27 December, 2009

A Christmas Poem

This past week was a good one for me. It was my first Christmastime in the Bay Area, so I had a chance to see what things here are like around this time of year. I also was able to spend an entire 2 days with a pair of good friends I hadn't seen in 7 and 12 years, respectively. All in all, it was a great chance to spend time with people I care about, and to see others do the same.

What follows is a whirlwind tour through Christmas as it happened to me; a photographic flipbook of my own design. Enjoy!

PS. If you like this, I would appreciate if you could let me know. Comments are easy to write, and it took me three days of effort to get everything just so. It's always nice to know when hard work is appreciated.

Many years it had been since the last time we spoke
face-to-face, in the company of PEEK and POKE.
Tuesday evening was spent sitting down, catching up,
And at daybreak the three of us slowly awoke.

I pulled out my camera and looked all around:
Some things hide in plain sight, still yet to be found.
A sunflower draped from the knob of a door

And a med school vignette a few feet off the ground.

We later departed to find food to eat,
And in doing so, found quite a shadowy treat:
Here the sun was just right to throw words on the table;
I stopped, looked, and shot and the deed was complete.

With a couple steps farther we started our brunch
with some crêpes served for breakfast, and dessert for… uhh… lunch.
We shared memories of tricky black-and-red circles,
The most frustrating type. Or at least, that's my hunch.

Then we carpooled back down to the south of the Bay
and then said our goodbyes and then each went our way.
'Til the next time we meet, I will think of y'all often.
And just for the giggles, I write here, "toupée."

So fast-forward now to the day of the Yule,
When I hit Ocean Beach, schlepping gear like a mule.
Gave a camera to L and kept one for myself,
And the weather was nice, not too hot, not too cool.

Some folks sat in the water and played with the sand,

Some alighted on stones, planted firmly on land,
Here a father and son (or, at least, I assume)
Sit and think, back-to-back, of some dreams meek and grand.

Here a kicker of sea foam sweeps some to the side,

And a man and a dog run and play in the tide.

As a man with a kite throws his arms in the air,

And a wearer of "sunblock" continues to stride.

Here two folks took a seat for a heart-to-heart chat,
Drinks in hand, shades in sand, with a black "SF" hat.

A bird traipses around, just along the water's edge

As another takes flight, dark before a golden matte.

And a man sits alone, likely having a ponder,
A hand to his cheek and his gaze far over yonder.
With the rustle of waves, breaking soft on the evening sand,
It's no wonder folks sit here to let their minds wander.

At the end of the day, set to go but standing by
Here to watch the warm, white sun descend slowly through an orange sky
Many folks turned to leave, but from the corner of an eye
Took one long, last look before each in turn said, "goodbye."

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

18 December, 2009

Early Morning Visitor

Just a quick update today, as an experiment. On Tuesday, the fire alarm in my apartment went off right as I was going to sleep around 4:00 a.m. I grabbed my camera and headed outside in my fashionable Snoopy-PJs-and-hiking-boots outfit.

It was pretty dark except for a spotlight the fire engine had pointed toward the main entrance, where a number of tenants were standing outside. After trying for a couple minutes to figure out how to compose a decent image, I noticed that the side of the engine was really shiny. I took a few reflected frames, but they weren't too interesting.

Soon thereafter, the firefighter (who had been inside) came outside and asked tenants how to get in touch with the building manager. After chatting with them for a bit, he went to fetch something from the cab of the fire engine. I fired off a couple frames as he stepped back onto the curb and got this one, which I really like. It's clear that folks are waiting uncomfortably outside (especially in the large version), as well as why they're outside.

"I have trained myself to notice what I see." —Sherlock Holmes

15 December, 2009


A mouthful of acronyms accompanied the final Golden Gate Chapter BMW Car Club of America autocross event of the year, the Top Driver Shootout. As it was essentially the crowning event of the GGC autocross season, the difference in the drivers' demeanors was readily apparent. Some drivers had minutes-long sessions spent studying the course map, trying to find where they had left a few elusive tenths of seconds on the course.

In addition, the mental preparation for driving became more visible. Above, Jason Sams focuses before getting in his car to start one of his timed afternoon runs.

When there was downtime, though, the typical, more jovial autocross attitude came to light. At one point, while the start was on hold because of a timer malfunction, the starter had some fun with alternate flag-waving techniques.

A 180° hairpin right-hander led into the course's long, wide straight. The course layout created a deceiving feeling of open space back here; I'm sure some of the drivers would have liked even more space between the cones of the curving right-hand slalom at the end of the straight.

