Frivolity

Thursday, July 11, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Eel River Overlook

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:08 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
The magic of the night was all around, so very quiet with only the sound of the redwood forest around us sighing in a light breeze and merging with the soft susurrus of the Eel River far below. From a protected hollow high above the river my companions and I looked out over a world bathed in starlight, the galactic core of our galaxy reaching upward from the southern horizon and complementing the curve of the river below. At that moment, at that place, we felt between the heavens and Earth.

There is no forest more beautiful than the redwood forests of our part of the planet. They occur natively only in a few narrow bands along the coast of North America, and we are blessed to have some of those forests in our backyard here on the California north coast. To stand among them beneath the stars is a treat very few people in the world will experience firsthand. We who live with these wonders may sometimes forget what a blessing they are.
“A shooting star! Over near Jupiter!” I missed the meteor at the time, but not the magic of the night. Below us the Eel River glided between Redwood-covered hillsides under the night sky. I was with a former student and her friend and we played with our cameras while we stood in awe of the night. I found the meteor as I examined the photographs later. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • “A shooting star! Over near Jupiter!” I missed the meteor at the time, but not the magic of the night. Below us the Eel River glided between Redwood-covered hillsides under the night sky. I was with a former student and her friend and we played with our cameras while we stood in awe of the night. I found the meteor as I examined the photographs later. Humboldt County, California.
It is easy to lose perspective in our busy world. As humanity we are perhaps overly concerned with ourselves. We forget that we’re actually quite small, a small species on a minute world that is a part of something much, much larger. We pretend to set ourselves outside of Nature when we look at it. But we are deep within it and riding for our lives on the tiniest of motes in space, a sea of Nature so large we can’t even grasp it.

On evenings like this, looking up into the incredible Milky Way galaxy of which we are a part, it’s interesting to imagine myself traveling out into space and looking back at the receding Earth. As Earth shrinks, I see how small we really are. At about the size of a little blue marble, our atmosphere looks a mere sheen on the surface. It gives some perspective relative to the Universe in which we live. So fragile are we out there.
From the immensity of space, the distant core of our galaxy rises over the Eel River. We will never understand it all, but I did mark a few points along the way. From the Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County, Earth. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • From the immensity of space, the distant core of our galaxy rises over the Eel River. We will never understand it all, but I did mark a few points along the way. From the Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County, Earth.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: The Survivor

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 5:45 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
The Survivor.

The gnarled old pear tree was struggling to survive, hanging onto the edge of a dried embankment above a little dirt road when my family moved there over 40 years ago. It was small, not much taller than my dad, but already old, a twisted thing eking out a life on its own in the hard earth of a hot, dry Southern Humboldt hillside. Something in its solitary and determined struggle to survive was compelling to me, and it has always resonated with me.

After years of weathering, the crumbled soil beneath it gave out and it slid down onto the road. I found it there one day, still standing amongst the rubble of its small slide and looking a little disheveled. But it was OK. I dug a new hole and planted it across the road from its old perch in a more secure spot with the same view. I carried water to it regularly through the summer until it was able to continue on its own. That was over 25 years ago.

The other night I stopped by to say hi to it out beneath the stars. It was good to see the old tree under the night sky and share with it the awesome splendor of the Milky Way. I thought of all the nights the pear tree has watched the stars and planets traverse the sky. Other than a few clouds along the horizon, the sky was a glittering star field. Jupiter shone above the tree as the brightest point. Across the Milky Way from Jupiter glowed Saturn. I watched them cross the sky for a couple hours before tiring, so different from the patience of the tree; from its perspective, I showed up, connected briefly, took some photographs and zipped away again.

What’s a couple hours when you’ve stood watch for decades?
Some of the visible galactic points of interest that are reasonably identifiable passing over the old pear tree as Earth spins beneath them. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Some of the visible galactic points of interest that are reasonably identifiable passing over the old pear tree as Earth spins beneath them. Humboldt County, California.
It’s interesting to think how the life of this stunted old pear tree and mine have become entwined, and it feels good to think that replanting it all that time ago gave it so many more years of life. I suppose I was its little angel when I came along, and for its part it has always given me a good feeling.
An old, stunted pear tree abides in its nightly vigil beneath the Milky Way. The tree lives in Southern Humboldt County, California, but the far ridge line is in Mendocino County. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • An old, stunted pear tree abides in its nightly vigil beneath the Milky Way. The tree lives in Southern Humboldt County, California, but the far ridge line is in Mendocino County.
The tree is still small but it’s healthy. There must be a lot of rings packed in that dense little trunk. I’m glad our paths have crossed.


