Pacific Coast Series Part 2 – Redondo Beach

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The fog wafting over the happy beachgoers

The Housewrighter Pacific Coast Series is my laboratory of recent photo work along the NorCal seashore. A fellow photographer friend told me about Redondo Beach (not the one in Southern California) and it was indeed striking. Just south of Half Moon Bay, and north of the fabulous Ritz Carlton (see below), this compelling cove is rife with great shooting opportunities. In this study, I used my Olympus Stylus 1  to create all the images you will see. I am continually amazed how versatile, this little cam is, and what wonderful images it produces. I shot the above image from about 75 yards and edited it on Snapseed. [Read more…]

Why The World Cup Matters to Me

The Blissful Adventurer - iPhone and Puglia

I’ve watched plenty of World Cup in this Town

Why the World Cup matters to me, is something I have pondered for over a month as the big event drew nearer. This is my first World Cup since 1998 that I will not be in Europe for at least part of it. It was strange not watching yesterday’s USA-Ghana match in a place with a huge screen and raucous fans. I have seen matches in bars in Connemara Ireland, and along the Mosel in Trier, Germany. I have watched on ferries to Sardinia, the streets of Tuscany, and alone, in a big empty apartment, after a train ride from Switzerland. No matter the locale, rarely does a match fail to create a goose-bump inducing moment. [Read more…]

Pacific Series – Panther Beach

The Housewrighter - Pacific Series

Panther Beach – Near Santa Cruz

The Housewrighter Pacific Series is a choice of my favorite Hipstamatic images from the past year, all taken along the Northern California Pacific coast. Today’s image is from Panther Beach. I was driving north along the PCH from Santa Cruz, when I saw a little strawberry stand. I stopped and chatted with the owner of the stand about strawberries and modernity. He hated the proliferation of internet reviews for his beloved Panther Beach across the street from his stand. He claimed that dirty hipsters and derelicts from San Francisco were coming down and spreading their filthy graffiti on the rocks, and breaking away pieces of the coastline out of spite and stupidity. [Read more…]

The Housewrighter Wins Photo Contest

The Housewrighter - iPhone Imaging

Winner in New Media Category

I am pleased to announce that The Housewrighter has won the New Media category of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Photo Contest. All of us here at The Housewrighter are excited to be selected because of our work with iPhone imaging. This shot, taken at The Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve was captured at sunset with the Pro HDR capture app, on my iPhone 5. Additional edits on Snapseed and refining using Lightroom. I am planning to build this image into a 24×36 on metallic paper, under 1/4″ plexi. It would look very fine on your wall :-) [Read more…]

Folded Napkins – 5 Years of Commitment to Design

The Housewrighter - Folded Napkin

Folded Napkin

Happy 5 Year Anniversary Juliet! Today marks another notch on a societal calendar reminding us that we should celebrate. As if we need any reminders to do what comes so naturally to us. Since the day you sat across from me, in the now defunct “Gravitas” restaurant in Houston, we have celebrated yearly, monthly, and often daily ceremonies of love and experience.

In so many ways I think you were born to celebrate. In no way is this more beautifully illustrated than the large kitchen drawer, in our new apartment, filled with perfectly folded decorative napkins. No matter how small the place we have called home since leaving Houston 3 years ago, we have had a devoted space for gorgeous table linens, fine place settings, and exceptional service-ware. This is no accident. This is the life we have chosen, shaped, and mostly you, have designed.

These folded napkins are the visible outreach of your attention to the details of the heart. Few can see your ability on display, healing the broken hearts of your patients and their families. Few could know the intricacy of our creative life, and the commitment you have to me, and my challenging career pursuits. What people can see is, your radiant smile, your abundance of colorful scarves (mentioned in a prior anniversary letter), and the intricate folds of your beloved serviette(s).

By default, your creativity is crowded in your profession, so your passion is channeled in textiles, flowers, and paint colors. Your vision for our future includes even more color, more detail, and more intricacy than I can easily comprehend. I have grown to love our napkins, and not only because they represent an impending meal. I love them because I see your hands in every careful bend in their fabric. I know when they are out, that our simple weeknight repasts are elevated. More and more often I crave our time cooking, sharing, and our beloved Beethoven.

As people, I think it is essential that our grasp of our spouses must grow, equal to our wish to better ourselves. To me, the more I know about you, the better I have become. I like to believe I know some of the things that bring you joy, and I often try to avoid more of the ones that bring you pain. I miss the mark certainly, but my intention to do it right continues to grow.

We celebrate 5 years tonight with a meal, great wine, and just us, alone in a new home we are growing to love. However, we understand our celebration is not limited to the specifics of time and place, it is continual. For we have celebrated for years in our home, together. We will not measure the success of our marriage in years, countries visited, or professional accomplishments achieved together. We can measure the success of us, by pretty little pieces of cloth, folded with precision, displayed with love, and frequently shared.

