Friday, May 21, 2010

More Macro Photos

Well, what can I say... I have the shutter bug (har, har). I can't seem to get enough of taking pictures. It's exciting to have a new camera that does so much more than my old Samsung 3 mp point and shoot. I was doing most of my picture taking with that camera, and although it took fantastic pictures, it had its limitations. The main one was its incredible ability to suck the power out of four AA batteries in less than an hour. I ended up giving the camera to a friend's niece. I hope she can enjoy it despite the battery sucking.

This morning I went to Barnes and Nobel and paid full price for two Tom Ang photography books. I had gone to the library yesterday and found several I thought were good, and it turned out the B&N had the two of his I wanted. The first one "Fundamentals of Photography" and the second was "Digital Photography Master Class". I am hoping to use my Nikon P100 to get much better at photography then move onto a SLR camera. I don't see myself being a "pro" or anything, but it would be nice to have something published one day. I can imagine writing a non-fiction book and using my own photos for it.

 I took this one with my mirror and my new Targus tripod I bought this morning at Target. It was a great deal--$36 for a 66 in quick release tripod. It works great. For this picture I used the mirror to set it up and then used the timer. I think it's pretty good, except maybe a little over exposed.

Here is a tic I found on my dog and decided to shoot. He was crawling pretty fast. I noticed my zoom did not want to focus on him more when I was farther back, so I just got closer and close and was able to get this picture. Something I learned about my zoom--I can use the zoom feature more if I get closer.

This little "Laughing Buddha" is a porcelain figurine I got at the "Jade Buddha" tour when it came to Escondido. It's just a little figure about 2" high. I got down at eye level for it and then cropped the picture slightly to fill the frame better, and finally I changed the contrast with Windows Photo Gallery. I am trying not to change the photos too much and working towards taking good pictures AS THEY ARE. I think that is much more interesting and harder than fooling around with the computer.


And here is another tiny animal. This Cellar Spider lives in my bathroom under the sink. I couldn't find any of his friends, so I had to get him by turning the camera sideways and zooming in really close. I really like this pictures, but the background seems to detract somewhat.

And finally, here are two pictures I took with the Tripod to try it out. Like I said, it works amazingly!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Close Up Flowers and Lobo

This morning I had a chance to shoot some interesting pictures with the SCENE "Close Up" setting. I feel great about the photos I'm taking. I have been able to get some of my best photos yet. Like this one of Lobo.


I was on my way to go to visit people at my work, when I saw these beautiful white roses in the alley. I had a chance to get several nice pictures.

I also shot some photos at Tera Mar beach in Carlsbad, Ca. I altered the image with the basic editing program that came with Windows Photo Gallery. 

Well that's it for today. I feel really great about these photos and all I'm learning!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New Camera Nikon P100

Well it's definitely been a while since my last post. I have made a lot of changes, for the better.

I have a new addition to my family--a stray dog I named Lobo. He's a blond, blue-eyed Husky who was about 8-10 months old when he found us. I say he found us, because about 3 months ago, Meridian and I were finishing up a run on the 76 bike path and he came out of nowhere and joined us. He's been with us ever since. He just recently got neutered and that has helped him calm down quite a bit already.

I also got a new camera. I recently bought a Nikon CoolpixP100 at Costco for $380 (including tax). It is a high quality hybrid point-and-shoot. Below is a review from CNET.

It was between the typical $150-250 range point and shoot cameras and the Digital SLR cameras, which are going for $800-$1400. This camera is loaded with features that will help a novice like me. Eventually, I'd like to get a faster, higher quality DSLR but my wishes are constrained by my pocket book! And really, at this point, it would be like buying a Ferrari when I don't know how to use a stick and I'm driving neighborhood streets.

So far this camera has been a real delight. I am impressed with the wide range of shooting options and the over-all controlability of the camera. Here are a few pictures I've taken.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Relearning Loveliness

This morning I am reading from Sharon Salzberg's "Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness". This is one of the most important books and enjoyable books I have ever read. I am re-reading Ch. 2 "Relearning Loveliness". At the beginning of this chapter, there is a beautiful poem by Galway Kinnell, whose lines struck me:

"The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of blessing;"

This touched me because it made me think of those things inside me that never bloomed, because I did not nurture them with "blessing", with my encouragement, intention, belief, and action. All the seeds of kindness, love, and wholesomeness are born and cultivated within us through our gentle, consistent tending.

Lately I have had trouble tending well to my own inner life: I have felt an incurable restlessness sweep through my veins, mind, and my heart. I am so restless and irritated, I can only sit and meditate for 10 minutes and the entire time I am wondering if it has been 15 minutes yet. I'm not exactly sure what this unsettledness is all about--stress from the barking dogs and the demands of working with people and animals, stress from knowing Meridian needs an operation I can't really afford, stress from not being able to spend as much time enjoying the pleasurable things life might offer.

I also think about the buds inside me that I could cultivate, but don't, and am unsure why. I think a lot about painting, but rarely paint. I think a lot about traveling, but rarely go anywhere beyond North County. I think about the books I should have written or the adventures I could or should have endeavored, but instead I have chosen the comfort and safety of the known: shutting off opportunities to cultivate those yearning buds within.