To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
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Monday, June 17, 2019

SLO Betta Blues

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 4:24 PM

The World Famous Crab Grass Band! - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • The World Famous Crab Grass Band!
These are getting harder to write. We’re a baker’s dozen games into the season, still three games under .500 at 5-8, and looking poised to remain so. “This is the slowest start the Crabs have had since I can remember,” said Hugh Scanion, Crab Grass Band founder and unofficial team historian.

It isn’t that they’re bad per se, they just aren’t on the same page. We’ve got as many Crabs batting over .300 as are hitting under .200. Our pitching rotation and bullpen are evenly split above and below 3.00 ERA. The Crabs are suffering from intermittent bouts of what I call “Giants Syndrome.” When we’re hitting, we aren’t pitching, and when we’re pitching, we aren’t hitting.

Friday’s game was one I’d just as soon not talk about, but the extracurriculars necessitate it, so I’ll get through the game quick. The Crabs lost their first game of the weekend to the San Luis Obispo Blues 13-1. It was a shellacking, an unmitigated rout, a blow-out of 1980's prom proportions. They buried us in runs and laughed at our interring.
Pitcher Josh Mollerus deals on Friday evening - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Pitcher Josh Mollerus deals on Friday evening


A woman caught a foul ball to the head and had to leave the ballpark with an icepack the size of her head on her head. She was bleeding and everything. Gotta watch out for those errant flies, folks. They are no joke. I hope she’s all right.

And then there was perhaps the worst Crabs fan I’ve encountered at any game. He’s up there with the B52s guy from the last year who gave the whole stadium the finger as he cursed our names. I can’t be certain, but he appeared to spawn from the dried beer on the bleachers in the second inning. Drunk already, to be sure. He wasn’t so much heckling as he was just shouting at Blues players. Cussing them up and down despite the numerous reminders and boos he got from the crowd that that isn’t how we do things. During the middle of a Blues rally, he stood up, literally (and I mean that literally and not as a synonym for figuratively) tore his shirt off, threw it in the air, and played radio dials on his nipples. I wish I was joking. Thankfully, security did their job and escorted him out, but this Grendel would not be so easily deterred. He attempted to sneak back in a couple of times before ultimately soiling himself and crawling back to whatever dank cave he calls home. Good riddance. If you can’t hack public drinking and acting like an adult, or even a human being with a basic sense of decorum, don’t come to the game. Stay home and ruin your liver.

On the lighter side of things, a man built like a Bernini statue showed up with a perfectly groomed Bichon Frise and the SLO manager got kicked out in the 8th inning for arguing an admittedly terrible call and belly bumping one of the umps. It was a beautiful spectacle, a lone bright spot for the fans, and it was doubly funny to see him chatting with one of the Crab Grass Band members and drinking a Steelhead five minutes later. Now that’s a man who knows how to manage collegiate semi-pro wood-bat summer league.

Oh! And our right fielder, Dylan Johnson made a stunning grab in the second inning. A full body-length diving catch onto the warning track. It was a thing of beauty


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Night Lights in the Fog

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 2:17 PM

banner-2019-06-05_edge-o-world-fog-silhouettes_58_1500px.jpg
In which an expedition to photograph beneath the night skies encounters lemons in the form of a thick pea soup fog, so we make lemonade. We had hoped for a starry night and the Milky Way, but the lemonade turned out better than expected.

In online photo circles, one will bump into other photographers through the images they share, follow each other’s work and sometimes meet up to shoot together or collaborate. Mary Burns and I ran into each other through our images on Instagram and have followed each other’s work for a year or so. She does a lot of work with people, and I do a lot of work with night, so naturally our collaboration would involve photographing people at night beneath a starry sky.

Mary introduced me to her friend and fellow local photographer Gabriel Smith and her brother Liam before we caravanned to our destination.

