Fog City Fireworks

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Fireworks over San Francisco

Yes, I know I’m a little late to the game, but it’s still July so I’m getting this post in right under the wire. Fireworks are completely unpredictable by nature but in San Francisco you really can ramp that up a notch. You may get a clear night over the bay, like 7 years ago or you can have the fog come barreling in and get an amazing apocalyptic light show. You see, when the marine layer covers the city you may see a partial light show or it can be completely obliterated by the clouds and just turn wild colors to sounds of loud booms. This year we got a partial light show and like every year I felt like a kid waiting for those geometric flashing light patterns to appear. It was especially nice that I was able to share the night with my brother who was in from Pennsylvania, my best friend, and of course my dear family. All in all it was a very memorable evening.

 

 

Weekend in Big Sur

 

Weekend in Big Sur

Weekend in Big Sur

big sur_MG_0240May 17, 2014 copybig sur_MG_0246May 17, 2014 copybig sur_MG_0247May 17, 2014 copybig sur_MG_0251May 17, 2014-2 copybig sur_MG_0256May 17, 2014 copybig sur_MG_0258May 17, 2014 copy

Everyone has a happy place, mine is the ocean.  I can happily stare at the ebb and flow of the imposing waves for hours and feel completely at peace.

During my weekend trip to Big Sur I completely understood how something so simple has inspired many great artists’s to create such masterworks of music and poetry. I love that you can look at the well worn shore line and each crevasse can tell you its own story.  Hopefully, these photos will tell you a unique tale of their own, so sit back and enjoy.

The High Seirra’s

Yosemite, The High Seirra's

Yosemite, The High Seirra’s

Yosemite, The High Seirra's

Yosemite, The High Seirra’s

yosemite_MG_0153May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0012May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0042May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0144May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0183May 15, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0068May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0088May 14, 2014 yosemite_MG_0092May 14, 2014-2 copy yosemite_MG_0141May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0147May 14, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0173May 15, 2014-Recovered copy yosemite_MG_0199May 15, 2014-Recovered copy yosemite_MG_0202May 15, 2014 copy yosemite_MG_0020May 14, 2014 copy

The High Sierra’s

In 1920 Ansel Adams began Photographing the High Sierra’s, especially Yosemite National Park. He was intrigued with the splendor of the mountains and their ever- changing light. Adams spent the next 60 years of his career bringing the beauty of the High Sierra’s to the public consciousness. For that reason, it was inevitable that I would plan an adventure to one of California’s most beautiful parks to experience the majestic mountains and waterfalls for myself.
I have many of Ansel Adams Art books and studied the spots that he frequently photographed. So when I got my first glimpse of Half Dome its sheer elegance was visually overwhelming. Yosemite is nature at its finest, untouched and pure. So it was fascinating when I found out that in the 1930 Adams championed the cause of wildlife preservation because he felt Yosemite was being desecrated by commercialism and automobile traffic. After we returned home I compared what I photographed to his iconic images and it was interesting to see the changes decades have made. First and foremost, the river beds are almost as dry as Death Valley, as is most evident in my photo of the abandoned house at the entrance of the park. This is due to the severe drought that California has experienced over the last several years. You will also notice in many of my photographs that much of the forest is completely burned out. That was caused by last years rim fire in which a hunters illegal fire got out of control and burned more than 257,000 acres of precious land.
It was a happy accident that the first day we arrived there was a full moon. My husband and I drove/hiked up to Glacier Peak, one of the higher elevations, to try and capture the full moon over Half Dome. It is a testament to Adams tenacity and talent that he captured that iconic image. We stayed until about 10:30 and although it had been in the high 70’s during the day it was much colder that we had dressed for that evening. I was amazed at how much light the full moon gives off and how black it is if you turn in the other direction. When we left the moon wasn’t even close to Half Dome, but I was pleased with the images the resulted from that night. They remind me more of sunrise than sunset but oh well.
I photographed almost all of the shots with a tripod and a high density filter and when I processed the black and white images I mindfully tried to replicate the black skies and crisp contrast that Adams made so popular. We only stayed for a long weekend and although our days and nights were packed we barely scratched the surface of all that could be seen. I now understand why Ansel Adams devoted a lifetime trying to capture the alluring grandeur that is Yosemite.

