Violet Vribrant Autumn Beauty

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

This little one, actually, very little one was dancing in color sound vibrations.  All around him the browns, yellows, and earthen reds abound.  This little one was just shinning.  The purple hairs on the small buds that are about to open, to the flaming violet reds that color its petals.

Living and loving the colors that never cease to surprise my soul.  In the midst of all these earthen tones, I stumble upon these colors that light up my soul.

Sit back and let the meditative vibrant colors of this little on wash over your soul.  Let them soothe your troubled spirits, and see the light at the end of that tunnel.

Violet Vribrant Autumn Beauty

The Yellow GIngko of Autumn has Arrived

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It has been a long wait this autumn season, but the beautiful yellow of the ginkgo trees has arrived.  So many trees were damaged in the typhoon that came through in October, that many trees just went to brown rather than change to their gorgeous autumn shades.

The tall gingko trees were shining in the late afternoon sun.  Their paper backlit as the sun started to dip down behind the building for the day.  I got out and walked around for a bit.  The trees were rather large as their upper branches reached up to the skies.

Yellow, yellow, yellow, has arrived at last.

Ginko Autumn Leaf Shadow Play

The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba

Monday, November 28th, 2011

He is out there in the wilds of Chiba prefecture.  Ok, so the wilds aren’t that wild, but he is there lurking in the shadows.  Darting under the bushes.  Trying his hardest to stay out of sight.  The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba is there.  Somewhere among the long bladed grasses he stalks its prey.  The Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba is there.

If you are lucky you might be able to catch a glimpse of the cat as he slinks around through the countryside. Will it be able to catch the mouse that he has been stalking?  I am not sure.  But  I do know that the being a stray is a hard life.  They are the ultimate strugglers out there.  Scavenging for their next meal.  They are opportunist that need to make the best of a sometimes desperate situation.

Hopefully the Stray Jungle Cat of Chiba will survive another day among in the semi-wilds of Chiba prefecture.

Stray Jungle Cat of Mimomi, Chiba Japan

Obsessive Gardening in Chiba

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I seem to be a bit obsessed myself these days.  I am be drawn into the highly packed world of the Japanese home gardens.  These are not the elegant gardens that can be found in Tokyo like Rikugien Gardens in the center of Tokyo.  No, these are the tightly packed neighborhood gardens that I find on my wanderings.

These gardens sometimes occupy the smallest spaces imaginable.  The might feature a row of potted plants sitting atop a cinderblock wall.  They could also be found in the tiniest of spaces that most foreigners wouldn’t even recognize as a backyard.  However, this is where the Japanese show amazing skill in how they use what ever space they have in order to be able to bring some greenery into their lives and in those that pass by on the street.  I would argue that there is more greenery, and green spaces to be found here in Tokyo that that of New York City’s green spaces.

There is so little space, and at times the concrete, glass, and steel seem oppressive, but all I have to do is to turn a corner and find a small contemplative oasis of green.  It might only be some herbs that occupy a windowsill, but that green is better than no green at all.

Spider Planter Mailbox

No Trash Here Garden

Potted Plant Row and Fire Extinguisher

Good Things out of Oakland: Photographer John Coyne

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

This is the second installment of the new Lucid Thoughts section of my website Lucid Communication.  It is a new area will I will introduce photographers that inspire me, images that I find intriguing and reviews of work and artistic content.  I am proud to bring you the second feature in Lucid Thoughts section.

I have known John Coyne for quite a few years now.  He was one of the first street photographers that I met back in the myspace days that could rock the streets with a camera the same way that KRS ONE rocks the microphone.  John is out there in the streets capturing the good, the bad and the ugly side of the city he calls home Oakland, California.

I lived in the bay area for five years and I always enjoyed jumping over the hills and into the city of Oakland.  Whenever I browse though John’s photographic images I am instantly transported back to the Bay Area.  The beautiful city streets of the Bay Area always brought comfort to my heart and lens.  John has definitely tuned into the gritty beautiful essence of the San Francisco Bay Area.

John has proved again that he has hear ear to the streets as well as his lens.  He collaborated with bay area DJ Platurn on the video track “The Bones.”  The first time I watched the video I was blown away by the imagery that John laid down to compliment the hip hop track.  John’s eye captured the essence of the city that DJ Platurn and John Coyne call home.  I asked John about where the inspiration came from to create the video.  He proudly replied that, *the inspiration came from the amazing track that DJ Platurn produced and my love for the city of Oakland.”

