Similar, yet different. This is one way to describe the photography of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
Each captures the landscape surrounding them in a way that draws the eye to examine every detail. The play of light, lines and natural beauty beckon one to admire what their lenses captured. As with all great photography, it goes beyond the equipment. It’s having an eye for the subject and the patience to capture the moment.
A sampling of their works is on display in the exhibit “West X Southwest” at the Cantor Center on the campus of Stanford University.
“This installation explores how Weston and Adams expressed content and navigated aesthetics during early and formative moments in their careers. It considers how the artists sharpened their modernists visions through a selection of images created in the place that biographer and curator Nancy Newhall (1908-1947) called each artist’s ‘Paris’,” Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, curator and director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program, wrote of this exhibit.
Adams is known for his work in Yosemite and the Southwest, while Weston explored Mexico.
Together, in 1934 they were founding members of Group f/64, a San Francisco Bay Area photography collective. They had met in the mid-1920s; then crossed paths at various times. It was Weston who introduced Adams to Death Valley, while it was Adams who showed Weston Yosemite and other parts of the Sierra.
Adams said, “(We) had both come to be sympathetic to each other’s work, though we were never on an identical wave length.”
This sentiment is obvious as one walks through the exhibit. What I learned is that in 1941 Adams was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Interior to photograph national parks, mostly in the Southwest.
Having been an admirer of Adam’s for years, it was his photographs that captured my attention the most. This exhibit includes his iconic “Moonrise” at Hernandez, New Mexico. Before reading the description for “Dune” I thought the photo was a winter scene of plants struggling to survive in the snow. Instead it is an image of White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.
With the latest trend being printing on canvas, seeing an exhibit like this makes me wonder what the future of photography will bring. To me, this is real photography and a better representation of an artist’s craft.
- Exhibit is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 11am-5pm; Thursday from 11am-8pm.
- Exhibit ends Jan. 6, 2020.
- Cantor Arts Center is at 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford.
- Cost – free.
- More info is available online.
Meandering around, the cacti tower overhead, others are closer to the ground, some are in bloom. They weave together, making it difficult at times to know if it’s one or multiple plants. Dead limbs look like firewood.
While there are plenty of cacti in the desert of Baja California Sur to look at, the Cactus Sanctuary puts so many of them in one place.
The park opened in 1997, with development by the Intercacti Group. A sign out front says visitors will find: a high density of cacti, nurse plant system, zoochory processes, pseudoephiphytic growth of cacti, primitive cactus, cacti with monster growth, and seed germination in situ.
Species include baron cardón, sweet pitaya, pitaya sour, garambullo, pereskia, biznaga, nopales, choya, old man and more.
Not being an entomologist or a cacti expert, I’m not sure if we saw all of the above.
I first went to see the cacti last October with friends who were visiting from Arizona, then a month later with my mom. It’s one of those places that I wouldn’t go to just for the cacti, but it is a good side trip when visiting El Triunfo. Part of this has to do with the upkeep, or rather lack of. The signage is sketchy, with some being faded or damaged – so not readable in English or Spanish. Plus, the entire place is overgrown and not well kept.
Reports are that the sanctuary looked a lot better before Hurricane Odile struck in 2014.
On the first visit a man tried to show us somethings as we had already made the circular trek through the sanctuary. Then we realized he just wanted money and didn’t appear to actually be working there.
If there were tours, or some way to know what we were looking at (some claim there is a 500-year-old cacti there), it would have been more enjoyable.
Despite the lack of upkeep, it was still worth the walk because of how peaceful it is – very much like a sanctuary in that respect. Plenty of shade also made it inviting.
The sanctuary is on the way to El Triunfo off Highway 1 when approaching from Todos Santos or La Paz. It’s off to the right, down a so-so dirt road for about three miles. It’s by the tiny town of El Rosario. Sometimes there is someone there collecting money – about $4 a person. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know where the money is going.
It is striking how drab artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s wardrobe was compared to her vibrant paintings of flowers and the landscape of New Mexico.
While she preferred to be dressed in black, the garments were not shabby by any means. In some ways, her clothing was artistic as well. Many of the dresses she made, especially early in her career. The cream colored silks are simple, yet exquisite.
