Sunday, February 5, 2023

Seal Beach Boardwalk

Revisited the Seal Beach Pier as the sun was lower in the sky.

Here standing underneath the boardwalk




Capturing the shadows as the sun sets behind the boardwalk




Now all most dark, the blue hour set in...


That wraps up our visit to the Seal Beach Boardwalk Pier.

Tomorrow we head south into Baja California, Mexico.







Friday, February 3, 2023

Texas ice storm - White Sands, NM - Seal Beach, CA

While trailering the Gold Wing rig west to meet up with a motorcycle group going to Mexico, got ahead of the ice storm in Texas, but not by much.



Nearing the Texas - New Mexico border, decided to swing by the White Sands National Park near Alamogordo, New Mexico for a photo op. 

When I stopped there last year, it was cold and overcast. 
The grey cloud cover made the shadows of the dunes dull. The photos taken then were flat.

This year I got lucky. Clear blue sky, bright sun casting long shadows in the afternoon.
Not many visitors in January, and the temperature was a very pleasant 56 degrees. 
Was a beautiful day to be there

There are several parking / picnic areas in the park with their unique wind shelters.



Wanted to capture the texture of sand ripples created by the constant winds.


Started to get nice shadow contrast as the afternoon wore on.
Stayed away from the dune edges as that sand is soft, easy to give way. 

The fall probably would not hurt as the soft sand would cushion some, 
but it is a long way down to a hard bottom



The endless waves of sand, would not want to be here in August with a blazing sun beating down.



Shooting in Black & White is a natural here, as there is little color other than the sky.

Can you see the solitary figure standing on the dune?  



Wonder how many people get lost wandering among the dunes. 
 There are marked hiking trails. But after a while, one dune begins to look like another. 
Easy to get turned around if you cannot see the distant mountain range in the west.

Then there is that urge to climb one more dune, just to see what there is to see...

After hiking numerous dunes to find that special view, 
it was back on the road, with miles to go.

Arrived two days later in Seal Beach, California, the rendezvous point. 
Took a night walk to the end of the pier, turning around, this is what one sees...


...with sounds of the Pacific crashing on the beach below.


Ride safe my friends

CCjon 




Saturday, January 28, 2023

2022 Photos in Review - Part A

Whew... 2022 was quite a year for photography. While learning to work with a new Black & White camera as well as keeping the old SONY clicking, seems we captured several thousand images last year. Well, not seems, we did take over 4000 photos.

Then to sort which best represents the year, took some time, 
reviewing, editing then discarding the also-rans.
Hope you enjoy this recap of 2022 images,
 so here we go.

Starting with Alex's escape.

That decisive moment when Alex grabs his kindergarten diploma, 
then tries to sneak away 
in the wrong direction.
His expression is priceless.



 Downtown Houston at dusk
Not bad for an iPhone photo



The shopping mall



Desert Princess - Imperial Dunes, California




Mexican street beggar - Tecate, Baja California


Mexican Fisherman - Todos Santos, Baja California



           Mexican Mechanic  - Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California


Pacific beach near Todos Santos, Baja California



Baja Fishing boats at sunrise, Baja California



Pacific Sunset - Lost Whale Inn, northern California



Rome - Vatican Priest late for mass


Rome - Bicycling the busy streets


Rome - Old Jewish Ghetto


Rome - Fountain at night



Rome - Illuminated Stone Columns



Rome - Vatican staircase


Rome - Empty Spanish Steps,  4 A.M.



Rome - Exploring the back streets - 5 A.M.



That's enough for now, next post will be
 Part B, the rest of the 2022 favorite photos.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Virgin of Guadalupe then & today, Hempstead, Texas

According to Nican Mopohua, a 17th-century account written in the native Nahuatl language, 

the Virgin Mary appeared four times to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican peasant and once to his uncle, Juan Bernardino. The first apparition occurred on the morning of Saturday December 9th, 1531. Juan Diego experienced this vision of a young woman at a place called the Hill of Tepeyac, which later became part of Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City.

 

 According to the accounts, the woman, speaking to Juan Diego in his native Nahuatl language (the language of the Aztec Empire), identified herself as the Virgin Mary, "mother of the very true deity". She was said to have asked for a church to be erected at that site in her honor. Based on her words, Juan Diego then sought out the Archbishop of Mexico City, Father Juan de Zumárraga, to tell him what had happened. Not unexpectedly, the Archbishop did not believe peasant Diego. Later that same day, Juan Diego again saw the young woman (the second apparition), and she asked him to continue insisting. 


The next day, Sunday, December 10, 1531, Juan Diego once again spoke to the Archbishop. The latter instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill and to ask the woman for a truly acceptable, miraculous sign to prove her identity. Later that day, the third apparition appeared when Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac; encountering the same woman, he reported to her the Archbishop's request for a sign, which she consented to provide on the next day (December 11th). 


However, Juan Diego's uncle, Juan Bernardino, was very ill on Monday the 11th which obligated Juan Diego to attend to him. 


In the early hours of Tuesday, December 12, as Juan Bernardino's condition had deteriorated, Juan Diego journeyed to Tlatelolco to get a Catholic priest to hear Juan Bernardino's confession and help minister to him on his deathbed. 


To avoid being delayed by the Virgin and ashamed at having failed to meet her the previous day as agreed, Juan Diego chose another route around Tepeyac Hill. Yet the Virgin intercepted him and asked where he was going (fourth apparition); Juan Diego explained what had happened for which the Virgin gently chided him for not having made recourse to her. 


