Barney Moon

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One of the side effects of the shutdown, the shelter in place order, or whatever you call this corona virus crisis is weeds. Great bushy volunteers crowding unkept sidewalks. We are in the middle of a drought. Otherwise the weeds would have swallowed us all up by now.

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The stay home order has given people a renewed appreciation for simple things like a walk through your neighborhood park. The last light on Cypress trees indicates the setting of the sun.

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I like to use a 400mm lens to photograph the landscape, especially when the moon is going to be a good subject.

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The almost full moon making us all remember that we are in this together.

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Spring brings winds and longer days to Santa Cruz. You can feel Summer on its way.

JJT.5.May.2020-93Before long, the Southern Hemisphere will awaken and send us powerful long period south swells.

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Last night as I walked back from photographing the moon, I saw a couple of great waves smoking and spitting and generally rolling through in true Steamer Lane fashion right as I passed Barney’s bench. I have some theories about what he’d be doing during this time, but I’ll save those for a podcast sometime.

In Common: Building Community through Communication

Hello friends hope you all are well

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So, I have a bunch of things on my mind that I want to communicate to you, and that is the first topic actually. That is what I want to talk to you about the most today: this idea of community and communication. It’s such a strange thing to think that virtually no one in the world is unaffected by this pandemic and nobody seems to be clear about how to deal with the problems, so we have this very common situation and that alone is not going to create community. It’s going to take communication for us to be able to understand that our common situation puts us in the position where it is best to build community. But how does that really work? What does it look like? How do we build community in a way that feels good to us. I think that a part of the challenge of community is the fact that we have so many individual differences and that is part of our value system. We tend to reward individualism and we have a strong sense of accountability and you can’t be accountable and you can’t earn rewards if you don’t have a strong sense of individuality, but that can work against building community. In other words, if we have a culture that values individual efforts, then how do we focus on things that affect the larger whole? We have individual efforts but we also have team sports. How do we pay attention to individual contributions while staying focused on the team? These are age old ancient questions about society itself about organization, about families, etc.

 

The first answer to the question what makes building community difficult is the fact that people get into conflicts and a conflict taken to extremes becomes uncomfortable for everyone and at its extreme conflict eventuates in violence. So, the attempt to build community can actually lead to violence. So, here we are in this unknown window of time where we are prohibited from gathering in groups. We need to keep doing good work even though we can’t get together.

 

I’ve always tried to imagine myself as part of the human family even though I have a clear idea that I only know a tiny fragment of what that means. I belong to this vast family of humans and I know so little about the majority of them and it is this proximity and lack of knowing that creates the fear and the intrigue. There is the idea that it may be rewarding but the fear that cultural contact could be fatal.

 

But here we are in this time where getting together is impossible, so maybe getting to know each other is possible from a distance. If we take this challenge, then maybe we can actually work on understanding each other and creating cross cultural bonds. I would guess that if given the opportunity we might find out that we have very similar situations as other people in other parts of the world.

 

When I am looking to connect with people in other parts of the world I am trying to think about the personality types that exist here and I’m speculating that there are other people in other parts of the world who have more in common with you than with the people who are in your own family and since we can’t come together physically we have an opportunity to learn from each other.

 

We are going to have a lot of new work to do. A lot of work is going to be based around rebuilding. We are going to have a lot of work of recovery to do.

 

It’s a strange thing, but we have this fear of other people having power over us and with good reason but when we can take the risk of communicating without the danger of physical violence then maybe we stand a chance of getting to know each other better. In other words, I’m thinking that we might have friends out there we don’t even know exist.

 

The biggest question we all face right now is how we will continue to do business. How will we pay the bills to continue operations during this economically difficult time? How are we going to create communities where trust is apparent so that we can transact and build networks of exchange?

 

One thing that is hopeful is that we will be analyzing the basics of human interaction from this new point of view. We will need to break down the fundamentals of human economic activity and we will figure out how to do things in a way that saves lives and keeps people on a healthy path.

 

Before this pandemic I was already beginning a rugged campaign of sustainable content creation practices. I had been training for very long hikes to get up early and out in the morning light so that I can create content for businesses that is of a very high quality but that doesn’t rely upon fossil fuels for its production. My studio is still on the grid, so I’m not without a footprint, but relying upon my own locomotion, using my power of walking to get me where I need to be has been my practice for the past half year.

 

I believe that at their highest level, forms tend to merge together and I am hypothesizing that we will have in art something that will merge together with marketing in a kind of art experience that leads to action. For example, in the dialogues of Plato philosophy and literature merge in a high form or art. I believe that we are due for a new form art that works like marketing to convince masses of people to take an action. Philosophy and literature merge at their highest point and the same is true with marketing.

 

Art history shows us how artistic forms change over time and adapt to meet new needs of humans. So, while artists of the Italian Rennaisance were mainly painting portraits and scenes from the bible, modern artists created so many different artistic movements and the whole idea of art for art’s sake had to do with understanding what art can do when it is not in the service of another discourse. But where we are now as a human race requires of art something that is more similar to marketing. We need art today that will give us the experience of art but will also have the effect of marketing. In other words, our art is going to convert us into certain kinds of action.