The dress above is described as, “This two-piece outfit is a fine example of O’Keeffe’s skills as a seamstress and a designer. The ingenuous design allowed her to put the dress on over her head, eliminating the need for buttons, belts, or zippers. The jacket also lacked buttons or closures and was designed to lie smoothly under or over the draping collar of the dress.”
This is one of many of O’Keeffe’s articles of clothing on display now through mid-October at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Titled “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern,” the exhibit is a history lesson of sorts. The clothing shows an evolution in styles. With O’Keeffe dying in 1986 at the age of 99, she lived through several fashion periods.
Mostly, though, she wore what she wanted. In this way, the exhibit also brings a human element to this renowned artist that isn’t necessarily revealed through her work. While the world has known O’Keeffe’s individuality through her paintings, now all can understand her in deeper way through her wardrobe and how she posed for the camera.
It was interesting to see the actual dress and later pants next to a photograph of O’Keeffe wearing the outfit.
One section says, “From her early years on, O’Keeffe had a soft sport of Japanese kimonos and put together a personal collection of them to wear around the house as bed and bath wear. In her later years, she adopted a kimono-like wrap dress as her signature outfit. Travelling to Hong Kong in her seventies, she bought off-the-rack garments and accessories, and ordered custom-made coats and dress suits in local silks, incorporating details like mandarin collars and frog button closures.”
One thing about this exhibit that is also unusual compared to showings specifically of her work is the number of photographs of O’Keeffe. Of course there were ones by her famous husband Alfred Stieglitz, but also pictures by Ansel Adams, Philippe Halsman, Yousuf Karsh, Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber and Todd Webb.
Interspersed among the clothing are paintings by O’Keeffe. The contrast of color compared to the clothing is striking. To me, it shows an artist wanting her work to be the focus and not herself.
- Location: Nevada Museum of Art, Reno.
- Exhibit closes Oct. 20, 2019.
- Museum open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.
- General admission – $10.
- This is the only U.S. West Coast exhibit.
Garlic. I think it’s a food group. It definitely belongs in more dishes than it doesn’t.
With the average person consuming about 2 pounds of garlic a year, according to Reference.com, this may be one category where I’m above average. I use it more like a spice, though technically it isn’t one.
Sautéing a little garlic and onion is a great start to so many dishes. I could eat pesto every night. Roasted garlic spread on sourdough bread – yum. Whole or chopped garlic must be part of a roasted veggie ensemble. Garlic in salsa, of course. Then there are garlic fries – wow – two of my favorite food groups in one dish.
Plus, there are tons of health benefits to garlic. Alejandro Junger in the book “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself” wrote, “Garlic will help not only to eliminate bad bacteria, yeast, and parasites, but also to regulate blood sugar levels, enhance fat burning, reduce hunger sensations, lower cholesterol, relieve arthritic pain, and reduce bowel gas.”
While April 19 is national garlic day, Gilroy celebrates this pungent food for three days in late July each year. Those in California consider this town south of the San Francisco Bay Area to be the capital of garlic. Truth is that China grows the most garlic in the world; producing about two-thirds of the world’s garlic, according to Agricultural Resource Marketing Center.
This summer was the fourth time I went to the festival. It’s amazing how such a tiny bulb can be the focus of so much fun, so much delicious food. Cooking demonstrations, celebrity chefs, artisans and more are part of the festivities. This was the first year for a night concert. Colbie Caillat with band Gone West entertained a throng of people. The music was included in the price of admission of the festival. (The festival in 2019 was $20 or $30 for a three-day pass; food is extra.)
The chefs in Gourmet Alley and in the outlaying food booths hovering over the open flames when it was near triple digits made me thankful I was eating and not cooking.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival is perfect for meat and non-meat eaters. There are so many choices – from pesto to corn on the cob to ice cream to steak sandwiches. When the garlic gets to be too much, there are other choices.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tragedy that occurred on the third and final day this year. I was there the day before the fatal shooting. It’s surreal to think about that fact. Still, I’m not going to let nut cases stop me from continuing to lead my life, to go to events – big and small, to shop where I want, to frequent places that are full of people. It’s easy to say that. I haven’t had to run for my life, to duck and cover, to attend a funeral for someone who died in a mass shooting. This is as close as I ever want to be to such a tragedy.
