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Dump Run, Hedge of Jehovah Witnesses, Beautiful Sunny Sunday Afternoon, and the Paul Thorn Band at Rancho Nicasio

Last Sunday I took my trailer full of trash to the recycle center, then drove out to the countryside to see some music at Rancho Nicasio. On the way I shot this sculpted hedge outside a pretty drab building that's part of the Fairfax Jehovah's Witness complex. Kinda wierd, it's a witty hedge, which the JW's are not.

Dusty from the dump I went behind a warehouse, took off my work clothes and took a shower from the shower bag in my truck, got into shorts and headed out to the country. I'd seen Paul Thorn last year, he knocked me out. Never heard of him. I only saw him because I went to see Billy Joe Shaver, who opened for him. This year people have caught on, because it was sold out. Barbecue on the lawn, sunshine, shade, music starts at 4 PM. not being able to get in, I bought a beer and meandered to a field behind the grounds with my fold-up chair, and could see and hear great. Paul is from Mississippi, he's the real thing. Worked 12 years in a chair factory, was a world-class boxer and fought Roberto Duran (he lost in the 6th round because his face was cut). Imagine a guy who's a great musician being such an athlete.

Mighty Live oak in Nicasio

Joe Martin, Master Canoe Carver

Joe Martin’s father was a canoe maker and taught Joe and his three brothers the craft. Joe lives near Tofino and is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, from the house of Nuukmis.
Tla-o-qui-aht people are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth language group, who live on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the most northern tip of Washington State.

Joe Martin uses a Mexican panga in northern waters

So far Joe has built 35 canoes, each carved out of a single cedar tree. The longest is 36’, the shortest 16’. Joe cuts a tree in the forest, then uses a chainsaw, axes, adzes, drawknives, planes, and a sander to create the final canoe. Once the canoe is hollowed out, it is steamed with water and hot rocks so that the canoe becomes pliable enough to bend it so it becomes wider. We hope to show Joe's canoes in our book on Northwest builders.
Joe’s daughter does tours of Clayoquot Sound in the hand-carved canoes. The tours leave from Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island and focus on native culture and the natural beauty of the area. Information can be found at a very classy website: Tlalook Cultural Adventures (out of Tofino)

Vin's Acorn Pod Sauna

This is the latest creation I've shot for Builders of the Northwest Coast. Artist and impeccable craftsman Vin Gorman has spent about five years (not full-time) building this sauna. It's portable, has eight ribs, and bolts together in sections. I'll try to post sneak previews of the book (due out early 2007) from time to time.

Concrete ribs are pre-cast

Interior is like a jewel box.

I Owned a Canon EOS 5D For Three Days (For Camera Nuts Only)

Magical 5D Arrives in Shelter Office!

It was almost a magical moment. I've been so looking forward to getting Canon's hot 5D digital camera, which has a bunch of features beyond my present 20D. It arrived today and bummer! Joy soon turned to depression. The mirror (that flips up and down) had come loose from its frame. Rats! I also discovered (didn't know) that the zoom lenses from the 20D won't work on the 5D (an EFS 17-85 mm/1:4-5.6, and an EFS 10-20 mm/3.5-4.5 digital sizes. More rats! And now I was looking at an additional $2500 in lenses.
I'm leaving next week on a photo trip, shooting builders in Canada and other points north. I've been using a Canon 20D for over a year now and it's a sweetheart. It weighs a ton but it's worth it. It's 8 megapixels. I've been thinking about the 5D, a 12 megapixel model for about a year, it has some incredible features, and ordered one last week from B and H Photo. Well, much as I wanted a new tool/toy, I decided to return it and skip the 5D for a while, not be trying to learn how to operate a new camera while on an intensive photo trip. Well, duh!

Back to A Fixed 50mm

The good news is that today I also got a 50mm 1.4 Canon lens and it's a revelation. I put it on the 20D and took some pics around the house. Makes me realize I've been depending on zoom lenses for years and forgot about the speed and sharpness of a fixed lens. I can shoot really dark places now. Like the old days, moving myself and not the lens to get the right composition. Besides, I see the world about as 50 mm. (I know some photographers who see it as 35 mm or so.) I just shot this in the office. Oh man, what I've been missing by not having a 50 mm! I'm inspired.