Oaktown, a place that is often neglected in the Hip Hop world, but John feels right at home in its streets and neighborhoods. John says that by being in the streets of the Bay Area infuses perfectly with his style as a street photographer.  John Coyne strives to show his love for the bay area and this video is a perfect melding of the Oakland and Hip Hop culture.

Like many photographers are on a path to seek out truth and beauty in their photography.  John sees his work as showing the gritty street of Oakland, and seeking the beauty, that is often looked over, that the city also has to offer.  He wants to be truthful to the city, and in this author’s opinion he keeps that beautiful raw street which makes his images glow with energy.

I was curious how he made the video which consists of 90,000 plus still HDR images and HDR video.  I asked him what equipment did he use to complete the video and re replied, “for the techies, I used my Canon 5D , a interval timlapse device , premiere pro to edit it and a lil creative thinking.”  I would have to say that there is a lot more than just a “lil creative thinking” going on when it comes to the way that John Coyne rocks “The Bones” video.

I invite you to check out more of John Coyne’s photographic work on his website Caught in the Scramble there are some beauty images of the Bay Area, Hip Hop artist’s portraits and much more to be found.

I am very proud to know John Coyne as a friend and a photographer.  I am sure he will be one of the first to tell you that by keeping it truthful to the streets is what photography means to him.

You can follow John on




Caught in the Scramble

Pomegranates and Spiked Headed Pinkness

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The weather continues to be changeable.  I never quite know what to expect from day to day.  The skies in Japan are so clear this time of year that I can often see all the way to Mt. Fuji.  Sometimes it is just a lofty silhouette in the setting sun.  It is a reminder that I am in the land of the rising sun, and not anywhere else on this planet.

Strolling back to the station in the afternoon sun I came across a pomegranate tree with its fruit so ripe that the pomegranates were bursting open and spilling their juicy arils on to the ground.  These succulent red hues were filled with the potential to bring forth another life.  They all have the chance, under the right conditions, to grow into a lovely mature tree.  As I looked up at the fruit still hanging from its branches I wondered what will happen to them.  Will the owner come out and harvest them to feed his family and others?  Or, will they just be left to rot on the branch?  What about the seeds that fell onto the asphalt?  Surely, they won’t be able to sprout into a new tree.  Will the local wildlife in this quite suburb on the outskirts of metropolitan Tokyo come along for a juicy snack.

I find myself thinking about these issues these days and how they relate to my life.  How I try, and many people I know, go out into the world trying to spread goodness.  How much of that goodness will find the fertile soil to be able to grow into a fully formed accomplishment.  Will our labors of love be able to bring forward fruit from the tiny seeds that they came from.  It always feels good to know that the seeds one has planted gathers the water and nutrients to return with fruit.

Just some issues, topics that are wandering around in my lucidly communicating mind.

Pomegranate Arils Bursting

Urban Ledge Cluster Flower

Spreading Pomegranate Seed

Hanging Garden of Ichikawa and More

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The light is in a transitional phase now.  As the sun grows more distant, the temperature begins to drop the quality of the light changes.  The light of this early winter in the late afternoon shifts towards yellow.  I really am attracted to that yellowing light.  Even in the full glare of the sun colors are rich.  Hues pop out and speak to me though my senses.  Even as my throat ached I couldn’t help but reach for my Ricoh GR IV and capture some of that light.

The use of space is amazing in Japan.  The Japanese aesthetic manifests itself in sometimes the most unlikely places like small roadside gardens that are wedged into spaces that would just be discarded in other countries.  Here the space, any space, goes to some use.  I am always amazed how the zig zags of a home are often loaded with potted plants in a tightly manicured gardens.  Actually, they might not be so manicured.  Some of them go rather wild and free.  To my eye they represent the to dichotomies of Japanese aesthetics.  The reverence of nature, and the attempt to tame nature.  I see both in the way the Japanese create their personal gardens.  These are not the Japanese gardens that are listed as national treasures. They are the homeowner’s personal treasure.  A tiny space that reflects their love and interest in the natural world even if it may be surrounded by concrete and asphalt.  The flowers rise to greet the sun, and I stop and pause to admire their beauty.

