Accounting For Life

It’s easy to look back at the 4 months here and conclude that I’ve done little but pontificate on cameras and lenses. Photography related entries are disproportionately favored recently. But I’ve done so much more – it’s just that I haven’t written about it.

And there’s the rub.

If I don’t write it, document it somewhere, it’ll fade away. I’ll slowly forget all the neat places and things I’ve done and seen. Those events that make me laugh in hindight, the ones in which I wondered “What am I doing?” and those I enjoyed – truly enjoyed.

So, in no particular order, here’s a list of some things that I’ve done and memorable ‘keys’. I’m still adding as I jog my recollections.

  • Day at the Sausalito Art Festival. Highlight of the festival was a number of exceptional photographers including the black & white works of Chris Honeysett. I spent a remaining part walking through up a section of Mt. Tamalpais and then down the boardwalk and the marina. It’s the site of Fading Light. Ended off with a dinner at Paggios, where I people-watched a group of young Italian friends.
  • Photographed and relaxed in the area around Crissy’s Field, Chestnut & Folsom and Fort Mason. Walked out to the Wave Organ. Ended the night by walking down Colombus St. and rejoicing in the sacrifice of a sea bass for a spectacular dinner at The House. Lounged at the City Lights Bookstore.
  • Explored the South-East and South-West batteries and forts near the Golden Gate. Started at Organica and drove north into the Presidio. Started at the east end and worked my way slowly to the west by dusk. Taking over 100 photographs of the bridge from different angles in the frigid wind. Somehow got lost on the Pacific side of the peninsula, a realization that struck me as I drove and couldn’t recognize anything around me.
  • Switched to the North-East & North-West batteries & beaches next to the Golden Gate. Started at the packed and oh-so-cliche outlook just west of the bridge. Slow walk down to Kirby Cove and the immediately accessible sections of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).
  • Trip to San Francisco with Shu, Kiran and Lisa. Quick stop-offs at Haight-Ashbury, Palace of Fine Arts, the Golden Gate Park and Chinatown. Ducked into some gentrified hippy shops. Got told off by a shopkeeper for taking photos, shrugged it off and then took photos of a very unique sign. Nipped into both the oddly angular de Young and the sacchirine sweetness of a crepe shop, where I was visually introduced to a Nutella creation. Ended it off with dancing at a club on Broadway.
  • Halloween blowout. Dragging four drunk (one really quite gone) guys back home. While it’s hard to top Papa’s and Beer’s 10,000 people, this was the biggest bash I’d seen at a single house. No Halloween costume for me, though the tree was a nice suggestion.
  • Walking with Shu from the Caltrain station at 4th St., down Van Ness, along the Embarcadero and across the Golden Gate to the Marin County line. Ask me about the cruise ship that passed underneath the bridge and the missed opportunity on the bus. Dinner at Chapeau! We must have walked over eight miles easily that day.
  • Hiking and photographing up and around Angel Island. The trek up Mt. Livermove followed by the mad dash down for the only ferry to San Francisco.
  • Nikon photo tour and equipment trial at Mare Island, just north of Vallejo. Got to play with – and use – over $10,000 of photo gear. First time I’ve ever seen a $6,000 lens. Followed up with a Wednesday photo critique and a meetup with “Refracted Moments”.
  • Drive up to Sonoma Valley and the cutesy small-town atmosphere of Sonoma Square. An awesome (but small) photo exhibition with some of Lyle Gomes’, Brett Weston’s and Sebastiao Salgado’s work. Found the smallest winery in the Valley area and attended a few tastings. It’s where I asked myself if I were a coffee ‘addict’.
  • Muir Woods or “How to navigate a 2.5 mile trail down Mt. Tamalpais in the dark” aka “How to find your way along a 1.5 mile redwood trail using your watch as a flashlight” or alternatively “How to hike a mile down the highway trying to find your car”. Very much photography-oriented and the site of The Dance.
  • Photography day trip at Berkeley. Started off with a walk east and west of the university. Strolled through downtown Berkeley as far as the Gourmet Ghetto. Ended up at the empty university (Thanksgiving weekend) where I did an intensive photo-exploration of the central clock tower. Mused on why I liked Berkeley’s feel as a university so much more than Waterloo’s. I have some interesting thoughts about that…
  • Waking up at 4AM to catch the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn. Unfortunately it was foggy, but I made the best of the other-worldly atmosphere. Drove deep into the GGNRA, starting off at the Pt. Bonita lighthouse and meandering back east. First time I ever encounted the “Five Minute Red Light”. Excursion to San Rafael and nothern Marin cities before heading west curvily to the Fort Reyes lighthouse. Why I don’t like the Pontiac Grand Prix. Hint: Highway 1, dark, curves, near-death experiences.
  • 4th Street tour. Ambling in and out of the MOMA, the Yerba Buena galleries, then to Union Square where I watched the Christmas tree lights being erected.
  • Ramble with Doug, Henry and Shu around San Francisco. Walking through the Castro and then up a hill to watch the Castro. Tootled back to Haight-Ashbury. Caught some jazz in the Mission and then to Paul’s house. After the bar Chris, Mike and I circled Haight-Ashbury for 30 minutes trying to find the car, which Mike in his tipsy state ‘lost’. Also, imagine the challenge of finding a burger joint that was open at 3AM.
  • To Hawaii: How to travel to Maui in 12 hours. Sleep & the Honolulu airport – trust me – this one’s a doozy.
  • Maui Day 1: Hana highway, muddy hiking to find a waterfall, Napali, powered handgliding (see Fly Away Home – that’s what I was in), Lahina at night.
  • Maui Day 2: Waking up at 3:30 AM to catch the sunrise at Haleaka. Hiking up the summit and then down into the crater. The first time I’ve experienced total silence. It’s also one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been to. Sail off Lahina on the America II and then back into the city for a spectacular dinner at David & Paul’s grill. Any restaurant that makes me want to eat cabbage has an impressive chef.
  • Maui Day 3: Started off again at Lahina, where I found Peter Lik‘s gallery. The quest for Robert’s beer – taking me to Paia, north of Kaanapali and to reaches unknown. How I ended up with two 1/2 gallon bottles of beer. Driving the coastal highway 3 times. The L. Kula adventure.
  • Honolulu: The Arizona Memorial from far and the USS Bowfinch. Mad dash around the USS Missouri. Walking around the city. Lunch at Ruffage’s :~) and a stop-off at Starbucks, where I was invited to a church group by a woman who wasn’t ‘quite there’. Photographic study of the cityscape, especially the Japanese-American war memorial. Ended the night off at the Waikiki Beach Hotel having a great conversation with Dave.
  • And I’ve still got a little time left…

It’s surprising how much you remember once you commit to making a list.

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