Feb 1: Cirque Du Soleil - Corteo
Feb 14: Valentine's Day
March 31: Inside the World of Cheese Class
April 1: April Fools & Ali's Bday
May 1: May Day & My Bday
June 11: My Sisters Bridal Shower
July 4: 4th of July and Kevin's Bday
Aug 12: Lyndsey Gets Married
Sept 13: Lyndsey & Brian Visit after Honeymoon!
October 31: HALLOWEEN
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rachel at phoenixfeather.net
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May 19, 2006
Suzie & Into The Woods
12:58 PM
May 05, 2006
Montreal - Jean Talon Marche
03:14 PM
April 21, 2006
Stone Easter Egg - Year 4

Enjoy the Easter Season!!

03:18 PM
April 07, 2006
Playing Easter

Enjoy the Easter Season!!

04:24 PM
March 18, 2006
Dead Flowers

Is Bigger Better? Let me know!

07:25 PM
March 14, 2006
Kitty Kitty

Is Bigger Better? Let me know!

11:44 PM
March 05, 2006
Black & White & Pink All Over

Is Bigger Better? Let me know!

11:00 PM
February 27, 2006
Conference Fun

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

09:38 PM | Comments (0)
February 23, 2006
Lingering New Year

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

02:59 AM | Comments (0)
February 07, 2006
Winter Love

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

05:04 PM | Comments (2)
February 03, 2006
Exquisite Junk

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:27 AM | Comments (0)
January 26, 2006
Jones Soda & Me!!

So I decided to enter a couple of my photographs to be considered for use on Jones Soda labels. Its just such a fun idea!!

I'd love anyone and everyone to go and give me a good high vote and help me try and get a photo or two on a soda label!!

Click on the sample label below to go to the voting page!!!
04:26 PM | Comments (3)
January 25, 2006
Winter Trompings

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:52 AM | Comments (1)
January 19, 2006
Flight Plan - From Seattle to San Juan Island

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:03 AM | Comments (1)
January 11, 2006
New York Winter

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:13 AM | Comments (2)
December 31, 2005
Home For Christmas

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:29 AM | Comments (0)
November 29, 2005
Dickens a Day - Year Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:03 PM | Comments (0)
November 25, 2005
Play Time

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:14 PM | Comments (0)
November 16, 2005
B&W Film - Hubris Premiere

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:11 PM | Comments (1)
November 07, 2005
Yard Haunt '05

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

And if you haven't seen the video clip yet click here!

01:30 AM | Comments (2)
November 06, 2005
Flickr: Accidental Wedding Pool

For anyone with a Flickr account - I have started a pool on Flickr for photos of those randomly found wedding moments of people you totally don't know.

Interested? Go check it out: Flickr pool: Accidental Wedding

11:33 AM | Comments (0)
November 01, 2005

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:57 PM | Comments (0)
October 28, 2005
In Pictures: A Peep at Halloween

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:48 AM | Comments (0)
October 24, 2005
The Great Pumpkins - Part Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:58 AM | Comments (0)
October 19, 2005
The Great Pumpkins Part One

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:18 PM | Comments (1)
October 07, 2005
Hodge Podge

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

06:06 PM | Comments (3)
September 20, 2005
Stone Junkyard - Part Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:05 PM | Comments (0)
September 16, 2005
Stone Junkyard - Part One

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:22 AM | Comments (0)
September 12, 2005
London Baby - Part Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:58 PM | Comments (0)
September 05, 2005
London Baby - Part I

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:38 PM | Comments (0)
August 31, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 7 - Greek Cats & Dogs
Photography , Travel

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:16 PM | Comments (2)
August 29, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 6 - Hiding in Hydra

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:03 AM | Comments (2)
August 27, 2005
I So Doku in Bed!!

So Doku - The logic puzzle craze that is just HUGE in england has been quickly expaning over here. I have always been a fan of logic puzzles, but since we picked up of few of the London Times So Doku books in London it has begun to really take over. I have another post that is related to this that I will write later.

Since getting those books So Doku has replaced my reading in bed right before sleep. But now someone has taken it one step further allowing us to create at least a few puzzles using our own photographs (on flickr) instead of numbers for the game.

I've put together a few pictures that I think make a good puzzle and now you can all play So Doku with my pictures, or make one of your own!!

Play PhoenixFeather So Doku NOW!!!!

03:20 PM | Comments (0)
August 26, 2005
Looking For Opinions

I know I haven't been writing much lately. I've been buried in photographs and just trying to plow my way through. Plus my little sister and her fiancť Brian were here visiting, hence posting has been low priority.

Anyway, I'm getting close to getting out from under the photo backlog. I've finished going through all the Greece photos (finally) and I have the last two albums ready to go up next week. As I start working on London, I'm also trying to pick out the few Greece photos that I want to use for cards, sales and gallery submissions. Some of these picks are easy, others are a bit harder. Do you have any favorites? Especially unexpected favorites?

Not only is my photo blog my scrapbook and story telling medium, it also helps me vet out the best photos. Please put in your two cents!!

03:06 PM | Comments (2)
August 25, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 5 - Salty Sea Caves

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

07:01 PM | Comments (0)
August 23, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 4 - Sunny Santorini

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:20 PM | Comments (1)
August 18, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 3 - Little Paros

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

05:31 PM | Comments (0)
August 10, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 2 - Colorful Mykonos

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:38 PM | Comments (1)
August 04, 2005
Greek Isles - Part 1 - Kea & Siros

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:56 AM | Comments (0)
July 29, 2005
Athens Acropolis

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:16 PM | Comments (0)
July 28, 2005
Brown Island Days

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:28 AM | Comments (0)
July 21, 2005
Google Picnic

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

02:34 AM | Comments (1)
July 17, 2005
Lavender Girls

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:40 PM | Comments (0)
Domestics , Life , Love , Photography

Today was a really good day. Itís hard to explain the feeling of just well pure content that I have right now. I'm not sure if I've ever felt this good and its for no other reason than a good day with Kevin.

A good morning (if you know what I mean) and we actually got up at a decent time and decided to go out. Often weekends we bum around too much in the morning and then get frustrated when we have to rush to get anything done (I really wish stores operated on Rachel time instead of closing so early).

Anyway we went to view an open house for some condos made by the same builder who is putting the houses in across the street from us. We wanted to see the quality. While yes, they do still have that "exactly the same as the rest" kind of feel, the quality is pretty good.

On the way to open house we saw a sign for an estate sale and decided to stop after. We had so much fun! I had that odd nostalgia feeling for people I had never met. The place felt and smelled like grandparents (well great grandparents to me - I have a young family and still have a great grandmother alive at 89 or 90 years old I think). It just felt so like visiting my great grandparents - it was good. We bought several things
- some tailored suit coats that fit Kevin perfectly and were very nice
- a beautiful red dress my mother might be able to wear at my sisters wedding
- a great green bow tie complete with shamrock and Irish pipe
- and a lawn gnome
Kevin had a very hard time passing up an old eight track player with cassette converter. I love him for wanting it, I love him more for passing it up anyway. ;)

We picked up food and decided it was time for our third trip to Patio World to look at furniture for the back yard. Third trip because so far things had been coming out close to right, but never quite what we wanted - however recently having visited another store we changed our mind about stone vs. wood and decided to see what we could find with our new perspective. It worked; we found exactly the right table and chairs. I'll post a link later.

Returning him I was thrilled to find that B&H Photo had decided to send me (well and phoenixfeather) a 700 pg catalog of things I could buy. This is my new bible, I fawn and drool just looking at it. I think Kevin is getting jealous. Jealousy or not we put it too good use as we knew there were a few things we needed for traveling, specifically better traveling bags for our equipment. So we went to Keeble and Shuchat, picked out the pieces we liked best for our needs and then went back to the car to check prices on those items at B&H. We are saving so much money doing it there, and we still got to see the bags in person first. Prolly not fair to K&S - but we do also buy from them at times so it shouldn't be too horrible.

Kevin and I did a little more shopping and then had lemonade at a cafe and talked through our to do list for the week. It was nice and relaxing and refreshing and productive. Those words don't often seem to go together.

Home again we vegged. Did some research, ordered Thai food, watched a ton of Sex in the City episodes while also doing a little work on our computers. We have been sitting here side by side most of the night, computers on laps, discussing our activities (Kevin has been playing poker and winning a lot - thank you someone for paying for the new patio furniture. I'm updating old photo albums into the format and working on a dynamic archive).

Its been a wonderful evening sitting here. Some times I feel like the computers cut us off from each other. For that reason we have purposly had them in the living room less and less. Tonight it just worked.

So now I'm tired - its sleeping time. I just needed to share my content!