Baby, It’s a Polar Vortex Outside

I moved to California fourteen years ago. Although I now believe it was where I was born to be, I still have a romantic corner in my heart for my birth-place, New York.  It really is the city that never sleeps nor will it slow down for anything. That was never more evident than during my recent visit in January. Yes, I rolled into the city the evening of the “Polar Vortex”, the coldest week on record. Unfortunately,  that record has been smashed several of times since I left.

I had packed my backpack full of all the photographic equipment I thought I would need and was ready to explore all the nooks and crannies that make the city a magical mystery. When I awoke the next morning there was 12 inches of shimmering snow that was draped over the cityscape like a couture gown.  Sheer Beauty!

I was excited for my day, but as I left the warmth of the hotel lobby I was greeted by a kind of cold I had never felt before.  It was blistering! So painful that as I walked to the end of the block I was losing feeling from the bottom of my feet up. I was fumbling with my camera because I learned quickly not to take my gloves off while changing settings or lens’. The beauty of the snow didn’t match the reality of my situation.  I was so cold I couldn’t think!

I didn’t end up doing much exploring this trip. The photo’s I shot are more a document of the Polar Vortex. Although beautiful, it is a weather phenomenon I will not soon forget. But as I am reviewing the photographs I am struck but an aura of gratitude and I think to my self  “What a Wonderful World”.

This post is dedicated to all my loved ones on the east coast going through the  fourth blizzard of the season. Wishing you warm toes and a very early spring.

Check out the slide show below and thanks for tuning in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Crazy Love”, The Gift of Love

Crazy Love from Kathy Kielar on Vimeo.

 

Rarely do you find your work and passion intersect, but when they do, watch out – that is one powerful cocktail! My intoxicating crossroad occurred when the Tri Valley Animal Rescue contacted me to create a video about their Non-Profit Organization.  I was familiar with this Bay Area institution because years earlier they rescued my beloved cat Shiloh, but I was not aware how passionate they are about their mission.   Before I even had my first meeting with Board member Gary Zeigler, I knew I wanted to make an inspiring video that not only highlighted all the good they pay forward to the community, but I wanted to illustrate, the beauty, humor and love that these animals give us each and every day.

After our first set of discussions, I decided  I was going to create a music based video that was upbeat and would appeal to a broad audience.  I knew that if I found the right music everything else would fall right into place.  I scoured the internet for a song that fit all the vignettes that kept popping into my head. A few days past and my search seemed to stall. But as any artist will tell you inspiration is everywhere you just have to sit back and embrace it. So while on break from my search, I decided to check my email… and there it was! An email from my favorite clothing store Anthroplogie.  It wasn’t a clothing ad or sale, but a photograph of a graceful blonde women being swept away while holding a colorful bunch of balloons and the title read “Have you heard?”. It was a song from  an up and coming artist, Mindy Gledhill. As I listened to her sweet songbird voice, I was certain this was the compelling artist that would be able to tell the story I envisioned. I quickly Googled her and came across the song “Crazy Love” and I knew my journey had just begun.

I began by composing a shot list of different scenarios I wanted to film.  Since the Tri Valley Animal Rescue is a Bay Area organization, I was cognizant  I wanted to ground the piece by including Bay Area landmarks that would be instantly recognizable to all that viewed the video.  The landmark that probably best represents Northern California is The Golden Gate Bridge. So on a beautiful clear Sunday afternoon I ventured to Ocean Beach which has breath-taking views of The Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. As I drove down the Embarcadero, I was horrified as I saw the marine layer roll in covering San Francisco with a blanket of gray clouds. My heart sank when I pulled in the parking lot and nothing was visible except the sand.  Rita Gorenberg and her sweet dog Doogie where waiting for me on one of the dunes.  I didn’t want the day to be a total loss so I thought I’d steal a few close ups of Rita while she was playing around with Doogie.  Just as I started to film one of those San Francisco miracles was bestowed upon me, the dreary fog parted and the sun burst through providing me with a picturesque view of Alcatraz, and The Palace of Fine Arts.  And if you examine the video closely, at the two minute mark, while Rita is flying a kite on the beach you can see the first red tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not what I had envisioned, but I was happy just the same.

