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A Different Kind of Kink Photography (Photo Manipulation)

c 51 whipping   c 50 dinner

I’ve developed a new hobby! I select a photo from my vast array of downloaded porn and I “mess with it” in Photoshop. I have a lot of fun doing that and the images are totally weird. I don’t know if there is a market for this, and I’m not sure how to market them, anyway. Perhaps post them to Pinterest with the website across the image.

I’d be interested in feedback from blog readers.

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Trip to See Father

father 2011

I decided that since Keagan (my 32-year-old son) is in the US from Shenzhen, China (just across the bay from Hong Kong) where he lives and works. He had to come back to renew keep his Visa current. As it happened, he could come through Santa Fe on his return leg, I linked up with him for a visit with Father.

My father, who began working out during the Kennedy Administration in 1962 and who holds all the age-group exercise records at his local gym in Santa Fe, was finally showing his age. He’d been totally the same all his life until last June when he fell for the first time (as a function of his age) He is 94.

We spoke shortly after his fall, and he said that actually, falling for an elderly person is associated with end-of-life malfunctions and he really believed that the end is in sight.

One of Father’s stories was that at CalTech (where he graduated suma cum laude in Electrical Engineering in 1944) he used to break into the library at night in order to read medical books and history books. He read all his life; he knew a lot. Actually, he is the only truly literate person I ever met. His stories would interlink information of any epoch across literature, science, mathematics, or history and interlink them all.


Keagan and I linked up at the Albuquerque airport around 9am and drove up to Santa Fe. Father is in a hospital having a small procedure done. When we got there, he was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper with a drip bottle hooked to his arm. He is pretty cheery, but clearly has degenerated substantially in the past six months. He’s now about 5’ high, down from 5’8,” and stooped over. Still cheery, though.

Around noon, Robin came to collect him after the procedure; we returned to their home where we nibbled a bit and visited. They did not want to go in town for dinner, so we took our leave and told them we’d see them in the morning.

Keagan and I had taken a motel room together in town, and decided, after a while, to go down to the group of Indian vendors on the town square, where he found the “perfect bracelet” that was, of course, just slightly out of his price range at $500. He offered $300 but was turned down. It’s October and cold and not “in season,” but there were a number of hardy souls selling jewelry.

c 45 keagan selecting bracelet

c 44 keagan in hat

 

We spent about two-hours the next morning with Father. By the end of our stay, he was ready to take a nap. At that point, about noon, Keagan and I headed back down to Albuquerque and the airport. I returned to Austin; he flew back to Shenzhen.

 

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Our California Vacation and Alvin’s Wedding

We decided to add a week-long super-vacation to the front end of the trip to San Francisco to my cousin Alvin’s wedding on May 17.

We flew in to San Jose on Friday May 9, and my brother picked us up and we headed into Santa Cruz to his house. I thought we were going to stay with William, but he said the house was not set up for guests and that he had arranged that we stay a B&B run by a friend of his. He gave us the address and we plugged it into the GPS and headed over to drop off our luggage. William was going to pick Stella (daughter, age about 7) up from school.

We easily found the house, packed among other upscale homes located a few miles away. As we brought our bags in, we were very impressed not only by the size of the house, but also the elegant furnishings. William said there were about five rooms available and that it had a stellar reputation on TripAdvisor. I can imagine!

We spent the rest of that day and part of Saturday with William and Stella who, after mounting some butterflies and insects they had recently caught, helped William create a pizza dinner. William cooks bread in an outdoor bread-oven that he’s constructed. Actually, he’s an internationally known expert on breads and the author of the book: “The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking — 100 recipes for the fireplace or camp” and maintains a Facebook page called: “Bread History and Practice.” It’s an interesting site.

c 36 william stella

William loaned us his car and we headed south on Interstate 1, heading for Monterey and beyond: down to Big Sur, one of my favorite places in California.

c 37 big sur   c 38 big sur

We had reservations at Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins (http://www.bigsurcamp.com/sites.html). I wanted to give Master a sense of camping combined with the comfort of being in a cabin. These are tent cabins, not log cabins. They have a little general store and they are right in the middle of the other little stores/shops in Big Sur. We stayed there three nights and spent our days on mini-excursions. The “excursions” were for photography… this was May in Northern California—everything is in bloom

c 39 bob flowers   c 40 shooting flowers

We planned an excursion was to the Point Sur Lighthouse (http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/pointsur.html). They run only one or two tours a day, depending on the day and the season, but not every day of the week. I had carefully planned our touring in order to be able to see this lighthouse.