We arrived to find a world socked in with a coastal fog dense enough to do proud the moors in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The mists thickened and thinned with the varying wind but never gave us a glimpse of the sky. It condensed on the trees and dripped from the leaves like rain from not far away; it dampened the stars from our sight and gave us a wet and gray night.
“You shall not pass!” We encountered The Fire Lord, who required a password. But we had too many passwords already and forgot it.  —Gabriel Smith models as the Fire Lord in this re-creation. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • “You shall not pass!” We encountered The Fire Lord, who required a password. But we had too many passwords already and forgot it. —Gabriel Smith models as the Fire Lord in this re-creation. Humboldt County, California.
Thwarted in photographing scenic landscapes, we tripped down the mindscapes of our imagination. We had lights, sparklers, people, fog and cameras. The sparklers cast dramatic glows in the fog and swirling smoke and our lights threw stark shadows and brilliant shafts piercing through the mists and over the ground.

We played, bouncing light and ideas off of each other. Gabriel and I alternated turns modeling and photographing while Liam held a light on us from behind. Mary photographed and I kept the sparklers going for us. It felt strange being on other side of the camera. Striking a pose and holding the flaming sparkler aloft before me, I felt like the wizard Gandalf challenging the great Balrog of Morgoth.


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Monday, June 10, 2019

Win One for the Gipper

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 3:08 PM

Youngsters finish rounding the bases after the Crabs' first home win of 2019 - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Youngsters finish rounding the bases after the Crabs' first home win of 2019
“Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way.”

My Grandmother used to sing that every morning to wake up my brother and I. And I, not being a morning person, hate hate hated it. Nothing worse than being rousted by someone an hour and a half ahead of you in mood. But today the sun is out, I’m lightly sunburned for the first time this year, and I’m feeling like Curly McLain because yesterday the Crabs dug out their first home win of the season!

Some new exoskeletons have joined our consortium of crustaceans since we last saw them: Dom Souto, a catcher and infielder from UC Berkley; Evan Gibbons, Nick Tabura (pitchers) and Dawsen Bacho (catcher), all from Sacramento State; and Ubaldo Lopez, a Dartmouth infielder and 2019’s winner of Longest Migration, all donned Crabs uniforms for the first time this week.

It seems to have helped. The Crabs clawed off two victories in the hostile, near-boiling waters of Redding. The Seattle Studs, however, are a different beast and proved it again this weekend, winning two out of three games in the series for the second year running. (Side note: The Studs are one of the oldest collegiate semi-pro teams in the country and are named after the Cheney Lumber Company, who copyrighted the 2x4s commonly used in home building. They are not, as I assumed, named after an ungelded male horse.)

Friday’s game was one of those where it was close until it wasn’t. The Studs and Crabs each scored two runs in the second inning, with Ubaldo “Ivy League” Lopez mashing a two-run homer for the Crabs’ part. From there it was a pitching duel, with only the rare inning getting past the fourth batter. Until the seventh inning, that is. One early error and the Studs seized the opportunity and put five runs on the board and that was that: 7-2 Studs, and the Crabs drop to 2-4 on the season —a 33 percent win rate, roughly equivalent to a 16-33 season.

Saturday was one of the quickest games I’ve ever seen, clocking in just under two and a half hours. We were in the bottom of the fourth inning at 7:45 p.m., an average of 10 minutes per inning. That’s nuts.

In the top of the third with one out, a Stud reached first on a dropped third strike. For those unfamiliar: If you strike out, but the catcher drops the ball, you are allowed to bust ass to first base. If you make it there before the someone throws you out, you are safe. It’s incredibly rare and one of the stranger rules in baseball, but it happened Saturday night. The Stud stole second a few pitches later, and was ultimate brought home on a deep sacrifice fly: 1-0 Studs on zero hits.
Davonte Butler showing off the Crabs' camo uniforms. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Davonte Butler showing off the Crabs' camo uniforms.
Davonte Butler was throwing darts in his second start, and by the seventh inning looked poised to pitch a no-hitter and lose, a rare feat. But he was spared, the seventh was his last appearance, relieved by Dalton Smith. The bad guys snuck another run in and while the Crabs would score one of their own in the ninth, a two out rally in the final inning is a tough draw for anytime. Final score: 2-1 Studs.

Before Sunday’s game, I was able to speak with Manager Robin Guiver about the Crabs uncharacteristically rough start.

