Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar eclipse 8/28/07

These are pretty much snapshots of the eclipse last night. John brought out a telescope for the first time, and you could really see the detail of the moon, craters and all, even seeing the side texture of the moon in profile. My camera was set to -2 stops exposure compensation to get some detail, but it was insufficient to show what could be seen through the telescope in terms of the actual craters and texture of the moon.

10X50 binoculars gave the best view of the softness of the earth's shadow across the moon, one could see the roundness clearly in the shadow, and the cast of the shadow was brownish, not black like the photo shows. I could have chosen to put the camera on a tripod and play with exposures more for better shadow detail-- just wasn't that motivated at 3AM. Ideally one would shoot on a tripod, with a longer lense I would think, and for the truly motivated: bracket the exposures and make a composite image in photoshop in order to show the shadow details without blown-out whites in the bright areas.

In the last few days I've been having to shoot very white subjects against dark backgrounds and am being treated to just how poor the dynamic range of a photo is, versus our eyes. I don't know why there hasn't been a compressor/limiter function introduced to digital cameras yet: they've been available for the audio spectrum for many years now. Other special effects are becoming pretty popular on digital cameras, but something to cope with the dynamic range I would actually find useful. There's a photoshop filter to "lighten shadows and darken highlights" would be much more useful on camera before the image is compressed and written to memory.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another day job report

Our latest best sellers-- Sheryl's is the pretty heart graphic. I probably have too many snowy egrets and great egrets, will have to round that out with some bugs, spiders, or maybe a sunset. I haven't come across any large-eyed puppies lately, and baby ducks are out of season. All kidding aside, I'm considering new directions, new subject matter.

Great Egret from above

Sheryl and I went down to point Lobos the other day. Past Carmel, we had a nice time even though it was one of those days when I thought I got a lot of nice photos and turns out I only got a very few. Sea Otters are fun to watch but I find them hard to photograph. We took a few photos of a Raven, but I think he was old and not too healthy so we sent him healing instead. There were Great Blue Herons but they were a bit distant, and then their close cousin, the Great Egret as seen above. This one was so very white that he was tough to photograph and I kept trying to readjust as he moved around. Only recently have we observed egrets and herons actually standing on patches of floating seaweed, walking and feeding as if they were on solid ground.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

There is just something about birds of prey

There is something about birds of prey that is intriguing. In this country we very nearly chose the turkey as our national bird. It's hard to imagine but then not so hard when you think about what the turkey represented at the time: abundance, prosperity, the promise of a future far away from that which was left behind. Furthermore the wild turkey was considered a wily, intelligent animal, adaptable and somewhat elusive. Hard to imagine this if you have ever encountered the inbred domestic variety. The turkey as a national bird didn't happen in America, we chose the bald eagle instead: a raptor, and a big one at that. Nobody eats an eagle, an eagle is the predator, not the prey. I've seen them, photographed them though not very succesfully. A large raptor like that, at the top of the food chain is quite naturally an endangered species. They take on the toxins, the karma so to speak, of all god's creatures by virtue of their feeding habits. The top predator is a highly specialized animal who lives by the sharpness of his eye, the speed of his dive, the breadth and crushing strength of his talons.

Much of what Sheryl and I do is wily, elusive, intelligent, refined or esoteric. We're wild turkeys and sometimes I want to be a raptor. The hardest lesson I've learned as a healer is to know when to back off, wait, be gentle or be subtle, to pay more attention and listen more carefully and then to heed what I hear. I love this work but sometimes it's hard-- to sacrifice my egotistical desire for instant gratification for the good of the client: for their empowerment and well being. Who am I? I'm neither a raptor nor a turkey. I'm nothing. The power is in my transparency, and not in my overpowering presence.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The day job report

My top selling photo (above).

Sheryl's top selling design.

Of course, Sheryl's top seller has outsold mine to the tune of being nine times more popular. I, however have figured out how to catch up. Sheryl has a very competitive nature, but she's not always aware of just how competitive she really is. I've noticed how often she'll copy or otherwise compete with the things that I do without even thinking about it. But here's her achilles heel: she can't eat much ice cream without feeling sick. I can. Sure, I may gain twenty pounds, but while Sheryl is lying on the couch clutching her gut and wondering why she ate another ice cream cone-- I'll use that precious time trying to design new t-shirts, greeting cards. . . (insert evil laughter here).

Peacock near San Gregorio

We saw lots of quail too, but no Llamas.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Recently about half the hits to our website from all our Craigslist ads come from a single “Fred” ad that I wrote. Its 4.6 times more popular than the second place ad. Our print ads may be doing a lot for us, or a little, we don’t always know. I freely admit that I wrote the last of four Fred based, uh, stories, just to watch the stats go “ping!” Or to at least try it out and see what would happen. It became a curiosity ever since I wrote an ad called “Marketing the spiritual: the story of Fred.” I also didn’t like leaving Fred hanging out there without some closure. The whole saga is on the Fred portion of our homepage, and it's on our giftshop link, Sheryl got it on it too.

Oh, we got one of those ALL CAPS I AM VERY ANGRY WITH YOU emails from somebody recently. Sheryl took care of it, I never even got to see it. Ah yes, the price of fame. We shall have to alert the bodyguards.

We're trying to decide whether to do a paper newsletter to contribute around Santa Cruz. I think we're itching to publish something, not sure that a newsletter is the thing to do. We've already got an email newsletter, blogs, so I'm assuming that the urge has to do more with seeing physical, touchable things that we've created. Sheryl got herself a compound miter saw. It has a laser and everything. It's for her perfume business, yep, uh-huh.

Beth Donnelly?

Several characters in a dream a couple of days ago kept repeating the name "Beth Donnelly" to me just before I woke up. I don't know why. I don't know anybody by that name. If your name is Beth Donnelly, maybe you'd have an idea why. Feel free to drop me an email or make a comment on the blog. I did try Googling the name, but got no solid clues since I didn't know what I was looking for. Last time I got a random psychic hit like this I never figured out why, but I keep trying. That's about it.