I also had picked out a few restaurants that seemed interesting. These included Nepenthe, Deetjen's Big Sur Inn Restaurant, and Cafe Kevah. I will say, Deetjen’s is a very special place: if we ever are again in the area, I’d certainly want to go back. (We got lost trying to find it. When driving south on Highway 1, it’s tucked into the trees on the left side of the road as you’re making a sharp right. This highway is very curvy, and I was so focused ahead of me that we’d driven about 20 minutes looking for it before I phoned them to ask directions. It’s easy to see driving north on the highway because from that angle you can see the entire structure.)

When our Big Sur time was up we re-loaded the car and headed back up-coast. We returned the car to William so he could drive up to San Francisco for the wedding at his own pace, and Master and I rented a car and continued on, arriving at our appointed hotel around 4 on Thursday. Friday was to be a time for us to look at kink stores and visit with Angela (sister).

On Saturday, May 17 my cousin was married. In and of itself, perhaps not spectacular. In this case, though, my cousin is gay, 12 years my senior, and has helped me in many very important ways since I was in 11th grade. He “came out” in the living room of my father’s home when I was about 21. He was frequently in and out of my life since I was a small child and visited us fairly often when we lived in DC (when Father was at the Pentagon). We HAD to go to this event.

Alvin is marrying Robert, his long-time companion and lover. And, the wedding is to be held at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio (http://www.presidio.gov/venues/golden-gate-club). This is serious high-end wedding stuff.

I suppose there were 200 family and friends there. There was a string quartet during the post-wedding socializing. The catering and decorating and logistics were magnificent.

c 41 alvins wedding   c 43 jen william

Relatives and friends had flown in from all over the US to attend and to honor Alvin. My sister had come down from Portland, my brother had driven up from Santa Cruz. There were cousins here and there that I’d never even heard of. The accolades went on and on, every one of them fascinating and giving breadth to what I knew of Alvin’s life.

And, he’s had quite a life. He is the youngest son of my father’s mother’s brother, Alvin Sr. who was responsible for handling our Family’s financial affairs starting in about 1935. He and my father spoke regularly up until his death in 1960s. (Alvin Sr. was the founder of “Selected American Shares” one of the early mutual funds in the US. His office was about two blocks from the Chicago Stock Exchange.) 

Alvin Jr. was a Harvard-educated attorney who went back to school in his mid-30s to get a city planning degree—also from Harvard. He worked with Diane Feinstein for many years as a city planner in San Francisco. Alvin had always been active in San Francisco’s gay community, and at age 50 he decided that he liked counseling other gay men so much that he returned to graduate school and took a Masters in Social Work from UC Berkley (just across the bay from San Francisco).

All of this is to say, the wedding was spectacular; an event I will always remember.

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Sandhill Cranes

This was another blog-worthy trip. We’ve just returned from a very long and circuitous trip that had us going from Austin to Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, to White Sands, NM, to Carlsbad Caverns, to spend New Years Eve in Eve’s Garden in Marathon, TX, then back home.

For years, I’ve wanted to shoot the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. We decided on a really grand tour that would start at the sanctuary (spending the night in Brownfield) for a late-afternoon / early evening shoot, go to Casa Blanca B&B for the night, and get up to be back photographing by 7am.

c 26 sandhillcranes at dusk 2628 w

I was able to take many outstanding dusk shots of the cranes, augmented by the full moon that was in exactly the right place and right elevation to be captured with cranes flying under it. At one point, as we were changing positions, a fox trotted along a path parallel to the road. Quite spectacular.

c 27 sandhill crane moon

In the morning, we arrived before the cranes had left their roost. It was very cold out: Jen remained in the car watching the scene unfold. I knew what was about to happen and hoped to be able to capture it. I set the focal distance, practiced panning, set the camera for 8 images per second, set up he remote plunger and waited.

I was looking through the lens at 400mm with the ISO set up to about 1,400 and the shutter set at 250th of a second.

I didn’t have long to wait.

Suddenly, one bird rose from the nesting flock and suddenly the entire flock lifted off. I caught it. I hit the plunger and started rolling and panning simultaneously.

I walked over to the driver’s side window once I had finished shooting. Jen was nearly speechless. OMG she kept saying. That was amazing. How did you know they’d all lift off at once? OMG! “When it was over, I looked at the woman in the car behind you (just to Jen’s left) and we both had our mouths open. That was one of the most spectacular events I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “It is.”