The simple elegance of (your) neighbors friendly garden.

Elevated Row Garden, with Self

Hanging Garden of Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan

Stepping Up Cinderblock Garden

Aloe You Happy?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I sometimes am.  And then there are other times that I am not so happy.  I honestly try not to let those kind of days get to me.  Hey that is one of the reasons that I am a creative person.  The blues are meant to be chased away by our artistic endeavors.  So, when you are confronted with troubles, don’t get angry.  Take a deep breath.  Breathe so deeply that the oxygen reaches the very core of your soul.  Then, exhale out again until every last drop of air has been expelled out.  Noe, with the mind refreshed look at that same problem and find a solution.  Don’t forget if you get really stuck there are people who can always go to for some advice.

Aloe Gate Cinderblock Wall

Fernando Prats: Photographic Internet Master

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

This is the inaugural blog in my new Lucid Thoughts section on Lucid Communication.  This section will be where I write about artists that inspire me, things that cooler than cool, and other nuggets of Internet archaeology.  I hope that people out there will enjoy, visit, and follow the goings on in Cooler Than Cool Photography.  I look forward to creating more Lucid Communication with artists from around this beautiful globe.

I first met the Spain based artist Fernando Prats back in the wild west days of Myspace.  I was new to the Myspace world back in 2006 and I was quickly becoming frustrated with not being able to link up with any other visual artists.  There were an abundance of musicians of all stripes and sounds, but I kept on thinking to myself, “where are the artists, photographers, and filmakers?”  It was around this time that I came across the Myspace page for Y Sin Embargo Magazine.  I was browsing around the comments and the Magazines page thinking that this is pretty cool, and this is what the Myspace experience should be about for myself and other artists.

I wrote Y Sin Embargo an email on Myspace saying how much I liked the site and that I would love to collaborate on an upcoming issue.  Low and behold I received an email back from Fernando.  Not only did he reply but he also said how much he liked my work and that I should submit some work to the magazine.  This was the beginning of our cross the globe friendship and artistic collaborations with my work being included in Y Sin Embargo #11 issue, Hermosa.   Which was quickly followed up by my work being paired with a writer for inclusion in the Y Sin Embargo #12 issue, Habitat Habitos.

I was so impressed not only Fernando’s work as a photographer but his artistic layout design to create spaces where he and his fellow artists can showcase their work.  Fernando has a brilliant eye for layout design which he explores on Estudi Prats, and through the way in which his simple and elegant designs do not detract from the work that they are presenting but that they add another beautiful layer to the artistic expression.

Another space that Fernando has created for artists to interact with each other is the Flickr group Rhizome Candidum, Rhizome Premium, and Rhizome Summum.  I usually have stayed away from groups that demand the users post awards to other peoples work, but this Flickr group is different.  The level of work submitted to the three tiered group is some of the best work that I have found on the net.  Prats encourages the members of the group to create comments that are constructive and help all improve the overall quality of the group.  This is the essence of the Rhizome groups.  For the artists to work together and create stronger expressive work.   And much inline with my own personal philosophy of Lucid Communication, the artists interact with each other and we all strive to encourage each other to develop ourselves as artists.  I fully enjoy interacting with my fellow astists, including Fernando Prats on Flickr.

Fernando Prats has developed an international network of artists and puts the Internet to good use.  In fact, his presence on the Internet is the most profound that I have yet to find.  He manages to explore all the niches of the Internet where artists gather to exchange views, represent themselves, and further their artistic goals.  As the Internet is ever expanding Fernando will be right there using the latest tools to further his lucid communication with the artistic community.

Fernando Prats’ photographic work often deals with the theme of how humans interact, and build structures in the places that we inhabit.  To call his work simply architectural photography would be to miss the message in the photographs.  The space, and often seemingly empty space, allows the viewer to gaze into the city in a way that they have never seen before.  How the buildings jagged edges cut out sections of the sky as he aims his lens towards the heavens.  The dark shapes shift and comment on how humans try to reach the heavens, but we are still mentally pulled down by the earth’s gravity.  A collection on his studies of the interaction of architecture in Buenos Ares, called “a taste of immadencity.”    Prats says, that there is “a discourse of the shapes as a dialog of power,” about his collection of photographs that were all made in one day of shooting in the Puerto Madero area of Buenos Ares, and, “limited to obeying the histogram’s wishes,” Prats further explains.

