Sunday, August 3, 2014

Natural Lenses

When I was about 12 years old,
I visited San Francisco's Exploratorium.  Outside they had a large sheet metal wall with a pattern of holes.  Sparse spacing on the right blending to dense spacing on the left.  The wall faced the park and you could walk around to the other side beneath the cool shade of the eves.  Here, there were frosted glass "paddles" that were attached to strings.  You could pick up a paddle and hold it up to the pattern of holes and see small inverted image of the park eminating form each hole.  I remember being fascinated by the effect.  An image without a lens!

It wasn't until much later,
that the physics was explained to me.  I'd imagined being inside a dark room looking at a screen opposite a pinhole.  My friend was outside shining a flashlight at the hole.  As he moved up, then down, the image I saw moved down, then up.  It made sense why the image was inverted.

This same effect occurs naturally.
As the sun filters through the leaves, it normally creates round images.  Unless... There is an eclipse.  This image was made during May of 2012 when the moon crossed in front of the sun.  The normally round images were replaced by these crescents.  Natural imagery without a lens.   Pretty cool!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Watchful eye

Our hired guide
led us to the banks of the "Perfume River" in Hue, Vietnam.  There, a long dock housed many colorful boats awaiting passengers.  Decorated in bright colors and shaped like dragons, these watercraft beckoned to passers by.

Ours was a small, unassuming boat with a young captain in his twenties who shook the hand of our guide.  His young wife, baby in arms, helped us step aboard.  Once we all were seated, she untied the line that bound us to the dock, and we glided away from our brightly colored neighbors.

The river was calm
and peaceful as we glided away.  It gave me a chance to take in my surroundings.  The tropical air, warm and wet with humidity, was fresh as the breeze blew through the open cabin.  I noticed the young mother playing with her son as they sat in a small area.  There was a rice maker in the corner and I wondered: "Do they live here?"

I imagined
what kind of life they must have, ferrying passengers, raising a family, living on a ship.  How do they survive?

I gazed out on the river and began to notice other boats passing by, some empty, some filled with passengers.  This must be the way of the river.  This must be what their lives are about.

Soon enough,
we reached our destination.  The captain skillfully motored in so that his young wife could tie us off.  We each stepped off the moving craft with the help of the firm handed guide, and the captain.  He and his young wife both smiled warmly as we bid them farewell.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Not Believing Your Mind

Monks returning

There is an ancient notion
that the heart knows the right way, the mind is not to be trusted.  All we see and feel and experience is filtered through the mind.  Stories are created by our minds, and changed so that our world all fits together and makes sense.

Yet we forget
about the wonder and mystery of who we really are:  How did we get into this body? What happens to our minds when we sleep or when we die?

Questions like these
can stump our minds and create mystery.  Mystery keeps us from knowing,  keeps our minds at bay and allows us to hear what our hearts are saying.

I enjoy the "not knowing" the expansiveness of the mind when its not always commenting, interpreting, and trying to make sense.  Who are we, really?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There's Plenty of Room

“As the bus slowed down at the crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, “Six only!”  The bus stopped.  He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind:  “So sorry, plenty of room in my heart – but the bus is full.”  He left behind a row of smiling faces.  It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it."

~The Friendship Book of Francis Gay, 1977

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Way Into the Light

Light Rails

Each day,
as I drive by, my head instinctively turns toward the light. I pass this one spot just before the freeway on ramp.  Something draws me to look as I cross the bridge.  If I blink, I would miss it.

The shimmering steel
polished by the train passing over.  Its heavy wheels grind off the rust that forms so easily when things are not taken care of.  Persistence....

My eyes
are led onward around the bend, toward the unknown.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Fall color surrounds the bird house

I once heard a discourse on gratitude that delved deeply into everyday items which I feel particularly apropos this season:

Take something simple like a paper napkin. 
might not think much of this object; they're literally a dime a dozen.  But look again.  Imagine what it took to bring this napkin to your table.  You probably bought it but someone at the market had to place it on the shelf.

Someone had to drive it 
from the where house to the store.  Many people designed and built the truck in which in came.  Thousands of parts had to be assembled right down to the smallest nut.  Those thousand parts had to be designed, and fabricated from materials mined from this earth by hundreds more.

The road on which the truck traveled had to be planned, and built from material which were made by hundreds more.

The napkin itself
is made from paper which was milled by many people.  Before it was paper it was a tree, living rooted deep in this earth, soaking up rain and sun.  Many people had to harvest that tree and load it onto the truck to to mill.  Someone had to plant the tree to start it all off.

All told there are thousands of people involved in that little insignificant napkin you place on your lap at dinner and will throw away.

Be thankful
to all of those people who chose that line of work on that particular day so that you can enjoy your meal tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Late Afternoon

Street Shooting

In Paris, in the summertime,
the sun doesn't set until almost 10 pm.  The light echos through the tall buildings and makes things just glow.  Many shops were closing and people were on their way out for another evening.  A man makes plans on the phone while another walks past.  Both are lit from the setting sun and have that halo effect I do so enjoy.

I like the way his foot was caught
just before landing.  The flare from the lens just happen to land there which draws attention to this and gives the shot a feeling of liveliness.  His shadow draws me in as well.