Shot in mirror a half hour ago with 50mm lens on a unipod

Two Photo Tips I Picked Up From Frankie Frost

A few months ago on a rainy day, Marin Independent Journal photographer Frankie Frost came out to shoot some photos of me for an article in the paper. He shot about 200 photos. Bam. Bam. Bam. They're digital, you're not using film. Ever since, I've loosened up, been shooting lots of pics of people, like 10 to get them warmed up. Soon they relax. I'm getting much nicer photos of people. Secondly, Frankie used a monopod, with a clip on/off attachment. It gives you stabilkity so you can shoot at m aybe 1/8. The more I use it the more I like it. Lot less clunky than a tripod.

Godfrey Stephens, A Real Artist!

Godfrey Stephens, a Canadian (British Columbia) artist, has, in around 50 years, created an incredible and varied world of paintings, drawings, carvings, totems, and sculptures. He is what I call a Real Artist. He is VISUAL. He looks at everything that crosses his path intensly and he is constantly searching for beauty and grace in the world. He has spent years living on beaches in driftwood shelters. He has built a number of boats, most of them on the beach with salvaged wood. He has sailed a catamaran around Vancouver Island. He has sailed self-made sailboats to Mexico and been shipwrecked twice. He grew up in Victoria and when he was 12 years old he became best friends with Tony Hunt, who went on the become the present chief of the Ft. Rupert Kwagiulth (commonly known as Kwakiutl) tribe. Tony's grandfather was Mungo Martin, a legendary Kwagiulth chief and legendary carver and Tony and Godfrey hung out with Mungo while be built the Big House and carved the totems in Victoria's Thunderbird park, a beautiful and authentic display of the First Nations people of British Columbia. Godfrey was in carving heaven. Tony was being trained (he is now a world reknowned artist) and Godfrey started to carve himself. So that's one part of Godfrey's work, his carvings, and many of them are strongly influenced by native tradition.
Then there are his paintings, many of them kaleidoscopic interweavings of female forms.

Midnight Sun, © Godfrey Stephens

He is a major artist, undiscovered as yet. I won't go further into it here, because I'm going to do Godfrey's story and show his art in my next book, Builders of the Northwest Coast, but I was inspired to see the three paintngs on his webiste:
Godfrey Stephen's Website

Great White Shark Chases Surfers Out of Bolinas Channel Tonight

I went down to the beach to ride my skateboard tonight around 6 PM Friday night. It hadn't been too inspiring a day and I wanted to play. I parked next to a bunch of surfer's cars and was getting my safety gear on when a surfer with board came walking up from the beach dripping wet and said a "great white shark" has swum by him and four other surfers. It turned out that local Owein Sanders was the first to see it. He yelled out to the other surfers and the five of them windmill-paddeled into the beach. I asked him how big the fin was and he held his hand about 18" above the pavement. Todd Mason said the fin appeared and cruised along for a while, then turned on its side and went under. Todd looked shaken. I asked Owein (who was riding a 9-foot wood laminate surfboard) where the shark was and he said "the groin," meaning the mouth of the channel that leads from the ocean into the Bolinas lagoon.

It took a few minutes before I realized that last night, that is, Thursday, around 6:30, I'd driven down to the channel, ran along the beach, and swum from the groin though the channel down to the ramp (about 200 yards). When I got onto land I noticed a few seals swimming in the channel. Light bulb goes on in Lloyd's dim brain just now (I mean just now, 9:05 PM Friday night). The sharks are in there this time of night (incoming tide) trying to snack on sea lions who come into the lagoon on just such conditions. About two years ago, a local surfer, Lee Fontan was attacked by a great white at this very spot.


Human Ingenuity in China

Our man in British Columbia, artist Godfrey Stephens, just sent us these pix (we don't know where they're from):

Boingboing, Make Magazine, Scanning of All Books in the Known Universe: All from Kevin Kelly

I talked to Kevin Kelly a few weeks ago and just got around to checking out a bunch of things he mentioned. Kevin is the "senior maverick" at Wired magazine, former editor of the Whole Earth Magazine, maestro of CoolTools and author of Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World


About the hottest blog going; it strikes me as what a blog should be: http://boingboing.net/

Privacy on yr. computer on boingboing

Make Magazine's Zine

Do-it-yourself culture: Web version of O'Reilly's exciting magazine

Scan This Book!

Article by Kevin Kelly in recent NY Times
"The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, past and present. All books, all documents, all conceptual works, in all languages:" Scan This Book!


While I'm at it, check out this amazing site of video clips, which includes tons of music clips. You need a fast connection (if not, let the clip load while you do something else, then go back and view it). I just typed in Freddie King and got 24 clips on him. http://youtube.com/