Super Moon of 2020

“With freedom, books, flowers,
and the moon who could not be happy?”
Oscar Wilde

 

Super Moon 2020

After the sunset yesterday around 8:00, I noticed a beautiful bright full moon. I grabbed my camera and shot quite a few images including this zoomed in shot.

This morning I downloading the images to my laptop, grabbed a cup of coffee and read the daily news. I was surprised to read that last nights full moon was the final of the super moon type.

Super moons occur when the moon is on its closest approach to Earth in orbit. The moon will appear brighter and bigger in the night sky. This full moon was only visible from the evening of May 6 until the morning of May 8, and comes on the heels of the biggest and brightest super moon of the year in April, but it’s still more spectacular than a typical full moon.

The past few years I’ve attempted to get a clear crisp image of a full moon but this is the first time I was happy with my image of the final super moon of 2020.

Shine On

Kent State Massacre

“Four Dead in Ohio”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Kent State Masacre

John Filo, Pulitzer Prize Photo, May 4, 1970

Fifty years ago, on May 4, 1970, twenty-eight National Guard soldiers fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the Vietnam War while others shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.

It’s a time in our history we are not our proudest, but should never forget. Over the years, there have been numerous plays, books, movies and music written about that historic day.

Here is one of the best-known protest songs, “Ohio”, written by Neil Young for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young about the Kent State Massacre:

OHIO

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio
Four dead in Ohio

Shine On

2020 Earth Day

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers,
the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters,
and teach some of us more
then we can ever learn from books.”
John Lubbock

 

2020 Earth Day 2

 

Fifty years ago today, a man named Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin began Earth Day. He was inspired after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

Why do we need an Earth Day? Because it works! Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.

Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in campaigns every year.

So, don your favorite face masks, go outside and celebrate in 2020 fashion, Earth Day.

Shine On

Bird Man of America

“A true conservationist is a man who knows
that the world is not given by his fathers,
but borrowed from his children.”
John James Audubon

Audobon

I recently read, This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon. It’s a short book of just 171 pages about Audubon and what he accomplished in his life.

Jean Jacques Audubon was born in Les Cayes in the French colony of Saint-Domingue now known as Haiti on April 26, 1785. He was raised in Couëron, near Nantes, France until 1803 when at the age of 18 his father obtained a false passport for his son to go to America to avoid being drafted in the Napoleonic Wars. Upon arriving in America, his father changed his son’s name to, John James Audubon.

As a young man, Audubon had a kinship for birds. “I felt an intimacy with them…bordering on frenzy that must accompany my steps through life.” Studying American birds, he was determined to illustrate his findings in a more realistic manner than most artists. Along with drawing and painting birds, he also recorded their behavior. He conducted the first known bird-banding on the continent: he tied yarn to the legs of eastern phoebes and discovered that they returned to the same nesting spots every year.

Audubon developed his own methods for drawing birds. First, he killed them, then used wires to prop them into a natural position, unlike the common method of many ornithologists, who prepared and stuffed the specimens into a rigid pose. He became proficient at specimen preparation and taxidermy.

Often when working on a large bird such as an eagle, he would spend up to four 15-hour days, preparing, studying, and drawing it. Each paintings are set true-to-life in their natural habitat, portraying the birds as if caught in motion, especially feeding or hunting.

Although he did paint the birds in his drawings, it was his assistant Joseph Mason who painted the plant life and backgrounds of many of Audubon’s bird studies. Unfortunately, Mason was never credited in any of Audubon’s drawings.

By 1824 Audubon began to seek a publisher for his bird drawings. He met Thomas Sully, one of the most famous portrait painters of the time and a valuable ally, however Audubon was rejected for publication. He took oil painting lessons from Sully and met Charles Bonaparte, who admired his work and recommended he go to Europe to have his bird drawings engraved.

Two years later at age 41, Audubon took his growing collection of work to England. He sailed from New Orleans to Liverpool with his portfolio of over 300 drawings. Audubon quickly gained notoriety in England where he raised enough money to begin publishing his major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America. It was printed on sheets measuring about 39 by 26 inches and contains more than 700 North American bird species, including 25 new species identified by Audubon. The cost of printing the entire work was $115,640 (over $2,000,000 today) and is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.

John_James_Audubon_1826.jpg

John James Audubon

Today most copies of The Birds of America can only be found in museums. However, a complete copy of the first edition was sold in January 2012 at Christie’s auction house in Manhattan for $7.9 million.

Audubon died at his family home in northern Manhattan on January 27, 1851. Fifty-four years after his death, George Bird Grinnell, who was appalled by the negligent and mass slaughter of birds that he saw taking place created the National Audubon Society. As a boy, Grinnell was inspired by Audubon’s work. So much so, that when Grinnell decided to create an organization devoted to the protection of wild birds and their eggs, he didn’t hesitate in using Audubon’s name.

Because of market hunting and the fashion industry many of the birds Audubon painted became extinct. Thanks to the work of the National Audubon Society there are thousands of birds that have been saved. John James Audubon’s work and research inspired many. He left a body of work for generations to enjoy which makes him truly, the bird man of America.

Shine On

A Joy Forever

“A thing of beauty
is a joy forever.”
John Keats

 

Mosaic Tile 3 Mosaic Tile 1 Mosaic Tile 2

Mosaic Tile 6 Mosaic Tile 5 Mosaic Tile 9

The Esplanade in Redondo Beach runs North and South along the ocean. To get to Esplanade from LAX, travel South on Catalina Avenue and just one block past Torrance Boulevard is Pearl Avenue. Make a right at the light, which is Pearl Avenue and you will be on the beginning of the North end of Esplanade. The Esplanade ends at the Miramar Park at Vista Del Mar.

These colorful mosaics were added to the City of Redondo Beach Esplanade in 2010. Beautifully hand created mosaics decorate the street pillars on Avenue C as well as on the Esplanade walk ways. Simple works of art for all to behold and become a joy forever.

Shine On