Monday, November 26, 2007

Exhausting

The exhaust pipe for a large generator that once powered this old textile mill , bright orange with oxidation, seems to glow as though it is still hot.

Powerful

This powerful sculpture had a grand scale and presence. It seemed as though any moment, he might extend his wings and fly her off to safety.

Carved Door

Can you imagine having a hand carved, 200 year old, set of doors on the front of your house?

Knocker

Here is a spectacular door knocker.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Perspective





Here are just a few of the perspectives I took on a water tower during the early morning the other day. If you would like to see more, click here.


Fall

Fall has suddenly descended upon us, bringing a drop in temperature and a change in color palette for much of the foliage. The skies will be a silvery blue one day, fresh and clear, and the next day will have a sky blanketed with an array of shimmering satin clouds.

Portal

Rarely can I come across a portal that either leads somewhere or releases something. In this case, this portal is holding back 400,000 gallons of water.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ebb

I was out and about early in the morning this weekend trying to take advantage of the dense fog that had blanketed the Central Valley when I noticed that the fog was beginning to ebb like the tidal wave at the Bay of Fundy. This image captured the fog line just as it crossed the upper corner of this corrugated steel sided building.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Briar Patch

I am always ready to fabricate a story of what may lie behind a mysterious doorway such as this one. In this case, I am sure that there must be an old and eccentric blacksmith who has been fabricating a wrought iron briar patch six feet tall, three feet deep, and almost eight-hundred feet long. Once a month, he loads the portion of the wrought iron briar patch, that he has recently constructed, into large panel truck, and transports it out to his property where he makes his next installment in the briar patch that will eventually surround and protect his entire property.

Sentinel

Old trees, such as these Almond trees in a Central Valley orchard, seem almost sentient, quietly watching, as parts of the world move more quickly, and others, even more slowly.

Grit and Tone

The misty early mornings allow the fullest spectrum of shade and texture variations to be captured. This view of a small irrigation canal that flows under a farmer's utility road illustrates my point, the textures and tones, from this angle of abstraction, render an image that continues to peak one's interest.

Vanishing

I love waterways in the early morning as the tully fog (more technically known as radiation or valley fog) is just lifting off the ground. A super-wide angle lens furthers the effect of the distant points fading off into nothingness.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Home Delivery

I have been stuck inside the house the last few days as I have been quite ill. Saddened to not get to do any photography, thinking I may not get to see the vibrant colors of Mexico for quite a while. Just then, the setting sun burst through the windows in front of the house and illuminated this chair and pillows with a lovely golden light. What a treat to have a photo opportunity delivered right inside my home.

How Long Ago

When I look at doorways like this, and then recall how frequent the repair and touch-up processing is undertaken all over San Miguel, I realize that an air of antiquity wants, so desperately, to descend upon these buildings, just as chaos wants to emerge from order.

Cerrado

This alley, Callejon de Los Muertos, comes directly off of the oldest cemetery in San Miguel (Cementerio Viejo). It was a gorgeous set of house but put together in a peculiar way as it slowly, almost imperceptibly narrowed to point where it joined a more major street, however, by that time, it had narrowed to such a degree that now auto could pass through. Apparently, there had been a regular occurrence of cars getting stuck, so this alley has been closed to traffic.

Azul

While almost all of San Miguel was in the gritty tones of ancient stone or lush and vibrant yellows, oranges and reds, this one building had the most amazing blue. I actually waited for a day with clouds to have some contrast before photographing it.

Stairway

Soft light fading into black silence has always evoked a mysterious if not foreboding feeling for me

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

La Katrina

La Katrina is one of the Mexican popular names for death, and the marigold is her flor de muerto, the "death flower" that actually celebrates life. Lady Death is often depicted with a flower in her Victorian hat and a bustled dress. This less stylized image was a both beautiful and chilling to see in person.

Casa de mi Madre



My mother is an extraordinary woman. While there are many credits to her name, I would like to honor the fantastic home that she built in Mexico. She decided that this was something she wanted to do, researched, found the land, learned the legal requirements, designed the house, procured the materials and oversaw the construction. The result is simply fabulous. These images, using a super wide angle lens, capture a lot of information at one time, but don't relay the scale of the house, which was perfectly executed.

Lava




The colors and textures in San Miguel are so intense and pervasive that the rest of the world, certainly portions of Central California, seems like it is a drawn from a palette of muted greys.

Still Life Drama

I love the contrast of deep blue sky and full, luxuriant, pillowy clouds.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dramatic Light


The skies have suddenly become so dramatic and the light has softened as it filtered through the clouds allowing all of the nuance of the color on this building to show through.