And through the finish. The yellow car in the background is on the back straight as the blue Mini Cooper rushes to trip the finish line timer.

Unlike other autocross events, the Top Driver Shootout ends with the crowning of a top driver. Here, autocross master of ceremonies Kris Linquist looks over the tabulated results with a smirk before announcing the podium finishers.

At the end of the day, Eric Lam placed first and won custody of the Franz Fechner Cup for the coming year — much like the Stanley Cup in hockey, the Fechner Cup is passed from winner to winner after each year's Top Driver Shootout.

Jason Sams (left) placed second, with an adjusted time 0.343 seconds behind Lam. Michael Do Couto (right) placed third, 0.023 seconds behind Sams. Rounding out the top five were Alexei Sakhartchouk, driving the blue Mini Cooper from above, and Brian Cheung.

Well, so long for now. You can find more photos here. And in closing, a quote from a friend-of-a-friend:
"My bike is like a high maintenance girlfriend. Everything I buy for her needs to be 'special' and there's always something wrong that I need to fix."

06 December, 2009

A Call For Feedback: Yes, this means you.

I want your suggestions. Whether you've been following The Doppler Effect for a while, or you've never seen it before, I want to hear from you. Even if this is the last thing you do before forgetting about it, please do this before you forget about it. I'm interested in your thoughts and feedback, regardless of whether you and I are friends or strangers.

This post has been rolling around in my head for a while now, but with the changing of the seasons, I figured it was high time to think about other changes as well. So in short, I'm interested in knowing what I should change about The Doppler Effect; what's working well, what isn't, and what things just need a couple tweaks?

There are a couple of ways to leave feedback: Finally, here are some questions to consider. Feel free to comment on any of them, or on anything else:
  • This is the big one: What should I talk about? Are there things I've been neglecting? Should I be discussing the photos themselves? The things in the photos? Other things entirely?
  • Post frequency: My goal is an average of 1 post per week. More?
  • Post length and photo/text balance
  • Types of photos: More people photos/posts? More nature? More random stuff?
  • Technical content: Want more? Want less?
  • What was your most and least favorite post?
  • Overall: good? decent? bad? horrible? Let me know

While riding to work on Wednesday, I was stunned by the brilliant, changing colors of the foliage along the Steven's Creek Trail. That afternoon, I was walking between buildings, spotted some multi-colored foliage and decided to take some photos. My goal was to illustrate the changing of seasons, from Autumn to Winter.

As always, the first image (up above) is my favorite — I love that you can practically see the change taking place. Also, I'm a fan of small details, and the leaf is pretty much the perfect subject as far as that goes.

Directly above, the main subject is a leaf that's a bit farther along in the green-to-red transition. This isn't something I had noticed before, but it's neat how a single tree often has leaves that are fully green, fully red, fully brown, and everything in between.

More colors! In the upper-left, there's a group of leaves where some turned completely yellow before turning red, and others are still partially or mostly green.

I liked the contrast of the bright yellow leaves with the little bit of brown on the leaves which are dying. The brown of the leaves also seems to match the rich, reddish brown of the evergreen trunks as well.

That's that for now. Please, please leave feedback. And finally, a fitting quote from L
"....you'll notice that i love color.
i would wear a rainbow if i could."

01 December, 2009

Second Helpings with Dizzy Balloon

This past Saturday brought the return of Dizzy Balloon's Thanksgiving Extravaganza to The Rickshaw Stop. It wasn't nearly as outlandish as last year, but it was still a great time.

One aspect of the concert that stood out for me was the spontaneous crowd interaction. Last year, what with the (amazing) sing-along and other antics, it was pretty obvious that the crowd was having a good time. On Saturday, the interactions were generally more subtle but were definitely still there. It was clear that the folks in the audience enjoyed themselves.

A concert-goer puts her hands in the air as (right to left) lead singer Petros A. P., lead guitarist Jonny Flannes, and keyboardist Joey Orton sing.

Dizzy Balloon played an acoustic version of their song "I'm Just Me" for their first encore. Here, a crowd-member waves his lighter as lead singer Petros A. P. gets the crowd to wave their hands.

For their second encore, the group played a cover of The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," during which Petros A. P. invited audience members onstage en masse.

Guitarist Jonny Flannes autographs a fan's t-shirt after the concert.

Thanks for looking. You can find more photos in this gallery.