Thank you Juliet for being you, unwavering in your design, and your desire to design our lives. I love you so much more than I knew I was capable of loving.

Michael

The Italy Rules

The Housewrighter- Italy Rules

The Gondolier

The Italy Rules are my set of guidelines for the first-time and infrequent Italy traveler. I have traveled to, lived, and worked in Italy frequently over the past 20 years. In this time I evolved from a curious tourist to hardened, salty, veteran of the trials, travails, and pitfalls, of one of the world’s most visited countries. One usually dreams of Italy for years before finally setting their foot into the proverbial boot. The dream usually crashes in much less time. This post is really for the traveler who has not been deep into the Amazon or climbed to base camps in Nepal. This post is for those of you who enjoy modern conveniences, large bathrooms, and the amenities of a comfortable Western life. For the most part, I am you. I love my big bed, my central heat and air, and my very fast wi-fi connection. However, Italy is reason enough for me forego these luxuries for a few weeks or months out of every year.

[Read more…]

SF Photo Walks April 2014

The Housewrighter - Ferry Fog

Ferry Building Fog

Sf Photo Walks is a new series of photos based upon my walks in San Francisco. I tend to do my best Don Draper impressions while walking through the beautiful city by the bay, rather than napping. I was on my way to meet my Catalan (I was reprimanded for calling her a Spaniard) friend for drinks and tapas at Coqueta, when I saw this convergence of light and fog. I had just been at the wonderful Intimate Impressionism exhibit at The Legion of Honor, and I was inspired to work backwards to a sketch on this image. I adore the Transamerica building in downtown SF, and I enjoy how it looks so at home with black and white palm trees. The darkness in this shot represents the difficulty inherent to selling art. The plight of the Ferry plaza art merchant is challenging. I love walking through their work, as I am always inspired to work harder on my images. (Captured with the Olympus Stylus 1 – edited with Snapseed – Glaze – Waterlogued – and Image Blender) [Read more…]

Father Figures and Ford Mustangs – Part 2

A Classic

This is the continuation of Father Figures and Ford Mustangs Part 1

The speedometer only went to 85  in those days, and it had been pegged since before the last gear change. Andrew’s eyes were fixed firmly on the road, while Kelly and Angie vied for rearview mirror territorial supremacy. Mike nervously glanced from the girls, to the road, to the speedometer, and around again, while his palms filled with sweat that he wiped against the gelled sides of his hair. EAGLE 97 had been playing horrible music all night, and when Mister Mister’s Kyrie made its third pass for the evening, Andrew reached his right hand from the wheel, and without so much as a peek at the dash, he quickly pushed the milky gray cassette tape into the deck. [Read more…]

Father Figures and Ford Mustangs

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Father Figures and Ford Mustangs is series of fiction on the actions and dreams of a young man, reared in rural Texas. The series is part of my upcoming book and my first piece of new prose for The Housewrighter.

Mike pushed hard on the sides of his head, attempting to hold his hair flat against the force of the wind blowing from the open convertible top. His chemically straightened mop was no match for Ellis county roads at high rates of speed. He was reluctant to grasp the top of his overgrown bangs so he didn’t come off  like Audrey Hepburn on a scooter in Roman Holiday. He knew he still looked completely ridiculous, but his self-conscious calculations could not be restrained, and so he continued to push, looking more and more like he was covering his ears to block the shriek of a passing ambulance. With his hands occupied, the bolo tie round his neck swished back-and-forth across his gaunt torso. While he was the second tallest guy in his class of 300, he thought his height insignificant supported by a mere 155 pounds. The discounted Guess jeans he wore were easily a 1/2 inch too short for gangly legs. The black and white printed rayon shirt made his pale skin appear pearlescent, and his dark brown eyes seemed as black and one-dimensional as a shark’s. Still, a booming voice, laser -wit, and a fervent curiosity made him gregarious enough to ask questions that well-heeled kids would not have asked. He did not belong in this fast-moving foursome, but he was good company, especially when no one else was around. He would later understand the true nature of being the sidekick. [Read more…]

iPhone Imaging Classes – How do you do this stuff?

The Housewrighter - iPhone Imaging Capture, Process, Post

I teach iPhone imaging classes in the Bay Area and around the country. If you would like to get better results from your iPhone camera, let me help you. I offer group classes and one-to-one lessons. I also lead trips abroad, where we shoot, eat, and enjoy great wines, in some of the world’s most wondrous settings. My programs will make you a better iPhone photographer. Please read on for pricing, dates, and programs. The images here I have recently submitted to photo contest for the Mid Peninsula Regional  Open Space District

[Read more…]