Monday, March 31, 2008

Reenacting the Last Supper

When the associate pastor of my church asked if I'd be willing to participate in the Maundy Thursday service, I said "sure!" (why not?). Well had I known that it meant memorizing a full page monologue and playing the part of Judas Iscariot in a reenactment of Leonardo da Vinci's mural painting of the Last Supper, I might have given the matter a little more thought.
I gotta say, playing that role was creepy! Even though theologians agree with the text of my monologue to suggest that Judas did not intend that his act result in the events which soon unfolded, he remains our culture's ultimate villain. As for the problem with the memorization, since my pose had me leaning my elbow on the table (bad manners!) I managed to tape my script down flat and sneak a peak at it a couple of times during the performance.

We Judases are nothing if not sneaky!

Monday, March 24, 2008

What's Not Happening

"So what's been happening with the house project," people ask. In short, NOTHING! Only a couple of days before the building permits were supposed to be ready, the City of Fullerton's Planning Department raised an issue that should have been raised during the first plan check last November.
It seems that the house design was over the size limit imposed by the small size of the property by 124 square feet. We were told that we could handle this with a Minor Site Plan adjustment, so we turned in our application for such and settled in for a one-month wait until the Planning Department staff meeting on March 20. When we showed up for the meeting, the staff seemed unaware of status of our project and consequently we were not on the agenda. We later learned that they had decided that a full zoning variance would be required and that the city's Planning Commission would next meet on April 23!

So here we sit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Nephew Nathan

Nathan (my brother Glenn's son) is in his last year of high school and has been quietly turning himself into an excellent photographer. Considering the fact that I was a few years removed from high school, before I began taking photography seriously, I'm afraid that my days as the best photographer in our family may be numbered.

Witness the fact that this image is Kodak's "Picture of the Day" in New York's Times Square today. It's a clever shot to be sure, but I'm even more impressed with his whole body of work . His family is quite proud of him, and justifiably so. Me? I am too, but I'm keeping an eye on him just the same.

It reminds me of the old joke: "How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? One. And 24 more to say 'I could have done that.'"

Photograph by Nathan Styffe

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Staying Young, Gracefully

We had a family birthday party for my daughter Jennifer last Saturday morning. She has loved my Mother's blueberry pancakes since she was a wee child and consequently, we tend to have her birthday celebrations in the morning.

As things were wrapping up, both my Mom and Dad had things that they wished to show me on their computers. Yes, computers…plural. They have adapted themselves to the digital age so enthusiastically, that sharing one computer just didn't work. It finally occurred to me that I should photograph this scene and share a bit of their story. Their full stories take up about 600 pages worth of autobiographies which they have both created for their family and friends.

Last year, they both turned 80 and next year they will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Although they have both "retired" from their life-long professions, Dad as a printer, Mom as a school teacher, they both continue to be amazingly active. Last year they went to Thailand and Rwanda to help in missionary efforts and continue to serve the Lord and their fellow travelers through their church and other organizations.

So here is that photograph taken on Saturday, March 15, 2008 in the study of their home. The paper sign stuck on the wall over their desks reads "A Creative Mess is Better than Tidy Idleness." 

I would be inclined to agree.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Catching Up

Working on the blog has taken a back seat recently to a number of things, mainly the home remodeling project which has gotten stalled by the City of Fullerton's bureaucracy, AKA the city's planning department. But more about that later…maybe.
On February 20, we were treated to a full eclipse of the moon. The moon is one of my favorite photographic subjects and this event allows moon photography at its most spectacular.

The eclipse was scheduled to begin at 5:45 pm local time and achive totality at 7:01. The area had been under cloud cover the entire day and I thought there would be only a slim chance of observing the event. Around 6:10, I was ready to give up and head for home. As I was driving along Walnut Ave. in Fullerton, I saw the illuminated outline of some clouds in the rear view mirror. I stopped the car, got my gear out and soon the moon rose out of the cloud bank to the east. The rest of the sky was clearing.

For nearly an hour, I watched the shadowed portion of the moon increase as it rose in the sky. Metrolink commuter trains came and went as I composed and re-composed to accomodate the changing relationship of signal bridge and moon.

At 7:01, Metrolink 688 rolled by on it's way to a 7:04 stop. The red ghost of the moon stood out in the sky with the near 1 second exposure .

And in case you're wondering, I didn't use Photoshop to enlarge or reposition the moon.