27 January 2015.

27 January 2015.

Is that a sun pillar?

We’ve had quite a few spectacular cloud formations passing over the Civic Center. Here is a pair of classic “herd of sheep” formations, both taken within a minute of each other. The second one uses the sun’s placement to create a silhouette of City Hall.

San Francisco Civic Center, 2 February 2015, 5:05 p.m.

San Francisco Civic Center, 2 February 2015, 5:05 p.m.

San Francisco City Hall, 2 February 2015, 5:06 p.m.

San Francisco City Hall, 2 February 2015, 5:06 p.m.

And this–well, this represents the typical pile of cloud formations you see when multiple systems collide over the Bay Area.

San Francisco City Hall, 5 February 2015, 1:17 p.m.

San Francisco City Hall, 5 February 2015, 1:17 p.m.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission HQ has a glass awning over its Redwood Alley entrance. A vertical shot taken through the glass after Friday’s rains.

Redwood Alley, San Francisco, 6 February 2015.

Redwood Alley, San Francisco, 6 February 2015.

We have had a few great sunrises as well, but this one contains an unpleasant surprise.

Sunrise, San Francisco, 5 February 2015.

Sunrise, San Francisco, 5 February 2015.

Can’t see it? A closeup:

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Sad to say, that is a pillar of smoke; someone’s day began with a house fire. Firefighters put it out quickly, so we have reason to hope that the repairs won’t take too long, and the residents won’t lose their place.

Vonn Scott Bair

The “Love, Your Orgasm” Mural, Revised.

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Good Morning:

Too many taggers had defaced the “Love, Your Orgasm” in recent weeks, so the OneTaste folks brought in a few artists to replace the entire work with a new one last week. Here is the crew at work.

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And here is the new mural.

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I hope this one lasts a little longer. Come on, taggers–if it isn’t yours, don’t write on it.

Vonn Scott Bair