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09/12/2011 / Janette

Trees With Golden Light





Last Thursday, as I drove into Cypress College, I saw the beautiful light in the old trees in the front of the campus.  The light was golden and the textured look of the trees glowed and then were mottled with the shadows of leaves.  I had never really looked at those trees, but at that time I had to take pictures immediately.


The bark is peeling away from the tree and the shadows show the smoothness of the exposed surface, and then emphasizes  the deep clefts of bark on the trunk of the tree.  The narrow leaves sparkle with light in some areas and then shadows in other areas.  I used manual settings, at first 200 ISO, then 400 ISO, later 800 ISO.  I used F4.5 and then a range of settings.  The shutter speed started at 500, then 200, then 100. 

An artist I met at Laguna told me that California shares a similar light with Paris.  After he said that, I have always looked at paintings and photographs of Paris and thought of the light here in California.  I think he is right.  I love the light here.

Textured Trunk 1

09/05/2011 / Janette

Amusement Parks

   I have always loved to sit in ferry and railroad stations and watch the people, to walk on crowded streets, just walk along among the people, and see their faces, to be among people on street cars and trains and boats.

Ella R. Bloor

Amusement parks are wonderful places to take pictures.  There is so much going on and so many people doing so many things that no one really notices an extra camera.  Most people are self-conscious when you take pictures of them, but it is easy to capture an unguarded moment in an amusement park.

Children are so often seen as noisy and distracted, but they are often thoughtful as they contemplate their surroundings. I believe that we can all learn something about living in the here-and-now from observing children.  As an adult, it seems as if I constantly rush from one thing to the next.  Maybe that is why time seems to pass so quickly, perhaps I have not been paying attention.

~ Janette

08/28/2011 / Janette

Folklorico Dancers

When I taught at South Gate High School, the Folklorico dance teacher quit suddenly, and I was asked to be the teacher in charge of the program.  I had no idea how to teach this subject.  At that time, I had taken various types of dance, including folk dancing in high school and college, but this was a very specific type and style of dance.  At first, the students did not accept me because I am not Hispanic, and it was a little like a war.  After a few months, however, the students seemed to accept me.  I really enjoyed the dances.  I learned how to perform some of the dances, and when one of the students did not come to a dance recital, I actually filled in.  My blonde hair looked a little strange with all of the glossy dark heads, but I performed successfully.  At that point, I really felt like I had become a part of the dance group and a true teacher of dance.

Recently, I attended a performance of various folklorico dances, and I was able to take pictures.  I worked toward revealing the swirl of the dresses and the interchanges between the couples dancing.  The skirts are like flower petals, swirling to catch the light.   

08/25/2011 / Janette

A New Beginning

Oak Series

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Walking out of the doctor’s office last fall, I spotted the most beautiful oak tree.  I was entranced by the gold and red leaves and the many textures of the ground, the leaves,  the tree bark, and the grass.  When I see trees like this I think of country pathways lined with huge oak trees, and kicking through leaves which crunch and give under the soles of my shoes.  I’ve always loved to watch the leaves delicately, like a troupe of ballerinas, twist and swirl gracefully as they float toward the ground.

Have you ever taken an oak leaf, put it under a piece of typing paper, and run a crayon over it?  I love to feel the veins in the leaves, and then to see the crudely copied image on the paper.  Once a week for three weeks I drove by the tree and I watched it become more and more bare and the leaves more brown.  Now it is summer again and the tree is filled with turning leaves.

I grew up in Oregon where trees seem to be everywhere you look.  Now I work in Los Angeles, and although it can be beautiful, I do miss the trees.  Seeing a tree like this one makes me want to sit under it on a blanket and read. It makes me want to gather the leaves and throw them into the air.  Perhaps it is a kind of living celebration of life and the changing of seasons.                ~Janette