Friday, December 25, 2009

A New Tradition: Christmas Coffee

I woke up without my daughters for the first Christmas in 16 years on Dec. 25, 2008. I was missing their company -- and their delight at the day and the season.

There had been (unusually) snow that week, and I was setting out on the 90-minute drive to get them from their mother's home.

Stopping at Starbucks on the way, I ordered my usual, and was told by the barista there was no charge.

A previous customer, it turned out, had bought a gift card, handed it back to the barista, and told her to buy coffee for everyone until it was used up.

I was inexplicably moved. I took my coffee and sat outside the store for a few minutes, watching light snow fall, sipping my coffee, and silently thanking the stranger who had just turned a tough Christmas morning into a tender and special one.

Before leaving, I went back inside, pulled out a much-needed $20 bill, bought a gift card, and asked the barista to use it up on the next few customers.

As I get ready to drive north for my daughters this year, I am ridiculously excited about the $20 in my wallet, set aside to buy coffee for strangers, and feel -- however briefly -- like an excited young father once more, anticipating the delight of a Christmas morning surprise.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Round 52 - Arts at Fremont Abbey

September 16, 2009 -- an amazing gathering of musicians, a poet, and couple of painters for a night of collective arts.

View static version here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photography Phunny: Making a Baby

A friend at work shared this with me and I LMAO! Has the feel of an old Internet joke, but what the heck:
The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, "Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon."

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. "Good morning, Ma'am", he said, "I've come to..."

"Oh, no need to explain," Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you."

"Have you really?" said the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?"

"Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat".

After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"

"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there."

"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!"

"Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."

"My, that's a lot!", gasped Mrs. Smith.

"Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that."

"Don't I know it," said Mrs. Smith quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus," he said.

"Oh, my word!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with."

"She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look"

"Four and five deep?" said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.

"Yes", the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in."

Mrs. Smith leaned forward. "Do you mean they actually chewed on your,"

"It's true, Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away."


"Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long."

Mrs. Smith fainted.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Seattle - View from a Ferry Deck

Larry and I rode the ferry back to Seattle via Bremerton. Here's a view of the city from the deck of the boat. I need to ride the ferries more often -- such a great way to see the state!

View static version here.

Larry on Mt. Walker

My friend Larry and I jumped on our motorcycles and spent Saturday riding around the peninsula, enjoying two wheels and the fine spring we've been having.

Stitch of Larry at the Mt. Walker viewpoint, Kitsap Peninsula, Washington state.

You can also view the static version of the image here

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hong Kong's Fantastic Star Ferries

Hong Kong is connected to Kowloon by a number of bridges and tunnels, but the most fun and efficient way to cross is via the Star Ferry System.

I never waited more than five minutes to cross, and these old boats have incredible character. No better way to get across.

You can also view the static version of the image here

Hong Kong Waterfront Construction

Hong Kong is already a huge city of more than 7 million. The waterfront on the Hong Kong Island side is undergoing massive construction now, with a major new motorway just approved as well.

You can also view the static version of the image here

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hong Kong Harbor from Kowloon

I was in Hong Kong last week on business and while I had limited opportunities to shoot, I was able to grab this quick 360-degree-view of Hong Kong Harbor with my amazing little Canon G10.