Monday, June 30, 2008

Color, Light, Happiness and Joy










Our bride finally received her photos and LOVED them! Rave reviews. She gave us permission to use any photos we like for our purposes so I thought I'd start to put a few of my favorites up today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smoke on the Mountains

The Santa Cruz fog is thick with smoke these days. It's particularly thick in the morning but we didn't see the sun all day yesterday. It's not expected to show through today as well.

There are hundreds of fires and the biggest one is raging just across the bay in Big Sur. Earlier this year a friend in Big Sur, one of my best Mama Love customers, was extremely worried about gas prices and what the effect of the recession would be on business this year. Now they're fighting for their lives. It's hard to worry about whether business will be good when you're concerned you might not have a business or a place to live at all.

Other friends of mine in Bonny Doon, just a few miles up the mountain from downtown Santa Cruz, were evacuated for a separate fire last week. The flames came within less than a quarter mile from one of their houses. Friends of theirs lost everything but they're back home right now, happy to be alive.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Buttercup Flower Essence

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Please don't use it for ANY purpose without my expressed written permission.


According to a folktale I found online there once was a young boy who spent all day running through the forest and singing in his very clear high-pitched voice. It was wonderful to listen to him at first but it soon became clear that he wasn't going to stop! He was clearly disturbing the peace so the wood nymphs turned him into a buttercup and sent him out into the open meadow to live.

I've been looking into Buttercup flower essence today. In my research I found that there's very little written about this wildflower. Most of my research into the wildflowers I study turn up lots of information about medicinal uses, food uses and sometimes mind-bogglingly detailed descriptions of every aspect of what the plant looks like and how it grows. Not so with the Western Buttercup! Except for the basics of what it looks like and where it grows botanists haven't written much about it. It seems that it's so seemingly unusable and so very small and common that it just doesn't draw much attention.

And that's rather appropriate because Buttercup flower essence is for people who are often overlooked themselves and suffer from low self-esteem because their life path allows for little outward fame or recognition. It's for finding ways to shine in the small ways we express who we are. It is especially recommended for children, the physically or mentally handicapped, or for anyone who feels overlooked or needs to accept a less visible and simple existence. It can also be very helpful for phases of life where one needs a simple peaceful existence to strengthen one’s inner resources.

The picture above is the card I drew for Buttercup in the flower essence deck I've been working on. The quote by Ysaye Barnwell that runs around it is from a favorite song of mine on an album by Sweet Honey in the Rock. It's one of the few images from the deck that I've made available for sale. You can see prints and T-shirts and other products with this design at Cafepress.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wedding Photography in Santa Cruz

Paul and I had a wonderful experience this weekend which woke up a desire in me I didn't know I had. We photographed a wedding, a relaxed and heart-felt Hawaiian-themed beach party on Twin Lakes Beach in Santa Cruz. It was great! And when we got back and saw the happy smiling faces in the truly great photos we got, I thought "wow, talk about a great day job. I wouldn't mind doing this once in a while."

That got us thinking. Paul NEVER wanted to do weddings but this bride insisted, said the perfect things to get past his (our) barriers, and the result was we got paid to have fun. It was hard work because you're running here and there striving to document everything and everybody and some of it happens too quick for words. "Whoa, the bride is being walked down the aisle and the aisle is really short and they're walking really fast! Damn, someone's in my way! Click, click, click. It's over! I hope some of them come out." There's stress involved in that.

And we discovered that shooting the event isn't even a third of the time needed to do what needs to be done. Well, at least not for a couple of perfectionists who won't let anything that isn't top quality represent what we do. We're going through every photo and retouching every one and I know that's not what people on the low end of the wedding photography scale do for very long.

On the other hand I KNOW this bride is going to be thrilled. And she already wrote to tell us that she's going to recommend us before she's even seen the photos because working with us was so easy and relaxed. I think how we took on the work made it fun. We actually said a prayer in the car that the day go well and decided together that part of our job was going to make people laugh and loosen up. We'd take a shot, look at the readout on the screen, and exclaim "Awesome!" People would laugh and then we'd get a great shot. In short order we didn't even have to do that. People were having fun and we shot 950 photos.

Our biggest problem now is having too many to choose from.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Reg Kehoe and the Marimba Queens

While we're on the topic of marimba bands, check out this group from the 40's. Love the evening dresses and wait til you see the bass player. Great fun!

Marimba Ponies

My friend Linda sent me a link to this today. I used to play marimba in an informal ensemble in Santa Cruz. It was fun. Check this group out from Japan. Too cute!