Body-Painted Cyclists, Oh My! Solstice 2012 | Seattle Street Photography

**(Warning for some folks who may easily offend: semi-nudity and silly outfits in today’s photo, but it is as seen by thousands of Seattlies every year in broad daylight!)**

This is a quick one because I really need to get back to my hundreds of Solstice Parade photos! I need to whittle it down to about 100 from about 8 times that…

Every year, Fremont (Seattle’s own ‘Center of the Universe’) hosts the most fun, crazy, and utterly amazing parade to usher in the Summer Solstice (otherwise known as Seattle’s summer that won’t start until after July 4th…). It starts with a huge amount of mostly naked bicyclists with beautifully and/or imaginatively-painted bodies – think Care Bears alongside Batman – whizzing down the main street accompanied by lots of laughs, cheers and some confused/amazed child faces, and an insane amount of photo-taking. Then there’s the ‘real’ parade of wacky and themed floats and marching bands, but it’s not the usual parade fare that many other cities see. Seattle is unique and colorful and soon I will post some photos so that everyone can see what I’m talking about.

Since the bicycle ride involves a lot of non-clothing, I will get a Flickr set linked up in case anyone wants to see that without being shocked by it here (in spite of the warning!). It’s all done in good fun and I love the open and accepting spirit that it’s all done in. Now if only Seattle would hurry up and get some warm weather so we can at least abandon some of our clothing…

This is one of my favorite photos that I took at last year’s Solstice Parade  Crossing fingers for sun soon!

xo ~ K

Not all the Greek runners in the original Olympics were totally naked. Some wore shoes. – Mark Twain

Sadness & Light in Seattle | Reflections

Over the last few weeks I’ve had quite a few reasons to count my blessings and to feel fortunate. I think many of you who have stumbled upon my post, are aware of the horrible shootings that happened in Seattle recently. I feel anguish for those who have lost people they love. I feel sadness that much of it happened in a neighborhood (and city) that I have spent years living in, one that holds many memories for me and I hold a fondness for. I feel angry that present gun laws and untreated mental illness create a perfect storm for such tragedies to happen so frequently. I feel frustration that this world is so cruel sometimes and I can’t fix it.

The blessings and fortune I speak of are about a few different things. My little boy and the man I love were at one of our favorite parks just 2 blocks away from the cafe that day; cops were everywhere as they were looking for the gunman. That’s too close, but I’m thankful they weren’t closer. A couple of days after that, my boy smacked the back of his head straight into a tree trunk while on a tree swing being pushed by his sister; he came crying into the house with blood streaming down the back of his shirt. I envisioned all kinds of brain injury scenarios during the painfully slow (Friday night rush hour) albeit short trip to the ER. But my boy just had an abrasion and left the hospital with a red popsicle…again, I’m thankful.

Then last Wednesday marked a seven-year anniversary of the passing of someone I loved deeply. So much that the depths of my grief for a long time after his death, which felt so dark and hopeless, made me imagine that nothing and no one would ever bring light into my life ever again. I eventually emerged from that darkest hole to find that I saw life in a whole new way afterwards, and if there’s anything to be thankful for despite losing a love like that, it’s that. And I do have both love and light in my life again.

I took these on June 6th (on that anniversary) and though the day started out grey and felt somber and lonely to me, the sun did come out and there were beautiful sights all around that evening. I hope Seattle will heal from these awful tragedies and that much is learned. I also wish for light and love to come in place of the darkness and loss; Seattle is a beautiful, resilient city full of amazing people, and to see the flowers that cover the sidewalk outside Cafe Racer (photo required, I know!), you can’t help but be moved by the love here.

Now that I have put all that out there to the blogosphere, I have gig and birthday party photos to edit!

xo ~ K

Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay.  Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design – do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.  ~Morihei Ueshiba

Does the caterpillar know she will be a beautiful butterfly one day?

Some Spring Thoughts | Seattle Animal Photography 

My boy and I had a lovely day together at the zoo recently, and I’m looking forward to more sunny spring days here where I can get out and about taking photos. Once I figure out what my naughty stomach is doing to me, and once I’ve shaken this cold and got some energy back, maybe that will be possible. And this is assuming we have some more nice days…we have had some wacky weather lately.

The giraffe shot was taken with my brother in mind, since he understands the ‘skill involved’ within that shot. Although, since the funny-looking fellow seemed to be looking right at me, I’m not sure what to make of his ‘gesture’ personally. Catching the bear basking in the spring sun made for an adorable sight, but take a peek at the long claws on his paw in that photo…

                                                                                                                                                                                  When I go to the zoo, I always have mixed feelings come up. I am happy to take my little boy so that he may see all these rare, many almost extinct, fascinating animals; I want him to learn about the different amazing creatures in the animal kingdom, and hopefully learn to appreciate that zoos are there to help with conservation, education, and breeding programs.

He’s excited to see the animals that fill the pages of children’s story books, and see that they really do exist. But I’m constantly reminded of the sad truth behind keeping these animals in their enclosures, in zoos, in wildlife preserves…we need them because all kinds of animals, birds and marine life are losing their right to live wild and free, safe from poachers, hunters, polluters and land developers. I read an article in TIME Magazine recently entitled ‘Nature Is Over’ http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2108014-1,00.html and the whole concept made my heart sink. I don’t want nature to disappear. How could that be??! I don’t want my child to know a future where humans have obliterated all that is natural around us. I think that will be a sad, sad day. I also think it will be a very grave day; we are already seeing the impact we have had on the world around us and it’s not looking pretty. And by the way, did you go and see ‘The Lorax’ movie yet? If not why not?!!

*I love this link to The Lorax Project, so check it out… http://www.seussville.com/loraxproject/

Spring brings us that feeling that growth and new beginnings are possible; we see the flowers blooming, buds opening on trees, the grass is greener, and people get busy in their gardens (I seriously need my energy back to do something with ours – it’s looking shameful!). It’s the change in the trees, the sky, the light, the life that is in nature around us that brings those feelings and inspiration. I feel grateful to live in a city that embraces the natural world within and around it; we have so many parks and green spaces, we are surrounded by mountains and water. I doubt I can ever get my little family to the depths of the Amazon or the plains of Africa to see all the wildlife and natural wonders that I’d like us to see, but I can appreciate the nature that I see around me all the time, and hope that Roman always sees the wonder in it too.

xo  ~ K

“In Nature there are no rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” – Robert Green Ingersoll