In the words which have become the most famous phrase of the Guadalupe apparitions and are inscribed above the main entrance to the Basilica of Guadalupe, she asked "¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?" ("Am I not here, I who am your mother?"). She assured him that Juan Bernardino had now recovered. Then told him to gather flowers from the summit of Tepeyac Hill, which was normally barren, especially in the cold of December. 


Juan Diego obeyed her instruction, finding Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming there. According to the story, the Virgin arranged the flowers in Juan Diego's tilma, or cloak. When Juan Diego opened his cloak later that day before Archbishop Zumárraga, the flowers fell to the floor, revealing on the fabric the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. 


The next day, December 13th, Juan Diego found his uncle fully recovered as the Virgin had assured him. Juan Bernardino recounted that he also had seen the Virgin Mother while praying at his bedside (fifth apparition); that she had instructed him to inform the Archbishop of this apparition and of his miraculous cure; and that she had told him she desired to be known under the title of 'Guadalupe'. 


The Archbishop kept Juan Diego's mantle, first in his private chapel and then in the church on public display, where it attracted great attention. On December 26, 1531, a procession formed to transfer the miraculous image back to Tepeyac Hill where it was installed in a small, hastily erected chapel. During this procession, the first miracle was allegedly performed when a native was mortally wounded in the neck by an arrow shot by accident during some stylized martial displays performed in honor of the Virgin. In great distress, the natives carried him before the Virgin's image and pleaded for his life. Upon the arrow being withdrawn, the victim fully and immediately recovered. 


Zumárraga having recognized the miracle, ordered a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe to be built on the Hill of Tepeyac, with a basilica to her constructed below. Today, the original miraculous tilma image hangs in the new basilica at Tepeyac in Mexico City. The image left on Saint Juan Diego's tilma is the only true picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in existence. The image has remained intact with all its original vibrancy for 475 years.


The 12th of December is the traditional day to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe not only in Mexico but in all of the Hispanic Catholic world.

The St. Kathrine Drexel Catholic Church is in Hempstead, a predominantly Mexican-American ranching community near Houston, Texas, They hold it's celebration on December 12th. Starting with an early morning ritual of Aztec dancing, drumming, and prayer followed by breakfast. 

Everything starts with the 5 AM mañanitas,  or early morning rituals followed by Mass.


Aztec dancers perform during the mañanitas.
In the lead dancer's hand, one can see the symbolic bow and arrow of the first miracle. 



Performers are of all ages, passing on the heritage.



After Mass, parishioners exit the sanctuary 
seeking the warm food and hot drink that awaits them..



For many steadfast followers attending this religious observance, 
it has been a family tradition for as long as they can remember.



Breakfast tamales and atóle are served by church volunteers. 
Atóle is a Mexican beverage with warm milk, water, cinnamon and vanilla extract.



In the afternoon, the four-mile procession for the Virgin winds its way from a country ranch, through Hempstead, before reaching the church of St. Kathrine Drexel.

Some walk the entire distance. Others with small children 
start walking a little closer to the church. 
Most important, the tradition is passed on to the next generation.



Some decorate and ride their four wheels. Note the statue of the Virgin on the back rack.



The Aztec dancers will walk the route together.



After drumming all morning starting at 5 A.M., 
then the four mile procession back to the church.
His arms must be tired.



This makes for a very long day as they have been up since 4 AM.



...and many rode their horses. 
Being a ranching area of Texas, vaqueros and horses are a common sight.



Parade Drill Teams participate with their show horses.



Young and old, in groups or solo, the Catholic faithful turn out for this special holy procession 
despite rain and gloomy weather. 

Their horses are groomed, saddles polished, and Sunday best attire.



Father Juan Pineda from St. Theresa Church in Sugarland, TX
joined the procession.  He formally was at St. Kathrine Drexel.



Roberto Rodriguez was one of the organizers for this year's procession.



Two friends, both faithful members of the St. Kathrine Drexel Church in Hempstead



The camera thought this gentleman was very photogenic



And this young man too, 
with his captivating eyes.


If you can ever attend a Virgin of Guadalupe celebration, do so. 
Outsiders are warmly welcomed. 

Remember it's December 12th, though in some regions they celebrate it 
on the Weekend closest to the 12th, so people from afar can attend.

Ride safe, my friends, there is more on the horizon in 2023.  
Several long sidecar rides are planned as well as 
have some adventure photography projects in the works.

Details in upcoming posts.

CCjon

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Ronin and Family in Austin

Sunday we drove to Austin, Texas to see our youngest grandson, little Ronin, and his parents. 
We have not seen them in several months. 

For his first real photo session, we took Ronin to a small community park.

Mom & Dad bringing Ronin into the park. The Austin area has very nice parks and walking trails. 



Enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the park. 

The oak leaves are gone, and winter is coming.
But today was nice to be outdoors. Quiet, no one else was in the park.
Austin seldom gets snow, but it can be cool in January and February. 



Sergio, our youngest son, with the love of his life, Amanda,
and their precious little Ronin, four and a half months old now.




Ronin doesn't seem very happy 
when he is not the center of attention.



But he is thrilled when his Mommy laughs with him.



Sergio is a proud papa, with good reason too.



While having lunch, Ronin voiced that he was hungry too.



Before we left the park, Tita joined in for a family photo.
Poor little Ronin was getting tired from all the attention.
Nap time.


Later that day, Tita and I drove back to Cypress, 
after spending a wonderful afternoon with Ronin, Amanda, and Sergio.

Another set of family photos to record memories. 

Ride safe ya'll

CCjon