Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cool, or what!

Here's how Lynn, in Florida, responded to my Daily E-mail.
Ah, c'mon, Hans....Don't lose the Halloween spirit(s).


I'm suffering from too much pre-mature Halloween photography. 
Therefore today it's leaves.
Picture taken yesterday at Lytton Square in Mill Valley. And make no mistake about it (as our politicians love to say) these are real raindrops.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Halloween isn't until tomorrow but some people just can't wait. I was innocently walking across Lytton Square in Mill Valley, heading for Peet's to get my morning coffee fix, when I bumped into Joel. Of course, at the time I didn't know what his name was. Obviously, upon seeing him, I asked  whether I could take his picture for my Daily E-mail friends. He agreed, and here it is. Turned out he is ethnic Chinese, giving me, once again, a perfect opportunity to show off my Putonghua (Mandarin, for the uninitiated)*. An adventure a day keeps ennui away, I always say.
* Some of my closest friends blanche and crawl under a rock with embarrassment       whenever I do that!

Friday, October 29, 2010


As Halloween draws ever closer, my senses grow more and more attuned to all that revolves around the holiday. Thus, this afternoon, on my quest for sushi at Mollie Stone's market, I heard a tiny voice calling "buy me, buy me"! The voice was coming from a large bin of tiny pumpkins, just outside the entrance. And sure enough, the lips of one of the little guys/gals was moving, which in turn moved me to pick him/her up and place him/her into my shopping cart. Arriving home, I set up my studio, and pronto, the attached photo was created. As you can see, I was rewarded by a happy smile! Meanwhile the pumpkin will reside in my living room for as long as he/she chooses to stay.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Perils of Photography

Recently we've all heard a lot about piracy on the high seas. "Stay away from the waters near Somalia" is the word. I have heeded that advice, and managed to keep out of trouble. Until last Tuesday that is, when I was stopped and threatened by a pirate carrying a sword on, normally peaceful, San Anselmo Avenue. With his good eye gleaming, he demanded money from me. It turned out he mistook me for a wealthy banker (gathering foreclosures, no doubt). When I explained that I was merely a photographer, his manner changed and all he asked for was that I take his picture. I asked him to smile but realized too late that I should not have done that. Funny that all this coincided with the approach of Halloween. For what it's worth, I have attached his picture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everybody is Here

How do they know where the food is? One day there are no birds, the next there are hundreds. How do  they communicate? Anyway, there's quite a collection in my picture. A Mallard couple, a Stilt, two Snowy Egrets, and a Great Egret. A photographer's delight. All next to the Nordstrom parking lot in Corte Madera.

A Real Whatshamacallit

Here it is, for your viewing pleasure! Make of it what you will. It lives near the Nordstrom Department Store in Corte Madera.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sadly, pigeons get undeservedly bad press. Sometimes they are even called "flying rats". I happen to like them and have spoken up in their defense before.
Anyone who has ever been to Venice has enjoyed watching the hundreds of pigeons that inhabit Piazza San Marco and are fed by the tourists. As a matter of fact, you can buy maize for the birds in the Square.
Pigeons existed in  Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) five thousand years ago. They are mentioned in the Bible. In the Middle Ages pigeon poo was used as fertilizer. The military used carrier pigeons in the two World Wars, and a famous pigeon, named "Cher Ami" saved many lives. Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs feed the birds for religious reasons.
If you want to learn more about these birds, click on
I took the attached picture while sipping coffee at the Village Shopping Center's Starbucks in Corte Madera.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It occurred to me that, while I took 238 pictures the other day, I failed to show what the entire scene looked like. This picture will give a better idea. While most of the pelicans are resting after a huge meal, others are still gorging themselves with, what has been suggested to me were, smelt. In the background right, is the Larkspur Ferry Landing. And don't miss the pretty, skeletal outline of the condos in the background.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rock Palooka

It's amazing how many photo-ops one 2-1/4 mile walk will yield. I don't know how it happens, but I see images everywhere I look. Such was the case yesterday when my gaze fell upon the rock-face of which I have attached a photo. The head stands 2-1/8" tall. He doesn't look very happy. I suspect that, in his younger days, he may have been a prizefighter. Perhaps he even competed in a Golden Rocks Championship. Now all he has left are his memories.

Village Shopping Center

Man, sitting at table, talking on cell-phone. I took this picture yesterday, at the Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera. Note pigeon looking for handout.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mount Tamalpais

The birds were gone this morning, Mt. Tam was still there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feeding Frenzy

I have never seen as many birds in the bay near Nordstroms in Corte Madera as I did today. There was also quite a variety. In my picture you will see five species, but there were more. My photo-partner, Bob H, thought that a run of herring attracted the birds. It was quite a feeding-frenzy. And speaking of feeding-frenzy ~ yours truly took 238 pictures and may go back for more tomorrow. Though with birds you never know - there may not be a single one tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

3-Point Landing

3-Point Landing at the Ponds this morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Mundanity rules. Please stifle a yawn. And file this one in your " HR Abstract Photographs" folder. Of course the creator (lower case "c") likes it.
Stacked traffic cones at White Hill School in Fairfax.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Picture that Took Itself

Once in a while, all you have to do is click the shutter, and voila, you have a picture that you could not have composed if you tried. Such was the case at the Biketoberfest in Fairfax this afternoon. Surreptitiously I tried to take a picture of the young man with the spike hairdo, when suddenly the whole group detected me and ~ well, you can see how they reacted. As in "BINGO"!
I asked the wearer of the fancy coiffure whether he thought I could wear my hair like that and he said "sure, all you need is some wax". I sure get into the weirdest situations!