But of course, judging myself for that does little good. Instead gently drawing attention to these tendencies and asking myself "is this helpful, is this leading to who I want to be? Or is it working against who and what I'd like to be and do?" is a much better approach. And of course, it is impossible for anything to grow if we up root it only to check to see if it has roots.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waking Up Slowly

This morning Oceanside is waking up slowly. The heavy shroud of sleep still blankets the beach; the ocean is sleep walking with the gentle push of the tide. Small, lazy, wandering.

I was more awake than the surf, so it made for a frustrating mis-match of expectations. This caesura in the steady stream of Summer Southern Swells is filled with anticipatory anxiety, filled with neurotic, addictive yearning for the bigger better waves. In these empty spaces, these endless moment of waiting, you have to sit with yourself. You can blame the waves for your anxiety, your doubts, your missed waves, your insecurity, your boredom, but ultimately, the waves have little to do with it.

In Buddhism, we pay attention to these moments and sit with them, noticing the restless clinging, the wanting wanting wanting, and born out of the wanting the illness of frustration, then morphing into contraction and anger. Spying another enjoying a wave, when you haven't had one in, GOD AT LEAST 30 MINUTES--how desire distorts time! Or another surfer casually paddling near the peak, YOUR peak, near the wave that YOU have been waiting FOREVER for. You see the look their eyes, the same one they see in yours, this creepy wanting of the smallest, slowest wave...

I guess that's the general mood I had out there this morning. The crowd was incredibly calm, despite this inner wanting that I could read in the collective body language. Or perhaps it is just me perceiving the projection of my own inner battles onto to others... I can't know. But I practiced letting go of this tension, this greed and frustration. I practiced and practiced. But still felt the emotional sulfuric hot-spring bubbling up over and over again.

Currently, I am riding Frankenstein, Liz's old, beloved beater board, while I am awaiting the call from JP Holeman announcing the arrival of my new board is ready. Frankenstein is a South Coast 9'0 that has been around the proverbial block, but literally underneath the wheels of Greg's car. OOPS! This morning's was the fourth or fifth session in a row with this board, so we have moved past the awkward introductions. We've moved passed the embarrassing first dances, tripping over each others toes, like the first slow dances in junior high school. Like two pre-teens investigating the mysteries of the opposite sex: at once excited and fearful. The cautious moving towards, then the sharp recoiling after an unexpected shift in movement. No, we've moved into a gentle friendship. We don't ask or expect much of each other; we just enjoy the time we have together before we part ways, as is the inevitable. In a few days we will hug and say our good-byes, and both move onto other adventures in other places, in other times.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Surf Session Oceanside Jetty South Side

Finally a 4 star day and it would have been a 5 star day, but I didn't have any stand out, FANTASTIC rides. It was just a great day with a great friend and a lot of great waves.

For the past week, I've been having just okay surf sessions. Writing these session logs has helped raise my awareness about the ups and downs I have during any one particular surf session and ups and downs over a period of time. I've realized just how easily I am affected by the other surfers in the water--something I need to continue to look at and think about. I need to come to some equanimity about my fellow wave riders.

For me, being with Kris and having more consistent waves made all the difference. Kris and I have surfed many times together, but it was great to share the stoke with her because we were both catching so many waves and we had a little section of the ocean basically to ourselves. I felt unself-conscious for the first time in quite a while; I felt free to be myself. And that inner freedom translated into better surfing and a more joyful surfing experience.

The highlight of my surf experience was seeing a couple of dolphins up close. One dolphin was almost close enough to touch. It came up from the inside, instead of the outside, just as a larger set was coming in. I heard it blow and startled turned around and saw it within four feet of me! Then I saw it and a baby jump out of the water and swim past Kris. It is always amazing to get that close to the dolphins!

After our 3 hour surf session, we were famished, so we went to Mary's and chowed down on food. Brunch after surf is always amazing! Wow, I am so blessed to have such good friends and great surf!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I love picking up trash. I actually enjoy it. I find it fulfilling in several ways: the trash I find interests me; it's good exercise; it feels good to do something good; and it puts me in touch with my environment and community. This morning I picked up a 13 gallon bag of trash at Oceanside Pier North Side. There's a storm drain that runs right out into the ocean at the bottom of the Surfrider Turn-out. Because it rained the past few days, there was more trash than usual. This beach is heavily used and gets a lot of trash, despite the plethora of trash and recycling receptacles available on the Strand.

Spending time during my surf-check/ morning walk picking up trash really made me think more about getting involved in environmental work. I am becoming more and more aware of our environmental problems and more invested in what I can do, personally, to help things and change my own habits. I am interested in investigating ways that I can recycle more, use less pollutants, and use products that are more environmentally "friendly".

This morning's walk really helped raise my awareness of the types of trash that are most prevalent. Cigarette butts, but far, are the most pervasive pollutants. For a while during my walk I felt overwhelmed at the enormity of the chore of picking up literally hundreds--or thousands--of cigarette butts. (It is mind boggling how many people smoke despite the obvious destructiveness of the habit.) Also, Styrofoam was everywhere in constellations of a million tiny pieces. Next, were plastic caps—not just bottle caps, but caps for everything—pens, lip balm, all kinds of things… And finally, I found a pacifier, used condoms, pens, all kinds of things we use every day. It was fascinating. I’m looking forward to picking up trash again.