Monday, January 15, 2007

Chocolate Fuchsias

Crescent City as seen from the Endert's Beach Overlook
Redwood National and State Parks
I did it! My Two for One Shot
Both Battery Point and St. George Reef Lighthouses are visible in this shot

It’s been a strange day—one of those hurry up and wait kind of days, and yet I feel good about the way things have turned out. Financial concerns kept me awake most of the night, fighting battles that are ultimately unwinnable. When I did give up the battle for sleep and got up to face the day, I felt as tired as I’ve ever felt in the morning. Knowing that I would be meeting my friend Bear at 10:00 a.m. I worked to get my on-line business done quickly, all while fighting still, this time to stay awake. A long, hot shower helped, but pulling the Volvo out of the garage and heading down 101, I still worried about being awake enough to drive.

Because of my fatigue, I spent little time doing the one thing that always revives me—photography. As you’ll see in the details section below, I took only twenty photographs today—and shot only ten subjects. In all modesty, however, I’ll say that three of the shots are among the best I’ve ever taken, and they are pointing me in a new direction.

I’ve mentioned before my project for 101 Gulls. Today I went through the pictures I’ve taken, both with film and digital cameras, over the past several months, pulling all the shots of gulls. Admittedly not all are gallery worthy, but I was amazed to find 144 pictures of gulls in flight, gulls in the water, gulls on the beach, gulls in the McDonald’s parking lot. Perhaps instead of 101 Gulls, I should go with a working title of A Gross of Gulls. I certainly haven’t stopped taking pictures of gulls, and culling the lot will reduce my take considerably, but I feel well on the way toward the completion of this particular project. I was also able to “steal” a couple more red pickup trucks while waiting for Bear at the mechanic’s shop.

Frozen Fuchsia
Taken in the back yard
Smith River, California

At home this afternoon I took the camera into the back yard, just to see what might be available. Most of the flowers are gone, thanks to two nights with killing frosts. Just when I’d gotten used to seeing roses, azaleas, fuchsias in full bloom in January. One fuchsia hung on, severely frost-bitten, but open. I aimed the lens, clicked the shutter, and was amazed at what I saw. I submitted the shot for my Photo-A-Day shot at Eyefetch, but I’ll share it here as well. I’m also going to have it enlarged—up to 20 x 30, because this is an image that I like. I have titled it Frozen Fuchsia, and I learned something thanks to spell check. I’ve been spelling the word “fuschia” but spell check kept correcting me. In an effort to prove spell check wrong—how silly of me since spell check wants to change my last name to “Superman”—I grabbed the dictionary. Spell check, in this instance at least, knows best. It seems that Linnaeus who gave us so many names, named the plant for Karl Fuchs. Something else I learned from the dictionary is that the fuchsia is a member of the evening primrose family. I had never thought of the two together. In my defense, all I can say is that if you go to Eyefetch and look for photos with the label fuschia, you find quite a few. Fuchsia, on the other hand, only brings up two images. I’m not the only one misspelling the word it would appear. Even such luminaries as the British government’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has a website where the URL spells the word “fuschia,” although it must be noted that all text uses the correct spelling: . MDAR, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources spells the word incorrectly not only in its URL, but throughout the article: I feel so much better now.

My Tribute to Georgia O'Keeffe
Taken in the back yard
Smith River California

On other fronts, if you haven’t read anything by Joanne Harris, please, please run to your nearest library, local bookstore, or failing that, Barnes and Noble on line and check her out. My first experience reading Harris was Five Quarters of the Orange, which takes place in post war France and involves all kinds of secrets about who did what with the Nazis. Quite in keeping with my own doctoral work. Five Quarters was such a tasty orange, that I quickly followed it up with Blackberry Wine, Coastliners, Holy Fools, and her collection of short stories, Jigs and Reels. Waiting patiently on my bookshelves are Gentlemen and Players and Sleep Well, Pale Sister. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve read by Harris, and I look forward to the two that remain as yet unread. But Harris’s work is probably best known because of a wonderful movie made in 2000, starring Juliette Binoche, Judy Dench, Alfred Molina and Johnny Depp. For my money, any movie with Judy Dench is a must see. And so, tonight, I watched Chocolat. The novel, like all of Harris’s work in my opinion, was riveting. The movie is pure bliss. I don’t choose to own many movies. Frankly, there aren’t all that many I care to watch repeatedly. Chocolat, however, will find a place in my personal library. This is a movie I could watch nightly. As a student of photography, I was immediately taken by the cinematic magic. Each frame could be printed as a fine art photograph. The story weaves its way into your heart, and the chocolate! Oh how I want the recipe for her hot chocolate served with crushed red pepper. If you haven’t seen this movie, get it now. You won’t be sorry.

Toward the end of the movie, the young village priest, Père Henri, gives what apparently is his first self-written homily. It’s short, to the point, and heartfelt. It’s Easter Sunday, and Père Henri says that he doesn’t really want to talk about Christ’s divinity, or about the miracle of the Resurrection. Instead he wants to talk about Christ’s humanity. In the end, rather than measuring our goodness by what we deny ourselves, Père Henri says, “I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.”

My advice to you, as you move through your days is simple: Embrace, Create, Include.

And Gary, if you’ve read this far, Happy Anniversary. Thanks for the past Eight years. I’m looking forward to the next eight at least.

Weather: Blue skies, sunshine, highs in the 50s

Mood: Tired, content—even happy

Photographs taken: 20—but they were GOOD ones!

1 comment:

hotproof said...

I am amused by your choose of perspective for the calla lily. I like the detail in the "veins", the floral outline, and the white satiny sheen produced by the sunlight. Wonderful!

When I initially viewed that photo, I wasn't sure what the "plant" was. I noticed the O'Keeffe reference. I'm somewhat familiar with O'Keeffe's many floral paintings, but at the time, I didn't recall that one of her more famous pieces was the calla lily. I finally figured it out by the photo file name while enlarging your photo. I haven't seen a "live" calla lily much, let alone from your angle. That was my being dense. (wink)

I've seen the movie "Chocolat". It is a good movie. If you like Juliette Binoche (I do) or Daniel Auteuil, you should check out the movie "Cache", released in 2005.

A side note: I like observing hummingbirds maneuvering to collect nectar from fuchsia. I buy hanging baskets of fuchsia to place near my outdoor deck to view the tiny winged creatures buzzing around the flowers.