Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Wet, Rainy Photo-Run

During my Thursday run in the rain, I wished I had my camera. Although it's a pain carrying a camera on wet runs, the fog and rain create an opportunity for interesting landscape photography. The forecast called for rain again today, so I packed my Panasonic LX5 camera in a fanny pack, keeping it dry under my rain jacket. The LX5 is the perfect trail running camera. The slippery, slimy, sticky mud on the Pleasanton Ridge trails made for a challenging run, so I decided to take a leisurely 20 mile photo-run today.

Here are a few photos from my run.

It was "one step forward and half a step backward" going uphill on the wet, slippery clay trails.

I enjoy running on the single track through the oak trees.

The wet weather brings out the California Newts. The newts blend in with the dirt, so it's always tough avoiding these little guys.

I've run past this arrow dozens of times, but the fog today made for the perfect opportunity to photograph it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Foggy Vision, Clear Mind

Rain was in the forecast for Wednesday, so I adjusted my weekly Monday/Wednesday trail running schedule to Tuesday/Thursday for this past week.  God has an interesting sense of humor, as the rain on Wednesday ended up being a light drizzle and the rain showers arrived on Thursday instead.  This was the third time in the last month that I had the pleasure of running in a steady rain.

I love running in 100 degree heat, 35 degree cold, or pouring rain.  Well, to be honest, I like the challenge of running in the heat, but struggle on longer runs, and I hate the cold and rain.  I do, however, love the heat, cold, and rain because the trails are empty under these conditions, enabling a more serene and peaceful running experience.

As I approached the trailhead to the Pleasanton Ridge, I smiled as I saw the fog blanketing the ridgeline.  It was going to be fun.  I ascended the east-facing side of the ridge slowly, being gentle on my healing Achilles and careful not to slip on the slick clay.  Within a mile, I was in the fog, which got thicker as I approached the ridgeline.  It was a zen-like experience.  The fog clouded my vision, but the serenity cleared my mind.  I was treated to the soothing symphony of the rhythmic pattering of rain and the gentle rustling of leaves, as the wind passed through the trees.  I focused on nothing, but the relaxed breaths of air quietly entering and exiting my body; my mind interrupted only by the occasional California Newt wandering the trail.  I finished the run wet, cold, and entirely relaxed.

Saturday’s weather forecast calls for rain showers -- 70% chance by 7 AM and 90% by 8 AM.  It’s going to be another fun one…

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ia 'Oe E Ka La Hula Festival

When we first moved to Pleasanton, California, my wife and I watched the hula performances at the Ia 'Oe E Ka La Hula Festival, held annually in November at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. We actually have an Ia 'Oe E Ka La hula festival poster from 1995 hanging in our dining room. Little did I know, my future daughter, yet to be an itch in her daddy’s pants, would be competing in this hula competition decades later.

I photographed the halau performing at the last few Ia 'Oe E Ka La competitions. This year, I asked my daughter if it was okay if I didn’t photograph during the performance. I wanted to sit back, relax, and enjoy the performance. Sometimes as photographers, we need to set down the camera, enjoy the moment, and just be a parent. Ironically, photographing an event and being able to view the photos decades later helps bring back memories, but often the actual real-time experience is lost behind the viewfinder. Parents are not alone in this phenomenon. Kids (and adults) are often too engrossed in taking pictures and videos on their cell phones, uploading it to social media, and tweeting/texting their friends about the event, that they don’t actually experience the moment.

This year, I enjoyed the performances with the wide-angle perspective from my two eyes (and not the tunnel view via my viewfinder). It was beautiful!

Here are a few photos from the 2014 Ia 'Oe E Ka La Hula Festival.

After each performance, the parents all rush outside to take pictures of the girls. This year, I decided to stay out of the gaggle of photographers, deciding instead to capture the multitude of iPhones and DSLRs via this photo. Who needs "the same photo" as everyone else!

This is Kami after her wonderful performance.

Kami's friend, Caitlyn, joined us on Sunday to watch the performance.