Lewis Kemper’s work is really beautiful. He primarily works in color and takes pictures of landscapes and even does some mirror imagery as well. What makes his work seem so interesting is how everything looks so etherial and different, as well as seeming so dream-like in a way. Even though all the pictures are taken in the real world, the way he takes them make them seem so dreamy. I find this aspect to be very interesting and just all around pleasing to the eye. Furthermore, ther vibrancy of the colors really makes his work so beautiful as well as a pleasure to look at. Also, much of his work seems to utilize HDR (high dynamic range) photography, which really brings out the colors of so many images.
What makes his work so interesting is that his work shows people in different places and he gives them a uniqueness that makes his work so interesting to look at. He uses vibrant contrasts with black and white to make his pictures seem so vibrant and rich. His main medium is black and white photography and he seems to photograph the mundane and even the sacred in some way, putting them in a new light, but not being disrespectful about it. Furthermore, much of his photography has a powerful play of light, dark, and the shadows they cast.
A lot of Irving Penn’s work appear to be of people and faces, not really landscapes or anything else for that matter, which makes his work stand out from scenery.
I really do get the feeling that I have gotten to know the I-15 a lot better this semester. Last Friday’s trek north (and slightly to the east), involved a trip to Rainbow, a picturesque, pastoral little community not too far from Fallbrook (which is also a small little community tucked into the middle of nowhere. Not that nowhere is a bad place, because it’s not. It’s just a ways away from civilization, that is to say, bigger cities). So, once again my mom and I took my car (better gas mileage and everything) and headed on up to Rainbow. You see, Deborah Small (my instructor for my Advanced Digital Art and my Artist Books classes) was having a little get together with a few classmates, which involved preparing foods with native and naturally grown ingredients. Not only did we get to participate in cooking along with the students from the Native American Cultures class (taught by Joely Proudfit) and sample the goodies, but we got a great opportunity to learn about food photography. One of the dishes we got to photograph was nopales (or cactus salad), which had a little bit of kick to it. Upon sampling it, it felt like I had a party in my mouth and everyone was invited.
Of course, no one really got to eat anything right away, since it was a buffet and there was going to be a whole lot more that needed to be photographed before we got a chance to eat any of it, but that was ok (I think everyone had breakfast before coming on up, plus there was banana bread from Trader Joe’s to help keep everyone satisfied until we could all eat). Following along after the cactus salad, were some very tasty beans. Pinto beans with a little soy chorizo. They were very good and had a little bit of kick to them as well.
The main course consisted of a vegetable-laden salmon dish, which was very delicious, albeit a bit on the spicy side. Topped with tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, and onions, the salmon seemed more a like a salad than an actual fish entree, but that was fine with me, I like vegetables. Normally, I don’t really go for fish, but I’m adventurous and willing to try new foods and this one was pretty darn tasty (but a little on the spicy side).
To cool off from the cayenne pepper-crusted fish, there was chia lemonade (and no, no Chia Pets were harmed in the making of the lemonade), which had a refreshing tart sweetness. Made with oranges and limes and sweetened with a little stevia (a natural plant based sweetener that’s a million times better for you than Splenda, Equal, or Sweet n’ Low), this beverage was very, very tasty and really took the edge of the spice. I’m not really that big on spicy foods in all honesty, but like I said, I was more than willing to give it a try.
The chia refers to those little grayish seeds that are floating around in the drink. They look a little like poppy seeds, but are slightly bigger and pack a lot of protein, Omega-3s, and fiber. They’re pretty potent for something so small.
There were so many delicious dishes. There was another really tasty dish on top of everything else (ok, so everything was delicious. I can’t help it if I liked almost everything. I like food!) The dish I’m referring to was the yucca and Indian lettuce salad. That had a very light flavor and was surprising filling. The Indian lettuce look like little lily pads on stems, but these don’t grow in lakes or ponds. Nope, they just grow on good ol’ terra firma. The yucca blossoms take a little time to prepare. They have a bit of a bitter taste, so they need to be boiled a few times to remove the bitterness from them. After that, they taste pretty good, almost like a very mellow squash. Quite good!
We also had some of the tastiest strawberries I’ve ever tasted. They had so much sweetness and were very juicy, plus they were organic, which made them even better. They were paired with some apples to make a tasty dessert.
All in all, the cooking, the eating, and the photographing was a lot of fun and I was glad that I could be a part of such a fun experience. I’m hoping I can try out some of these recipes at home myself. Now, all I need to do is find some chia and then I think I’ll be set.
Daley Ranch as well as Dixon Lake were very beautiful places to visit. If there was any place that was off the beaten path, these were definitely the places that could be considered such (not that it’s a bad thing, mind you. Our first stop was at Dixon Lake ($5 to park, who knew?) My mom was just along for the ride, but was willing to pitch in the parking fee (thanks Mom!). After finding a good place to park, which wasn’t too far from the lake (it’s actually a resevoir), we got out and walked around a bit, snapping a few pictures of the lake and some of the native plant life that surrounded it. I even suggested, albeit kiddingly, that we take a rowboat (or paddleboat, or whatever aquatic vehicles they had for rent), out on the lake. Naturally, my mom said no (I think her sense of adventure was still at home somewhere), but in all honesty, I didn’t really mind being on dry land.
