In between travels to other parts of California, your Resident Photographer will, occasionally, take photographs of small things, like insects, flowers, lichens, or leaves. It tends to be a meditative process because you have to be aware of your surroundings and be still in your mind. Exhale, take the picture, and then, just as quietly, pause before you move on. You can’t get decent photographs of butterflies and insects unless you can learn to be still. While you don’t have to worry too much when taking macro images of flowers, you do have to remain still when you take your photograph, otherwise the result will be less than satisfactory. You can use a tripod, but you may lose opportunities while getting it set up.
One of my “Backyard Series” photographs won an award in 2008 and was published in Capture Ventura County. When I took the photograph, I had no intention of entering it in any contest. I was just enjoying the moment.
Foster Library has some excellent books on taking your time. One of my favorites is The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr. Photography as a means of personal expression does not always mean panoramic or iconic views. Sometimes, you just have to look at the world a little differently.
So the next time you are feeling a bit jaded with your photography, try sitting in your backyard for a while. You never know what inspiration you may find!
Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez
This coming Sunday, June 15, marks the beginning of the Summer Reading for Adults contest at E.P. Foster Library! Let us know what you’re reading this summer and you’ll be entered to win one of our exciting prizes.
All adults with a valid Ventura County Library card can enter once per week starting on June 15 by filling out our online entry form. The contest runs for six weeks, and at the end will be a grand prize drawing for all entrants. The big winner will receive an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite!
Call or visit the library for more information. Remember, summer reading isn’t just for kids; plan your own private getaway with a good book!
With the live-action/3D Maleficent a success at the box-office (at least this week), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the origin of the title character.
Most people probably know that the arch-villainess first appeared in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The 1959 film was in production for most of the decade and ended up costing six million dollars, making it the most expensive animated feature up to that time.
|Original 1959 Whitman "Story Hour" Sleeping Beauty|
Disney had wanted this film to be his masterpiece, and to a certain degree, mostly visually, it is. In keeping with the epic trends of the ‘50s (Ben-Hur, et al.), Sleeping Beauty was shot in Technirama, one of the largest widescreen processes of the era, and with multi-track stereophonic sound.
Another innovation was having one artist oversee the entire look of the film. Eyvind Earle, an artist noted for his stylized renderings of California landscapes, was given free rein to style the film’s total look. But while the film looks fabulous, Disney was also involved with the development and opening of Disneyland (in 1955) and so had less time to contribute his usually-astute editing skills to the film’s story and characters.
However, one aspect of the film that was a unique success is the character of Maleficent, the wicked fairy whose curse motivates the entire story. Her character was visualized as a statuesque, even glamorous, blue-complected creation with a throaty voice and a rather sophisticated sense of irony. Her subtle evil is enhanced by a flowing black robe with touches of purple topped off with a formidable headdress of two prominent black horns (the latter a kind of premonition of her awesome transformation into a dragon at the film’s spectacular climax).
And as if more was needed, viewers of the period really knew they were getting a new kind of Disney villain when, during the dragon scene, she declaims “Now shall you deal with me, oh prince, and all the powers of HELL!”
However, some of the 1959 film’s character motivations remained a bit vague, so if you’re still wondering why, aside from being snubbed at the christening, such a dominating sorceress was ticked off enough to put a death curse on a newborn princess, I hear you can find out in detail in the new Maleficent (2014).
In the Ventura County Library collection the original animated Sleeping Beauty is available in a two-disc Platinum DVD set with lots of extra features. Eyvind Earle’s autobiography, Horizon Bound on a Bicycle (1990) is also available. Several editions of Christopher Finch’s The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdom (Abrams, 1973) provide a comprehensive overview of the Disney oeuvre. The well-known author/illustrator Bill Peet also worked on Sleeping Beauty’s story adaptation.
|Daisy Duck as Maleficent, Main Street, Disneyland|
Stories told with mime illustration
with special guests
Candace Hull and John Mackey
First off, I really connected with the title of this cookbook: One Good Dish, by David Tanis. It’s flattering for the author to dedicate a book to me! Getting serious now, One Good Dish is a heck of a cookbook, lots of tasty recipes and beautiful pictures.
Deciding on which dish to prepare was easy; the minute I saw the phrase “very traditional Tuscan soup," I knew what I would prepare this late spring evening: polentina alla toscana. I love how that sounds! Kale is a key ingredient in this soup, and as I recall one of our extremely informative and entertaining Book Appétit events did go into some depth on the virtues of kale. Another interesting ingredient is the gorgeous and aromatic fennel bulb. I have never prepared a dish with one before, but that will change. In addition to all of that I had just received a new soup pot; will the excitement ever end? The recipe called for half a pound of kale. I skimped a bit, knowing that kale will be shocking and new to a number of people in my household that will be consuming the soup. However, I didn’t skimp on the garlic; most of my passionate readers know where I stand on garlic, especially homegrown.
|After I chopped, peeled, salted, and peppered I tossed everything into my new soup pot and let it boil and simmer. During the period of time in which the soup was simmering I made a rash decision to listen to an opera CD, checked out from the library of course. In all honesty I wasn’t wild about the opera; I guess it’s an acquired taste. I wholeheartedly hope that mentioning my underwhelming opera-listening experience doesn’t downgrade my perceived level of sophistication in my reader’s eyes. Anyway, confession over; I served the soup and it was magnificent!||
***** David’s Dish
Check out One Good Dish at Foster Library, or put it on hold—we will send it to you. If there are any cookbooks in Foster Library’s collection that you would like me to try out, please leave the title on our Facebook page and I’ll get cooking!
Mr. Hauf has made hundreds of trips to Channel Islands National Park and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, capturing the wonders of the wilderness.
This presentation is free and open to the public, and begins at 4 p.m. in the Topping Room. Stop by to learn more about these amazing locations!
Your Resident Photographer occasionally travels out of Ventura County to take photos in other parts of California. Recently, my sojourn led me to discover the old mining town of Bodie, a place that was once so lawless that the Reverend F.M. Warrington described it as “…a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion.” There is little evidence of that lifestyle today, but the relatively-intact community is in a state of “arrested decay.” Some of the homes look as though the residents just stepped away for a while. The yards are overgrown, there are rusting carcasses of vehicles left in place, and, in some cases, curtains are still hanging in the windows, albeit a little worse for wear. There are certainly enough artistically collapsed buildings to delight any photographer.
At one point, Bodie was in danger of becoming just another casualty of time and vandalism. However, Bodie is now part of the California State Park system and is officially designated as a State Historic Park. Park rangers live on the premises and make repairs, as necessary, using materials as close to the originals as possible. The road to Bodie is not for the faint-hearted as the last three miles of the road are unpaved, making for a very slow, very bumpy ride. Should you decide to brave the perils of the unpaved road, be prepared to bring your own food and water since there are no amenities in this ghost town.
Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez
The free event will include a presentation on the many uses of olive oil, cooking techniques, and the importance of buying local.
It all starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, in the Topping Room. This event is open to the public, so stop on by. We’d love to see you there!
Hey Kids and Teens!
Gallop, crawl, slither or fly to your
local Ventura Library to sign up for the
2014 Summer Reading Program.
There will be prizes for reading, crafts and
special events, June 1 - August 9.
Parents: Research has shown that reading over the summer prevents the loss of reading skills. Children and young adults need to practice essential skills in order to succeed in life and school. "Paws to Read" reminds kids that reading is fun!