“It’s been hard. We started the season missing about half our roster, playing really good teams, but we’re starting to fill out now. We’ve got, like, 10 hitters now instead of eight, so our pitchers don’t have to hit anymore. Guys can play more of their main positions. But no excuses, we have to play better. And we will.”

Days like Sunday are made for baseball. Sunny but not overly hot, minimal wind, no clouds but the chemtrails being dispersed overhead. The only better way to spend a Sunday like that than at a ballpark is working in a lab with Norman Borlaug on a wheat strain that will literally save billions of lives. And that already happened.

New Crab Evan Gibbons got his first start and threw five strong innings, allowing only one run and four hits. And, for the first time in the series, solid pitching had
Damian Henderson slides past an errant throw in Sunday's game. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Damian Henderson slides past an errant throw in Sunday's game.
bats behind its back. The Studs scored one run early and the Crabs responded by driving in two of their own in the second. They would score one run in each of the next two innings and clamp down to ride a 4-1 lead all the way through the ticker tape. They won, they fucking won. The floodgates are open, Ladies and Germs.

Hecklers were in fine form all weekend, fine form indeed. One Studs player, the catcher, was sucking on what appeared to be a lollipop all weekend, and that proved to be an endless font for the first base line.

Heckle of the Series
goes to the erudite gentleman who organized and led the whole bleachers on a spirited rendition of “The Lollipop Song” (many thanks to The Chordates).

Cheers and Jeers
Cheers to yours truly for making Gordon, Crab Grass Band conducted and noted stoic, laugh with a heckle.

Jeers, in fact Double Jeers. to me for having such a precious ego I had to openly Cheers myself.

Cheers to the whole Crabs' fanbase, for being so polite and accommodating to those trying to exit and enter these new, confounding bleachers. Let’s all agree to be judicious and thoughtful in our risings and sittings, yeah? Minimize trips. If you’re going to buy a beer, get two. If you think you may get snacky, head over to the concession stand and procure some sustenance before buying your beers. Don’t be that guy who’s getting up every 10 minutes to buy one thing.

Naughty List
Two young bucks were cast from the left field viewing area for insisting upon using foul language. I get it, sprites, curse words are cool. But knowing your audience is way cooler. Stay in school.

Three boots, zero fatalities.
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Friday, May 31, 2019

UPDATED: Orcas Spotted in Humboldt Bay (With Video)

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Orcas were spotted in Humboldt Bay. - SCREENSHOT FROM MADAKET VIDEO
  • Screenshot from Madaket video
  • Orcas were spotted in Humboldt Bay.
UPDATE:
Biologist Mike Kelly, who writes the column “Washed Up” for the North Coast Journal, reported via Twitter that he also caught sight of one of the orcas but apparently missed seeing the pod catch a sea lion.

“The remaining sea lions did seem nervous,” he says, showing a picture of several huddled on a buoy at the bay entrance.

All in all, it seems it was a busy day for marine mammals around the jetty.

Kelly also reports seeing harbor porpoises, a gray whale and some other sea lions that hadn’t gotten the memo on the orcas, which appeared in Humboldt Bay just one day before the beginning of Orca Month.
PREVIOUS:
A rare treat greeted some lucky folks this morning, when seven orcas were spotted by the captain of the Madaket.

According to a Facebook post, the whales were seen over by the county boat ramp on the North Spit by Capt. Cody Hills, who was aboard the survey boat Eagle.
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Monday, May 27, 2019

Kinetic Makes a Splash on Day 2

Posted By on Mon, May 27, 2019 at 12:35 PM

The Lion Kings of Rock-n-Roll roar into the bay. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The Lion Kings of Rock-n-Roll roar into the bay.
The Kinetic Grand Championship made a splash on Day 2 as competitors hit Humboldt Bay with their sculptures.

Local photographer Mark McKenna was on hand yesterday to capture the water entry, which proved a bit too much for some. Check out his full slideshow below, and check back for more pictures as the 50-mile-long race draws to a close on Ferndale’s Main Street today.
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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Kinetic Race Rolls on For the Glory

Posted By on Sun, May 26, 2019 at 11:58 AM

The Lion Kings of Rock-n-Roll both rolled and rocked Dead Man’s Drop. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The Lion Kings of Rock-n-Roll both rolled and rocked Dead Man’s Drop.
The Kinetic Grand Championship is in full swing, with racers braving blustery conditions to traverse sand, water and asphalt, all for the glory.