01:55 AM | Comments (1)
July 14, 2005
Kevin's Pirate Birthday

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:33 AM | Comments (0)
July 12, 2005
Patriotic Parade - Year Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

02:07 PM | Comments (0)
July 07, 2005
Fun With Fireworks

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

02:02 AM | Comments (2)
July 04, 2005
Beautiful Island

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:20 AM | Comments (1)
July 01, 2005
A Walk Through Idyllwild

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:09 AM | Comments (1)
June 27, 2005
An Evenging with Mark & Ali

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:06 PM | Comments (1)
Life , Photography
Anxious, anxious, waiting, anxious, waiting..... *sighs*

*revised* no more waiting... oh well... next time maybe.

10:23 AM | Comments (0)
June 23, 2005
Spring Blooms

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:35 PM | Comments (1)
June 20, 2005
New York In Spring - Part Four

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

Also, let me know if switching the caption and the album notes works?!

10:16 PM | Comments (2)
June 14, 2005
New York In Spring - Part Three

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

Also, let me know if switching the caption and the album notes works?!

07:28 PM | Comments (0)
June 08, 2005
I'm Not Slacking!!

Really I'm not slacking. Just because the next NYC album isn't up yet and its about a month later really doesn't mean I'm slacking. Just to prove it, here are a couple albums I've been working on that you can check out if you want.

I've been doing a few friends events:

Cyrus & Athena's Wedding

Max's 2nd Birthday Party

And yes, NYC will be coming back very soon. I just need a short processing recovery. Short one, I promise!!

04:44 PM | Comments (0)
June 01, 2005
World Photo Day

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:24 PM | Comments (3)
May 27, 2005
Join World Photo Day

World Photo Day is coming up next Wednesday June 1st! Any photographer (Even if you are picking up a camera for the first time!) who has any interest in this project should sign up now!! You get one day to explore people lives in our world and submit your favorite picture! Then you get to see everyone elses lives through a picture!

11:49 AM | Comments (0)
May 26, 2005
New York In Spring - Part Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:57 AM | Comments (1)
May 24, 2005
Google Poker Showdown

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:59 AM | Comments (0)
May 20, 2005
Cousins & Corgis

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

07:41 PM | Comments (1)
May 10, 2005
Sonoma In A Day - Part Two

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:01 PM | Comments (1)
May 06, 2005
Sonoma In A Day Part I

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:38 PM | Comments (7)
April 26, 2005
One Little Kitten

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

05:27 PM | Comments (0)
April 19, 2005
And Then There Were None

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01:47 PM | Comments (1)
April 11, 2005
Dress Up Diva

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:04 PM | Comments (0)
March 26, 2005
Its A Peeps Show - Part Two Easter

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:32 AM | Comments (5)
March 08, 2005
Macro Monsters

Anything you want to tell me feel free!! I would love to hear any comments about the new site design. Oh and look, up in the address bar, I HAVE A FAVICON!!!!! (the cool little replica of my logo next to the url - hee).

12:59 PM | Comments (5)
March 03, 2005
Opposite of Red

Anything you want to tell me feel free!! I would love to hear any comments about the new site design. Oh and look, up in the address bar, I HAVE A FAVICON!!!!! (the cool little replica of my logo next to the url - hee).

11:36 PM | Comments (8)
March 02, 2005
photo.phoenixfeather 3.0
Blogging , Photography

I'm very very excited!!

I've redesigned the photo blog! This would be why the albums have been slow to come out these last few weeks. It has been a total blessing this time to have a top class designer in the house. I would do up some mocks and he would give me a few critiques and the site developed beautifully.

Kevin also being a php wizard has also been a saint and adapted his programming from the random pixel site so that 3.0 is now fully automated. In the past year I have done every album by hand; copy/paste and find/replace have been my friends. No longer though!! Now, once I have my pictures together, I can turn them into albums as fast as I can think of titles and captions!!

photo.phoenixfeather 3.0 will also have a couple of cool little bells and whistles, but I'm going to keep them a secret for now. Nothing big, prolly only things I would get excited about. And it will be a while before all the old albums are updated to the new design, but I plan to get them all there this time; no more some in the first design and some in the second.

Gotta get back to work now. Tonight or tomorrow 3.0 should be LIVE!!

Thank you Thank you Thank you Kevin for all your work and support!!

*bounce bounce work bounce bounce*

09:31 PM | Comments (0)
February 21, 2005
Full Of Bull!

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:33 PM | Comments (4)
February 13, 2005
Happy Birthday Rex!!!!
Fire , Friends , Photography

Today is Rex's 30th Birthday!!

Because we are all freaks, a whole group of us got together to make Rex a unique birthday present. Based on Suzie and I's inability to unscramble random letters, we decided to torture Rex. So everyone made a letter and I sent them all to Rex to unscramble himself.

To see our message to Rex click here!

05:56 PM | Comments (0)
February 12, 2005
Its A Peeps Show!

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

09:53 PM | Comments (2)
February 06, 2005
Winter Bloom

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:19 PM | Comments (0)
February 01, 2005
Last Look

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:10 PM | Comments (2)
January 29, 2005
Ring In The New Year

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:17 PM | Comments (0)
January 27, 2005
UnderWater Dangers
Photography , Travel , Water

I promised in my last photo album that I would tell this little story. Unlike the Baja trip the trip to Bora Bora is not one that I can't the day by day story line... or I could, but I won't because you would be bored. It was a wonderful trip filled with naps and bumming by the pool and beach and a few planned adventures. I just know you don't want to hear about my naps and sunburn though.

So the little story worth telling (I knew I would get to it eventually) is an underwater story. I seem to just find the scary underwater things! In Baja I told you that I managed to find a rock fish (the most deadly fish in the sea of Cortez) and a tiger eel (which isn't horribly dangerous, its just very snake like and snakes scare me!). Well during my second dive in Bora Bora I did one better, I found a Moray Eel! I was quite scared.

So on our second dive we were lucky, there were four of us and we got a boat to ourselves with our own guide because the other boat was going to a different area. This group usually pairs a guide with about 4 divers. Since I had dove with them earlier in the week and Susan had the most recent experience besides me our guide took the two of us in first. We went down and around for a little bit. Once the guide was satisfied that we knew enough of what we were doing he took us to this one rock very near the boat and made motions that we were to stay in this area around the big rock and that he was going to go up and get Jill and Scott.

This thrilled me, I finally had a chance to spend figuring out how to get close to the fish at this rock to take some close up pictures with my macro lenses and I didn't have to worry about the guide moving on and my needing to hurry. So I approached the rock, it was wide and not to high and well prolly more coral based and rock. Its major defining feature was a very old box that seemed to be embedded in one end. Susan and I swam around I took my photos and kept moving around the rock following the fish.

I was coming around and kind of over the rock when I saw it, near a bunch of fish that I was heading toward. I just saw a head, it was bigger than my fist by maybe another half fist, maybe not quite that much, it had a long nose/mouth sticking out the front and it was dark, almost black.

I knew what I was looking at right away, but something in my brain didn't want to believe it. So I doubled back the way I had come and circled around the other way to make sure that I had really seen what I thought I had seen. It was true, I was right, from the other side again, there it was just a head and a little body protruding from inside the rock, and the mouth open just a little this time. A little is enough to see the teeth.

No, I did NOT take a picture. When I get scared I just get away. I don't know the habits of the Moray Eel. I've only ever heard of people getting their arms bit when they stick them in holes looking for lobsters, but I see teeth and I have no idea if he would come after me. If I had take the picture from where I was, well the underwater camera makes things look a bit further away so it just would have been Moray Eel at a distance, and I'll be damned if I was getting closer to those teeth.

I turned around and ran... well swam fast over to Susan because, well we are down here with a Moray Eel ALONE!!

I did my little hand signals and frantic gestures to signal to Susan what I had seen so she can be careful. I tried to show her where he had been, but at this point he had gone back inside the rock.

Our guide came back down with us and I did my little charades for him, but he didn't seem to care. They are much more used to things like that than I am, but still, I wanted nothing to do that that rock anymore. Luckily with Jill and Scott down with us we headed away from that rock and to new under water wonders.

Despite my tendency to find the underwater scaries, I really can't wait to go scuba diving again!!!

10:58 AM | Comments (0)
January 26, 2005
I'm For Scuba!

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

04:55 PM | Comments (0)
January 24, 2005
Bora Bora Nights

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

02:07 PM | Comments (2)
January 20, 2005
Mac World Excitement

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:59 AM | Comments (0)
January 14, 2005
Just Off The Catamaran

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06:27 PM | Comments (1)
January 06, 2005
Stand By For Take Off

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11:55 PM | Comments (0)
December 26, 2004
Light Bright Christmas

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:20 AM | Comments (3)
December 22, 2004
A Dickens A Day Keeps The Humbugs Away

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:27 PM | Comments (0)
December 09, 2004
Holiday Shopping?

