March – week 4

There was so much rain and wind this week that I didn’t think I would have a single shot to share.  But on Friday morning before my first appointment I had about and hour and a half to walk among the redwoods, rhododendrons, Calla lilies, dew dripping grassed, and  Magnolia trees.  This beauty is located in the National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) in Golden Gate Park.

This memorial was conceived in 1988 by a small group of San Franciscans living in a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic.  Now a peaceful garden and devotional pathways provide much comfort from nature and the growing circle of names.  Information about the grove can be found at:

People come here for memorials and remembering and find a sacred place to grieve and heal.  Photographing the circle of names, I think, is a way of helping us and the world to not forget – not forget the thousands, millions, of people from around the globe that have died and those who are living with HIV and AIDS.

It seemed also an appropriate place to take a moment for silence and reflection after the loss of lives and homes these past two weeks in Japan, Libya and other places of devastation and conflict.

The rain water on the circle of names gave the stone a vibrant color.  The fallen Chinese Maple leaves provided a point of focus and seemed connected to the very names they were touching.  I shot the circle of names from many angles and chose this simple section as my favorite.  It was an overcast day so I didn’t have to worry about unwanted shadows or glare off the stone.  New names are added yearly for World AIDS day.

I used a Canon Digital 18-200 mm lens.  You can lock it at 18 mm.  I thought you could zoom it out and look it at any length – something that would be helpful when shooting straight down.  Unfortunately this is not the case and I had to hold the lens at the mm I needed for this image to keep it from slipping to 200 mm.

After working this area a while I was next attracted to some near by Calla Lilies (will there be any left for Easter which comes very late this year?) Getting in close I noticed a white spider on one of the flowers.   It is a “Goldenrod Spider” and on yellow flowers it is usually yellow and turns white on white flowers. To keep the light pretty even and shoot at 1/200 of a second to keep the slight motion of the lily petal and spider from blurring I used a ring light on a 100 mm macro lens.  This is pretty much a 1:1 image.  The depth of field is so shallow at this ratio – so it is good to be able to shoot at f/22 (thanks to the flash).  I opened the exposure up by one stop – since the light meter was reading the light on white!

If you are in the Bay Area please visit A Woman’s Eye Gallery, adjacent to the purple church, at 678 Portola Dr. and see our exhibits.  I have just added some images from Hawaii.  AND right now the many of the cherry trees are blooming in Golden Gate Park.


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