Thursday, October 23, 2014

Olives and Libations, Essaouira, Morocco

All of these photographs were taken in the coastal city of Essaouira, about half way down the west coast of Morocco. The variety of olives for sale in the medina is somewhat extensive. I love all makes and models of olives, and they are almost always served as snacks with drinks. This being Ramadam, however, drinks were not always available. For some reason it wasn't a problem to get a beer or glass of wine in Essaouira, just the ticket for a sunset over the Atlantic. For the stroll around the medina earlier that afternoon, I mainly stayed with my small Sony RX 100 III as it's very inconspicuous.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Men in Morocco

These photographs show men in a variety of activities, most taken in stealth style; from the hip without looking, or looking down at my screen as if I am scrolling through pictures, or just unobserved from a distance. The men are standing in front of stores, sitting at cafes, watching the World Cup in groups, rushing off to the mosque for daily prayer, sitting outside their shops looking to make a sale, playing a game with kibitzers all around, helping move a fishing boat into place, or even mugging for the camera. I suppose this is called "street" or "documentary" photography, but it's all the same to me.

Women in Morocco

One of the things that these photographs have in common is that they were all taken without the subjects' knowledge. I would never have thought to ask a woman in Morocco if I could take her picture. Perhaps it's because they're almost all covered up from head to toe as if to say, "Don't look at me." I even felt hesitant taking these photographs from a safe distance but was drawn to do so anyhow. The only chance I had to talk to a woman was in Fes where we had a female guide.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mountain View on a Sunday

Yesterday morning I began my day by paying a visit to my favorite bookstore in downtown Mountain View. After stocking up on crossword puzzle books and some bedside reading, I did about a forty-five minute walkabout of a city I am very familiar with but rarely bring my camera to. None of the photographs is particularly interesting on its own, but they serve to give a look at some of the charms and oddities of this place. Speaking of oddities, I found the Odd Fellows Hall as well as the Eagles Aerie, both fraternal organizations that I have never really understood the purpose of. The restaurant above the Odd Fellows Hall caught my eye, first because of the menu in the window, and then because of the poster in the next window advertising a concert by Jon Nakamatsu, a world class pianist and friend of mine I used to teach with until he won the Van Cliburn prize and took off for a career in music. Great piano player and an even nicer guy. I made my way down to the train station and the Sunday farmer's market, stopping to talk to ta lovely French couple who sell "Artisanal Charcuterie." I practiced my French on them for a few minutes and moved on. Mountain View is probably most known for being the home of Google and other hi-tech companies, and for its sky-high rental costs. For me, it's known as a restaurant mecca. Every possible ethnic category is located on Castro Street, the main thoroughfare of town. (maybe not Ethiopian) and since it's such a fickle business, there are new restaurants opening up all the time. It would take at least a year to eat at all the restaurants in this city. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Justin Currie at the Chapel, San Francisco, October 9th, 2014

The Chapel has to be one of the premier music venues in the Bay Area. It's relatively small capacity, a little over 200, probably hurts it as far as drawing more top tier acts, but that certainly makes it attractive to the fans of the acts it does bring in. There's folding chair seating in the front, and tables along the side and in the back. It really makes no difference where you sit, or stand. The sight lines and sound are first rate. There's even a balcony with a bar and couches and tables. The Chapel is a converted mortuary, not a church as I first thought. Justin Currie doesn't have a legion of fans in the United States, and the Scottish fellow sitting in front of me was surprised that someone like me knew so much about him. What fans he does have here do border on the fanatical. He hasn't toured in the States as a solo before, so this was a great treat for George and me. A wonderful hour and a half of music!

The Chapel and The Vestry, San Francisco

On Thursday night, Margaret and I, along with our friends George and Julie, Dan and Stephen, took in a show by one of George and my favorite singer/songwriters, Justin Currie, formerly the lead singer of the Scottish band Del Amitri. Before the show at the beautiful Chapel Theater in the Mission District, we had dinner at The Vestry, a restaurant connected to the Chapel. It not only serves excellent food, but it's a very welcoming and atmospheric venue. The bottom photograph is of the Chapel before the show. All photographs taken with the Sony RX 100 III at 6400 ISO. Amazing low light performance from such a relatively small sensor.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Saint Louis: Maybe the Best Baseball City in the World!

One of the pleasures of baseball for me is that it's a leisurely game that isn't dictated by time. There's no taking a knee to run out the clock. For real fans, going to a game early and walking around the park and absorbing the atmosphere of a special place like Busch Stadium in Saint Louis is a great experience. The top photograph shows the Giant's radio/TV announcers, John Miller, Mike Krukow, and Duane Kuiper up in the booth. In the third photograph, former All-Star Boston shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, talks to current Cardinal slugger Matt Holliday on the field during batting practice. Like in many stadiums around the country, former greats are honored with statues outside the park. Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, and announcer Jack Buck are three former Cardinals on display. I remember this particular day quite vividly as earlier that afternoon in the media room I watched, with Nomar Garciaparra, Oscar Pistorious run in the Olympics, both of us marveling at his amazing talent.