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:44 PM | Comments (3)
December 07, 2004
Big Game

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:24 PM | Comments (0)
December 03, 2004
Gobble Gobble

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:19 PM | Comments (2)
November 30, 2004
Shadows In Motion
Earth , Photography

Overshadowed.com, a NYC photoblog that I follow had done something new and different and I just have to share!!

Its a 1min 30sec slideshow or movie of all the photography he has done this month. It's amazing, you've got to check it out.

09:25 AM | Comments (2)
November 28, 2004
Adventures In Baja Part III
Photography , Travel , Water

October 16th

Finally out of our tents once the sun was fully up, we went for a morning hike to see our beautiful bay from above, fly a kite, get a real view of how crystal clear the water is and just enjoy our thorny rose for the last time. Back down on the beach though we were soon ready to escape the land of the No-see-ems. We took off in our kayaks, made another Paco Pit stop and were off on another beautiful morning of kayaking. After the first day of muscle burn I was really into it, my muscles didnít burn nearly as much (Iíd been working out like crazy to get ready for this) and it was fun. We hugged the coast most of the time and really enjoyed our views.

Near to our camp zone and lunch quickly approaching we made a small detour into a lagoon. Surrounded by mangrove trees and overlooking pelicans we navigated our way through some sharp turns and close quarters. Kevin and Iís large 2 person kayak had a little trouble with one of the hard turns, but a little push and shove and we made it through.

The lagoon let out into a center pool of sorts, larger than the pathways and still surrounded by the low mangrove trees, which echoed with a pop, pop, pop on all sides of us. Itís a deep sound kind of like that noise you make when you pop your cheek with your finger. It was the sound of clams popping out of the mud just below the water, and it was pretty eerie.

Not far from the lagoon we found what was meant to be our next campsite. We set up a shade tent and relaxed and watched Kevin and Steve play some cutthroat cribbage. After our guides had looked around the camp area a little bit the came back to us with a decision: we could a. put up camp here tonight but we would most likely see more bugs than last night and would have to go into our tents as soon as the sun was down. You see, in looking around there was a standing pool of water not far from where we were sitting and the lagoon of mangrove trees really not much farther away. Bug Central! All of this in addition to the shallow waters in this bay being rather prone to sting ray, it didnít sound like a fun place.

Our other choice being to pick up (we hadnít really unpacked much yet) and row a couple more miles to another camp site which was on the tip of the island; and while it would be windy there would be no bugs guaranteed. The vote, 3 to 1 was the move, so we waited for the tide change, watched some more cribbage, had a happy crab visitor and then happily up and we all set out for a little jaunt in the kayaks to a new site. We paddled out, passed a little fishing hut and soon were at our new home for the night.

Our new site we found very much to our liking. We found a few new neighbors: Hermit Crabs. I think we may have become the annoying new neighbors though, as Kevin not only liked to pick them up so they would keep popping out of their shells, but also running hermit crab races and setting up scenes with toys found in our Bimbo Bread package (yes Bimbo is the name of a popular bread company in Mexico). The hermit crabs got us back a little bit though. One got stuck under our tent for a moment as we were setting up and gave us a scare as one scrambled out. It was a unique camp set up all around.

One thing that I havenít mentioned from earlier is that while at lunch spot, before we moved, I was able to pull out the fish book and look for the things I had seen snorkeling the day before. I identified the snake like thing as Tiger Eel. I donít think I was believed still, or at least our guide and others were skeptical of my identification. That evening though, just before sunset we spotted another Tiger eel. He was swimming along right at the waters edge and stopping now and then to dip his head into the sand and grab a hermit crab for dinner. We followed along to shore with him for a bit. I tried to get a photo but the flash kept reflecting off the water. *sighs* At least I was proven right, or close enough at least.

We stayed outside late that night. The wind saved us from the bugs and still managed not to be too cold. The stars were beautiful and vast. You couldnít help be enthralled and mystified by the number of twinkling and falling stars. We spent the evening chatting and pointing out constellations. It was a wonderful night.

The next morning I had hoped to get a little more snorkeling in, but this was not to be. Instead a little walk on the beach to see what had been washed up in the night was all the rough surf would allow. I had also hoped to avoid making the final crossing in the kayak but I was to be disappointed there too.

Earlier in the trip we were told we had an optional final kayak challenge of crossing the channel between the island and the mainland. The actual mileage is shorter than some of the trips we had already made, but that doesnít make it easier. One of the major issues was the lack of mental check marks between one shore and the other, all you could really tell was one shore got a little closer and the other a little farther way. Kevin and I had already discussed it and didnít feel a need to make this crossing. We were quite happy with the concept of the motorboat picking us up. I for one was having a little bit of bowel discomfort and was a bit grumpy and just didnít want to do it. Our guide however had made the assumption we were all in for this without asking and had already called in to let headquarters know they didnít need to send the boat. I wonít go into details however I will say that we were talked/peer pressured into making the crossing.

Before we could go however we first need the waters to be safe and with the surf the way that it was that just wasnít going to happen right away. Our guideís exact words on the matter were ďWe will wait until 11:00 and if itís died down we will go. If not, we will wait some moreĒ. Is it just me or does something ring awfully wrong about that one? Eventually the water died down and we set out!

Now my friend Ali has written about exercise and pushing yourself and such. I know she finds it exhilarating even when she started out not wanting to do it. I think Iím just too stubborn for that. Earlier in the trip I experienced the burn, was happy, embraced it and powered on. It was cool. This time it was totally opposite.

Those bugs which were only supposed to be annoying turned out to be a bit more, in fact the bites and begun to become horribly itchy. On top of that my tummy wasnít the happiest and I was a bit pissed about being pushed into making the crossing I didnít want to make. But we set out and it started out fine.

It soon became apparent how hard the lack of visual checkpoints was going to be on my mindset. You could see the land ahead and that behind and that only changed marginally as you went. It was excruciating. Kevin was a lifesaver by bringing a small GPS unit that told us how far we had gone so we could guess at how far there was left to go (based on the 5 mile estimate our guide had given us). I had to battle myself to not keep asking him how far we had gone, both because I didnít want to be annoying and because earlier in the week trying to row and read the GPS constantly had made Kevin a little queasy.

The high points of the crossing included numerous Mackerel jumping just off the tip of our kayaks as they were scared by our approach and the very last Paco cleaning stop (woo hoo... no more paco cleaning). Sometimes it doesnít take much to make me happy, and sometimes, wellÖ

Not even half way across I began to experience the second thing that would make me power through the burn; exhaustion. I had paddled for the last two days, wasnít feeling well this one and so my body was crying out for a break. My mind wasnít helping since there were no visual checkpoints and I was on the verge of a breakdown in some regards.

Anyone else with the stubborn gene in them will understand this next section of the story. I was pissed at being made to row. I wanted to give up and sit there in the ocean until someone came to get me. This was what was going on in the back of my head. Itís what I wanted and yet I not only knew I couldnít have it, but that I would be acting like a spoiled brat in some ways. Part of me really didnít care, I had sunk pretty low with discomfort and anger, fortunately the rest of me was too stubborn to let this take over and was determined to finish the trip. I know they wanted me to make it across; it was cheaper for them if they didnít have to send out a motorboat. However there was some part of me that figured that resisting failure at this was also spiting them for pushing me into it. Iím not exactly sure how I came to this logic, but I did at the time.

When you reach this mental and physical low but are still stuck in the middle of a channel between the island and the mainland I think you will find that there is only one option: paddle hard. Up till this point Kevin and I had kept a rhythm that we would use on occasion. We would paddle 10 strokes at a normal pace, then do 20 hard and fast and settle back to 10 normal using the momentum to coast along. It was fun. Now however I felt like the only thing I could do to keep myself from feeling like I was going insane and drowning, was to power paddle real hard no matter how I felt. I would do this with no warning to Kevin (poor guy), I would do this for long periods of time. I was simply pushing past pure exhaustion and exerting any last strength I had in a desperate effort to make it to shore as soon as possible, because the alternative was failure or slow frustration. Gak!

Finally reaching the shore was one of the most odd and interesting experiences ever. Finally I could stop paddling and coast into the beach. Exhaustion took hold. From a distance I had seen the palm topped huts and beach tents as I approached, but when we actually hit the beach I really only had the energy to lift my head a bit and what I saw was only the beach. Pure white sand speckled with soft colorful stones and shells as the front of my kayak slide softly across the top of them. It was like a move, the shot the director wants when the heroine finally reaches home from the deserted island where she almost died. My trip was nothing like that movie, but I got the ending anyway.

I wanted to just crawl onto the beach, maybe roll myself into the cool water and then just lay/float there!

