In Cannabis We Trust

During the pandemic, the cannabis plant and the industry surrounding it have become more valuable than ever before. State by state, we are creeping towards federal legalization as the evidence continues to grow in the places where it already has been made legal for recreational use. Legalizing weed is the most SENSIble thing to do. With one stroke from a pen, a switch would flip that could empower hundreds of thousands of people with work, liberate tens of thousands from incarceration, and would potentially provide all of us with the therapeutic tools we need to heal and grow stronger.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis with the Cannabis Act in 2018. Mexico in on the verge of passing their legalization bill. Just as California couldn’t stand by and watch Colorado capitalize on legal weed, it seems beyond inevitable that the US as a whole will finally abandon its stance against cannabis as history continues to show that legalizing cannabis is not just an experiment, but a full-fledged transformation of global drug policy.

Cannabis users who have experienced legalization may have varying views of what legal weed looks like for the people who care most about the plant, but there is a widespread consensus among its advocates that cannabis is a beneficial plant and that making access to quality bud safe and affordable would be a good thing.

When will the US recognize its potential for leadership in the embrace of cannabis and hemp products? If cannabis is federally legalized, will that speed up the process of incorporating hemp commodities into our agricultural and industrial plans? When will we see the ascendency of Hempcrete as a building material? How soon can we phase out plastic and replace it with hemp alternatives?

These questions have urgent importance, and the more we elevate the topic as a priority the sooner we can start working on these powerful problem-solving practices. It is perhaps understandable that people are still resistant to legalization as it shows the power of the anti-drug campaigns that have ideologically backed the drug wars. If you didn’t have personal experience with cannabis, it might still seem like a dangerous or negative thing.

The truth is, cannabis is beneficial to many many people.

When you listen to leaders in the cannabis space, a common story you hear is one of conversion through injury or illness. Oftentimes, these folks will have been extremely conservative people who were anti-cannabis and believed the propaganda against the plant. After being recommended cannabis to deal with seizures, pain, or the side effects of chemotherapy, a great number of people have converted to become stoners who sing the praises of the plant and advocate for it.

One of these people was Jack Herer. He is one of the most iconic examples of a conservative converting to cannabis after trying it for the first time in his 30s. Herer opened up a head shop and started researching cannabis and hemp and became a spearhead for legalization. His book The Emperor Wears No Clothes is a cornerstone work in the legalization movement. Herer became one of the legends of cannabis during his time and he started out starkly against the plant as a Goldwater conservative.

Just as Jack Herer changed his mind about cannabis, we have seen a major shift in attitudes. The more states legalize cannabis, the less the stigma against cannabis users is able to stick, and lots of people you may not have thought were cannabis users have stepped out of the closet. We no longer see cannabis use in the same way. We are getting experienced. Jimi Hendrix would be proud.

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

Vintage Stories

The Blues are back. Santa Cruz is one of its unlikely new homes. How do these things happen? How do cultural scenes coalesce? Bigger than the sum of its parts, a cultural movement is the product of people who will it into being. JJT.15.April.2016.blog-6Big Jon Atkinson is a large part of the reason why the Blues is prominent in Santa Cruz, these days thanks to Larry Ingram, owner of Aptos St BBQ and Mission St BBQ. Larry is the huge force behind this development, bringing Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins, Big Jon Atkinson, and a deep pool of legendary Blues talent on board. Larry has live Blues music in both restaurants 7 nights a week from 6-8. Big Jon and Larry have been JJT.15.April.2016.blog-7My last two art exhibitions have had the Blues as part of their theme, explicitly and implied through tone. The first was a series of experimental paintings with poems that was entitled “Pogonip Blues.” It was a series inspired by the idea of the Blues expressed visually and with words, in response to things that were happening around the world and here in Santa Cruz. The next extended series I worked on was entitled “Dark Fields, Bright Spots.” The Blues have historical roots in the US American South, but they speak to a universal spirit of resilience in the face of uneven odds and challenging times.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-8