Part of me wants to buy my tickets now for the 2020 Gilroy Garlic Festival. It would be more about showing support for this small town than for the garlic. Whatever your reason for going – go. It’s a unique event that any garlic lover should experience at least once.
Breathtaking. That is one of many superlatives to describe the East Shore multi-use path that opened earlier this summer. The nearly 3-mile paved route goes from Tunnel Creek to Sand Harbor in Incline Village.
A few years ago, for a story I did for Lake Tahoe News, I had the opportunity to walk along part of what was the planned route. Even then I knew this was going to be something special. It’s so much more spectacular than anything I could have imagined.
“It is a trail that takes you someplace, but the journey is the destination,” Amy Berry, head of the Tahoe Fund, said during that excursion in 2014.
Estimates during the planning stage were that 100,000 people would use this trail each year.
The East Shore of Lake Tahoe has some of the most dramatic scenery in the basin. This trail allows almost anyone to enjoy this slice of Tahoe that until now may have been off-limits to certain people. Before it meant seeing these views from a vehicle whizzing by on Highway 28, being on a mountain bike along the Flume Trail, dealing with the masses at Sand Harbor beach, or risking your life parking and darting across the highway to get to the water.
The pavement is 10-feet wide and built to ADA standards. There are a couple curvy and steep sections that had skateboarders using their foot as a brake, and some cyclists panting. Walking didn’t seem like any big deal.
Planners were able to keep 11 offshoots to the lake. This is the only place bikes are not allowed. With the lake being so high this summer, not all of those locations offer much sand to sprawl out on. Still, it’s nice to know these spots are there for those with dogs who would want to have a drink.
Major troublesome spots for dogs are the six steel-fiberglass bridges. The longest is 810 feet. This also happens to be the longest bridge in the basin. An Ohio company made the bridges. After dogs had their pads damaged from the hot surface, signs were posted warning people about the bridge temperature. At the long span and another bridge are wagons people may use to transport their canine. The Tahoe Transportation District, which oversaw the project, would not say if anything is going to be done to lessen the danger on the bridges.
A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t go barefoot – on any surface – because of the heat, a four-legged family member shouldn’t be either. This includes asphalt and sand. At sunset the temperature wasn’t an issue.
TTD manager Carl Hasty would not say if the heat of the bridge should be a concern to cyclists’ rubber tires.
A nice attribute to the route is the abundance of bike racks, as well as the couple stations to do minor repairs, including adding air to bike tires.
The total endeavor came with a hefty price tag – $40.5 million. This was a mixture of private and local-state-federal government dollars. About half went to the trail, underpass and parking, while the other half was for environmental and highway upgrades. Considering construction was right next to the lake, this meant more environmental concerns; then there is a tunnel where the path goes under Highway 28 taking people from the mountain side to the lake side; plus, there are a multitude of granite vista areas – ideal for sitting to take in the views. Parking spaces were also added. Eliminated is all the highway parking between the two points of the trail, with this being done mostly as a safety concern.
Eventually it will cost to park at some locations. Tahoe Transportation District officials would not say what the fee will be or when it will be implemented. The payment portals are already in place.
For those who want to enter Sand Harbor State Park it costs $2 on foot (dogs are not allowed), while it is $10 to drive in.
While the bi-state Tahoe Transportation District was the lead agency to make the path a reality, it will be the Nevada Division of State Parks which maintains it. It took three years to build it.
This is the second section of the greater 33-mile Stateline-to-Stateline trail. One day it will cover the entire Nevada side of the lake, thus the reference to the state lines. The end/starting points will be Stateline and Crystal Bay. The first section was completed it 2013 with 2.2 miles that go from Rabe Meadow in Stateline to Round Hill Pines Beach.
The third phase is already being planned, with the comment period on the U.S. Forest Service’s draft environmental assessment document having ended Aug. 11. The documents are available online. This next section will be eight miles from Sand Harbor to Spooner Summit.