There isnít tons to tell about the rest of our trip. We unpacked our kayak, had a light lunch, went to our hotel to relax for a while. Later we took our guides out to dinner to thank them, wandered around La Paz a little bit and then went to bed exhausted before our flight out the next morning.

I have to say, though the rediscovery of ďcoldĒ is an amazing thing. Its hard to explain since cold isnít really a item or a taste or anything real. It is however a sense of some type. We were camping for 4 days and 3 nights and while not a horribly long time, we had no access to ice, nothing to keep a cooler of foods cold. You donít really notice the loss. There is always liquid water or juice or whatever that is cooler than your body temp, and you are refreshed and fine. But when you return to civilization and you are handed really cold bug juice, I swear its like you being handed the exquisite wine or some other full bodied and flavorful drink. Its not that the bug juice has gained any other flavor, or been treated in some way that gives it more flavor, its that cold takes on a dimension on its own and you just canít get enough of it.

Oh the rediscovery of cold.. mmmÖ makes laying in a hammock (in CLEAN cloths after a shower) sipping your pina colada just so so much better!

Good trip! Oh so pretty, lots of experiences, ups and downs, a few bug bites to take home as souvenirs (actually over a couple hundred that itched for over a week, but what can you do), good friends and a great time. What more can one ask for?


This is the last photo album in this series, donít miss it !!

09:19 AM | Comments (0)
November 16, 2004
Adventures In Baja Part II
Photography , Travel , Water

October 14

Up with the sun on a beautiful beach and ready for breakfast and our first day of kayaking. I need to explain a little something though before I go any further with the general story. These islands in Baja are part of a national reserve, and as you saw in the last photos the terrain is very much a dessert and therefore slow to decompose. Plus would you really want to camp somewhere near where someone had taken a dump behind a bush and it had spent a day or two baking in the sun. Ewwww!!

So there are potty rules on this trip. First off, liquid release is done into the water. When I needed to go during the day I would refer to it as ďgoing to the little girls oceanĒ. Guys (or girls who have their own special penis of plastic tube and funnel sold in camping stores just for those times when a girl is camping with only guys and the ocean doesnít seem as inviting after dark) can stand at the edge of the water and release. However for other needs our guides brought along our friend Paco. Paco is a very small portable toilet that we would hide behind a bush and then take with us to each camp site. I bring up these things because well, I think everyone should know about the little girls ocean and Paco, we ended up talking about Paco enough so you should hear about it, and well he comes up again later in the story so Iím giving you a basis for later.

So we are up, we had a yummy breakfast and then we got our butts into the kayaks and we were off. We had about a 6 mile kayak to do to our next camping spot that day, and it was beautiful. There were lots of bays along the coast, and we would mostly cut across the mouth of them, staying close to the cliffs quite often. We saw many kinds of birds, pelicans, blue herons, turkey vultures, and yes blue footed boobies!

The first day of kayaking you could really feel the burn in your arms. I have noticed there are two kinds burn, there are the ones where you are really into it and using that burn to mentally motivate, and there is the evil burn when its really not happy and you canít do anything but hate the world. We will get to the evil burn later, this was good the kind of burn. It hurt and it was fun.

About half way to our destination, out on the open sea we made a pit stop, and yes I mean that just as it sounds. It was Paco cleaning time. Kevin and I, were using the double kayak which had the perfect little paco storage cabin right in the middle of it. It became daily routine to pull over and help (only a little bit) the guides remove Paco for his ocean bath; and then wait as they went away with Paco to clean him up. It was an odd and slightly disgusting ritual and something that we wonít forget.

We landed at our second campsite just a little before lunch. This beach was more beautiful than the last. The sands where whiter and brightened the turquoise waters. There was a rock that jutted out and a little cave to the side of the beach that just accentuated the beauty. Beauty can be deceiving and my mild jellyfish sting while having a soak in the bathwater we call ocean should maybe have been a warning for events to come; but we didnít notice. Oh well.

The afternoon consisted of cribbage and a nice lunch. After a bit more relaxing we prepared to go snorkeling on at the reef on the far side of the bay. Now the first half of snorkeling sucked. I had been having some mask problems the first day. I kept seeping water, and since I was a new snokeler they figured I didnít have it tight enough so I kept being told to tighten my mask, and not to worry if it hurt a little, it would go away and it was better than getting water in. Well there was a ridge across the nose of my mask and I had tightened it so much the day before that it was now digging into my nose and really hurt. Now the problems begin, It took Kevin and I a little longer to get ready and so our guide had already headed out with Steve and Carl, not normally a problem, but as tight as it was my mask was still taking in water and I would have to stop about every 90 seconds to open it. This made catching up to them nearly impossible. It was not a fun snorkel out. When we did get there, they were all ready to head back in and we had barely snorkeled, so our guide switched masks with me (still not really believing me about the mask I donít think) and they all headed back (after heading back in using my mask he finally believed me how bad it was).

I felt a bit gypped on my snorkeling experience so Kevin and I decided to stay out as long as we could. We had fun! There were several schools of ever-elusive tuna, which Kevin never saw. I would see them and tap him and point and they would be gone. But we saw lots of lovely fish, the sun began to set and they were harder to see and photograph and then I saw two, which scared me right out of the water. We were slowly heading back at this point, taking our time and enjoying ourselves. I noticed a pretty starfish and then I noticed something very near it move. It was kind of a little twitch. I tapped Kevin and pointed to show him there was something there. As he was just looking for the something I followed with my eyes from the place where the twitch had been to see the rest of it. It was brown and it widened out into something that looked kind of like a rockÖ a rock with eyes, I noticedÖthat could only mean A ROCKFISH or scorpion fishÖ only the most poisonous fish in the Baja watersÖ before Kevin could even find the thing I was making wild gestures of ďIts really time to leave this spot, swim SWIMĒ.

Away from there and above water I explained what I had saw and Kevin wished he had seen it, though we were both glad to be away. So heading in a little quicker but still trying to enjoy the swim I noticed something else, something long, thin and spotted and it looked an awful lot like a snake to me. That was itÖ I am really not a fan of snakes or anything snake like them. That was it for me, I wanted out of the water.

Back at camp we told everyone what we saw. Our guide had also seen a rockfish while out and believed that one, but everyone thought my snake thing was a sea cucumber. There is a trend of no one believing me. There is also a trend of my being right, but that wonít be discovered till tomorrow. However I do have to say, sunset in a reef is when you will see the meaner fish. Beware!

We make it back to camp just in time for dinner, which is very yummy! (how do I remember? All the food was very yummy). But now is when the beautiful beach began to bear its ugly fangs. When we got back we were warned that a small bug called ďno-see-emsĒ seemed to coming out. Bug spray and such would be good, but they didnít seem to be two bad, it was just a little sting and not often. Little did we know how many of these little pests would come out and we all took cover in our tents immediately after dinner. Getting ready for bed we made the mistake of putting something outside and letting a few more of the bugs in the tent. We played some cribbage inside and then as Kevin and I were getting ready to go to bed the bugs began a full-scale attack on us. They are small and fast and you donít really see them until they are full of your blood and slow and you can smear them on the inside of the tent. It was a losing battle from the start and eventually we gave up and settled down for a bitten restless sleep.

The next part of this story is hard to really convey. To begin with you know its me telling you the story so nothing really bad must have happened since Iím still hear telling the damn thing. I really donít know how to convey the fear we really felt. I guess I need to ask you to pretend someone else is telling this part of the story. *shrug* I know that wonít work but I have to try.

Just a little before midnight (having only gone to sleep maybe 2 hours ago) Kevin and I both sat straight up in bed at the exact same time. A noise had woken us. The loud noise of a motorboat at full power heading pretty much right for us. We both looked out the front window of our tent but there was nothing! It had been just past a new moon earlier and that had set long ago, so there was no natural light on our deserted island as we seven had slept soundly on the beach, alone.

Peering out the front of the tent we were spooked, we saw nothing, but we totally heard something, and it was still coming straight towards us. Frozen in place staring out there we waited. The boat, nearly on top of us, slowed its engine almost to a stop basically right at the beach just to the left of us. A flashlight turns on, scans the beach and then turns off. At this point we terrified. I mean think about it: alone on a beach in mexico a dark motorboat comes into the beach all stealthy like, and then scans the beach with a flashlight. Imaginations run wild!!

The flashlight off, the motor turns on again and moves just a little bit away from us, at which time the flashlight goes on and off again and then, SPLASH, something or someone goes into the water. At this point we decide we need someone else to wake up. Kevinís cousin Steve is in the next tent over, so in our softest yell-like stage whisper or something we call out to Steve, he wakes up in a start and proceeds to fall right back into snores. Calling out again, still terrified to be too loud, we manage to wake up Steve and one of our guides in training. The boat as luckily continued to move away, but there was still that splash, and we arenít sure what to think. Steve and our guide take a look out at the beach and the boat and return to their tents with a ďItís okayĒ and ďIíve seen them beforeĒ respectively, then they are both in their tents and have left us to our imaginations without ever coming over to hear what else happened prior to their wake up.