 

Part of that is going to be about building community through artistic communication. While we have this window of time where we have decided to stop all human contact we have an opportunity to learn more about each other and ourselves.

Heron Addict

Yesterday I set out on a photo hike. I do these hikes with a certain amount of faith that something will happen on the way that will attract my attention. So, I put on an audio book and focus on breathing while I walk. It becomes a kind of moving meditation. Lately, no content before the virus outbreak has seemed appropriate. We need to learn how to live in this world, so listening to people who are talking about our current situation seems a lot more relevant. 

Yesterday, though, I decided to put on Bertrand Russel’s History of Western Philosophy. While things that were created three months ago seem absolutely obsolete, the intellectual documents of the ancient past and of the beginning of modern times can engage your mind without all of the fear of our current situation. Listening to what they were thinking about way back when can help to feel a sense of faith in our ability to have continuity. Humans have survived plagues and wars and all kinds of natural devastations and have somehow figured out the movements of the celestial beings all the while. This is an amazing accomplishment. Even with all of the brutal conditions of earlier times, there were still minds focused on the heavens and trying to figure out the nature of truth and the truth of our nature. 

So, I was listening to the ideas of some great thinkers and avoiding the fuck out of people as I made my way to the base of campus by the path that leads up to the classified workers yard. I was stopped in my tracks by an apparition. It was a Great Blue Heron. There it was standing in the grass not minding anyone, just seeming to enjoy a moment in the late afternoon sun. I approached quietly and got my camera ready with a long lens.

The Heron seemed to notice me but was not bothered by me and I was able to get as close as my camera could focus. Only once as a man ran by with a dog did the bird show any signs of disturbance. But even then it merely flew twenty feet away and landed again. As I crept over to get some shots of this majestic bird it started circling back to me. I crouched and watched as it came closer and closer to me and I flashed back to when the Turkeys bum rushed me. This time, though, I actually had a moment of concern as this bird is much bigger, standing probably 4 ft. with a serious knife for a beak. 

It got so close that I could only focus on its shoulders, and then it struck the ground and pierced a rodent right through the head. The photos I got are kind of graphic, as you can see the scream of the prey as its consciousness is obliterated by a massive dagger. The bird then flew a dozen yards away and proceeded to swallow the small mammal whole. 

These are the kinds of experiences that I hope for on my hikes, and you cannot force them. The more time I spend out in those landscapes the more familiar I become with the patterns of the animals, but you still can’t plan for an encounter like this one. 

8 Pillars of Positive Action

Some thoughts and strategies for how to crush this challenging time.


1. Practice breathing. Choose a breathing exercise and practice it for four minutes four times a day. Use this exercise to help calm yourself and to check in with your breathing ability. The benefits of oxygenating your body through deliberate breathing are not to be underestimated.


2. Track your hydration. Choose a drinking vessel and decide how many of them you are going to drink during the day. Water is cleansing to the body and will help you to keep your system functioning optimally.


3. Clean aggressively. This is a battle against a virus that can be won with hot water and soap. This is the ultimate Spring Cleaning challenge. The more you clean, the better you will feel. It’s the one most effective thing we can do. Don’t just wash your hands. Wash all of your shit. Soap and water the fuck out of your life right now.


4. Design your menu. Food is such an important source of comfort, sustenance, and vitality right now. Good food is one of the best ways to protect your spirit and your bodily health. How do we avoid the temptations of sweets during this time? For one thing, it is a matter of understanding the basics of nutrition. Sugar is basically harmless if consumed during a period of exercise when the body needs fuel. If you eat a bunch of ice cream and sit around watching Netflix it is going to do much different things than if you eat a bunch of donuts during the middle of a 16-mile hike. If we get smart about food, we can eat lots of pleasurable things and still hit our nutritional goals and not gain a bunch of weight. Now is the time to get smart about food and to treat it as an art.


5. Exercise your heart. Cardiovascular exercise is super important during this time. The best form of exercise right now is walking. If you walk for a few hours a day, you will be giving yourself the opportunity to rejuvenate and recharge your system.


6. Work your networks. Communication is super important during these times. Not only do we need to stay in touch with family and friends, but we need to keep open lines of communication with our professional colleagues, our business partners and our clients or leads. Choosing a number of people to connect with every day ( I chose 5) and checking it off will create an accountability loop. 


7. Limit social media. Until people start using journals to vent their anger and fear, it’s probably a good idea to be very careful about how much social media you consume. Social media is an important tool to use during this time, but it is also a very easy distraction and waste of time. Take a look at your screen time. Imagine if you had spent that amount of time cleaning and exercising. We should use social media for networking and for entertainment, but not all day every day.


8. Choose love and play. There is nothing more motivating and powerful than the feelings of love and the effects of play. These are not trivial things, but essential to our functioning as humans. What do you love to do? Who do you love? What do you want to share? How do you find a lighthearted sense of play? 