My next visit was to Lisa Bell, a TVAR volunteer who bottle feeds infant kittens until they are ready for solid food.  She had just gotten home from work and the kitten’s were ready for their evening feeding.  She corralled a gorgeous orange kitten who looks exactly like my cat and the tiny kitten put both paws around the doll-sized bottle and drank it like a mischievous child.  The milk was dripping out of the sides of her mouth and my heart was about to explode with joy.  As Lisa fed the kitten, she unprompted, started lovingly whispering into the kittens ear. I was so moved at that moment I completely understood how passion for other creatures is such an enriching gift. In the middle of filming Lisa got a call that the animal shelter had just found some abandoned kittens.  Lisa called her son from the other room and asked if he would pick them up.  Without question he grabbed his keys and left. After I finished filming and was packing up, he returned home with cardboard animal carrier with 3 kittens.  I peered in and saw  these palm-sized black and gray creatures with matted fur, covered with fleas.  It was fascinating to watch the speed at which they cleaned them up, de-fleaed them, and began bottle feeding them. The kittens literally came to life before my eyes. It was a really powerful day  for me.

Tri Valley Animal Rescue provides all medical care for it’s rescued animals and ensures they are completely healthy at the time of their adoption. Shaelyn Lopez’s job is to give the animals medical check-ups, shots, and attend to any special medical needs they may have. Shaelyn and I met at TVAR foster volunteer, Natalya Brandt’s home.  Natalya has converted her family room into a sanctuary for kittens and cats awaiting adoption. The room, decorated with cat trees and toys,  was bathed in the golden yellow glow of late afternoon.  I was struck, that just like Lisa, Shaelyn lovingly whispered and kissed each animal upon examination.  Shaelyn explained to me that right before our appointment that the animal shelter had called that they had just acquired a young dog with a withered front leg and if she did not pick it up, it would have to be destroyed. Shaelyn  loves her job and is passionate about animals, so without hesitation, she picked up the young dog. He was playing outside until our appointment was over, then Shaelyn could bring him to her Mother’s house until he could get proper medical attention and be placed in a loving home. Shaelyn and I walked out and the happiest,  gentle, little dog was running, playing and nuzzling anything in the vicinity. I was in awe of the caliber of people in this organization, and drove home feeling I was involved in something bigger then myself. (It was kind of a euphoric, to be honest.)

I wanted each little vignette to express the personality of the individual and the animal they rescued. So working with Sarah Yee, was a no-brainer.  Sarah is a multi-talented Bay Area artist who is currently at college at the New School in New York. One day while looking on the internet for a place to meet, I came across the Elite Audio Cafe in San Francisco.  Not only were the reviews of the Cafe stellar but customers raved how the barista was an amazing latte artist that brightened their day.  I contacted the cafe and explained my project and they bent over backwards to help.  The co-owner, Charmaine, even suggested that I send a photo of Sarah’s dog, Tucker, so the barista could practice before we arrived. Everything went off without a hitch.  Tucker was the perfect gentleman, smiled on queue , and Sarah and the barista’s portraits of Tucker were work’s of art. I have to say that the best part was that we got to drink the lattes when we were done filming and it was hands down the best I’ve ever had!

Working on the Tri Valley Animal Rescue  project was such a rewarding endeavor for me. I got to meet the most amazing people who are having such a positive impact on the community, and are enriching peoples day to day lives in the best possible way, with Crazy Love. And I got to experience all this while doing the thing I love most, being a photographer and  filmmaker.