We arenít quite ready to throw in the towel on our fear yet, but thinks might be looking better since the boat and flashlight have finally decided to leave, the wind has ominously picked up and the waves from the wake have taken a quite beach to a very loud and angry beach. Kevin suggests we wait a little while for the wake to settle down, so maybe we can hear again if there is still a who or what in the water and then maybe finally give up and try to sleep. So we wait and we waitÖand we wait. At this point we figure out that the waves are not the wake from the boat at all, but a ill timed tide and wind change making our lives that much more sleepless. I should point out that during all of this we refuse to go out in night to check the water ourselves, why? Thatís easyÖ TOO MANY BUGS!! Shows how much we value our lives. *grin* In any case exhaustion finally won out and we both gave up on watching for snipers or whatever our imaginations can come put with that might attack us from dark, and we laid down for a restless few hours of sleep.

October 15

The next morning, after our main guide told us to stay in our tent until the sun came up over the cliff and made the evil little ďno-see-emsĒ go away (you could see them crawling all over your tent just waiting for their chance at our blood) our guide also informed up that our midnight visitors were actually fishermen. What were they doing in a motorboat in the dark? Well thatís simple, itís a nature reserve and netting fish is illegal. Our midnight pirates were poaching fish that splash was the net that then dragged along the reef we had just snorkeled. Yes we are still alive, yes they were never after us, yes they were still sneaky and do illegal things, and yes it was still damn SCARY!!

Sun up we ventured out of our tent for breakfast. A few bugs still not ready to give up had breakfast on us, but eventually the sun was up and they were gone, we were fed and we set off on a hike. We walked out behind Paco and up a cliff to a cave where one of our guides who was also a archeologist told us about the history of the people hear and showed us cave paintings and shells used for eating. Pretty views along with the history and a surprise visit from a Hummy and we were happy campers. Back down on the beach, packed up and into our kayaks we were off for the day!

One more post and photo album will be coming soon!!!
Make sure you donít miss all the pictures from this set

11:34 AM | Comments (0)
November 11, 2004
Adventures In Baja Part I
Photography , Travel , Water

October 12:
Actually we left the bay area on the 11th. We had decided to drive down to LA so that we could bring some of Kevin's fathers things back with us from the storage space. We had planned this nice daytime drive down to LA, but in true Rachel & Kevin fashion we had to finish up some last minute errands and didn't even leave until around 5. The drive was mostly uneventful; though some construction traffic caused us to take a detour, which was very rural and slow. However if anyone needs an extra toilet, I know a roadside where you might still find one. We arrived at Kevin's mother's house late, relaxed with her for a while and then went straight to bed.

The actual October 12th included a few more errands, some time in the storage space and then rushing off to the airport. You know how when you are packing for a trip, there is always something that you forgot, well during out drive to the airport we realized what we forgot. Our plane tickets!!

We have gotten so used to e-Tickets that while packing it didn't occur to us that, yes we had received a paper ticket in the mail and it was because Aero California doesn't do e-Tickets at all. We argued at the counter with the people for a while. They could see us in their computer, see how much we had paid and every detail, but they still refused to reprint the tickets we had already purchased. It was infuriating. We eventually filled out
a lost ticket form, bought new tickets and are now still waiting for the first tickets to be reimbursed. *sighs*

So finally the group is together. This is a small trip, Kevin, His cousin Steve, Steve's friend Carl and me, the one and only girl on the trip. It felt good. I have a tendency to have more male friends than female friends, however since moving to the Bay area that hasn't been as true. I miss the guys in my life. I mean I still have the friends I've had for years and who are very important to me, but they are scattered in the USA. It was nice to be around all guys.

Waiting for the plane to arrive, we noticed something odd was happening outside. A good dozen fire trucks, police cars, and emergency vehicles appeared and spread out near the runway. We all sat and watched out the window as a plane (presumably a cargo plane), came in for a landing completely missing its front hatch door. Our guess is that it wasnít closed tight enough on take off and got blown right off. Really makes you want to fly. But off we went on a couple of short jumps, a detour through customs and then off to our beautiful hotel in La Paz Mexico.

I do mean beautiful hotel. I'm trying to remember the name, but I'll look it up and post it later. It was a tropical paradise and apart from one invader roach, we were pretty dang happy. Absent a guide to check in with us that night, we still enjoyed a good meal and then tried to hit the sack early.

October 13:
We were up early and eating breakfast when our guide found us. We repacked and off we went to get our kayaks, some snorkel gear and drive down to the tip of the peninsula to load up the motorboat and get on our way. Off the Baja peninsula there are a couple of islands, and that was our destination. The plan was to go all the way out to the farthest tip, enjoy our day, and then come back in a little bit to set up our first camp. And for the next few days, we would spend our time Kayaking back toward the mainland.

Our first stop was the small white capped rock is the home to many sea lions. We found a spot and dropped anchor. Changed into wetsuits (not to stay warm, the water was like bath water, the wet suits were to protect against jellyfish stings) and went snorkeling and swimming with the sea lions.

You can't go too close to the rock. The bull sea lion actually will swim a line about 9 feet out from the rock which we visitors are not allowed to cross. However if you try and swim like them, the sea lions will come to you to play. My one complaint about this day was the fact that the snorkel mask I was using was defective. Our guide later discovered it was really very bad, but as I told people I was having problems on this day, I just kept being told to do something different and that it was because I was new to snorkeling. It was hard to totally enjoy it when you had to empty your mask every two minutes or so, but it was still an amazing experience.

One sea lion took to me. I've named her Lola, and I love her. She really liked me for some reason and kept swimming around me and tagging my flipper. If she hadn't been so quick I could have reached out and touched her or even hugged her. She was cool. Kevin, having an easier time with his gear and more experience, got some great shots with our new underwater camera. I do have to say that I love the new Reefmaster 310. I already have plans for ways to get better pictures with it on our next trip. But I'm pretty happy with what we captured this time.

Back on the boat we took off to find a place to set up camp and eat some lunch. The first place we stopped had already been taken over by other campers. Really wanting a deserted island campsite to ourselves, we moved on and found a new beautiful beach to call home for the night. Finally on ground (it felt good), we unloaded the motorboat into our kayaks and walked our stuff to the beach. Unloading some of our stuff, our three guides (one guide and two trainee guides) set about making us lunch while we relaxed. I have to say these beaches were beautiful. Warm white sands, turquoise waters beautiful sky, it was picture perfect.

We rested most of the rest of this day. We did do a basic kayaking class. We watched a beautiful sunset complete with many pelican, stalked a blue heron set up our camp, and ate a lovely dinner while watching an invader attempt to get to our food. And then we hit the hay... or um.. sand... early so that we would be fresh for our first day of kayaking the next morning.

More Baja to come...
PS: there are more photos in that album than just the ones I liked too. Check them out.

12:16 PM | Comments (0)
The Great Wide Baja
Photography , Travel , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:14 PM | Comments (0)
November 03, 2004
This Is Halloween
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

04:03 PM | Comments (7)
October 27, 2004
Have A Heart
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:45 PM | Comments (0)
October 25, 2004
On A Mission
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:23 PM | Comments (1)
October 22, 2004
Creatures In The Night
Photography , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:25 PM | Comments (0)
October 21, 2004
A Little Carmel
Photography , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

05:10 PM | Comments (2)
October 03, 2004
Late Night Photo Bloggers
Blogging , Fire , Photography

I just think its funny that about 3 photo bloggers posted new photos between 12:30 and 2am on a Saturday night. Home from whatever we are doing and its straight to the photos.

And what was I doing during that time span? working on photos for my next album and waiting for the blanket for the bed to dry. :)

01:50 AM | Comments (0)
October 01, 2004
Aqua Day
Photography , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

07:17 PM | Comments (3)
September 28, 2004
Animal Planet
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

06:32 PM | Comments (0)
September 24, 2004
In Vegas

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:07 PM | Comments (0)
September 13, 2004
Goooooooooogle Picinic
Friends , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:46 PM | Comments (0)
September 10, 2004
Oh Florida!!