Local photographer Mark McKenna was on scene for yesterday's kickoff, from the revelry of the plaza and the dangers of Dead Man's Drop, all the way to Halvorsen Park, where the race's first leg came to a close. Check out his full slideshow below, and check back for more as the race continues its three-day trek toward Ferndale's Main Street.
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Guy Fieri Makes His Mark on the Walk of Fame

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 5:36 PM

A screenshot of Guy Fieri and his star. - WALK OF FAME VIDEO
  • Walk of Fame video
  • A screenshot of Guy Fieri and his star.
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri received his Walk of Fame moment this week in a celebration that saw the mayor of Flavortown lauded by actor Matthew McConaughey as the son of Ferndale took his place on the heralded walkway of terrazzo and bronze stars.

Fieri, a Food Network star who got his start selling pretzels in the Victorian Village, is perhaps best known for his television show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," which has included an episode on Humboldt County restaurants. (Read previous Journal coverage here.)

Check out all the action for yourself in this video of the Hollywood event.

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North Coast Night Lights: Rainy Night at 5th and F in Eureka

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:35 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
Rain had come out of the blue and the weather was up in the air. I couldn’t find any stars anywhere, so I lit out to the downtown regions of Eureka, Humboldt County, California to find something interesting in the lights of civilization.

I had in mind finding a fire hydrant to work with as a foreground object in a city street scene. To me the fire hydrant in a city is akin to the lone fence post in the country, it’s one of those subjects that draws me somehow. Not that I have a lot of shots of them at all, but I do think about them. Actually, I’m not really sure I’ve ever focused on one in a composition, but I’ve been collecting images of them in my head.
Hmm, the stars gotta be around here somewhere ... rainy night self-portrait on the corner of 5th and F, Eureka, Humboldt County, California. A long exposure from the night of May 16, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Hmm, the stars gotta be around here somewhere ... rainy night self-portrait on the corner of 5th and F, Eureka, Humboldt County, California. A long exposure from the night of May 16, 2019.
This night I had the bug to track one down and capture it in its native element. I found my candidate in one of the city’s neat yellow and cyan fire plugs down on the corner of 5th and F Streets. It had a certain character about it, and I liked the location for the lighting, the lines and the brick sidewalk.

Rain came and went all evening. Even between showers there seemed always to be some droplets floating in the air and landing on the lens. But the light quality from the city lights was beautiful, reflecting bright, rich colors off of the rain-soaked road’s gritty surface. Long exposures turned car lights to smooth streaks of light and color as they drove through the frame. I loved how the colors were working in the photographs.
The fire hydrant sitting on the corner of 5th and F Streets in Eureka, California. The light streaks in the image are from cars going by. In long exposures such as this, the cars moved almost entirely through the frame while the shutter was open, causing their lights to become streaks. The driving cars themselves are not bright enough to see. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The fire hydrant sitting on the corner of 5th and F Streets in Eureka, California. The light streaks in the image are from cars going by. In long exposures such as this, the cars moved almost entirely through the frame while the shutter was open, causing their lights to become streaks. The driving cars themselves are not bright enough to see.
I’d brought a crystal ball I hadn’t used in ages to incorporate in a photograph somehow. There is something of a mild craze for photographing crystal balls these days, so it’s been in my mind’s eye of late. This crystal ball I bought for photography almost 25 years ago down at Globe Imports along the waterfront. (How many years has THAT place been gone?!) But unfortunately this night the rain was not cooperating, and I’d hardly played with it before I was driven back to the shelter of the car.
I set my crystal ball on the fire plug, holding it securely in place using a specialized compound: chewing gum (I packed it out, too). Looking through a crystal ball turns the world upside-down, but I thought that made the small scene inside it difficult to make out, so I flipped the crystal ball upside down so the scene inside was right side up. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • I set my crystal ball on the fire plug, holding it securely in place using a specialized compound: chewing gum (I packed it out, too). Looking through a crystal ball turns the world upside-down, but I thought that made the small scene inside it difficult to make out, so I flipped the crystal ball upside down so the scene inside was right side up.


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