Street Scenes & March Magic

Magic March. Just a hunch, but I have a feeling that this month will bring unexpected and wonderous tidings—starting with an overdue blog post from yours truly—but seriously, good things, good things, I feel this mantra in my bones. Perhaps the fairies are in festive force for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day and official debut of spring, or maybe those energies are always swirling and I’m just intercepting.

But, as a prime illustration (and I hope she doesn’t mind my sharing)—my dearest friend’s husband walked away two days ago, I believe unscratched, from a head-on collision that tore his car apart. Luck, a blessing, strong body and mind—call it what you will, this is just the beginning. May such similar fates, the embrace of each sweet inhale and exhale of every day, be all the more strong with each of us this month (and for countless months thereafter, of course)!

In my corner of the world…

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Lady of North Beach

About a month ago, I attended a presentation on Advanced Composition by a local photographer. I’d found his name back in November when we were still in Sonoma as I was looking for events and free classes, and came across a workshop that he leads for four days in Oaxaca, Mexico, photographing the “Day of the Dead” festivities.

If you know anything about me, you should know that I have a strange affinity for this particular time of year and such celebrations, and paired with my love of photography, I was all in, eyes as wide as sugar skulls’. This year has too many other travels and budget constraints, but I’m on the premiere waiting list for next year! Anywho, he runs a number of free classes and other one-day workshops in San Francisco.

So as I’d started to tell before I veered, I attended one of his free seminars at the Redwood City library. And from the moment I walked in the room and shook his hand, I had a funny feeling that we had more in common than met the eye, an instant feeling of camaraderie. Have you had such occasions?

They are rare, especially if you’re an admitted introvert, but when they happen you sit up and take notice, as if an apparition were to walk in the room at this very moment. He’s from Mexico, I believe in his late 40’s or early 50’s, and has quite the interesting history. Not the first person I would have picked out of a room to be my new West Coast friend. Yes, this is indeed on my goal list for 2017, and quite possibly has been fulfilled…

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North Beach Runway

I won’t go into TMD (too much detail), but since then we’ve met over lunch to talk and discuss collaborative projects. I’m currently helping him re-write much of his website content, and he’s shared his vision of an exciting, right-up-my-alley project that is still in the brainstorming stages. I haven’t officially been asked to help out, but if he continues to like my work, then I would be excited to share here with you.

I’ve also attended two of his San Francisco street photography workshops, which have been incredible experiences and a fantastic way to learn the surface of some of SF’s most popular hoods (i.e. North Beach, Chinatown, Mission, and a new one—I wrote the copy—for Haight-Ashbury). I’ve participated in North Beach, historically the Italian sector but Chinatown is slowly encroaching, as well as Chinatown.

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Umbrella Dance

Street photography is all about storytelling, capturing the human essence, developing the intuition to point and shoot before the story climax even occurs. It’s a true art and David, who has traveled the world doing so, is an amazing photographer and teacher. We’ve definitely formed a burgeoning friendship, in large part over our shared interest in photography—as well as some uncanny similarities in personal experiences—and I’m grateful to have found what walks and talks and looks like a soul friend 🙂 You never know about such things, but it certainly would appear to be the case.

 

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To Market, To Market

So, without further adieu: I’ve sprinkled some of my photographs that I took in those workshops (over the last couple of weeks) above and below. Some may be a bit grainy; David has informed me that shooting in RAW is much better than JPG, and I’ll be switching up my methods from here on out. Also, the day in North Beach was a rainy one, and some of my shots have raindrop smudges; we used shower caps to cover our cameras (ingenious), but I forgot to wipe off my lens a time or two.

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Hungry in Chinatown

Granted, I’m still very much in the amateur stage, haha; but David is very patient and knows the best tricks of the trade, so I have confidence I’ll improve with practice. But I wanted to share my latest forays into what is my (other) favorite creative avenue.

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The Path Wearer

Oh! The strangest thing. I snapped a photo of this elder woman (above) in Chinatown (that expression though!), and then yesterday while driving back from errands in a different part of the city, I saw this exact woman wearing the same outfit. How odd! I suppose you start to see and recognize many of the same characters as you mold into the role of city dweller.

 

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Of Fish and Smokes

This gentleman, who I believe was chopping up fish before this photo was taken, is perhaps my crowning-glory photo thus far. David likened this one to a Henri Cartier-Bresson (the “father” of street photography) shot; I think that was beginning student empowerment, but hey—it really isn’t half bad 😉

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Act of Kindness

And this is a candid shot of my new camera-whispering friend, picking up falling vegetables with minds of their own, and getting what I’m guessing is a rare smile from the woman working the stands.

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Free Play

Had to include these amazing views (below) of the city, taken from the balcony outside of a hidden temple you would NEVER know was there. So many secrets in the city, especially Chinatown it seems, and photography walks seem to be the best way to uncover locked doors and draw back unsuspecting curtains, especially with a guide who has done his research. Spot the pigeon? These guys and their beady orange eyes; they have ongoing street battles with the raucous crows round these parts.

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If I could spend my days with a camera and my own writing projects, I would be dizzy with joy (however fleeting); maybe some day. The shot below includes a Taiwanese flag, a rare vision it seems so close to ‘China’ and something you probably wouldn’t see overseas. In the distance is Coit Tower (I have yet to go up), which is closer to North Beach.

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In the meantime, another potential March realization…

I’ve been in the process of interviewing for a job position that seems made for my skill-sets and background. I won’t give too much away, because 1) I believe in jinxes and 2) It’s not yet in the bag, so to speak. I will say it combines project-based learning with writing and content creation, my two other passions. So…we shall take actions to help make it happen and see what the universe has in store. 🙂 Perhaps in my end-of-March post (because I owe you two this month), I’ll have additional news to report on that front.

March also can’t be overlooked because it’s Dan’s and my anniversary (two years on the 27th), and (drumroll) this same dearest friend, whose same dearest husband just survived a nasty car wreck, is headed out this way for end-of-the-month frolics and adventures, a gift from her superhuman male counterpart back in February. Needless to say, at first she was a bit overwhelmed, I think more at the thought of leaving her wee chickadees, but I think between the two of us (her husband and I) we did some solid convincing 🙂

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Goodies 3

The above is a throwback in time (six years ago!?!) and coincidentally on St. Patrick’s Day (hence the Guinness) in Newport. We will of course be wishing that our Goodie 3 could be with us! But in spirit, always 🙂

How lucky am I, to have the very same person who married us, get to share in on that same day once again? Also, how crazy is it that we didn’t get a picture of all three of us on that day, tsk tsk and for shame; this year we’ll make up for that oversight! So excited to be able to bask in her presence soon.

On that note, off to enjoy what looks to be another rainy Saturday (we had a whole week of sunshine, a record in the past four months), starting with yoga and followed by work that didn’t get done yesterday because—GASP—I took a day off and went—shoe shopping! Somehow, when you only do it once every two years or so, it’s hard to feel guilty. 🙂

Would love to hear your anticipatory magical March stories; do tell me what you’re hopeful or looking forward to this month, oh please do!

Ta-ta and XOXOOO,

LNDF<3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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