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:03 PM | Comments (0)
September 06, 2004
Bye Bye Brown Island
Photography , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:26 PM | Comments (0)
September 02, 2004
Abandoned To Rust

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:43 PM | Comments (0)
August 23, 2004
Art In The Fields Forever
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

11:04 PM | Comments (0)
August 22, 2004
No Cameras At The Dinner Table
Family , Photography , Water

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

09:09 AM | Comments (1)
August 14, 2004
So Shiny!!
Fire , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

06:19 PM | Comments (3)
August 11, 2004
Purple Fields of Bliss
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

12:34 AM | Comments (6)
August 07, 2004
Fire , Friends , Photography , Politics
One of my favorite photobloggers Martin Taylor posted a photograph today that I just had to share.
03:39 PM | Comments (0)
August 04, 2004
Details Details Details

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

07:07 PM | Comments (3)
July 22, 2004
Dream-like Days
Photography , Travel

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

05:21 PM | Comments (0)
July 19, 2004
Parents w/ Cameras!!
Air , Photography , Randomness

I have often said I would be a bad mother because any time something amusing happened I would have to photograph it, whether its bad or good. I would never endanger the child's life, but a little extra discomfort of the sake of a amusing picture is worth it right?

Anyway, Kevin found this story of a parent who seems to follow my philosophy and I just have to share!!

"I was working in the office this afternoon (from home) when my daughter Aubrey came into the house to inform me that Justin was stuck. Well, the kids often play that game with me and as I was engaged in my work I didn't feel the need to rush out to check. I told Aubrey instead to tell Justin to get himself unstuck. 20 minutes later Aubrey returned to let me know that Justin could not get himself unstuck and that he was very sad. I decided to check it out, annoyed, and to my surprise Justin had managed to slide himself in between the two mailboxes and wedge himself tight. I had to climb up on top and pull him out and it was a struggle at that. Morale of the story, Sometimes kids are actually telling the truth!"

Thank you to Automags.org for this one.

10:10 PM | Comments (5)
July 17, 2004
Honored Photograph
Earth , Photography

I was going to write a post today about how tender my tush is after yesterdays deep tissue massage. (I swear its day two and I can't move without feeling it. Good masseur). But you have all been spared, mostly, because of an email I received this morning.

I have been taking photography classes online from Betterphoto.com for several months now. This site was recommended to me by local freelance photographers and employs renowned photographers from around the world. Last semester I took a class on Mastering Exposure with Bryan F. Peterson. The class was great and I really learned a lot. During the class I photographed "Painted" and posted it as a piece in one of my homework assignments. At Bryan's encouraging I submitted this photograph in the contest that Better Photo has monthly.

14249 entries in the contest and I'm really proud to say that I am one of the 305 finalists!!!!!

So I made the first cut. Over the next few days the judges will be choosing the winners. I'm excited!! Wish me luck, I'll let you know how I do.

01:45 PM | Comments (4)
July 12, 2004
Sky Fire
Fire , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

09:58 AM | Comments (6)
July 05, 2004
Patriotic Parade
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

10:04 PM | Comments (7)
July 02, 2004
With Love

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:29 AM | Comments (2)
June 26, 2004
Garden Mornings
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

03:46 PM | Comments (0)
June 23, 2004
Earth , Photography

While in LA I got a chance to do a little bit of photography and I have a couple things to post about it.

First off kids are cool. While photographing a flower in front of Kevin's Grandma Kitty's house two girls on bikes stopped to talk to me. They wanted to know why I was photographing the flower. One girl asked "Are you taking pictures so you can find out more about it?"

What could I answer? It was a valid question. With all the photography I do, especially of flowers, you would think I would know something about them. Or at least their names. However I am woefully uninformed in this area. Photography takes up a huge amount of my time, I rarely have time for research. I think sometime in the future I should have a contest of some sort, get other people to tell me things about the flowers and such in my pictures. What do you think?

Second, bugs are not so cool. Well actually they are, they are incredible to look at and can be quite beautiful. In photographing flowers I find that I also photograph bugs quite often. Ants, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, etc.

The bug that bugs me though is the spider. I'm fascinated by them, they are beautiful and at the same time I find them creepy. Now I'm not as bad as Ron Wesley (Harry Potter), and have no dreams about spiders wearing roller skates, but something about all of those legs gives me the heebie geebies.

I'm fine just looking at them if I'm not too near them. The only animals that seems to spook me on sight are snakes. But to photograph a spider with the marco lens I have to get pretty close. The closer I get the more I start to feel things crawling on my arms and legs or any exposed skin.

That and sometimes I will place the camera close to the web and then look into it to focus second. I do this so I don't accidently hit the web with my lens. By doing things this way the magnified size of the spider suddenly jumps out at you as you focus. There is glass between me and the spider but its still startling. Even looking at the pictures afterwards I can sometimes get the chills.

No one was awake Tuesday morning (at about 6am) when I was having my heebie jeebies and I figured Kevin wouldn't appreciate being woken up to guard me against spiders. So I pulled layers of clothing over my PJs and found Kevin's shoes that covered my feet completely. It was my spider armor. I was still spooked but I didn't have the crawly itchy feeling quite so often. Its that whole silly "the covers will protect me from the things in the dark" phenomenon.

Yeah, I know I'm silly... but really, who needs all those legs?

10:05 PM | Comments (0)
June 15, 2004
Let's Go See A Play
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

PS: Make a donation to Tyrell Elem. School Arts! Email me for information: rachel at phoenixfeather.net

07:00 PM | Comments (1)
June 11, 2004
A Las Vegas Story
Air , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

08:16 PM | Comments (2)
June 08, 2004
Artistic Confidence
Photography , Water

This post is in response to a comment in "It's Alive!!!". I started writing it and it got too long, so it became a post of its own:

Deciding to charge people money for your art is not an easy decision to make. Photography is something that I love to do and its taken Kevin quite some time to convince me to start this business.

One of my issues is that until today I don't know that I believed that my work was good enough or special enough for people to really really want it. Years ago I started out with theatre as a hobby. Knew I wasn't a good enough actor and only a slightly better technician and that it would be a frustrating life for me. I tried to cut it out of my life, but couldn't. So I figured out how to keep it. I knew I was good at organizing people, events and business issues, so I got my Masters In Arts Management. I got that degree at the best school in that subject, Carnigie Mellon University. I wasn't the best person to ever leave that school, but I was damn good. But I graduated into an ecomony that really sucks; and the arts are always the first thing to lose budgets.

There have been no jobs since I graduated about a year ago. However Kevin, the angel that he is, has never given up on me. We had never meant to find ourselves still together, it was meant to be a Pittsburgh fling, but some of the best things are acidental. He has stood beside me and helped me forward. One of the best things he and his family did was give me a digital camera that had once belonged to Kevin's father. I had always loved photography but just never had the budget to presue it. The digital camera opened new doors to me, and when Kevin saw that he started to encourage it. He bought the Nikon D70 and urged me toward a photoblog. He got me the macro lens for my birthday and supported me taking an online class (he even took another class from the same instructor at the same time) and he has gently nudged and nudged toward selling my stuff.

I think that is one of the keys, he nudged he didn't push. I hate being pushed. I have a stubborn (I'm polish and a taurus) streak and if you push me I push back. I think he has figured that out and so he nudged and let me slowly warm up to the idea.

I did finally start working on the business website and trying to get things set up for the business, but there was still this thing in my head. You see I have gone to school with photographers and other artists, I have seen how much they study and how hard they work, and how many years they have been at it. The bulk of my body of work is from less than a year right now. I just didn't feel like I should be saying - hey, look at me... you should pay me and not those people who have so much more time and energy invested in their work. Its not that I won't put that work in, just that I haven't been at it long enough yet.

I started the business because I needed to do something with my degree that I spent two years getting and I love doing the photography, so I might as well do something with my degree and have fun. Part of me expects it to succeed and part of me doesn't.

This morning there is a little change in my thought process though. It's the last week of my class, which I have loved. My professor is Bryan F. Peterson who has been a photography for 25 years and has done work for major clients like HP and has written several books.

Our last assignement was to upload our 3 favorite works. I uploaded Erotic Red, Jarred and Cutout and was awarded Picture of the week for all three photos. In response to one message that Bryan made about Erotic red I decided to also upload Painted. This was the response I received.

You have a helluva gift for seeing and composing-I hope you do something with it!!! This is an equally awesome shot (to Erotic Red) if not more so since "its not been seen before" at least by me in more then 25 years of looking at pictures-potential contest winner?

This was the confidence boost I think I needed to believe that even though I've been really working at it for less than I year, my work is good enough to be on the same playing ground as other artists.

Anyway, that hugely long story out of the way. Don't push your girlfriend into making her art a business, nudge her. Sometimes all you have to do is really show your interest in her work and let her bask in your appreciation of her work. Encourage the thanks from other people. When you are around people she has created things for, bring up some detail in the work she did for them that you really like and get a conversation going about that. Let her bask in that kind of praise and her confidence will grow. Given a little time she will warm to the idea and you may just be opening the doors to that one praise that really gives her the confidence in her work to believe people should pay for it.

