Tag: the arts

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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The Nikon Shooter

The day is June 10, 2006. I drive my daughter and friend to the mall in Columbia, Md. when we unexpectedly come upon the Festival of Arts event, where cardboard boat races are underway. I pack Nikon D200, which comes out to shoot some of the activities, including the Featured Image. If I recollect rightly, the portrait is not one previously shared. Vitals: f/6.3, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 200mm; 1:07 p.m. EDT.

The Nikon shooter evokes a bygone photographic era, before the ascent of mirrorless cameras displaced digital SLRs. Yes, professionals still use them, but a journey to any photo forum reveals a massive migration to smaller bodies and more compact lenses.

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Stump Sculpture

I vaguely remember when, a few years ago, one of my neighbors created this lawn art over the course of several days. Chainsaw comes to mind as main tool, but my recollection is sketchy. Until shooting the Featured Image, though, I didn’t understand that a massive, magnificent tree reached skyward several stories above the roof. Google Street View reveals what was.

The stump sculpture has aged quite nicely, baked in the San Diego sun.

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Birds in a Tree (Hey, It’s Art!)

I rarely walk along Georgia Street between El Cajon and Meade but traipsed there today, hoping to see either Husky or Romper—both profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series after separate sightings. Approaching El Cajon, I came upon the oddest thing: a metal mobile hanging from a tree alongside the outside wall of a commercial building. I wondered: Why here? Home decoration makes sense, but before a facade of bricks? How odd. That said, what’s more appropriate than birds in a tree?

Location presented excellent opportunity to capture mobile and The Boulevard sign in the background. The Featured Image, which is composed as shot, comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 3:41 p.m. PDT. In post-production, I experimented with several different lighting scenarios—one that silhouettes tree and metallic birds—before choosing the one you see.

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Aspiration is a Long Way from Talent

My artistic talents peaked in first grade and never improved. That school year, I won my one, and only, award for them—and decades later I doubt doing better, if as well, as the ribbon-winner that is the Featured Image. I vaguely remember making this drawing, with the teacher looking over my shoulder either to offer praise or suggestions; perhaps both.

The next clear recollection is my mom talking on the party line to see who would win, my anticipation, and both our excitement at the news. Gosh, I felt so proud. The next day, the second-grade winner and I basked in the limelight and awaited our prize. What would it be? Speculation killed me. Then, with modest fanfare, the teacher presented each of us with a proper drawing pad and black marker. I was crushed. How boring.

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Mutual of Yamaha

I took the day off from work (a rather rare action), for a family day. I’m out of town on business two days this week and another two days next week, and then my wife will be away for three weeks at a church workshop. Who ever said that only kids go to summer camp?

I also used the time to buy and set up a Yamaha YDP-213 electronic piano, from Music & Arts Center. My daughter and I have both committed to learn to play the piano.