Friday, October 15, 2010


I bet some of you think that being a press-photographer is just fun and games. Well, think again. Some assignments are really taxing. This morning was a case in point. I had to take pictures of Nastassya, Sausalito contestant for Miss California.
Now let me get real! Not only was Nastassya, or "Nas" as she likes to be called, beautiful, she turned out to be a great model, who seemed to sense how I wanted her to pose. Besides she was very sweet and funny, and to top it all off, bright.
When called upon, my heart can still beat a little faster!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pelican Island

Pelican Island is located at Shorebird Vista Point, near the Corte Madera Nordstrom Department Store. The Pelicans allow a few Cormorants to rest their weary wings on the island. Or islands, because, at low tide, a second island pops up. The birds sit and preen, and preen and sit. And the next day they are all gone. I wish I knew what their game plan is. Regardless, as you can see, they are quite a sight to behold.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Sad Story

This morning I had my hair cut by Wallace, my long-time barber (he recently started calling himself "hair-stylist"), on Clement Street; San Francisco's number 2 Chinatown.
At Clement and 6th Avenue I came upon it. A bicycle decorated with flowers, and totally covered with white paint. Chained to a metal post. I immediately sensed this to be a shrine, dedicated to the victim of a fatal accident (this was later confirmed by Wallace).
Two signs were attached to the bike. One said "Who is this ghost?" and contained a message to, and about Derek, the victim of the accident. From the message I gathered that he was twenty-two,  probably of Philippine descent, loved sports, and was a popular young man, whose passing saddened many. The other sign read "WE LOVE YOU DEREK", and consisted of a collage of pictures showing him at various stages of his young life.
I wonder whether this was the bike that Derek was riding. I also wonder about the white paint. White is the color of mourning in China, but I don't know about the Philippines.
Makes you think.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sign of the Times

It is quite possible that this picture will not be awarded first place in a photo-competition. Perhaps not even second place.
The reason I took it was to document a Sign of the Times. Because what you see here is not the inside of an office. Instead, it is the Northgate Shopping Center Starbucks. And what drew these two into the coffee-shop was not the coffee, but the Free Wi-Fi connection!
And yes, there is some construction going on outside.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Is there a difference between billiards and pool? Regardless, I took this picture last Friday at the 2 AM Club, also known as the "Deuce", in Mill Valley. One of the club's claims to fame is, that it is the only establishment in Mill Valley, that is allowed a neon sign. It must have been grandfathered in.
Actually, I was the bar to take pix, for Patch, of the patrons cheering as they watched the Giants on TV. The billiards shot was an aside.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I went to White Hill Middle School in Fairfax this morning to take pictures for MarinScope. There I saw a display of student pictures which I thought were outstanding and very original. Certainly worthy of posting on my Daily E-mail.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I must be getting into the Halloween-spirit!
The friendly witch was a window display in a store on San Anselmo Avenue in, you guessed it, San Anselmo. The building and the greenery are a reflection in the plate-glass window. It took a little bit of doing to  get the right angle and keep my reflection out of the picture.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Behind the medical building, at the corner of Bon Air Rd and Magnolia Avenue, on the bank of the Corte Madera Creek, a gaggle of geese appears every afternoon, to wait for their dinner. At 6 PM volunteers appear and feed the birds grain, lettuce and bread. This practice was started years ago by "Mother Goose", a lady originally from Germany (I think her name is Siegrid).
I don't know what kind of geese they are. I believe they are hybrids. What I do know is that they agreed to pose for me a couple of days ago. It wasn't easy to get the trio to stand just the way I asked them to, but finally we succeeded.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

At the Coffee-Shop

Photography took me to San Anselmo this morning, and caffeine depletion took me to a coffee-shop. Whereat I noticed the shadow of a man reading the paper. The shadow was on the wall, the man on my right. Do you require any more information?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Swans Again

Here's where the Swans were airborne. One of the juveniles leading the parade, with the adult in second place. Hmm?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Birder and Swans

For the first time, after several years of hiking around the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary Ponds, I saw Swans. One adult, and four juvenile, Mute Swans. Bob, my hiking partner, and I were thrilled. So, apparently, was the lady birder in my picture, watching the birds. The Swans swam along the shore, then took off and flew away, only to return after a few minutes, unfamiliar with the Ponds. They circled a few times and finally landed on the water again. Will we see more of them? Will they be welcomed?
A fierce  battle regarding Mute Swans is being waged. The beautiful birds have been slaughtered in some areas (e.g. New Jersey) as non-native invasive species, accused of carrying Asian Flu. The Center for Disease Control denies that the birds pose any danger, and the matter has been brought to the courts by groups intent on protecting the birds. Only time will tell who will come out the winner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Times They Are A-Changin'

My parents and I escaped to Shanghai (from Vienna) in late 1938. I just ran across some letters my grandmother (who later joined us) wrote to me. The letters were written on extra thin "airmail-paper", to save on postage. Letters took a couple of months to reach us, and had been opened by Nazi censors.
Last night I skyped with my friend Clover, who is back in Beijing, after living in Marin for a while. I took a picture of my computer-screen, and you can see me at the bottom of the picture. The connection was poor and the picture I took is not great.
The point of this discourse is to reflect on the changes in communication that have taken place in my lifetime. Perhaps we'll be able to touch (eeek!) electronically one day. Bob Dylan's song-title came to mind. Change seems to happen at an ever faster rate.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Landscape with People

Sometimes even people can enhans a landscape. Picture taken from the Ponds. Mount Tam and the Marin Civic Center in the background.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I took this picture at last week's Chili Cook-Off in Sausalito's Dunphy Park. While the adults stood in line for, and stuffed themselves with, chili samples, their offspring were having fun at the huge rubber trampoline. I enjoyed watching the kids through the safety-net (for lack of a better word), as their ghostlike images hopped around.