As with all the sections, it’s not just a multi-use path that is being laid down. A major goal is to eliminate parking on the narrow Highway 28 and to create parking areas that are safer. Improvements to utilities, a focus on erosion, and reducing sediment from reaching Lake Tahoe are all goals of the project.
Artistry is found in so much of the merchandise available for purchase in Mexico. I want to drink from it.
I was hoping to find wine glasses at The Glass Factory in Cabo San Lucas so I could bring them with me to California this summer. Part of the logic was if/when I return permanently, the glasses would have made it without being packed in a full Jeep. I’m sure I’m better off without having spent money on something that was just going to end up in storage. Plus, if I end up in Baja more long term, it would mean driving them back across the border.
Even though I didn’t find anything to buy for the kitchen last month, I’m planning to go back. (I did buy a pair of fun glass earrings shaped like flip flops.) It’s possible to have custom-made glasses, but that’s not what I want. I’ll know what I want when I see it. Artisans hand blow an array of glass products six days a week. I was there with friend Joyce, who lives in Cabo, on a Sunday when the blowing wasn’t taking place.
That didn’t matter. The showroom is incredible.
The creativity in design and color is magical. It’s so much more than glasses (think water, wine, martini, margarita, and more) of all sizes and varieties. Large bowls, vases and pitchers were stunning. If only I had a kitchen, let alone a whole house of my own, to display and use these wonders. So much of what was available looked like art even though everything seemed to have a functional component.
When Sebastian Romo opened the business in 1990 it was Baja’s only hand-blown glass factory. The website says, “Today the foundry employs over 30 artisans who produce close to 500 one-of-a-kind pieces daily. Using recycled, lead-free glass, the maestros create custom orders for hotels, restaurants and retail shops as well as original pieces for groups and individual buyers.”
“A spectacular beach at the end of a dirt road.” This could be the description of so many beaches in Baja California Sur. For Playa Las Palmas (Palm Beach) spectacular is an understatement.
Palm trees – too many to count – line both sides of the dirt trail from the parking area to the beach. It is a breathtaking walk under all those palms. It’s an archway of tropical beauty leading to a stretch of secluded sand.
It’s impossible not to be taken in by what Mother Nature has provided no matter how many palms one has previously seen.
It’s unspoiled. No concessions. Nothing but nature.
Rock formations at both ends help form a small bay of sorts, making it feel more protected than some areas.
Bring a chair, an umbrella and stare into the Pacific Ocean or read a book. Definitely walk the rather short length of the beach to see it from all angles. The palms, of various heights, appear to be a gentle wall of sorts behind the sand.
This is one of those questionable beaches when it comes to swimming. The surf is often less threatening here than at other locations, making it inviting. The undertow can be deadly, though. A good indicator is looking at how much sand is being churned up; that is a sign for undertow. And if no one else is swimming, you probably shouldn’t be either. Like all locations, there are times when the waves are substantive. People will surf here.
Also known as San Pedro beach, this stretch of sand is a bit closer to Pescadero than Todos Santos. It’s easy to miss kilometer marker 57 heading south on Highway 19. There are no signs for the beach. U-turns may be a necessity and an annoyance based on how far you have to go to turn around. Don’t worry, it will be worth the extra mileage if that’s needed.
Las Palmas truly is mesmerizing.
It took opening my mouth for people to know I was from the United States. I don’t speak Danish, even though people at the airport and on the metro were trying to converse with me. The fair complexion, blue eyes, fake blonde hair, well, those were the signs I might be a local.
Look at me, my sisters, my parents – there is no hiding our ancestry is European. In May, eight of us (me, mom, two nieces, two sisters and their husbands) embarked on a trek to see the land where some of our people came from – Denmark.
Assuming my DNA is pretty close to my sister Jann’s, I’m 99.1 percent northwestern European, specifically 41.2 percent Scandinavian; north Denmark region, Denmark, Sweden. 23andme also says we are 24.4 percent British and Irish, along with 19.2 percent French and German. My mom is mostly French-German (35.4 percent), Danish (22.8 percent), British-Irish (20.8 percent), and northwestern European (20.6 percent). Dad isn’t alive to tap his DNA.