I asked Fernando some questions about his online presence and what that means to him as an artist.

You have an amazing online presence. How has this helped your creativity?
To show works to various audiences through its peculiar mechanisms can help producing a new look & feel to those same works.  Although there are secure movements within certain styles -or at least, that’s what one can think…- each audience has its tastes and, surprisingly, they do not match very frequently.

Has it allowed you to make a living as an artist?
Well, certainly not because of online presence at all… the 2.0 audience is very reluctant to pay for contents or artworks even if their price is nominal and ridiculous[ly low].

Do you ever find your online presence to much to keep control of?
Probably I should be but my sincere answer is, I’m not sure why, no. Perhaps the fact of doing different things at the same time most of the time, could be considered a sort of training.
(author’s note: I especially feel Fernando on that one.  I too at times feel overwhelmed by training to keep an online presence fresh and constantly evolving.  I too, as a photographer, feel that the online presence is a form of training.  A way for artist to keep honing their creativity.)

What new artistic works do you have coming out soon?
The last book I published is “Deshielo” (poetry), the next one is the full version of “Immadencity: Buenos Aires Contemporary Architecture according to fernandoprats”.  I’m preparing one about New York and one about Barcelona and will be correcting “Monda Lironda” (poetry, which complets the three-lejía “Al Català’, alongside “Deshielo” and “Corto y afilado”) for next year.  Also, I’ve two or three series of new work in-progress with painter Miguel Ruibal and the idea of presenting a real exhibition of Prats/Ruibal.
This is just a taste of all the work that Fernando Prats has accomplished and his amazing presence on the web.  I feel fortunate to be able to count Fernando Prats as one of my dear artistic friends.  His work continues to inspire me and he has helped me to set high goals for myself with regards to my artistic expression.  I always look forward to seeing his work, and I know that someday we will be able to cross paths in the flesh.  I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to Fernando Prats for helping me to create this inaugural blog in the Cooler than Cool Photography section of the Lucid Communication website.
Fernando maintains an amazing Internet presence in the cybersphere.  He interacts, posts and generally uses the Internet to pursue his artistic visions.  This is a list of Fernando’s presence on the Internet.  I invite you all to take a look and browse through the different links.  Some of his works are available for free to download.
Below is just a small sampling of Fernando Prats photographic works.  Many of the images are from his soon to be releases book titled A taste of immadencity to be released in December this year.  Fernando describes the images in the book as follows: Immadencity: Buenos Aires contemporary architecture according to Fernando Prats.  He is awaiting the creation of some original music to accompany the images by RV
These images contained in this blog posting are copyrighted by Fernando Prats 2011.

Bathed in Friday’s Waters

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

The rain came down in heavy sheets on Friday.  It continued on into the early afternoon as I made my way back to Mimomi train station.  All of the plants were dripping with water.  Droplets rolled off the leaves and petals and onto the ground below.  It got me thinking about preparing for the sabbath, and the mikvahs, or ritual Jewish/Israelite bathing.  The bath is to wash away spiritual impurities and allow the self to become ritually clean.  The ritual bathing was of upmost importance to the ancient Israelites.  It is still done by many today, but for most reformed Jews it has become a ritual of the past.

I myself like to feel refreshed after the immersion in a bath.  The feeling not only that comes from being physically clean, but that sensation that the impurities that are collected in the world can be washed way too.  I may never have been to an official mikvah, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot become clean.

Consider the flowers in this images.  They can never go to a ritual bath.  They can only become ritual clean by letting the droplets wash over their petals.  For me it is about the spirit of the the law not the semantics of it.

Therefore, allow time to cleanse yourself.  Not only the dirt and grime of daily life, but the negative energies that we accumulate from being part of the world.  Let those droplets wash over your.  Let the immersion in water cleanse your soul.

Bathed Friday's Flowers

I Promised You a Zen Garden

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Ok, so it isn’t exactly the zen garden that you had in mind.  It is not the beautifully groomed Ryoanji Zen garden in Kyoto, but then again I am not in Kyoto.  I live in Tokyo.  I spend most of my time in Chiba Prefecture which buts up against Tokyo. In fact I can look out my bedroom window and see Chiba prefecture across the river from me.  All this being said, I am constantly challenged to find that beauty, those zen moments without being in the cultural center of Japan.  In fact at times is seems like Chiba is a culturally located out in the boondocks of Japan.

