I recently discovered a great little greenhouse tucked away inside Payless Nursery, East of San Jose. Despite the slightly off-putting name, there is a wonderful selection of specialty and hard-to-find plants, e.g., staghorn ferns (not pictured here), air plants, bonsai from many species, in a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from, special orchids, weeping cherry trees, forsythia, water lily, pink and red camellias, among other typical seasonal landscape offerings like, narcissus, pensi, etc, and one of my favorite things – succulents. I took my Hasselblad with me to test out a newly acquired proxar filter 1.0 m. I love the results, especially the first one – a graceful fern basking in soft diffused light. It might not be Spring in the calendar and elsewhere, but in California, it is.
These images were taken at my SIL’s place. My husband and his siblings are very close-knit. Despite the long drive (1 hr long), we are always getting together on the weekends to cook, bond and keep my MIL in good company. One house, three generations. My kids love playing with their big cousins. Its about being a part of and staying connected to one big family. It’s one of those things that keeps you grounded, i think. I always enjoy making an escape out into their garden to see what is growing and blooming. I do that everywhere i go actually. This was two weeks before the Lunar New Year and it was such a pleasure (and an inspiration to the budding gardener in me) to see her father’s trained bonsai kumquat fruiting so beautifully. She also had a 3 yr-old blood orange tree that was bearing fruits nicely. So i picked a few, cut them up, and ate with sea salt to my heart’s content. Then i drank the orange juice she made from another variety (with a squeeze of blood orange for color) that was also from her garden. It was sweet.
It’s already February.
Some of my daffodils had been blooming (and now looking droopy & wind-battered) since mid January. And i am just now getting around to sharing some images from Autumn 2013.
I would wrap myself up in a cardigan, some socks (always), slip in a pair of slippers and putter downstairs to boil a pot of water for coffee or tea. It is not so much about the taste of coffee or tea alone that keeps me drinking every day. It’s the space that this daily ritual creates between activities that is so important to me. I use this time-space to practice mindfulness. It calms me & puts me in the right mindset for the rest of the day. Some mornings i get lucky with my little one sleeping in. Other mornings, we share the quietness together, and she’s pretty good about it.
And then some days, autumn light is sweet & mellowy like honey.
The other day, as i was re-organizing my film prints, and looking at old photos and not-so-old photos, i realized that i hadn’t been doing a lot of sharing.
One of my biggest reasons is lacking of inspiration. If you know me from flickr, i enjoy capturing quiet moments (they are made more precious if you live with little children) and mundane details of everyday life. What you might not know is that i also enjoy going online and looking at really beautiful and inspiring photos. Photos that are well executed, make time stand still and me forget to breath. Once in a while i discover a new one that makes me go back a second and a third time to have another look. Inspiring. Thus, you can imagine why i feel less than enthusiastic about sharing my own photos. That is not to say that i am not grateful for my life or that i am frustrated with my photos. Because i do enjoy and feel inspired looking at photos of the daily-life variety from fine folks of the web as much as the other genres of photography. There is truth and beauty to be appreciated in each. Plus, there is light. It is so easy, with camera in hand, to get carried away with capturing everything and everyone we love, most of the time because we are bored (we don’t know it, or don’t want to admit it but we are) and because we love sharing (hi!). But at the end of the day, the month, the year, when we look back, we realize that the ones that stand out the most are the ones with great light. Photography is about light. And, speaking of light, i spent a good amount of time staring at summer (and autumn) light pockets transforming our walls and floors into abstract canvases, and watching our cat Rollei taking up space in said light pockets. A cat. Quiet light. A cat + Quiet light. It’s one of the very few universal, timeless, and mundane moments that not everyone has the patience to pause and look. But for me, it’s one of the most beautiful epitomes of repose, one that never fails to fascinate, and spellbind me. I often shot these with the iphone, conveniently, and then, … habitually (it’s dangerous), but i once in a while i did remember to catch a few on film. Here they are (the ones i haven’t shared elsewhere) and few other images from the summer. For cat & more light-pocket photos, you will have to look at my instagram.
What’s summer without cool mint water and fresh watermelon?
One bucket, one basket.
Two separate moments, two different lives, tied together by mysterious, silly circles of happiness.
I hope i’m not alone when i say this, but life seems to give us a bit more magic and beauty when all of those personal and uneventful little moments, which we think can only occur in separation and randomness somehow come together in a kind of poetic synchronicity and show us how our lives are connected, how we are so different from one another and yet, not so different.
I am happy to have begun this new collaboration/project with my good friend Cindy, in which we will continue to shoot life’s little moments as they find us, on film. We then gather our materials (prints/scans), as they become available (weekly or bi-weekly), and put together our diptychs. The fun part of this is that we each get to choose images from our shared collection for our own diptych. Cindy will post her version on her blog and i, mine, here. And they will be different.
Thank you for reading.
(Chrystine’s) left: Nikon FG 20, Agfa vista plus 100.
(Cindy’s) right: Contax Aria, Fuji Superia 1600.