After wandering around and taking a few pictures of some of the local wildlife, we drove back up towards Daley Ranch and walked around some of the trails. It was a pretty warm day (well, we were out there around noon, thereabouts), so we didn’t really want to be out too long, since it was so warm (air conditioning is a blessing. Really!) We hiked around a bit and took some pictures of some of the native (and maybe there were some not so native plants. Sometimes it’s hard to tell because after awhile all plants start to look the same.) One plant that was really amazing (ok, so maybe it wasn’t that amazing, but it was big) was the Agave Whipplei that was in bloom (or starting to bloom). I remember seeing a few Agaves while at Pechanga and Indian Rock, but none of them were in bloom. Some of them that we encountered on the trail were looking pretty healthy.
There were numerous other plants that we encountered, some I don’t recall seeing (there was one that I don’t ever recall seeing on any of my other field trips, but like I said, after awhile all the plants eventually look the same). I did remember seeing some mulefat, which was a native plant and it was interesting to see it growing out here in the middle of nowhere (well, it felt like nowhere).
After wandering around, we decided it was time to head back into civilization. We were getting kind of hungry and we were tired (the heat takes a lot out of a person), so it was time to head back. I think we might go back there again one of these days, maybe it when it’s so warm.
I think this term I’ve gotten to know the I-15 freeway quite well, considering how often I seem to be driving on it now. Not that that’s a bad thing, it really isn’t, it’s just more of a comment really. Saturday March 28 seemed like a good day to head to Las Pilitas nursery (I didn’t have work that day, so I figured why not take a trip out that way and do a little exploring?) So, my mom and I took my car (I get slightly better gas mileage with my RAV4 than she does with her Highlander, but it isn’t really too much of a difference. Probably about 5 mpg or so, so not a HUGE difference. Also, I do a little more driving than she does, so I kind of know my way around these areas). So up we went to Las Pilitas, which I must say, was a very pleasant drive (there wasn’t too much traffic on the freeway). After about 45 minutes (at least, that’s what Google maps said it would take. I think it was a little less), we arrived and it was rather warm. I don’t really like really warm weather, but this wasn’t too bad. Only about 79 degrees, which was tolerable.
We wandered around quite a bit, taking pictures of all sorts of native plants and I must say, it was a nice little nursery. I don’t recall seeing so many native plants in one area (ok, maybe the Wild Animal Park and Quail Gardens could be put into that category as well), but there were certainly a lot plants that I don’t recall seeing when I was visiting those other places.
The above blue-eyed grass was definitely one plant I hadn’t, or didn’t recall seeing before. I don’t know why it was called blue-eyed grass because it sure didn’t look that blue to me, unless it’s supposed to be sad, but it didn’t really look that way to me either. It looked more cheerful if anything.
I think there was one plant there that we really both liked. That was the Joyce Coulter Ceanothus (my mom had to buy that plant because her name is Joyce and it just seemed fitting). Truly a pretty little native plant that we were going to plant somewhere on our back hill, which would look very pretty once it really takes off.
We continued to wander around, taking pictures of all sorts of native plants. There were so many different kinds of mallow that I didn’t even know existed. There was the tree mallow and bush mallow, both I don’t remember seeing on any of our other trips. Both were pretty, although they both looked the same. Still, I thought they were both pretty would make nice plants for the yard.
All and all, the trip was pleasant, albeit a bit warm and a lot of fun. I wouldn’t mind taking another trip back out there again some time in the near future. There were so many wondeful plants and the area itself was pastoral and peaceful.
Quail Gardens was a wonderful little excursion in my own backyard. It was fun visiting there, since I hadn’t been there in quite sometime. We decided that Wednesday would be the perfect day, since I didn’t have to work that day and the weather was perfect. We had originally planned on just going for breakfast at the local Coco’s, but I grabbed my camera and decided that we head to Quail Gardens afterwards.
After a tasty breakfast of omlettes and waffles (they do have good waffles), we hopped in my RAV4 and away we went…which was less than a mile and we arrived at Quail Gardens where we hiked all around, looking at the many different plants. We took more time with the California native plants, since that was mainly what we went there for. Of course, there were other plants to look at, which we took time for afterwards, but the native plants took priority.
The collection of plants that Quail Gardens had was immense. There were so many plants that I don’t think we had encountered on other field trips (maybe that’s not entirely true, but there were some that I don’t remember seeing). Anyway, we headed over to the California native garden and noticed a local resident “sampling” some of the lawn. I guess he was just doing his part to keep the lawn trimmed. If you haven’t guessed already, that little local was none other than a cute, little, bunny rabbit, out for a midday snack.
It was definitely a good time of year to go, since many of the plants were just starting to bloom or were already in bloom. The lemonade berry was in bloom and we thought it was pretty plant. I explained to my mom that the berries have a sour taste and taste just like lemon candy. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any berries on the plant, so I couldn’t show her (she wouldn’t have eaten them anyway). Oh well, maybe next time.
As we continued our hike, we trekked on over to the Native People, Native Plants area of the gardens to see what else was over there. There were other plants that we didn’t see over at the other native plant garden. I didn’t see many signs or indicators for a lot of the plants, saying they were native (I guess there was a lot of overgrowth covering them up. Either that, or the lizards ate them). However, there was sign that did mention what the natives used some of the plants for. Some such uses of some native plants were medicines, food, poultices, and seasonings.
After we explored the native plant gardens, we explored the rest of Quail Botanical Gardens and found some very interesting topiaries. They were very clever, being shaped like people and all. It was a cool way to shape ivy, and give it a little personality as well.
Quail Botanical Gardens was a lot of fun and I will definitely go back there, since it’s so close. There were numerous little gardens all blended together. They were truly inspirational and truly enjoyable. I always enjoyed flowers and gardens and this garden was no exception.