Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Low Carbon Emission Photo Shoot

Store front in SF Chinatown
 Yesterday, March 31st, was Earth Hour. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as an effort to offset the effects of climate change by turning the lights off for one hour. This year, it was expected that over 135 countries and territories were going to turn off their lights for an hour at 8:30 local time.  I know that an hour might not be much in terms of offsetting climate change, but at least it’s nice to know that so many people are willing to come together for one hour to do something symbolic for our planet. My husband and I turned off all of our lights and electronics at 8:30 and sat around chatting, in front of a nice fire, until way past 10 p.m. It was a lovely end to a lovely day.

Fun door in SF Chinatown
Our day started off great. We are both working on creative projects so we enjoyed a couple of hours of creative work before picking up a Zipcar to go meet the woman who will be taking care of our dog, Bomber, when we go to Peru in 10 days. The day started rainy and cold, so we drove 30 minutes West, in the rain, with a very unhappy dog on board. 

I have been nervous about leaving Bomber while visiting my family in Peru. This is going to be his first time away from us since we got him. Fortunately, meeting Heather, our new dog boarder, really gave me peace of mind. She was wonderful! We hung out at her house for abut 45 minutes, 30 of which Bomber spent playing with a little dog. I’m not quite sure what kind of dog it was but I know it’s the same as the lady in The Lady and the Tramp.

Statue at park in SF Chinatown
By the time we left, it had stopped raining. Watching the sky clear and the blue sky peaking out of the clouds provided a good image of how I felt now that I knew that Bomber was going to stay with someone so nice while we were away. I love my dog.

Bomber at one of SF parks
Speaking of loving your dog, today I learned that the 2 top favorite non-profits in San Francisco are both animal rescue groups. I don’t know how I feel about this.  I love animals very much and I feel like it’s our responsibility to watch over them, but I also feel like there are a lot of people suffering in our world who need the help, or people without a home right here in this city. How about children and youth who need guidance? Despite the fact that non-profits dedicated to these other causes were included in the list, I was surprised by the fact that they all fell lower in the list. Are our priorities a bit twisted? Or have we lost faith in people?

SF parrot!
Anyway, back to yesterday. After securing an amazing lodging place for Bomber, we came home, ate some food and then we spent the next 4 hours with Joe taking care of some projects, and me cooking gumbo for the first time. In between cooking times (gumbo took a total time of 3.5 hours!), I worked on putting together cards for a customized card order. After I finished and when the gumbo was ready, Joe and I took off to get lost in the city and to capture some great images with our camera. We brought Bomber along.

For this photo expedition, we headed into Chinatown. Chinatown in San Francisco is one of my favorite places to walk around. It really reminds me of traveling in South East Asia. The energy in the place is quite stimulating, I think.  We walked down to a park/plaza where people play a card game that seems to be quite exciting just by the way in which everybody around the players is drawn into the game. We then kept walking around, taking more photos as we went along, always being surprised by new alleys and streets that hide gorgeous buildings and vibrant colors.

Ferry Building, SF
Our walk ended up bringing us all the way down to the Ferry Building, by the water. When we reached the Embarcadero we went up into one of the many hidden rooftop gardens that are around the city. Those gardens are usually filled with downtown dwellers during the week days and the work hours, but yesterday, on a Saturday afternoon, it was totally empty and worked as the perfect playground for a doggy who is still working on coming back when called!
As the daylight was dwindling, we decided to turn around and start heading back home, but not before stopping at the Sue Bierman Park near the Embarcadero to take a look at the blooming trees and the wild parrots that live in the trees in the park. We had seen the parrots many times before but, this time, they were eating the flowers on the not-so-tall trees, which meant that you could get as close as a couple of feet to look at them. Obviously, they were not worried about people. We stood around for a while, admiring their red heads and bright green bodies, or should I call it parrot green? Either way, they were very fun to watch and surprisingly easy to photograph. Our only regret was not bringing our bigger camera that has a better zoom. If we had, we could have gotten a picture of their eyeballs! Yes, that’s how close we were to them!

A sample of SF architecture
After capturing many fantastic images of this lovely city, some of which I’m including in this post, we started walking back and, shortly after, we noticed very dark clouds were blowing in. Were those rain clouds? Yes, they were and no, we didn’t have our rain jackets with us. By the time it really started raining, we were back in the streets of Chinatown, about a mile away from home. We started walking faster and faster, and couldn’t stop laughing at the situation. Bomber, of course, was not as thrilled with the situation but he managed to keep his spirits high too. We walked up and down the last hill that separated us from home, and ended up running the last block or two. We got home a bit wet but didn’t mind. Soon after we started a fire, heated up the gumbo that was waiting for us, and we settled down to wait for Earth Hour to start.
Fun stairs in the Embarcadero

As we sat in our living room, with no light other than candlelight, we were reenergized by darkness, by our eyes adjusting to it and by the soothing effect of it. There is a new component to Earth Hour in which people pledge to change their habits in ways that will have a positive impact on our environment. Maybe I want to start having Earth Hour every day, or every weekend. It’s always interesting to see how the actions that seem to be best for our world, also seem to be best for us. I guess we are directly connected to our planet after all.

If you are interested in seeing more fun photos of San Francisco, make sure you stop by my Etsy store:

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful, Paola!! This is such a wonderful post, and the photos are simply scintillating. I love your work - be it your photos, or your writing!