We ended our trip by spending New Years Eve in Eve’s Garden in Marathon, TX. This had taken a lot of pre-planning, but it was really worth it. Take a look at these:

c 29 eves garden 1   c 30 eves garden 2   c 31 eves garden 3   c 32 eves garden 4   c 33 eves garden 5

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Vacation beginning Leather Reign – Orcas – DC (Raven and Joshua) – the death of Jen’s dad

We decided to take a vacation. This is our first vacation, actually. We presented at Leather Reign in Seattle, spent a week on Orcas Island (about an hour north of Seattle, then an hour’s ride on a ferry boat. We came in to Seattle a day early so we could go down to Pike’s Place Market to do some photography. Here’s my version of an open fruit and vegetable stand.

c 18 pikes place market

Inside the Market, lower level, we found an arts/crafts store that had some very nice blown glass. One piece in particular caught our eyes. It was an a bright red apple, and the “stem” was a green snake. I asked the store clerk if I could set up my tripod and actually take my time with the shot. She said, “Yes,” and about half an hour later I had a few good images. This is among my favorite.

c 19 red glass apple snake

I really like Leather Reign (Master Duane and slave kelly). They put on a top conference that attracts some spectacular people. I enjoyed the time I had to sit down with Allena Gabosh and to catch-up with Alpha (Mac). Allena is the Executive Director of “The Center for Sex Positive Education,” also known as “The Wet Spot.” I’ve known her for a long time. Alpha, you may recall from earlier blogs, was the person who first got me started with kink photography back in 2002.

Far and away, the highlight of this period was our time on Orcas. We’d left the conference with enough time to drive up to Anacortes and catch the last ferry over to the island. I love this ride: super romantic, even though they reduced the sizes of the ferries a few years ago and these are more utilitarian and have fewer services. The ride takes about an hour and stops at Lopez and Shaw before docking at Orcas.

c 20 island ferry   c 21 coffee in ferry   c 22 happy jen

Orcas always has been special for me. Margo (my first wife) and I spent about two years working out the qualifications for the place we wanted to raise our children, and in those two years physically visited five cities. Orcas was the hands-down winner:

  • More than two hours from a major airport

  • Accessible to a city we would like

  • Has a “mountain” smell and feel

  • Has an exceptional school system (One standard deviation above the state average on the ACE exams in a state that was one standard deviation above the national averages on the ACE exam. When I was working for the National Institute of Justice studying crime in American schools, I had access to the National Bureau of Education Statistics and had my friend in that office run that analysis.)

c 23 orcas island hotel

Anyway, we landed at the doc, looking directly at the picturesque Orcas Hotel and turned left, heading almost to Eastsound but turning left one road past the turn into town. Margo had suggested this place: we wanted to be on the water. I wanted to be isolated. We got both. We were in a lovely cabin in the Beach Haven Resort without Internet or cell phone signal. No distractions! We could walk along the beach or take walks in the woods.

We drove in town to have dinner with Margo. I always have dinner with Margo when I come back to the island. I’d brought Karen here years ago; can’t even remember anymore.

The next day, when we went into Eastsound to look at the lovely stores, my Internet signal returned and I realized that I had missed a call from my brother (8 years my junior, he lives in Santa Cruz, CA). William reported that Robin thought that Father had suffered a stroke. He and Angela (my sister, 12 years younger than I) were flying out to Santa Fe.

Next, they arrived out there about the time that the lab and physician reports came in that they could find nothing wrong.

So Jen and I spent a lovely week hiking up to the lookout on top of Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park (the largest State Park in Washington) and photographing and reading.

c 24 winter leaf on twig

We ate in lovely restaurants that brought back all kinds of personal memories (Margo and I moved here in 1987 and I left on New Years Eve of that year to join Renee in D.C.).

The Orcas Island part of the trip came to an end. We were very sorry to leave: this island remains my ideal home. We took the ferry back to Anacortes, over to Mt Vernon and then south on Interstate 5. We had a flight to catch. We flew directly from Seattle to DC to take a weekend intensive that Raven (Kaldera) and Joshua (Tenpenny) were putting on at Castle Griffin (Master Griffin and slave ann).

c 25 raven and joshua

We were home on Monday, Thanksgiving was Thursday, and Jen’s dad died on Friday.

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