Waxflower, the understated little white flower

Waxflower, poetry by M. T. C. Cronin

There’s a fantastic flower stand on 16th St. and Market where I often get my flowers. Amazing bunched beauties can be scored between $5 and $7. Unheard of in the city!

Last week I picked up these cute waxflowers. I didn’t know what they were called at the time, but I was drawn by their sweet, tiny, almost artificial-like flowers. Their buds are burgundy and they have rosemary-like needles. They would have been perfect for Christmas! (But better late than never!)

I took them home and divided them among three containers: the main one in the living room, a tiny cordial glass holds a few sprigs on my kitchen window sill, and a reused jam jar sprouts a little bouquet in the bathroom. I added some fresh greens from the meyer lemon tree in the backyard for some extra interest.

Waxflower in vaseMy only qualm I have with these little guys is that I find their scent mildly repulsive. While not overpowering to a room, it’s definitely noticeable when you are next to them. I don’t know if it’s just me, because when I google “waxflower smells like…” I get only positive results of them smelling lovely. Am I the only one who thinks they smell like a cross between morning breath and the sidewalks of the mission?

If you ever come across these flowers, take a whiff and report back to me.

The full version of M.C.T. Cronin’s poem, Wax-Flower, can be found here.

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Baby Hattie

The newest edition to my friends’ family is little Hattie. I photographed her big sister Josie at the end of 2011, and at the end of 2012, just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of getting snap-happy with Hattie (love her name!).

And, like her older sister, Hattie showed off her lungs for me with a surprisingly loud wail that sounds more like a 6 month old than newborn. And I fully admit that I love pictures of crying babies. They unleash their full emotions, something that as an adult, I wish I could do more of. Here she is on the cusp of letting go. I love those in-between moments.

Justin lovingly dotes on his daughter, making sure she’s comfortable.

I adore this family of four.

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Dahlia Dell

peach orange dahlia
Last Tuesday morning was gorgeous in Golden Gate Park, seemingly uncharacteristically sunny there while overcast in the Mission. I was at the park to shoot the dahlia garden, which is in full bloom, just east of the Conservatory of Flowers. My partner-in-crime for the morning was Sabrina, who takes gorgeous pictures of pretty things, making them look even prettier.

I decided to try something different, and went for a darker mood.
purple magenta ombre dahlia

I harnessed the brillant sunlight starting to shine down on the blooming flowers.
shadows and light dahlia

But you know I still love a soft, dreamy flower:
lens flare dahlia

I also brought the Yashica and took a few shots, but I still have a few exposures left in the ol’ TLR so those photos will have to wait for another time. I’m such a tease.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a shuttle!

The sky has been filled with all sorts of interesting things lately. The cloud formations today were dizzying.

Crazy cool cloud patterns

Today the Blue Angels were back in town for the annual Fleet Week show.

Blue Angels SF Fleet Week

And a couple weeks ago, the space shuttle Endeavour took a scenic farewell tour, piggy-back style. I’ve only seen space shuttles on tv, so it was incredibly thrilling to see it with my very own eyes.

Endeavour shuttle by Sutro Tower in SF

I can’t even get a paper airplane to fly well. How is it possible to build and fly machines of precision that inspire such imagination and hope? It blows my mind.

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Heirloom jewelry

heirloom gold rings

I can’t remember the last time I actually bought jewelry for myself. I’ve been fortunate to receive them as gifts or inherited from family members. These lovely rings were inherited. Lately I’ve been wearing them stacked together to give them a more contemporary look as a statement piece.

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Knit Happens

Yarn knitting stash

I learned how to knit 8 years ago. It is something that brings me joy – going to my LYS (Local Yarn Store) and drool over all the neatly arranged yarn, fighting the temptation to nuzzle my face against all of that luscious fiber, picking out that perfect skein, and then knitting a project with it. I love it all.

