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Leaving the place better than we found it
Seeing with my eyes closed
Thomas Jefferson on gun control
How to lie convincingly
Our hardy heartland
Breaking the cycle
How to catch the sun's comings and goings
Thoughts from the inside
Leveraging the internet to build our walls
Twitters from the past
And the invincibility of youth
Without ego projection
Yet another gift of the road
The charming side of obstinance
The creative part of photography
A movie critic looks in the mirror
We are not alone
As part of the system
Defecting from the rear guard
The end of Kumbaya
The wanderer's poet
Running out of dirt
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The Bay of Fundy, where the sea breathes
How to photograph them with anything, even your cellphone
A simple question we get every day
We may be failing to fail
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Becoming a hero in one's own life story
A writing assignment
A new discovery of something old
Finding new eyes to see old landscapes
Hick humor
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Experiencing life with God
A radical thought about our radicals
Redemption with style
Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
You're on this page.
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
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The Ride Operator
A soul sparkles

The city fathers of Sacramento took a chance. Like most of us, they'd seen Chinese lanterns, that is, colored sheer cloth stretched over thin wire frames with a light inside, sometimes with a candle to cause them to float over a nighttime landscape. But this "Global Winter Wonderland" was a million dollars worth of huge lanterns, an entire city of Chinese lanterns shaped into art as never before. I spotted it driving down the road and had to take my camera into their midst.

Not content with sheer amazement, I snuck in the next morning to photograph the place in its drab grey gloom. Devoid of it sparkle and magic, the place was like a party guest flopped out on the sofa with a hangover.

That gave me the idea for experimenting with a new kind of photography called morphing. Morphing blends and moves one picture into another, in this case, the dreary morning shot of the lanterns metamorphing into a fantasy world of illumination.

Click one of the top 6 images at the right to see what I mean.

Walking aroung the light festival with a fistful of churro, I grew lost in my thoughts in spite of the howling multitude flowing around me.

A friend of mine characterized our hectic world as "the mechanical maniacal hubbub of the chattering monkeys". His point was clear and easy to concur, but growing disgusted with our species may be to go too far. We are made in His image, even some dormant spark in chattering monkeys. Like my friend, I enjoy the seclusion of my predawn walks in the woods when even the chattering squirrels are curled up in their burrows. But I also enjoy my forays into the unwashed masses. I feel the thrill of the diaper packer's first glimpse of Santa lying about elves to a gaggle of squealing piglets.

Wonder, enchantment, miracles, and love are not bounded by forests and mountains. We can walk through the valley of dearth bringing our x-ray glasses to see past the fantastic plastic. Having shed myself of so many possessions, I feel the invincibility of a man left with only the clothes on his back and the eyes in his head. I can finally subscribe to the saying, "Serenity is not escape from the storm, but peace amid the storm."

Let me explain.

At the outdoor light show, complete with toothless side show barkers, ever hunting with my Canon, I spied a black fellow in a rumpled jacket feverishly working the gates, buttons, and levers of a little roller coaster. Hopping out of the way at the last moment, he brought the plastic caterpillar to a halt and watched the chimps sticky with cotton candy pile out like Marines hitting the beach, tittering and hooting as they passed him.

Then, emerging in the middle of that dreadful dark face was an ear-to-ear, piano-keyboard smile. No one could see it but me, the secret agent in their midst. This peek into a soul lasted but an instant, far too quick for me to aim and shoot, but it was a squirt from an ocean of love that we humans command. Inundated by chattering monkeys, dulled by the mindless and weary repetition of his movements, this ride operator was nonetheless infected by the mirth of munchkins. He probably didn't even realize that he was smiling, yet he could not help but reflect the joy that he had caused.

He whirled to catch the next batch before they could shove each other under the caterpillar, and his face sprang back to business black. But the glow of that instant epiphany followed me the rest of the night. Behind the walls and veils of mass mediocrity swirling around me, there lurked the reason for our creation, ever ready to squirt out like the tongue of a snake, if only we're there in the moment and ready to see it.

This alone allows me to get along with humans, reminding me that the glass is entirely full; half with water and half with air. We just have to take notice of it all.

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African critters
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Giant seahorses
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Swan Lake
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Magic Tunnel
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The windmill
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Sacramento's "Global Winter Wonderland"
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Festival for the eyes
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Empire Mine machine shop
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Roadside refreshment
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Mono Lake's tufas
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Twas a cold day
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Can you guess that I'm experimenting with new filters?
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Tuff looking tufas
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The artists of Tehachapi
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Gotta be bad for business
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Motherly oversight in Palm Springs
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Leaving California

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