If she decides she wants to talk about it, send her to me, I'll be happy to talk to her. Though I don't know that I'm a good example yet. My business is less than a week old, I have a very small group of people on my mailing list and haven't really sold anything yet. Not that I expect to yet, I have a lot more work to do an I will have some successes soon.

There is a lot of work in starting a business. Its not easy, it starts very slow and you have to put money in to get money out. I PLAN TO MAKE IT WORK!!!!

PS: Please Please Please sign up for my mailing list everyone!!

11:32 AM | Comments (7)
June 06, 2004
Just Desert
Fire , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

04:49 PM | Comments (0)
June 05, 2004
It's ALIVE!!!!
Fire , Photography

PhoenixFeather Photography is alive!

There isn't a lot of content there yet, but there is one major product that I'm really excited about. The very first PhoenixFeather product is my new Photography Club. Sign up and receive a 5x7 or 8x10 print every month for a year.

But what am I jabbering about, go look!! I think the pages are looking really good, and now that a couple pages have content I think the rest will start to come more quickly.

Also, having worked in a company that creates online database solutions (including ecommerce solutions) I was very surprised how easy Pay Pal made it for me to set up a shopping cart and such. I'm also very happy about their newish policy that a customer doesn't have to sign up to make a payment. So far, I am very pleased.

So now I need to get a client base going!!

Oh! I have set up a mailing list. Its on the photographic services page. Sign up for updates and specials.

Advertising-wise, I am going to do a few ads with Photo Friday, and I know that I need to do more stuff, but first I need the rest of the pages and products up. So anyone who wants to help me advertise (i.e. tell people about me, put a link on your site, etc.) I would be grateful.

Tell people to give your name when they purchase and I'll give you some kind of discount when you purchase. I will formalize that in the next week - I promise.

Okay, thats enough babbling from me for now. I'm just so excited!! Oh, and thank you to Heather Champ for letting me use the photo club idea.

*does a little "my business is open" dance*

09:27 AM | Comments (2)
June 04, 2004
Photography Website
Earth , Photography

So I'm planning to open some real content on my new business website today. I was showing a few pages to my sister and they were loading rather slow. It could be just her internet service or the day or something but I want to find out.

So I need a favor from my readers; flip through the pages of my site (currently content-less) and let me know if they are loading slow. THANKS!!


01:10 PM | Comments (5)
June 01, 2004
B&W & San Fran All Over Comments
Earth , Photography

Anything you want to tell me feel free!!

01:03 PM | Comments (5)
May 22, 2004
Macro May Comments

I felt the urge to have comments on this album. Do you like it? Was splitting it in two albums a good idea? Anything else you want to tell me feel free!!

03:37 PM | Comments (2)
May 18, 2004
On The Move
Blogging , Earth , Photography

So this is sort of a notice that my blog is moving. Change your bookmarks to http://blog.phoenixfeather.net

Not a big change, and not going to happen fully right away, but I wanted to give everyone time to make the change.

So what am I going to do with the phoenixfeather.net site? Well I'll tell you. I am in the process of opening a small photography business which is going to take over the main site. I hope to have the new site up and operational by the beginning of June.

In the meantime I will be slowly making the total change over of the blog to blog.phoenixfeather.net. Currently there is a mirror site at that address, so make the change!!


03:27 PM | Comments (0)
May 17, 2004
Disgustingly Cute Couple!
Love , Photography , Water

Kevin and I both received "Picture of the Week" awards for photographing each other last week!

left photos by Rachel, right photos by Kevin
(click on photo to see enlargement)

01:20 PM | Comments (2)
May 16, 2004
The Photographic Weapon
Air , Photography

As a photographer who thinks quite often about the legal side of photography, I found this little story at overshadowed rather funny! (and the picture is rather pretty too!)

09:14 AM | Comments (0)
May 06, 2004
Local Pixel Press
Earth , Friends , Media , Photography

Randompixel.com has been getting a lot of attention lately! Its so very cool. Last Wednesday it was listed as one of USA Today's Hot Sites and this week Kevin was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury(Registration may be required) for an article that appeared in the paper yesterday.

Kevin was even sweet enough to mention the Random Pixies: Ammy, Rick and I.

11:47 AM | Comments (1)
May 05, 2004
Air , Blogging , Photography

Great blog you have here. Thanks

12:34 PM | Comments (7)
Cinco De Mayo on YOUR Desktop
Fire , Photography

This is a SPECIAL - for Cinco De Mayo - wallpaper.

Click link for desired wallpaper size, then right click and save image into your wallpaper directory: Sm: 1024 x 768 : Lg: 1280 x 1024 : More Wallpapers

This photo is part of an upcoming photo album, but I have released it early so that your computer get enjoy Cinco De Mayo too!!!

09:22 AM | Comments (0)
April 29, 2004
Close Encounters Of The Hummy Kind
Air , Family , Photography

A Photo With A Story!!

Nym vs. Hummy

Kevin and I have been turning our backyard into a Hummyland for our little hummingbird neighbors. We see them everyday now, they are getting used to us being there and we love it!

Yesterday, after my driving test, I picked up Nym to spend the day with me. She has been getting more and more interested in the outside and since Ammy and Rick, like us, have an enclosed backyard she is allowed to spend some time in the backyard if someone is with her (she is not the brightest - she isn't even close to figuring out she can jump fences).

Yesterday she was exploring our backyard for the first time and I was following her with the camera trying to get a couple of good shots. At one point she was checking out a plant not far from the hummy tree (prolly deciding if she could eat it) when one of our male hummy's appeared to check her out and inform her she wasn't to come any closer to the tree.

I AM A BAD MOMMY!! This has been decided since when a teritorial hummingbird appears to check out my cat and give her a scare, what do I do? I take pictures!

In my defense there was a decent distance between the two of them until the last photo. The Hummingbirds have buzzed Kevin and I several times, letting us know who is boss and testing us; they have never gotten too close. I wasn't too worried that hummy would hurt Nym - or at least not without some buzzing warning. I was never worried that Nym would hurt hummy - my poor cat can't catch a slug effectively; She is good at imaginary bugs though. In any case I took this photo right before I dove in, grabbed my cat and put her inside. I think she is still pissed at me for ruining her fun.

I do love this photo though.

10:36 AM | Comments (9)
April 28, 2004
Photo Face Lift
Air , Blogging , Photography

I have been considering how I want to redesign the In Pictures... side of my site for a few weeks now. However I have sped up those thoughts due to a link from Random Pixel (a cool Kevin project) which has largely increased traffic my photo blog.

I wanted to better display my photos and take advantage of this opportunity to attract more viewers - so you will now find a mini redo of the photo site has taken effect. Don't fret, a larger redesign is still to come.

I still don't have comments up there, so for now feel free to leave a comment here on my recent album Off The Beaten Path. I will try and get something more specific up very very soon.

07:20 PM | Comments (2)
April 21, 2004
Photos Of The Week
Fire , Friends , Photography

So this is one of those beaming proud kind of bragging sort of posts. But its not just for me.

Some of you know that Kevin and I are taking online photography classes at BetterPhoto.com. I am really really enjoying the class and learning a lot. I don't think I can ever go back to the time when I didn't take my pictures manually.

This aside this class has a reward for those of us with a slightly competitive nature, such as Kevin and I. Picture Of The Week is a reward that singles out the top photos for that week. Kevin and I both received this recognition in our respective classes.

Coiled by Rachel

Spinning Your Wheels by Rachel

Net by Kevin

11:02 AM | Comments (0)
April 20, 2004
Grumble Grumble Hummy Grumble
Air , Photography

I am still on my hunt to capture instances of Hummy in pictures! (If you don't know what I mean let me explain that I am convinced there is only one Hummingbird - its name is Hummy - it is my Hummy and each of us experience instances of this one Hummy).

In any case Hummy has been appearing again at the back window and I have been diving for the new Nikon with quick reaction turn on and trying to catch him, to no avail. Yesterday and today produced two very overexposed shots of a blur of a hummingbird. I did catch a decent one on saturday, but it was nothing wonderful.

I have learned to track them by sound. Its kind of a pop pop, or rather snap snap sound. I can figure out what direction they are coming from. Using sound I found one up close and personal instance, but with several branches between us and no clear photo until Hummy was gone.

Kevin says he is going to help me turn the backyard into Hummy-land!! I will bring them all to me!

So if you were here this morning you would have seen me, standing in the back yard in my pjs, camera ready, listening for the pop of a Hummy, watching at least one instance of him buzz around a eucalyptus tree in the distance, and trying to snap out a reply with my fingers so maybe he would come near. *sighs*

I will get him, I will!!!

Past Hummy Pictures:
3/10/04 Along Came Hummy
2/28/04 Hummy on a Wire

01:05 PM | Comments (0)
Sounding The Trumpets
Fire , Friends , Photography

Announcing Random Pixel!! This is a Kevin project. Those of you who know him, know he has been working on this for years, or procrastinating this for year, whichever you prefer. And now its finally open for business.