But then I found myself with way too much yarn. Bins of it, divided by color. I decided that all my yarn needs to fit in one container, so I began the process of knitting down all my stash. It took a few years, but I finally culled it.

purple yarn layout

And now it’s slowly creeping up again. So I’m in stashbusting mode, using up all the remnants in little knits like fingerless mitts and hats, the occasional jar cozy. Luckily, most of the colors coordinate with each other so I can mix them together without too much trouble.

The main incentive to use up all that yarn is so I can go out and buy more.

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My Birthday!

macro dahlia earrings

My birthday was last week, and it was sprinkled with joy throughout the entire day. I’m actually calling it my birthday month, trying to focus more on my well-being instead of just the needs of others. It’s good to find that balance.

My morning started off with breakfast in bed, complete with a card my daughter made that features a rainbow with me under it with a camera. Ah, she knows me too well.

Years back, one of my friends told me that the ukuklele is one of the easiest instruments to learn, and I’ve always kept that in mind, especially since I have a guitar collecting dust in my closet because those six steel strings are too intimidating for me. So when I expressed interest a few months ago in taking up the ukulele, my daughter immediately told her dad that’s what they were going to get me for my birthday. And lo and behold, my daughter presented me with a beautiful ukelele of my own!

ukulele instrument

I’ve been practicing it almost every day. I’ve already learned a few chords and the tips of my fingers are getting tougher.

ukulele fret fingering

It’s really fun. How can you not enjoy that happy sound the ukulele creates?

From my photos, my sister-in-law knows how much I adore dahlias, so she gave me a pair of beautiful mint-green dahlia earrings packaged in a test tube. They are so pretty. And the color is fresh and perfect.

dahlia earrings mint green

My mom also gave me a pair of earrings. How did they both know that I’ve been coveting some new jewelry? I love the art deco feel of these. Fun!

Art deco earrings

Other birthday awesomeness include:
• slice of birthday cake, compliments of the cafe I frequent
• bouquet of irises from Hubster and Kiddo
• candlelit picnic for dinner in my bedroom, also from Hubster and Kiddo
• cocktails, a set of vintage glass tumblers, and a folk-art, cast-iron, whale bottle opener from a friend
• champagne and a super soft cowl from another friend
• gift cards to amazon and my favorite art supply store
• a ton of facebook birthday wishes! (’cause it doesn’t count if it’s not on facebook, right?!)
• lots of birthday hugs from my friends and family!

Who would dread getting older when you’re treated like this?

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Castro Photoshoot

san francisco skyline downtown
Monday I found myself at a photoshoot doing some last-minute assisting for one of my photo partners, Mike Wang. He was updating some corporate portraits for a local SF biz and asked if I could come over for some last minute help. The shoot location was at a luxuriously beautiful Spanish-style home in the Castro, with a stunning view of the city.

This home has been used as a filming location in the past, and rumor has it that it’ll be featured in a reality TV-show, premiering in the fall on Bravo. Craziness!

I only had time to snap a couple photos with my iPhone since I was busy holding up reflectors overhead in the wind, getting a great workout for my arms, as well as figuring out lighting and some photo troubleshooting.

Two types of shots were taken of each person, one with the amazing city backdrop, the other with a plain blue backdrop (to compliment the company’s website colors). Here’s Mike in action:

Mike Wang

I haven’t seen the images yet, but I know Mike did an excellent job!

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Lodi, California

Some loveliness found in Lodi.

Lodi orchard

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Dahlia, up close

I signed up for a macro photography workshop at the Conservatory of Flowers and the Dahlia Dell in Golden Gate Park for this Wednesday. Unfortunately, the photography instructor had a recent fall with injuries, and thankfully he’s going to be okay, but he won’t be in teaching condition in time for the workshop. So it’s postponed until sometime next month. In the meantime, I’m brushing up with more practice on macro flower work.

I really love creating abstract images with macro. Those dreamy images invites you to create your own story…

Sometimes the story is light and airy.

Sometimes moody and brooding.

Sometimes mysterious.

Sometimes curious.

I look forward to sharing more stories with you.

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