Remedies for the Body

There’s a lot to think about, these days. Being thoughtful is usually considered a good thing and in an age of phone-scrolling zombies all too rare. Mindfulness, we mainly agree, is a technique that everyone could use a little more of. We can’t forget about the body, though. Sometimes, it’s ok to let go and let the body have its time at the wheel. That’s one of the goals of meditation and one of the effects of beer; freedom from mental slavery.JJT.15.April.2016.blogPhysical discipline is also a path to freedom. Every kinetic form has its own unique ways of getting the body to grow dominant during the time of practice. It’s not just about building the body in a pleasing form, but attuning the mind to the body and giving the body control in relation to the mind.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-2Medical Cannabis is truly a panacea. It helps with so many things, including: building a strong appetite, creating restful sleep and providing pain relief. Training and living in the contemporary world can be enhanced by this medicinal herb.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-4

Awakening in April

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Bigfoot

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Tri-tip Salad from Mission St. BBQ

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Jewel from Broken Shades at Mission St. BBQ

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Wyatt Barrabee

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Craft Beer at Mission St. BBQ

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BBQ Dinner at Mission St. BBQ

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Tommy is Back!

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The Giant DIPA is back!

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Aki Kumar at Aptos St. BBQ

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Kendra at Pilates 26

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Kendra on the machine

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New Pilates Instructor at Pilates 26

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Sunset from the Therapeutic Healing Collective

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Making Cookies at Big Pete’s Treats

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Beet Burger from Cremer House

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Taz ripping

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Shatter by Punch Extracts from Therapeutic Healing Collective

Rhythm of Days

You always heard older people talking about how fast time moves, but it wasn’t until you actually had experienced enough years to feel it for yourself that this mysterious element of time began to take shape: acceleration. My dad used to share an explanation for it. He thought that you always feel the same age internally and can remember what it was like to be younger, so the more time passes the faster it seems to go. It’s mostly an effect of the conflict between knowing that a lot of time has passed and feeling that it was just yesterday. He has a rare capacity for memory, though. He can remember slight plot details and character points from novels he read twenty years ago. When I stop to remember things that vividly stand out in my memory, like the earthquake of 1989, it doesn’t feel like yesterday, at all. For me, it feels like a different lifetime.JJT.blog.30.March.2016-6JJT.blog.30.March.2016-2JJT.blog.30.March.2016-3JJT.blog.30.March.2016-4JJT.blog.30.March.2016-5JJT.blog.30.March.2016-7JJT.blog.30.March.2016-10JJT.blog.30.March.2016-8JJT.blog.30.March.2016-11JJT.blog.30.March.2016-12JJT.blog.30.March.2016-16JJT.blog.30.March.2016-18JJT.blog.30.March.2016-21JJT.blog.30.March.2016-22JJT.blog.30.March.2016-25JJT.blog.30.March.2016-24JJT.blog.30.March.2016

The Medium of Life

JJT.Blog.26.March.2016Living on a planet orbiting around a sun streaking through this part of the multiverse is a trip. Every month the full moon aligns with the setting and rising sun reminding us of our planetary status. The stars and the moon have been mysterious to humans for as long as we have existed. There’s more power in watching the stars and the moon than we could possibly know. Surf revolves around the tidal movements caused by the distance of the moon to the earth. As surfers and surf photographers, we have to attune ourselves to the patterns of the ocean, which means getting in synch with what is happening in the heavenly spheres.

JJT.Blog.26.March.2016-12Photographers are a curious group. So many different styles and approaches lead to amazingly different points of view. Photography is a dangerous art, but there’s no such thing as a safe art. Being drawn to the ocean in the pursuit of waves makes for a tricky set of balances.

JJT.Blog.26.March.2016-4The ocean contains the mystery of our biosphere. Water is the medium of life. People who are defending the ocean stand in the service of life itself. Finding ways to get our trash out of the ocean and to keep it out should be an extremely high priority. Putting people to work on addressing the environmental calamities we’ve caused could be a tremendous source of job creation and a natural solution to our most pressing problems. Let’s start with cleaning the beaches.