Itís such a cool idea. He hands out disposable cameras and asks people to hand them around. Each camera has a name and once you pass it on, you can check in until your pictures return and are posted. Not all cameras return, but many do and its great fun to see what kind of pictures appear.

I really love this idea and I'm really proud of him for finally buckling down and getting the site active. Yay Kevin!

01:31 AM | Comments (0)
April 18, 2004
The Faces Behind the Pictures
Blogging , Photography , Water
I got to meet quite a few Bay Area Photo Bloggers yesterday. It was great fun. I can't wait to see what we are able to pull off as a group.

Great photos of Marc here: Martin Taylor Photoblography

Alisa also got some good photos: Alisa Mudge

06:10 PM | Comments (0)
April 13, 2004
Photo Blogs Galore!

So I really love the photo side of my blog. Among other ideas I'm considering implementing, I am currently contemplating the best way to add comments to my albums. But one of the major things I have been doing lately is trying to get recognition for In Pictures... while discovering more about other photo blogs. I was telling Kevin about some of the things I have found and suddenly was really interested. So now I'm going to share my findings with you and hope for the same effect.

You don't have to have a photoblog to get involved in a number of these projects, just enjoy it!!

Photo Friday: http://photofriday.com - This is a great site. The basic idea is that they come up with an theme each week and people a photo that they believe represents that theme. Anyone is then able to vote for the photos they feel are most noteworthy and those photos are recognized. This site is fun and has a very nicely designed interface for viewing and voting on submitted photos. The theme this week is "Discovery" and my entry is #134 on the list incase you want to check out my entry and vote for me on Friday. (note: voting only takes place friday through sunday).

Photo Blogs: http://photoblogs.org - Cool site where you can find a large listing of photo blogs. You can also mark photo blogs as your favorite so that it gets a higher ranking. If you would like to sign up and rank me as a favorite click here, or use the "listed" button in the center navigation bar.

A Pictures Worth: http://1000words.net - This site has the cool concept of allowing photographers to submit a photo that pairs pictures with words. I have been invited to submit something, I'm still deciding what to submit.

San Francisco Photo Blogger Get Together: http://www.hchamp.com/bap/ - This saturday I will be attending a photo blogger get together. I know some of you who read here have your own photo blogs and might be interested in this.

Photo.net: http://photo.net - a great place to get photography advice, post your photographs, request critiques by other photographers, give critiques and enter contests.

Better Photo: http://betterphoto.com - If you want to learn more about photography this is the place to go. Not only do they have photography advice, contests and photography sharing, but they also offer online photography classes like the ones Kevin and I are taking. Take classes with professional photographers, with students from around the world and really learn something.

Theme Thursday: http://themethursday.com - Another site like Photo Friday and also fun.

Entry Add In: I'm not sure how I missed this one, its in my nav bar already.

Mirror Project: http://www.mirrorproject.com/ - This site collects photos that people take of themselves reflected in some kind of surface. Anyone can submit their mirrored photo and view everyone else's ideas on the same subject. Very cool.

Also for your information this is a list of other photo blogs I visit. Some are also in my nav bar, some aren't yet. Please enjoy all this fun info, but don't forget about me!! I love that you all visit my blog and photo blog! Thanks.

Photo Blogs:
Heather Champ
Reality Crutch
Martin Taylor
Myla Kent Photography
Dennis Mojado Photography

And as a last item, a sneak peak at a photo from my upcoming photo album

12:07 PM | Comments (3)
April 07, 2004
Laughing Balloon Heads
Air , Giggles , Photography

This site is pretty cool. In an effort to find out what laughing is a photographer and a balloon twister have gone on trips around the world together making balloon hats for people and photographing them. They also ask the question "What is Laughing?" to which they have a variety of reponses. If nothing else check out the photos on this site, they will get you laughing.

"Laughing is the smile of the World."

Weerashon Puttrpadit, Mahasarakham, Thailand

So Phoenix Feather readers, what is laughing to you?

[Thanks to Photo Blog for this link.

02:24 PM | Comments (3)
April 04, 2004
Ruined Photography
Air , Art , Photography

This is a cool photography site: Modern Ruins. They only take photos of modern technology that has been abandoned. There are also stories collected from people who experienced these ruins. I really love this one.

"So you've taken pictures of the Alcoa factory that was my childhood fascination? Did you sneak through a window, and look up at fallen dust blanketed stairs? Did you hear loud thumping in the dark? Those were the sounds of the criminals who lived in that factory and plotted their crimes through out the night. I was always very quiet in there, and always got out very fast. But even when I was outside, surrounded by faded, scragally grasses and bright yellow danger signs I could still feel the life that had once come to work every day. I could still smell the sweat and see the small paths left by heavy boots in the ground. But hey, I was only eight and I really did believe that each time I left that edifice, there was a man watching me leave from the top window. He was probably an ex-worker who lost his livelihood when he lost his job, and that was probably his oil soiled, stiffened, leather glove that I had just stepped on, so I began to run as fast as I could.... maybe that's why I spend my time in the places that time has passed by."

(Thank you to Feed Me Links for finding me this link).

11:30 AM | Comments (0)
March 30, 2004
Photo Wallpapers
Earth , Photography

As sampled here, I have added two new wallpapers to the In Pictures side.

I'm also looking for suggestions about which photos you think would make good backgrounds! Thanks

04:44 PM
March 29, 2004
On The Road Again
Air , Photography

Sorry this last photo album went up late: The hosting server has been having issues and I couldn't upload anything. So I went out with the new camera instead! ;)

Please forgive me!

10:40 PM
Make Love To The Camera
Love , Photography , Spirit

Got the new Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera today! *bounce*

Us Portrait by Kevin Fox; Editing by Me

12:37 AM
March 26, 2004
Me, Myself and I
Air , Photography

Kevin and I have both signed up for online photography classes at Better Photo.com. Kevin is taking The Art of Composition, (which I can't give you a link to cause the course is full now - I got him the last slot - and they took down the description) and I am taking Understanding Exposure. Both classes start in 12 days on April 7th.

So I logged in to the virtual classroom today to look around. There is a place for students to introduce themselves and provide a self portrait. I'm taking class with people from Denmark, Syndney Australia, and New York City among other places.

So I'm preparing to introduce myself to class, but I don't have a self portrait. So that has been one of my tasks for today. I have however discovered this is hard. Normally when I photograph its because I find something and I'm inspired by the subject. I don't know how to photograph myself, and I'm not sure what I want to say with the photograph.

*ponders* I'll let you all know when I come up with something, but advice is welcome!

05:20 PM
March 21, 2004
Photo Happy!
Art , Photography , Water

While Kevin was in the eye doctor I did some photo wandering around the Berkeley campus. I found some beautiful flowers to photograph on a bridge near faculty glade. As I was photographing two men came onto the bridge and began setting up equipment. I was about to move on when I realized these men were setting up photography equipment. So I stopped to talk to them.

I ended up spending about 45 minutes chatting with freelance photographersEdward Caldwell and Jed Manwaring; asking questions about their equipment and backgrounds. Jed told me about Better Photo.com which is a website that gives all sorts of tips to beginners as well as offering classes online. Kevin and I are both considering taking a class.

Both guys were really nice and really helpful and wonderful. Their photography is wonderful and if nothing else comes of it, I really loved just talking to them. However I made one request of them: Both men were happy to offer me their email and agreed that if I sent then a couple of photos they would be happy to give me some feedback. I'm so excited! I promised I wouldn't pester them; I would just send them my photos.

So now I'm trying to decide what photos I want to send to them. I'm working on sorting through all my photos and narrowing it down, but if you have an opinion please let me know!!

So the question is, of all the photos I have up on In Pictures, which ones should be critiqued?

07:43 PM
Photo Marathon

So I have had Phoenix Feather In Pictures open for a little over a month and I am starting to notice two problems with how I am dealing with photo albums.

Problem 1: I have lots of ideas about things that I want to go and photograph, however I have so many albums backlogged plus the photos I take just doing what I normally do that I end up feeling guilty going out to take more pictures. I really don't want that!

Problem 2: When I have first taken a set of photos I'm really excited about them and want to share them right away. But I feel guilty again because I have 5 other albums of photos that I'm also excited about that aren't up yet. And so I end up with more backlogged photos and more guilt.

As an attempt to deal with this situation I have initiated a marathon for photo albums. For the next two weeks I will be posting a new album every other day! Thatís 2 weeks and 7 albums. The first of those albums went up today: "Irish Feet a Smilin'" is now up. The next one will be up on Tuesday.

So check In Pictures frequently for the next two weeks, and make sure to look back and see if you missed any!!!

05:16 PM