Clarion Alley, Mission District, San Francisco


I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco last weekend for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and only wish I had had more time there. I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in 28 years, a fellow photo-lover, who took me to this alley, knowing I would love it. I have to say it was almost overwhelming. There were more alleys somewhere, but I didn’t even want to see them when I was through this one. It was just so much to see – loads of color and powerful messages. I couldn’t take much more in! But of course I had to keep shooting. I may have to break this up into a few posts because there is so much to see.

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I’m having trouble using WordPress lately. I would like the photos to be larger, but I don’t have time, nor patience, to deal with it right how. I’d rather just get these images out. Anyway, forgive the small images and lousy set up. Maybe I should shop for a new theme. Someday.

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This artist was being interviewed by an Australian guy while we were touring the alley. That’s my son on the left in the frame, the artist Kuba in the middle, and the interviewer on the right. Kuba is standing in front of his piece. I have included it from a couple angles so you can see all of it.

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I was happy to see some of Jeremy Novy’s koi stencils out here in San Francisco. He graciously allowed me to interview him when he was living in Milwaukee a couple years ago. He has since gone back to California and is still painting his koi, among other cool stuff. I always enjoy seeing his koi around Milwaukee, several installations of which are around town.

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Even the street itself is full of artwork. There were some sculptures as well and stickers and stencils galore.

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I will stop here for now and go prepare a second post. See you soon!

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Weirdness on WordPress?


Update: I erased a bunch of html that had to do with widths and lengths of images. I have no idea why it worked really, but it appears to have done the trick. What are you up to WP? The new interface for editing looked like a great thing, but maybe I better learn more about what I’m doing since I haven’t posted in a while. Sheesh. You take a leave of absence and they rearrange the entire office!

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I have no idea what happened to my last post. I added text after uploading from my phone and when I saved changes it blew the sizes way up. Not sure why and not sure how to fix it. I don’t even know if others can see it normally or blown up like I can. I may need advice on how to fix this …

Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey Workshop at the Urban Ecology Center


image Today I attended a volunteer training workshop at the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) at Riverside Park. We learned a bit about identifying dragonflies and damselflies so that we can come back on specified survey days to identify and count species. We have at least 30 varieties of odonates in our area. image These are dragonfly exuvia, or the cast off shells of the nymphs’ last stage before becoming the familiar and beautiful insects we are used to seeing skimming over water or meadow on a summer day. Dragonflies can live up to four years in water as nymphs, but only live 2-6 weeks on land as adults. (all facts are taken from the handout the UEC provided at the workshop) image “The Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum is an urban oasis that combines Riverside Park and Milwaukee River frontage with reclaimed post-industrial land into a public green space, natural habitat, and outdoor classroom for experiential learning and growing, right in the heart of the city!” (from their website) image Here our group heads off, nets and magnifiers in tow, to see if we can find any odonates. It was warm enough, but it is early in the season and a bit windy, which were two counts against our success. We were really there to learn, not formally count today, but if we found something it would be a bonus. image This turtle collage/sculpture is found along the trail near the Milwaukee River. image While walking near the river, one of our group noticed a Butler’s garter snake by the side of the trail. Turns out it was stuck in some erosion netting that was in place to stabilize new growth on the side of a hill. Ironically, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) had required the UEC to install the netting. Luckily someone had a knife and the snake was carefully cut free. image Jennifer Callaghan, the UEC’s Research and Citizen Science Coordinator, could tell this Butler’s garter snake is a pregnant female! Our small heroic moment of the day. image Chop me down. Graffiti, even in the woods! (or maybe a note to staff to take this tree down, which someone did) image Reflections on the Milwaukee River, which flows past Riverside Park and the UEC. image Not sure what this is, but it was along the trail so I took a photo. image Here we’re heading back up and away from the river, toward the meadow. It’s so pretty in here. There were a number of people out enjoying the park today, several of them walking dogs and/or pushing strollers or riding bikes. The Oak Leaf Trail runs roughly parallel to the river and bisects the UEC. Bikes stay on that paved trail, but strollers and dog-walkers were seen throughout the park. I even saw a schnauzer, which made me happy. Best dogs ever! image Just another beautiful area. I love it here. image I’m usually at the back of the pack since I can’t stop taking pictures. Go figure! image Jennifer holds our only catch and release of the day, a teneral damselfly, or a newly emerged adult. Tenerals are fragile, their bodies still soft and their wings especially shiny. She handled it very carefully and made sure it found a safe place to further dry out when we were done looking at it.

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This was an awesome day. I look forward to the formal surveys as they happen over the summer at the three branches of the UEC: Riverside Park, Washington Park, and Menomonee Valley. Each has its own particular habitat and list of odonata species. I’ll have to bring the Nikon with a macro lens and see what I can photograph. All count and species data are shared with the Wisconsin Dragonfly Survey and a National Dragonfly Survey.

I will leave you with a few fun facts from our workshop today, all but the last two taken from the handout they gave us:

  • Dragonflies have compound eyes with up to 30,000 facets. Their eyes make up the majority of their head and are positioned to see in a nearly 360 degree radius.
  • There are fossil records of odonates dating back some 230 million years.
  • Odonates are very agile fliers and can fly forward, backward, during feeding, during egg-laying and even during mating. Aeronautic scientists have studied them to better understand flight physics.
  • One adult dragonfly can eat up to several hundred mosquitoes a day!
  • The Globe Skimmer dragonfly has the longest migration of any insect at 11,000 miles.
  • The fastest recorded speed of a dragonfly was 36 mph.
  • Damselflies can detect movement up to 15 meters away.
  • Both dragonflies and damselflies are aggressive hunters. They have voracious appetites, will hunt in groups and will even attack prey bigger than themselves.
  • Dragonflies are super efficient hunters, catching nearly 95% of the prey they set out to eat. (how do they know this?!)
  • Odonates have individual control over each of their four wings.
  • Dragonhunter dragonflies (Hegenius brevistylus) are the bad asses of the bunch and a prized find for enthusiasts. They can fly about 30 mph and have no qualms about cannibalizing each other!
  • My favorite species name from today’s workshop: Ebony Boghaunter (Williamsonia fletcheri), a small and rather rare dragonfly with a fabulous moniker!

Collaborative Art Print


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Today there is an open museum tour in Milwaukee, five museums with free admission. Visitors can create a print by drawing with pencil on Styrofoam and then rolling the drawing with ink. Each is pressed on a large paper to create a print collage. Here is one I contributed to. Can you see my print? Hint: I’m a dog-lover. 🙂