JJT.BPT.March.2016Big Pete’s Treats is a Medical Cannabis Edibles company based out of Santa Cruz, and they hold a series of annual Beach Cleanups. Here is a link to their schedule of cleanups for 2016. Pete Feurtado’s love of Cannabis and the ocean have merged in his business by getting the community involved in cleaning the coastline. It’s a great way to spend time with friends doing something that makes you feel good.

Be Merry

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One of the most impressive economic developments I’ve witnessed during my time on the west coast is the boom of the craft beer industry. I’ve seen it grow right before my eyes and in the lives of my loved ones. My sister Emily and I went to school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. That’s where she got the craft-beer bug. I, too, developed a love for quality beer in the great Northwest, but Emily saw a business opportunity. I don’t know how she got her chutzpah, but she got a lot of it. After working as the only female engineer in her department at Qualcomm, she started an organic brewery (Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing) in Santa Cruz in 2005. Since then, a proliferation of micro-breweries has emerged along the west coast. What started in Portland took root in San Diego and has bourgeoned into a serious industry, here in Santa Cruz, too. This beer is a Pineapple Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits. This small brewery recently was bought by Constellation Brands (makers of Corona and Modelo) for over a billion dollars. It’s official: micro-brewing is big business. The rise in the popularity of craft beer has opened up business opportunities in other sectors, too. Larry Ingram has two BBQ joints that offer an amazing selection of beers. Taking trips each week to San Diego, Ingram prides himself on providing the cutting edge of the craft brew world.

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Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.

 

 

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Great food makes for great living. Felton is not famous for much. Fame isn’t the point in Felton. Feltonians are more concerned with living than being seen, generally, and that means working hard, taking care of family, staying humble and being close to the daily works and wonders of the natural world. Mountain folk are teachers, farmers, healers, arborists, bakers, jazzercise enthusiasts, watercolorists, mud-shoveling, horse-loving, leaf-raking, pie-baking, jeans and t-shirt wearing folks who are the salt of the earth, the water in the river, the roots on the bank. The Cremer House, in this great but humble town, is doing something special: it’s feeding the people of Felton and the Santa Cruz Mountains with cutting edge fine dining. Now, this truly is the best of worlds. Living in the serene and sublime mountains and having access to Pan Seared Arctic Char with Moroccan spice couscous, melted leaks and yogurt dill sauce is not a bad thing.

 

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Back to BBQ! The West Side of Santa Cruz is loving Mission St. BBQ. Finally, there is a great BBQ joint close to home for those of us on this side of the river. The Ingram family is serious about smoked meat and we are the lucky beneficiaries.

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A sense of humor helps to deal with the challenges we face every day. Medical cannabis helps a lot of people to manage their stresses and to medicate their ailments. Since Prop 215 passed in California, patients have been able to procure high quality cannabis. At Therapeutic Healthcare, the bud-tenders are friendly, knowledgable, and fun.

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Harliss Mofoin’ Sweetwater came through and sang some mean and dirty down low blues at Aptos St. His sax player was possessed. The foursome played with the energy of a herd of buffalo.

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Passion for Photography

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Nandi visited last weekend and we did a photo shoot together. She’s a passionate photographer who wants to work in the music industry photographing bands on tour and musicians’ portraits. It was cool to get to know her and to work side by side.

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We were filming Tazy at the Lane and then popped up the stairs just in time to see this. The sun was setting, but first it lit up these Cypresses and we both had to stop to get a shot.

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Then there was this. What a sunset. This particular spot has a lot of stunning sunsets, but this was an amazing one even for here.

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Nandi and I were stoked on the sunset!

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BBQ at Mission St: standard. Always friendly faces there.

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Al Frisby was playing at Mision St. Good times. He’s a soulful and funny entertainer with a great collection of instruments and stories.

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Chip invited me to photograph the last day of this garden. What a beautiful bunch of flowers. The organic methods Chip is using are working really well.

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