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
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
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
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
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.
Sacramento's "Global Winter Wonderland"
Festival for the eyes
Empire Mine machine shop
Mono Lake's tufas
Twas a cold day
Can you guess that I'm experimenting with new
Tuff looking tufas
The artists of Tehachapi
Gotta be bad for business
Motherly oversight in Palm Springs