‘Moonbow’ at the base of Yosemite Falls. A 30 second exposure just a few moments before midnight.
It is difficult to categorically measure change within the context of a lifetime. Of course exceptions to this can be made, however for most of us the day-to-day business of living is entirely effective at obscuring any indication of time’s continuance to flow quietly through our fingers. Few things in life are so elusive. Sometimes we need to clinch our fists and hold the moment, savor it, and reflect upon its significance before letting it slip from our grasp.
“The single greatest feeling in the world is to land the trick that you have been fighting to land. The second greatest feeling is bailing because you can only get better.”
~ James Gallagher
D.T. was again roaming the streets practicing his street photography when he came across a group of young skateboarders (visit D.T.’s site here). For over an hour the skaterboarders performed various jumps, stunts and tricks unique to the sport.
Originally opened in 1933, the Port of Stockton’s northern bank is today mostly abandoned. But what remains is an interesting mix of buildings in various states of disrepair, standing alongside those on the verge of imminent collapse. And it is for these reasons that the place is immensely fascinating to walk through, particularly if your walk coincides with sunset. .
Walking through the area one evening, I was struck by the contrast of our immediate surroundings against that of a nearby yacht club. Fortunes of the past were made all along this river bank, I thought, and today’s fortunes are being purged just upstream from where I stood. My mind quickly engaged in an attempt to link these contrasts together, to somehow construct from my surroundings a window for glimpsing back into history. Ultimately my sense of mystery prevailed, so I continued walking, sifting through the shadows for the past.
Return to Castaway Planet
Living in California provides a unique observational platform to the ever-evolving dynamics of contrasts. Being a native of the state – and residing in a decidedly non-progressive region – I will confirm there is equal measure of fascination and frustration with various segments of the citizenry. The common determinate – as always – being one’s disposition, inclinations and affiliations. Or, perhaps, it’s simply one’s level of curiosity.
Walking near the Sutro baths during a recent visit to San Francisco, we came upon this sequin adorned young lady performing an entire regimen of poses for her husband. My sweetheart offered to take their picture. They thanked her for doing so and snuggled up close for the shot. When asked where they were from they answered, “Vietnam.” My curiosity was piqued and I quickly snapped a photo for myself. It was my first interaction with Vietnamese tourists here in the U.S., and to me represents how much the world has changed in the last 40 years.
My first exposure to the country and people of Vietnam was during my childhood, watching the evening news with my father after dinner. In those days, Vietnam was a war-torn, agrarian country whose population was predominantly peasant farmers. For most, the economy and social structure were not conducive of travel outside their immediate area, with even fewer venturing outside the country. And while that is not entirely inconsistent with the country today, Vietnam is one of several Asian economies emerging into the developing world. Southeast Asia is a beautiful, fascinating and rapidly changing corner of the world. And I expect as its economies continue to grow, so will the prevalence of its people as tourists abroad.
Return to Castaway Planet
Looking far across the bay, beyond the reach of my equipment and what any similarly equipped, self-respecting photographer would attempt to capture, I was doing my best to find a focus point on the Point Bonita Lighthouse. A cute old man walked in front of me a second time, his attention fixed on a small radio clutched in the palm of his right hand. An audio cord and ear buds hung loosely beneath his ears, the sound reminding me of transistor radios from long ago. The old man wasn’t making particularly great time, but was steady and smooth, with the discipline I suppose any athlete could appreciate. As he passed I was close enough to barely make out the tinny audio of a 49er game. The 9ers’ were at home, and down a few points.
“I don’t celebrate Halloween.”
It’s a comment I’ve heard a few people make, and one that confuses me considering the origins of the holiday. Celebrate, observe, participate, avoidance. Word choice has a way of inflecting meaning and tone, often with intention. I’ve always been fascinated by how people think, their motives, and the underpinnings of opinion, including those I disagree with – and perhaps even more-so when I disagree…… It is my humble opinion that anything which challenges us to think, to justify our beliefs, to dig just a little deeper into the psychi of those around us, is always a worthwhile pursuit.
Growing up in a household which typically avoided strong religious overtones, I enjoyed participating in Halloween without ever knowing the meaning or purpose of the holiday. I simply enjoyed creating a cool costume – or what I thought was cool, anyway – and being with friends and cousins, roaming the darkened streets trying to maximize my take of the candy bounty. It was simple being a kid.