Book: Parable by Jess Walter

In last week’s Kindle Chronicles podcast, Len Edgerly interviewed Amazon’s Julia Sommerfeld about her work as the editorial director of Amazon Original Stories. Amazon Original Stories “brings unforgettable short fiction and nonfiction to Kindle” and the stories are available to Amazon Prime members at no additional cost.

In the interview, Sommerfeld happened to mention a short title “Parable” by Jess Walter that’s part of the Amazon Original Stories series “The One” – “true stories that stay with you.” Walter is the author of a major recent best seller, Beautiful Ruins, that I’ve not read but have heard good things about – “a story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.”

On a recent hour long drive we listened toJess Walter read the story (with the Original Stories series you get both the Kindle book and the Audible audio book) – and enjoyed it very much. It’s a dog story – and, like most dog stories, also a love story that makes you remember how having a dog affected your life. In addition to the story, Walter’s narration is perfect for the book.

The Kindle Chronicles is one of my favorite weekly podcasts. Edgerly has maintained a rigorous every Friday posting schedule for almost 600 weekly episodes – for me, the Chronicles has become a regular Saturday morning listening pleasure every weekend!

Aubri

Aubri Zamo

I wrote earlier about the recent workshop I took in Santa Fe taught by Cira Crowell. One of the best parts of the workshop was being able to work with several excellent models during our photo shoots.

Aubri Zamo was the first model my group worked with – and we had a great time photographing her in several different settings. This is one of my favorites – outside on the deck overlooking Santa Fe in the distance. Shot with my Sony RX100M6, edited in Lightroom, Portraiture, Silver Efex Pro 2, and Snapseed.

Pieces of April

It’s funny how inspiration happens! Recently I was listening to an oldies playlist when Three Dog Night’s song Pieces of April began playing. It’s one of my old favorites but I hadn’t heard it in a long time.

The song got me inspired to take a look back through my images doing a search for all that had been taken during the month of April. I came across this image from south of Market in San Francisco that was shot during one of my regular photo walks with my friend Doug Kaye. It’s on a walkway between Mission and Stevenson Streets by Golden Gate University. On this particular morning the sun was bright and relatively low making for a very high contrast and shadows. Somehow the title of the song stuck and this this image inherited the title!

Image taken April 24, 2015 with Fujifilm X100T.

Early Spring along Sand Hill Road

It’s early spring here in Menlo Park and the drive west into Woodside and Portola Valley along Sand Hill Road is one of my favorites. Along the way there are several wonderful old trees – including this one, perhaps my favorite! Shot with my iPhone Xs Max.

Early Spring

Happy Seventeen!

Today is the 17th anniversary of the start of my personal blog here using the sjl.us domain. It all began on November 25, 2001.

In my first post, I wrote about Amazon having free U.S. shipping on orders over $99 (that’s changed since then!). In a second post that day, I wrote about an article in the San Francisco Chronicle talking about why writers enjoy living in the San Francisco Bay Area (I wonder whether that’s changed – given the current cost of living, etc. in this area!).

I had played around earlier creating a personal web page (using an early Microsoft web page editor named Front Page) but when I started this edition on November 25, 2001 I was using Radio Userland. Sometime later I migrated it to TypePad and later again to WordPress.

With Peter Turnley in New York City

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Last week I participated in one of Peter Turnley’s Streets of New York Workshops. I’ve been to a number of photography workshops over the last few years – but this one with Peter was quite special.

Peter’s workshop was all about celebrating life – and using the camera to capture life as it evolves right in front of you. As one who has shot a lot of street photography, I appreciated his distinction between street candids – shot anonymously from a distance – and street portraits that are shot while directly engaging with the subject.

I spent the first two days of the workshop frustrated – as I wasn’t confident enough to engage with anyone on the street. On the third day – our trip out to Coney Island – it all clicked for me and I had a great time interacting with people who were just enjoying themselves – as I was – at the beach. I was pleasantly surprised how New Yorkers were open to talking and having me make their portrait!

Watching Peter work, he brings a wonderful balance to his approach – one that both is disarming in how he approaches someone on the street and then very serious as he does his work – shooting perhaps 20-30 images once he’s secured their agreement.

Peter brings his life experiences as a photography into the workshop – adding real depth and meaning to the experience. This was a beautiful workshop experience for me – one that I highly recommend. You can view my images from the workshop here on Flickr.

Borderline

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Last Friday I was in South Dakota for a family event that included the burial of my Dad’s remains along with the celebration of the 140th anniversary of my great grandfather’s family being part of eleven covered wagons who left Minnesota to settle on Homestead land grants near Garretson, South Dakota. This road runs along the stateline boundary between Minnesota and on the left and Iowa on the right.