Jewish Murder Memorial

Spent a few days in Berlin on a business trip for Mozilla.  Jet lag kept me up all night several nights, and on one, I slipped out to roam the town.  I ventured back over to the Jewish Murder Memorial to see if I could somehow burn onto film the heavy feeling I get when I visit the site.   I’d visited the place seven or eight years ago, and I remember being impressed.  I feel it’s a perfect installation for what it represents.

These shots were taken sometime after 10pm on a cold and rainy night.  Every night that I spent in Berlin was a cold and rainy night–always shrouded in grey clouds and drizzle.  The memorial is in a section of town where there are plenty of well-lit buildings so the sky glows with reflected light.  I dropped a tripod, pushed a roll of HP5+ to 1600, and took about a dozen 10-30 second timed exposures.  I was hoping to capture the rain beading down the sides of the smooth concrete slabs.  I was successful.  The two below are my picks.

Jewish Murder Memorial I

Jewish Murder Memorial II



Jolene’s Moccasins

On this morning, she not only stripped these off but everything else, too. Only after the Sun climbed over the mountains to warm us up to tolerable levels.

Steph has keen protective skills, and she picked these up in Bishop on the way in to the desert. Easy on. Easy off.

The Grandstand

Jolene and Steph orbiting The Grandstand which pierces an endorheic basin between the Cottonwood Mountains and the Nelson Range. 

Ontario Lacus is a lake composed of methane, ethane and propane near the south pole of Saturn‘s moon Titan. Its character as a hydrocarbon lake was confirmed by observations from the Cassini spacecraft, published in the 31 July 2008 edition of Nature. Ontario Lacus has a surface area of about 15,000 square kilometers (5,800 sq mi), about 20% smaller than its terrestrial namesake, Lake Ontario in North America. In April 2012, it was announced that it may be more like a mudflat or salt pan.[2]

Any waves present on the lake are also far smaller than those that would be present on a sizable body of liquid water on Earth; their estimated maximum height was less than 3 mm during observations of a radar specular reflection during Cassini’s T49 flyover of July 2009.[6] On Titan, waves can be generated at lower wind speeds than on Earth, due to the four times greater atmospheric density, and should be seven times higher at a given wind speed, due to Titan’s surface gravity being one seventh as strong.[6] The lack of waves could indicate either wind speed less than 0.5 m/s, or an unexpectedly viscous composition of the hydrocarbon fluid.[5][6] However, the apparent presence of a wave-generated beach on the lake’s northeast shore suggests that at times considerably higher waves form.[6]


Attack Ships On Fire Off the Shores of Orion

This may be my favorite photo from our Saline Valley 2012 trip.  Here you see Orion rising over the Dry Mountain range.  The black mass on the right is a lava flow, slowly crumbling and washing via alluvial fans into the basin that hosts Warm Springs, our camp for four days a year.

This year’s trip was very different from the last.  I’d a really good idea of what obstacles we’d face–be it 4x4ing, water, food, or emergency beacon requirements.  I’d beefed up the truck with an Old Man Emu heavy lift kit and added an ARB bull bar bumper from hell along with a nice winch.  We could probably get out of most hang ups in the desert barring catastrophic drive train failure.  In 2011, I’d listened to all kinds of stories about Steel Pass and Lippincott.  People liked to make them sound impassable and treacherous, and as they talked, I was thinking the difficulty of these passes were overblown.   After driving them, I’d say I was correct; however, they were difficult in spots.  I think my childhood spent driving John Deere 8850s with massive implements attached provided me with all the knowledge and experience needed to drive over any terrain given the right equipment.

This year, the hardest part was having the patience to drive all the way around Death Valley and enter from the East due to all of the roads from the West washed out and closed at Scotty’s Castle.  Death Valley road was impassable.  Or, so they said.  We didn’t find out, but rather took a long loop around the valley, into Nevada, and through some barren desert only to enter back into the East side of Death Valley.  Everyone except for Steph slept through the drive.

Nice for me.  I love that part of the world.  You can drive for an hour and not see another soul.  The roads seem alien when layered upon the terrain.

As I said, this year’s trip was very different.  We were a different family, really.  We’d been through so much more.  More work.  More school.  More stress.  More hurt.  And, most important:  More healing.  I say healing because a lot of what we’ve been through in the last six years has been traumatic and much of the year was a time of healing from it.  Most of it my fault–both the trauma and the healing.  Most if it caused by my relentless quest to secure our stability, our financial success, and the success of the Mozilla project.  This is a hard three way balancing act.  Mix in a constantly shifting landscape of personalities and individuals who sometimes lack integrity and you will find me often pushing my engines at red line to overcome all that threatens us.

In 2012 we faced less than ideal schools.  Less than ideal work politics (what a waste of time).  Less than ideal family concerns.  All of which were overcome.  Now the boys are in a school (albeit one that is learning from us as much as we are from them) that is actually working–for a the foreseeable future.  I’ve lowered demands on the home generated from work to a dull buzz.  Enough of that shit.  And, we’ve all learned that we must create an environment of peace in the home.  It’s quite possible peace is the most important component of a happy family.  Steph and I repaired ourselves and now are systematically creating the home we both want.  It’s healthy and timely.

Even more timely is Steph’s ever revealing creativity.  It’s on an upsurge lately, and it’s refreshing.  It’s one of the reasons she’s my soul mate and closest adviser.  I rely on her for both her creativity and brutal honesty.  It pushes me forward.

The photo above embodies the glory of our change this year.  Stephanie was inside the tent when I took this and she, and the rest of my family, was on my mind when I triggered the shutter.  While the photons flowed into the emulsion during the seconds after I pressed the button, I stood there listening to them breathing and watching the stars imperceptibly moving throughout the exposure.

Moon Unit

This year it’s a two room, eight person tent for us. Kids had one room for staying up and playing chess while we had a queen sized bed. Yes, I know, but we were very comfortable and it was simple and easy. One tent is easier than two. I snuck out late at night to take this timed exposure. The white streak on the left is a sky lantern slowly rising into the sky.

via Link to photo on Flickr!.