Cobblestones


All of the streets, sidewalks and terraces in San Miguel are rock of some form. They are polished with wear and quite slippery when wet, but they are also shiny when the light is just right. Most of all, the are quite lovely, like a slate patio, only everywhere in the city.

Boiling Sky


The skies in San Miguel de Allende have been crystal clear blue all week, and now, on the final night of Los Dias de Los Muertos, the sky has become very dramatic and almost threatening.

Colors



Not only are the colors for Los Dias de Los Muertos beautiful, they are also very meaningful. Here are what they signify:
  • Black for the Prehispanic religions and the land of the dead
  • Purple from the Catholic calendar and to signify pain, suffering, grief, mourning
  • Pink for celebration
  • White for purity and hope
  • Yellow and Orange for the marigold, and the sun
  • Red representing the blood of Jesus for Christians; and for the indigenous people, the life blood of humans and animals

Long Ago


Some of the tombs are hundreds of years old, falling apart with the decay of time, and sometimes long since evacuated with the remains moved to a new site. This makes me think about the fact that it is thought that there are three deaths. The first is when your body ceases to function. The second is when your body is laid to rest in the ground. The third is when there are no longer any ancestors to remember you.

Amazing People


Mexico encompasses 52 ethnic groups and 54 languages and dialects. On any given day in San Miguel, you will see someone like this petite and elderly woman, hunkered over from years of hard work, slowly moving up the street, for yet another hard day at work. These are amazing people.

Imagery


It is amazing to see the colorful imagery continue to appear throughout the day here in San Miguel de Allende. This was just one of a series of images covering the street that runs in front of the the Jardin Principal.

Ancient Tomb


Even a very old and crumbling tomb received decorations including flowers and also offerings.

Honoring the Dead


Los Dias de Los Muertos is a day where the dead are remembered and honored. It is spectacular feast for the eyes and it is amazing to find that the grave sites are decorated no matter how old they are or where they are located.

Grounds


The grounds of the old cemetery in San Miguel have been exquisitely decorated for the Los Dias de Los Muertos. We awoke early this morning so we could visit this cemetery before the huge throngs of people arrived and before the early morning service was held.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Building Momentum


As the day continues the momentum builds towards the grand finale of Los Dias de Los Muertos. More streets are closed and the decorations are covering everything.

Intersection


Two building intersect and are blended together with the grime and grit that has slowly collected on the surfaces of this rarely visited little niche in the sidewalk.

Sumptuous


From a photographic perspective, the lighting, colors, textures and shapes that are everywhere in San Miguel are truly sumptuous. I have never been anywhere where I can easily shoot a couple hundred images a day, and never run out of material.

El Grito


The background behind the name El Grito has significant importance in Mexico because it refers to the grito de independencia, the "cry of independence." It only seems all the more fitting when one comes to realize that this is a disco and nightclub... a boiling cauldron of teen angst seasoned with pinch of historical sacrifices.

Another Portal


I have already said enough about these strange portals, but I am not going to stop photographing them.

Callejon de Los Muertos


The road leading to the older cemetery (cemetario viejo) is named after the dead. Many of the homes had beautiful tiled plaques declaring their full street address.

It Still Works



It was very interesting to see these ancient walls covered with a layer of plaster and then painted with brightly colored graphics just as this has been done for thousands of years in places and by many peoples. I have seen this sort of treatment, though more earthy colors, in person when I had visited numerous Anasazi ruins in the Four Corners region a while back.

Can't Stop


I really am strangely drawn to these portals, what could they be? Does some strange and bizarre creature, or even spirit, have free access to come and go as they please via these portals?

Cementerios


We visited a couple of cemeteries (cementerios) today, but it is difficult to take pictures without violating the sanctity of the moment these families are sharing with their dead family members and friends. The approach to these cemeteries are swarming with vendors selling various offerings (ofrenda) - primarily flowers. These cemeteries were filled with families busily washing down and polishing the stones, planting, decorating and laying down offerings and just communing with the dead.

Azteca


Today's activities are centered upon the children that have died and also upon making preparations for tomorrow where Los Dias de Los Muertos honors all of the dead - both the children and the adults. These activities also bring out a lot of other historical rememberances. The Jardin Principal (the town center) in San Miguel de Allende is being coveredwith these mandala-like images created with colored wood shavings or flower petals, seeds andbeans.

Tension


In business, I often speak of this notion I call 'constructive tension'. It is a positive situation where individuals or groups are in opposition to each other, such as speed versus quality. I try to set this up where the opposition is seen a positive sort of tension that creates a balance between two opposing needs. I liken the orange wall and blue sky in this image, which are on opposite sides of the color wheel, and like this notion of constructive tension, they are in opposition yet there is balance and a positive outcome.