Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bug and Bokeh

A photographer who inspires me is Ibarionex Perello. He's a student of light and color, a fantastic portraitist and an artist to his core.

Ibarionex teaches photography at the high-tech high-fab Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He also teaches online via his hugely popular podcasts at The Candid Frame. He travels, lectures, leads photo safaris and is a very busy guy.

I'm fortunate to call Ibarionex and his wife Cynthia my friends and I want to keep it that way. So when I get a chance to go walking at Hahamongna Watershed Park with them, their dog Spenser and our cameras, I try not to bug the poor guy every second with, "how would you shoot this?" and "what kind of lens is that?"

But Ibarionex can't help but be generous. He let me use his macro lens. I didn't even have to ask, he just offered. And he found this leaf with this bug on it with this light coming from behind and this beautiful background and he pointed it out to me. All I did was focus and shoot.

Spenser fell madly in love with Hahamongna, so Cynthia had her hands full. But she managed to get off some good shots with her iPhone while Ibarionex and I drifted about the Hahmongna basin, just shooting away.

There is important news about the Hahamongna basin, which I'll tell you tomorrow.

I love that macro lens, by the way.

Friday, December 3, 2010

PDP/PPM Books Contest, week 7

Pasadena's City Hall is the centerpiece on our table, the hood ornament on our car, our Sunday hat. We like to flaunt it, take pictures of it, drive out of our way to go by it when we have out-of-towners in the car. "That? Oh, that's City Hall." I like to say there are no bad angles there.

We like it so much, in fact, that we kicked everyone out of it for nearly three years (2004-2007) while we spent a whole lot of money on a seismic retrofit. We aim to keep the place come hell or high water (the "big one" being most locals' definition of hell).

Who were the original architects of Pasadena City Hall?

That's this week's contest question. Once again, I've linked you to the answer. You might have to read a bit to find it, but it's an interesting article. Don't let it be said that I don't promote your erudition here at PDP.

Here are the rules we play by:

1. Email the answer to the contest question to me. There's a link to my email in my profile at the upper left. You have until midnight tonight, Pasadena (Pacific) time. Answers in the comments section will be rudely ignored but probably not deleted unless they're incorrect.

2. That's all you have to do.

3. I'll put all the correct answers into a hat and tomorrow I'll find a willing neighbor/stranger/sucker to draw the winning name. I'll announce the winner in Sunday's post.

What is this, Week 7? Gawd, how many books have I got here? Let's see...five plus one minus two, carry the twelve...Eight. I have (had) eight books I've given away six, so it's this week and next week and we're finished. Let's make it snappy!

The books I'm giving away today and next Friday in the PDP/PPM Books Contest are copies of At Home Pasadena, a beautiful, hardbound, coffee-table book for your drooling pleasure. Designed by James Barkley and written by Jill Allison Ganon and Sandy Gillis, with photos by Jennifer Cheung and Steven Nilsson, the book is loaded with eye candy with sections on gardening, working, collecting--and an out-of-this-world section on bathing--all "at home."

Play to win today and come back next Friday, because I'll have one last copy of At Home Pasadena to give away.

Big thanks to Colleen Dunn Bates and Prospect Park Media for providing us with all these fabulous books!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Over at the Jackie Robinson Center they've got this very cool display about the Negro Baseball Leagues. The display was put together by the Baseball Reliquary which, if I understand correctly, is all about fostering an appreciation of arts and culture "through the context of baseball history." Not the other way around. When you stop by the Center you'll find this display case in the main lobby. Be sure and check out all the details.

Pasadena favorite son Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by being the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues. But Jackie wasn't the first black athlete to play among whites in American baseball leagues. Before 1890, blacks and whites played baseball together more often than you might think. It wasn't until around 1890 that the minor league circuits began to bar black players.

The Negro National League wasn't official until 1920, but African American players had already formed leagues by the early 1900s and those leagues were going strong. They kept going for a long time. Jackie Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs as late as 1945.

Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and played for them until 1956. He was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Giant busts (big, big busts!) of Jackie and his Olympic star brother Mack sit across from City Hall in Pasadena. When you check them out, be sure and look for the details.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theme Day: Time

City Daily Photo bloggers (now over 1300 strong) have a theme day on the first of every month. The theme today is "time."

I chose this photo because to me it's timeless: this could be a view into any century, any season. Nature knows no clocks.

Bloggers from around the world participate in theme day and everyone has their own take on the theme. Click here to view thumbnails for all the participants.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Praying Mantis

A praying mantis is, according to scientists, quite aware when being watched, at least in laboratory conditions.

Briefly, I fooled myself.

"She's letting me take her picture," I thought.

Clutching the side of the back step, she posed while I practiced with my macro setting. The leaves behind her are on the ground and I'm shooting downward. The fact that she held on like that is how she fooled me. But she's missing one of her antennae and perhaps even a foreleg.

It wasn't her choice to sit still for our photo shoot. The rain or the cold must have killed her.

Still, she hung on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Zen Monday: #122


It's Zen Monday, and I'm kind of tired of the old patter I usually give here. If this is your first Monday visit, the idea is this: I keep quiet while you let the photo speak to you.

Tell us what you think in the comments.
There's no right or wrong, we're here to have fun.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Small Business

Ben Wideman of Pasadena--that's THE Ben Wideman, y'all--is the winner of Friday's PDP/PPM book giveaway! Ben was one of several people to guess correctly that the President of the 2004 Tournament of Roses was Michael K. Riffey. John and I recently enjoyed meeting Mr. Riffey on a plane. It takes a nice guy and a dedicated one, too, to put in all those volunteer hours to make the Tournament of Roses the special event that it is. In fact, it takes a lot of nice people to make it happen.

Ben wins a copy of Helen of Pasadena, the new comedy romance novel by Lian Dolan. Lian visits Minnesota, Portland and Seattle next week, so if you're in the neighborhood stop and say hello! And check back here Friday when I have more books to give away, thanks to Prospect Park Media.

Since yesterday was Small Business Saturday I put all the contest entry names in a (clean) poo bag (fits in my pocket better than a hat) and headed up to Altadena. I had small business to do at Altadena Hardware and Webster's Fine Stationers.

At Altadena Hardware they're rearranging the shelves and I still found everything I needed.

At Webster's I bought birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and stuff for myself. In the photo, Scott Webster shows off free trade scarves. (If you're thinking of getting me something, I like them all.) Before I left the store I asked Lori Webster to help me take care of one last small bit of business: she drew the winning name from the poo bag and the rest is history.