However, this is where I find my zen moments.  They are to be found not in the places that the tourists flock to in the proper seasons.  No, they are those locales that are right there before your very eyes.  They are the areas that you walk through to get from one place to another.  They are the moments between the origin and your destination.  The journey and the moments, in my case photographic images, that allow the zen moments to unfold themselves.

I am thankful to The Creator, who has blessed me with my vision.  Not only the vision that allows me to see, but to be able to deeply visualize how we all connect, and disconnect from the world that surrounds us.  I am truly in debt to The Creator that allows me to see beauty even if no one else can.

So here is the Zen Garden I promised you.  It may not be Ryoanji, but then again this one spoke to me in a way that Ryoanji never did.

Succulent Rock Garden Fence

Truthful Happy Ending

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

One positive event in the morning was that I saw Mt. Fuji with its first dusting of snow.  That is always a good sign.  It is a reminder that I am actually in Japan and not anywhere elese in the world.  The day quickly went down hill from there.  Overall it was quite a rough day.  It seemed like no matter what I do I was on the verge of just loosing my voice.  My throat ached and ached.  I wasn’t really able to get into the swing of things.

All of that changed as soon as I looked out the window at about a quarter to four.  The sky was filled with puffs of clouds with rays of gold spinning down to the horizon.  I just paused and stared for a minute.  I let the truth of this beautiful scene wash over all the troubles of the day.  They just melted away as I focused again at how beautiful, crazy, lovely this world is.

Truthful Happy Ending

Autumn Pumpkin, Just Waiting for a Drink

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

This getting back to normal has been exhausting for me.  My normal walk back to the station left me wanting to pass out on the train ride back home.  I can’t really complain. I mean, at least I am getitng back to myself, and feeling something other than the mattress beneath my body is a good feeling.

Had to bundle up a bit today after being able to wear a t-shirt yesterday.  I thought best to be proactive and keep those cold bugs at bay.  As the nippy air made me zip up my Jacket I came across a rather large green pumpkin just sitting on an air conditioner.  It was just there.  It wasn’t really doing anything but hanging out on top of this A/C in front of a small bar.  Somehow, in my hazed mind it made me laugh.  A green pumpkin, even though that is their usual color in Japan, waiting.  I don’t know, maybe it is just me.

Pumpkin Malts Air Conditioner

Manicured Bushes in Tokyo

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Still feel like I’m in recovery mode so I decided to take a little stroll in my neighborhood.  Minamikasai is a quiet little neighborhood.  At one end lies the high rise development built in the 1970s called Nagisa New Town.  A mix of small houses, small apartments and a few large mansion condo types.  It is where I wander around peeping out the use of green spaces in the neighborhood.

This one was a tiny garden planted in about 30 centimeters of space with two beautifully manicured bushes racing towards the sky.  Making good use of the little green spaces we have here in Tokyo.

Skewered Tree Fence Garden, Minamikasai, Tokyo, Japan

Sunday Afternoon in My Hood, Minamikasai, that is

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Finally, after spending nearly two weeks shut in I awoke without a sore throat today.  Such a relief to finally have gotten rid of that worst symptom of my never ending cold.  Since I had been shut in for so long I decided I needed to take a stroll.

The weather feels a lot more like spring that it does for mid-November.  I could actually wear a t-shirt walking around my hood.  Now my hood is like other hoods around the world.  Whether it is Brooklyn Heights, Kendall, West Baltimore, Temple Terrace, Ueno or anywhere else.  It might not be dangerous like some, but it is where I now call home.  I know where the corner stores all are.  I know which houses have the beautiful gardens, or where to avoid a run in with parent patrols.  It is my home.  It is Minamikasai (Southern Kasai) on the edge of eastern Tokyo wedged in between Tokyo Disneyland, which is actually in Chiba Prefecture, and Tokyo Bay.

I was surprised that there are still just bout no autumn leaves in the hood.  Again it is hard to believe that it is almost to weeks into November but there are no colors.  Most of the leaves are dirty brown rather than vibrant hues.

I am thankful for all of you that asked about my well being and my absence from the web over the last week or so.  Here are some still blooming flowers from my hood, to your hood, where ever that may be.

Sunday Gardening, Minamikasai, My Hood

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