These are challenging times, but we have the tools we need to emerge. Of course, the number one thing we need to be doing, so obvious that I didn’t even add it as a pillar, is to stay home and to keep a physical distance from people you are not already exposed to on a regular basis. The first and most important way to defeat the virus is through not allowing it to spread. So, we stay home, clean that fucker and get our minds and bodies right for when it is time to go HAM again. 

Color Theory and Food Photography

Working with color and composition in food and product photography.

Do you need to photograph some food or products for your marketing purposes? There are some tried and true methods I use to get mouthwatering images easy on the eyes, but I also like to research methods and to keep learning new things, so I stay inspired and varied in my creative output.

One YouTuber who I really like for tips and tricks related to food photography is The Bite Shot. Joanie Simon approaches food photography as an artist and has wonderful ideas that produce great results. I watched her video “Using Color Theory in Food Photography.” In this video, she talks about Josef Albers, of the BAUHAUS movement, and refers so some ideas in his book “The Interaction of Color.”

I had some bags of Big Pete’s Treats Lemon Cookies to photograph with some cut up lemons, so I decided to do some shots using a purple paper to give the image some design elements. It’s a very basic idea that complementary colors are pleasing to the eye, but Albers via Simon helps us to understand why this technique works. When you overlay two colors the color of the ground is subtracted from the color on top, causing the color to move in that direction in the way it looks. If I had used a green paper or orange paper it would have affected the appearance of the yellow. Since there is no purple in yellow, the yellow retains its hue even on top of a colorful ground.

The thing about color is that it is an endless way to experiment with your photography. Being intentional with color helps to understand how it works.

Try to create a photograph with two colors only. How did you balance the colors? What was the mood you were going for? Try different color combinations and see how it changes the way we read color.

Also, check out my latest podcast “Massage the Messenger,” HERE: http://bit.ly/Massage_the_Messenger

Massage the Messenger

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dialogic/id1410521236

Andy Roy and the End of Addiction

 

 

Andy Roy is famous for being a wild and raw skateboarder and a psychedelically colorful personality always ready to start a ruckus. Where did the wild things go? They followed Andy Roy who was following Jay Adams, another legendary countercultural rebel. Roy has long epitomized the punk rock core of skateboarding, the DIY, middle finger to authority dirty grimy soul of American culture. He is a unicorn, a mythical creature–untamable, but one you want to believe in for the sake of us all. He is a performance artist, a shit starter, a robber, a swindler, a cuddle bandit and more. He is the kind of guy to make the most out of every fucked up situation that American life could throw at you. He threw it right back and it was covered in shit.

 

One more thing Andy Roy is and was, however, is an addict. He is also a boy who saw adult things too early, a father who didn’t know how to grow up. He is a boyfriend who truly loves his girlfriend. He is a man in recovery and full of all the potential of a human being.

 

I have never met Andy Roy, but I learned about him through learning about skateboarding which has become one of my favorite parts of our culture. I first became intrigued by his personality when I saw his Epicly Latered episode and felt so conflicted when I saw him stand up to Birdo at Derby when he was confronted for speaking his mind about Consolidated. I love the stand that Consolidated has taken against the corporatization of skateboarding, but here was Birdo seeming to protect his brand by confronting a skater who spoke his mind. I was confused. I know Birdo. I respect him. But in this encounter my gut went with Andy Roy. He seemed truer, purer in his approach. I still wonder about how that scene was edited. What don’t we know about how it went down? Maybe I was fooled by good video. It wouldn’t be the first time.

 

Next, I followed Andy on Instagram where I grew to love his voice. He would write these obscenely long rants but you could follow him perfectly and the picture he painted was vivid and clear. I quickly realized that the man was an artist, someone like Barney with the gift for spontaneous prose. I also saw that he loved his girlfriend and that made me like him that much more. It’s one thing to be tough, but another to be vulnerable. When you are in love with another human that vulnerability that opens up is so much more profound than anything else, and his ability to share that publicly put me on his team.

 

Now, the thing is, I might be falling for old Andy Roy tricks. He might be robbing me blind. He’s a pro at this game, but the thing is I believe him.

 

It was at the turn of the year that he got sober. The holidays are especially rough for people who live outside the box. If you are anti-establishment it is a painful time of year usually. As the story goes, his girlfriend discovered he had been using heroin and lying to her about it and she left him. He retreated from San Francisco, homeless and broke and went to stay with Bam who was still living wildly and had the means to make it happen.

 

I don’t need to repeat the story, though, because he tells it so well himself. Listen to his podcast Rip Ride and check out his episode with Brandon Novac, which goes into the details of his path to sobriety. Then listen to all the other episodes, and listen to his interview on the Nine Club. What stood out the most to me in hearing him and Novac talk about their journeys was Novac’s vision for the end of addiction. He said it goes one person at a time. One person gets help and gets clean and sober and then they help another and one becomes two and then they help another until it spreads across the country like the light of a new day. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. People are dying every day from overdoses. We need someone like Andy Roy to lead the way, and his podcast Rip Ride is doing just that.