While we chose not to search out any relations who might still reside in the homeland, we immersed ourselves in Copenhagen as we played tourist by visiting castles, museums, historical points of interest, street food vendors and nicer restaurants. We played at the Tivoli amusement park, toured the area by boat, contemplated cycling, and walked until it was cocktail hour.
Based on Denmark being known for its rich history in design it should come as no surprise its capital, Copenhagen, is laid out in a manner that is ideal for pedestrians and cyclists. For those who don’t own a bike, ones are available to rent by the hour; plus, there are tours for the tourists.
As for the design of more tangible objects, Danish Modern and Scandinavian Design were the rage in the 1950s and 1960s. It has continued to evolve through the decades. An entire museum is dedicated to Danish design. Rooms are filled with chairs, one of the objects Danes are known for creating to an extremely high standard. It seemed there was never anyplace uncomfortable to sit.
History is everywhere, just look at the architecture. While so much is so old, the buildings still have a relevant use. So many European cities are drab. Not Copenhagen. Many of the facades are boldly painted, giving the city a vibrancy. Much of this could be seen on one of the walking tours offered by Sandemans. I highly recommend the free walking tour and the food tour, which costs money. Hey Captain boat tours brought us to areas we would not have walked to, like the old prison. Besides seeing various points of interest, we also learned from our leaders things often not found in guidebooks, or explained in a manner that gave the information more relevance.
Facts about and related to Denmark:
- From the Bluetooth website, “Surprisingly, the name dates back more than a millennium to King Harald ‘Bluetooth’ Gormsson who was well known for two things: Uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 (and) his dead tooth, which was a dark blue/grey color, and earned him the nickname Bluetooth. Jim Kardash from Intel suggested Bluetooth as a temporary code name. Kardash was later quoted as saying, ‘King Harald Bluetooth … was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.’ Bluetooth was only intended as a placeholder until marketing could come up with something really cool.”
- Denmark is actually made up of more than 480 islands, the biggest being Jutland at 11,493 square miles. No one lives on 100 of the islands. Denmark connects mainland Europe with the rest of Scandinavia. We stayed in Copenhagen, the capital, which is on the island of Zealand. It is so close to Sweden you can literally see this neighboring country across the Baltic Sea.
- The Airbnb the eight of us called home for the week in May was on Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. It’s been this way since 1962. It’s actually five streets that are connected. Only delivery vehicles are allowed on it. Many high-end shops like Prada and Gucci are mixed in with local shops and restaurants.
- At the end of May sunrise was roughly at 4:40am and sunset about 17 hours later at 9:40pm.
- The Danish monarchy is the oldest in Europe. Queen Margrethe has been on the throne since 1972. She is known to be a chain smoker who likes to indulge in street hotdogs. In 2006, she said she would only smoke in private after much uproar about what had been a common public habit.
- Hygge (sort of pronounced who-gay) is the Danish term for cozy. It’s a state of being Danes try to achieve that seems to elude other nationalities. It helps explain with Denmark is often ranked the first or second happiest country in the world.
Whirling lights, screams coming from various rides, the smell of fried food, and stalls ready for guests to take a turn at a game of chance. This is Tivoli.
One thing that sets this amusement park apart from others is its age. Depending on the source, this park located in the middle of Copenhagen, Denmark, is noted as being either the second or third oldest amusement park in the world. It opened Aug. 15, 1843. The oldest amusement park is Bakken, located just north of Copenhagen in Klampenborg, Denmark. It opened in 1583.
While Disneyland has better name recognition, Walt Disney was influenced by what he saw at Tivoli. From the Tivoli website, “In 1955 the original Disneyland opened in California. Walt Disney paid several visits to Tivoli, where he was fascinated by the mood and atmosphere. Disney was keen to copy the Tivoli ambience, so that he could incorporate it into his own amusement park.”
Behind one ride is a snowcapped mountain that resembles the Matterhorn.
It was the Demon rollercoaster that had six of us trying to keep our hands up as we spun around, then did a 360 in the loop. A bit rickety is the wooden Rollercoaster, which was built in 1914. It still requires an operator in the front to control braking. It’s clacking brought back memories of the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California. In 2014, the Vertigo rollercoaster was voted Europe’s Best Ride.
