Snapshots: Girls On A Motorcycle

As I left my credit union today a biker had parked his motorcycle next to my scooter. A couple of young girls took a big interest so the biker set them on his motorcycle seat and gave the oldest girl his daughter’s helmet to try on. The girl’s mother loved all this as did the girls. I had just returned from a zoo trip so I had my camera gear with me. Out popped my camera along with a contact card for free pictures. These are the two snapshots I took. The sun was out in full force directly overhead so lighting was lousy. They are just snaps.

Girls On Motorcycle 1

Girls On Motorcycle 2

Children At The Chinese Garden

As usual I kept an eye out for stuff not associated specifically with the Lan Su Chinese Garden Tour I took yesterday. I even took a few pictures I intend to use for backdrop shots in the future. Along with all that I spotted two kids that were at the gardens but not necessarily along with my tour guide group. Visitors are allowed to wander about on their own as I did a few years ago on my first visit to the Chinese Garden. I love the way these portraits turned out and because I was part of a tourist group the parents paid me little attention. My Fuji X-E1 with its kit 18-55mm lens onboard is not intimidating to people.

The 2nd shot was a perfect situation as the little girl spotted me pointing my camera at her and for a split second decided to ham it up with an adorable pose. I wish I had known this shot had turned out so good or I would have slipped the laughing mother my card for free pictures of her daughter. But that day it was not meant to happen. It was a quick grab shot that I’m sharing just with my followers. Enjoy the kids!

Child In Chair

Striking A Pose #3

Fun Day At Lan Su Chinese Garden

The Portland Chinese Garden was literally built in China and disassembled, brick by brick to be transported to the United States and reassembled. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place located smack dab in the middle of downtown Portland, Oregon. The venue is a walled-in city block with skyscrapers visible from within, yet separated from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Everything is from a culture thousands of years old and designed to bring tranquility back into your life.

This was my 2nd visit to the Portland Chinese Garden as I took advantage of the new Washington Park cultural exchange program. Thus far in 2015 I’ve visited the The Japanese Gardens, The Museum of Natural History, the Forestry Center and now the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Tour Guide #1Since I had made a solo trip to see the garden a few years ago I decided to wait for the guided tour of the garden as part of a group. The guide was experienced, western and enthusiastic about his love and knowledge of the facility. He gave an interesting tour that provided ample opportunity to ask any questions along the way. Not one person said anything.

I enjoyed my day at the gardens but like so many static displays that rarely change I think one trip is sufficient to capture everything of interest. Basically nothing has changed since my last visit except my camera gear, software and experience. Thank goodness I decided to leave my tripod at home. It would have been like an anchor around my neck and basically useless. If you get an opportunity to go bring a camera with a mid-range zoom like my Fujinon 18-55mm F/2.8-4.0. That focal range and light sensitivity allowed shooting everywhere handheld. I did shoot a few frames at ISO 6400 such as the shot posted here of our tour guide. Flash can be so annoying so don’t use it on a guided tour if at all possible.

Would I go back for more visits, probably in a few years or with photography students and friends? The tour was refreshing, although I only listened to about half of the history lesson he gave. The stop and talk format allowed me to get the shots I wanted and the other visitors standing still so I could maneuver for the best angle/light. Considering I got in for free and it cost me $2 for the use of mass transit it was a well spent day with gorgeous weather. Like the last few days it started to sprinkle just as I returned home. No, I didn’t melt! LOL

Chinese Garden Pagoda 1

Chinese Art Room

Chinese Garden: Finishing Touches

As usual I’m always looking for the little overlooked things at any event, any venue. So it was yesterday at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. I’d been there once before but that was years ago and my photographic eye has changed. Now I include the little things that struck me as beautiful during my visit.

So it was with this simple flower shot I captured during my tour of the garden. There were plenty of lovely bushes, trees and planters all over the place but this little yellow flower caught my photographer’s eye. It wins the prize as the only flower I captured yesterday.

I have just received an email from Glin Varco Director of Horticulture | Lan Su Chinese Garden. Glin has been kind enough to identify the flower below as Golden Guinea or Kerria japonica.

Chinese Garden Flower

“Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…”

Don't Sweeat The Small StuffThose words will always ring in the back of my mind because they saved my life, literally. I was stressed out to the max and something had to give. I was working 89 hours a week at high stress jobs and only one of the two was even bringing home a paycheck. I couldn’t please my wife, I couldn’t please my paying employer and I was headed for oblivion until God snatched me up and saved me from killing myself.

This all happened around 2004 when I lived in South Carolina. I was a perfectionist in an imperfect world. Demands were put in my lap that were impossible to meet. My self worth was attached to my total success at solving all the problems. I wanted so badly to please everyone and I forgot about pleasing the most important person of all, me.

You can’t MAKE anyone happy. You can’t fix everything by yesterday. You can’t be in two places at the same time. You can’t be right 100% of the time nor can anyone else. Sound familiar? Do these expectations describe your life? If so you need to read a little book called: “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and it’s all small stuff” by Dr. Richard Carson.

In Dr. Carlson’s book, given to me in the psych ward of the mental hospital where I was admitted, I was to learn how to cope with the pressures in my life. The book put things into a new perspective that changed how I dealt with stress, life’s demands and relationships. It taught me how to reprioritize my self worth. It saved me from killing myself.

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: CARS – NEW, VINTAGE, TOYS, ETC.

This is a new challenge to me. It can be found at Cee’s place at: http://ceenphotography.com. I’m not really a car aficionado but I drive them so I might as well photograph them. A friend of mine bought his dream car, a Ford Thunderbird, after retiring from a lifetime job as a Ford mechanic. That job cost him both knees from kneeling and standing all day on hard concrete floors. He managed to get his knees repaired before retiring using his employee insurance.

The little Smart Pure is my baby, the only brand new car I ever bought and it too was at retirement. I made sure to buy it just before retirement so I could get financing. I then paid it off within 6 months after retirement using my cashed in pension and 401k plan. I hate paying interest. It’s been a trusty steed as it now has over 22,000 on it after 5 years. I split the driving with my 2009 Piaggio Touring scooter at also now has 21,000 miles on it. Ot too was purchased just before retirement and was subsequently paid off immediately. The only way I could afford to retire was to enter naked without any monthly bills.

Richard’s Thunderbird

Richard's Thunderbird

Bob’s Herbie 2009 SmartCar

Herbie 4

The Angle Of The Dangle

It’s just an old saying but it applies to capturing the lizard in the photograph below. The glass in front of his/her environment has a lot of glare on it so getting to stand in just the right spot is tricky. I did finally find that certain spot where all the reflections disappear but it was a challenge. I strive to take good pictures of these lizards because of all the detail in their skin and eyes. The eyes seem to glow so they come through vividly in the capture.

Lizard 99

Flower With Detailed Zoom

This picture of a beautiful super detailed flower turned out so sharp I decided to include a cropped close-up version as well. I could use help identifying the species on this one. It’s so delicate it looks like a Japanese Origami folded piece of art. Nature did its magic here.

Starfall 1

Starfall 1a