Layered — A City in the Sky


Handwoven Tapestry (detail), sheila o’hara, 1985?

The skyscrapers in Sheila O’Hara’s tapestry float mysteriously on a field of red. An abstract freeway flows through the buildings into a starry sky. Is this the future for San Francisco? This tapestry was on exhibit downtown, several years ago, long before the city plan and the new skyscrapers.

Here is another photo of Sheila’s work (a speeding motorcyclist):


Nite Flite, a speeding motorcycle, handwoven tapestry by Sheila O’Hara, 1985

Nite Flite is crafted of handwoven wool, cotton, rayon and lurex, and woven by Sheila on a computer-assisted loom called a compu-dobby.

Visit her on the web to see more recent work at Sheilaohara dot com:

Welcome to the latest incarnation of the Sheila O’Hara web site with stunning landscapes and dancing sheep, and many of Sheila’s other fiber fantasies that she has been weaving since 1976.
— from her web site.

Cheers, Carto

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered.

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Waiting — Horses Crossing


Horse Crossing, Spring 2017 in Pearson Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto

Two horses cross the road while cars wait. The horses are returning to the stables that replaced the site formerly used by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence  Laboratory (SAIL) from 1965 to 1991. Horses now tread where robots once roamed. Quite a switch for technology oriented Silicon Valley. The lab, of course, didn’t disappear, but moved to main campus (see, Computer Science).

The photo above is a detail from the photo below, which was taken last March after the heavy winter rains had stopped.


Hiking trail along Arastradero Road, Palo Alto, 2017

The Pearson Arastradero Preserve is an especially nice place to hike (photograph) in spring. The colors in this photo were emphasized in Lightroom and Photoshop CC (probably, excessively so!), but the photo deserved a little extra punch because the day was so exuberant.

Cheers, Carto

Here is a link to the WordPress Weekly Photo challenge: Waiting.

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Corners — Box-like Homes are Trending



Modern Minimalist home in Palo Alto, 2017

All corners, that’s my take on this large residence in Palo Alto.

Most new homes in Palo Alto are much larger than the home they replace; many are two story with a full basement. And, a popular style is a modern minimalism, quite distinct from the Mediterranean and Craftsman styles used by builders in the 30s and post-war eras when much of Palo Alto was built.

Here is a photo gallery of a few new homes in Old Palo Alto that are a within a few blocks of my one-story Tudor style home of the 30s.

Cheers, Carto

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “corners”, here.

Posted in History, Photography | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Elemental — Earth and Fire, Ceramics as Art


Wood-fired Stoneware by Peter Voulkos, 2016, Palo Alto Art Center

Above is  a detail of a large wood-fired stoneware sculpture by Peter Voulkos. The piece stands almost 4 ft. high, and is 2 feet wide and weights over 150 pounds. Imagine muscling that around a studio and into a kiln.

Peter was born in Bozeman, Mt and went to Montana State College. I attended the same school a few years after Peter (he went to school on the WW II GI Bill and I on the Korean War GI Bill). I never met Peter, but knew his brother Manny who owned an all-nite diner where I and other vets often ended up after the pubs closed.

Later, after moving to California, I got the urge to learn ceramics and made a few pieces that are still littering the shelves around the house. Here is a gallery of some of the shelves.

Peter’s work is on permanent display in the Anderson Collection at Stanford, and the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

Cheers, Carto

This week’s challenge is “Elemental” — You know: Earth, Fire, Water, etc. Check it out here.

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Transient — Anonymous Drifter


Force (detail), mass times acceleration, The Brilliance Project, Palo Alto, CA

As a famous drifter once said: “May the Force be with you.”

The equation of force is cut into the steel sculpture Brilliance that is on display at the Palo Alto Art Center. There are 6 similarly shaped steel sculptures spread about the campus of the art center and library. Each has a central message  surrounded by fragments of text collected by the artist from Palo Alto residents in their native language. As a whole the collection represents the diversity of the city.

If you are up to it, follow this link to the Transient Force web page where Arnold Steiner plays Galactic Cluster — electron music of transient force.

Cheers, Carto

Submitted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Transient.

Posted in Fantasy/Adventure, Photography | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Friend — Share your favorite sights


George Segal’s Restored Sculpture, Gay Liberation, Stanford, 2016

This sculpture by George Segal is called Gay Liberation, but I’ve always thought of it as “A group of friends.”

This week’s photo challenge is about Friends. I’ll share a gallery of candid shots that I’ve taken of people enjoying the sights of the San Francisco Bay area: de Young Museum, Golden Gate Bridge, Palo Alto Baylands, and Stanford University.

Please click on any image to enter “slide show mode.”

Cheers, Carto

Here is a link to what others have shared this week on the Photo Challenge: Friend.

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Wanderlust — Take the Bus


Bus parked in Palo Alto in front of a former Sun Microsystems building (now used by Google)

Is the bus getting ready to roll or, perhaps, is it there already. (click photo to enlarge; check out the guys on the roof.)

Cheers, Carto

This weeks photo challenge is “Wanderlust”. Follow this link to more blog posts, here.

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Dense — Spring, Yellows and Whites


Spring in the Back Yard, 2017

After a wet winter, the back yard is dense with color: yellow rose, and flowering cherry are in full bloom while the oranges continue to ripen and our camellia opens new blooms daily. This is a great time to be outdoors.

Ode to the Present

as smooth
as a board,
and fresh,

this hour
this day
as clean
as an untouched glass

— not a single
from the past:

we touch
the moment;
with our fingers,
we cut it
to size,

we direct
its blooming.
It’s living,
It’s alive:

it brings nothing
from yesterday that can’t be redeemed,
nothing from the lost past.

Ode to the present, Pablo Neruda (translated by Ken Krabbenhoft), Odes to Opposites, Bulfinch Press, 1999

I encourage you to read the original, Oda al presente, at the Neruda website here. The first lines of the untranslated original follow:


como una tabla,
esta hora,
este día
como una copa nueva
—del pasado
no hay una
con los dedos
el presente,
su medida,
su brote,
está viviente,
nada tiene
de ayer irremediable,
de pasado perdido, …

Cheers, Carto

But “dense” has many meanings that inspire bloggers: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense.

Posted in Photography, Poetry, Spanish | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Wishes — A Poem by Robert Frost


Winter oaks in the hills above Stanford, Arastradero Preserve, 2017

Today the winter oaks are dark against the sky, but in a few weeks, as they turn spring green, the woods will take a softer look. Here is a poem about dark trees and a boy’s thoughts about an uncertain future.

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,

Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew–
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

—Into My Own by Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will, 1915

You can find the poem on Bartleby dot com. The poem may have been Frost’s reflection on his own future, but the thoughts and uncertainties of youth are universal.


Follow the link to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish.

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Path — Walking on Windy Hill


Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley, CA, 2016

Out for a walk on the path to Windy Hill; it’s the start of winter, but the grass is green and I think of spring.

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.
Spring Morning, The World of Christopher Robin, A. A. Milne, 1958

Happy Holidays, Carto

WordPress bloggers were challenged to come up with a post for Path. Follow the link to read 100’s of posts from all over the world.

Posted in Fantasy/Adventure, Photography, Poetry, Travel | Tagged , | 2 Comments