The Star Flyer had us captivated for two spins. The second time was so we could see the lights of Copenhagen as the sun had set – which was at 9:42pm. This swing provided incredible views of the city; enabling us to appreciate many of the sites we had been to earlier in the week. We were at Tivoli for a short time, giving us a taste of it without seeing the whole park, experiencing all the rides or any of the shows.
As we were calling it a night, so too was a throng of people who had gathered in the main entertainment area to watch a professional soccer game on the big screen. What a fun opportunity to provide for locals.
La Paz has plenty to offer whether it’s in the water or on land.
Beaches along the Sea of Cortez are a primary reason to visit. So is venturing to Isla Espíritu Santo; an island that is a national park as well as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The grid layout makes it easy to walk the streets. It is relatively flat, though like much of Baja, the sidewalks can be a bit precarious, so pay attention.
Nearly a quarter million people live in La Paz, which is the capital of Baja California Sur.
For three nights last month the La Posada Hotel & Beach Club was central base for me and Sue as we explored this city on the east side of BCS. The 24-room hotel is away from the hustle of downtown or the malecón, yet such a short drive to both that it was the perfect location.
The hotel staff was some of the friendliest I’ve encountered. As I’ve found throughout Baja, Mexicans are incredibly warm, generous and helpful people.
Every room has a view to the pool area and beyond to the La Paz Bay. This beach area is where so many locals came every evening. Some to walk their dog or to be with a friend, others were exercising, many were enjoying the sunset. We did the same.
Another nice vantage point for the natural beauty was from the balcony in the room as well as on the second floor from the outdoor tub with jets. (The hotel bills it as a Jacuzzi; not all rooms have one.) It’s pretty small. While it cooled off enough one night to use it, this whole second floor area seems like wasted space. Still, it was a nice treat. The downstairs, main hotel room, was plenty spacious, as was the bathroom.
While I’m not a fan of gyms, the hotel has more weight equipment than the average U.S. hotel. It seemed like people in the neighborhood had memberships to the facility, which is on two floors.
An afternoon was spent poolside, which seemed like such a luxury. Cabanas are there for any guest to use without an added fee. It was blissful.
The bartender at La Posada makes a wonderful margarita. While we didn’t eat dinner there, breakfast is included with a night’s stay. Multiple choices meant never having to have the same thing twice, and being able to experiment a bit. I tried the molletes, which Google Translate said was a muffin. It turned out to be something close to French bread (four slices), covered in refried beans and melted cheese, with salsa on the side. I said no to the chorizo. It was fine, just wish I had ordered the omelet because it was delicious.
Based on recommendations from friends one dinner was at the Bismark along the malecón. I had the veggie fajitas. So much food that we shared it the following day. Sue had the grilled yellowtail, that she said was perfectly crusty on the outside, and tender on the inside. The sunset was stunning from there.
That’s one of the interesting things about La Paz, being able to see sunsets. This is unusual being on the east said of the peninsula. How La Paz Bay curves means so much of the area is facing west instead of east.
Most of one day was spent at Isla Espíritu Santo, which was arranged through Eduardo who was recommended from the hotel. This is a must-do excursion for anyone in the area.
Balandra beach and its environs captured our attention for a half day, as the main activity was kayaking this spectacular stretch of the Sea of Cortez.
El Tesoro beach on the way back was a great stop for margaritas and some comida.
Walking around a smidgeon of La Paz was another activity. Next time we’ll need to allow more time. Mercado Nicolas Bravo and Mercado Madero were both impressive. The former mostly has food to either eat there or products to cook at home, while the latter had sundry products. We picked up some fruit there to take home, which was so incredibly sweet.
Along the street we came across the La Paz Cathedral. While not large, it is worth stopping to look at inside and out.
While we had AJ with us, this really wasn’t an ideal dog walk. Nonetheless, we didn’t let that stop us from seeing how natives do commerce – some in traditional stores, some as street vendors.
Sue experienced the promenade along the water, known as the malecón, via driving it and at dinner. The artwork is reason alone to take the stroll.
Clearly, three nights was not enough time to see and do everything La Paz has to offer.