Flora Grubb with Fujifilm X Pro 1 and Canon FD 50mm/1.4 SSC

A couple of months ago we stopped in at a spot we’d both been talking about visiting for some time.  That place is Flora Grubb – a little slice of gardening heaven.  Replete with a knowledgeable, friendly staff, a great selection of succulents, high- and low- light indoor and exterior plants, Ritual Coffee and a cat with eyes that shine like pale sapphires, this place is a must-see for decorators, gardeners, plant nerds and admirers of all things tasteful.

We spent the better part of an hour strolling the grounds, sipping at lattes and ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the well thought-out appointments throughout the interior and shaded exterior spaces.  I won’t spoil all of the fun for prospective visitors, but spotting an entire 60s-era car in the exterior section that is positively bristling with plants made me giggle like a kid.  The succulent centerpiece table (see below for images of both) is a masterpiece of simple, well thought-out beauty and craftsmanship.

I work in the plant business.  As such, I am familiar with many of the species I saw here at Flora Grubb because I see them regularly during the course of my work.  Usually, however, when I’m looking at a plant, it is with a critical eye in the context of how it appears to the client, whether it is being cared for properly, how it reflects on my business.  Here, I was able to see their beauty and appeal simply for their own sake.  I even managed to learn several things that I did not know prior to setting foot here in this quiet, beautifully-decorated and -appointed space thanks to Zeni, our very helpful guide.

If you’re in or near San Francisco, consider spending some time and money here rather than at the big box stores when it’s time to tackle that garden project or to add some live, green accents in your home.  It’s worth the drive, the plant and accessory selection is out of this world, parking is easy, it’s kid friendly and man…that cat’s eyes.

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What’s outside your window?

What's outside your window?

Outside our window is the whole wide world.

Then again. Outside. It can be a scary place. A big place. Once you’re out there, you could wind up virtually anywhere.

It’s so easy to stay in. To watch a movie, to surf the internet. To admire the photographs that other photographers make.

Falling into that trap is dangerous for me. I’m parallel-wired to be both a shut-in and a wanderer. Many times, the shut-in wins. The inner voice that tells me not to waste my time going out there to shoot. Your skills are lacking. You spend too much time with a camera and the results do not reflect the effort you expend. Just rest. Learn to relax better. Put the camera down.

My neighborhood is not conducive to walking, let alone walking while carrying a thousand or two dollars’ worth of photographic gear on me. Therefore, staying put once I’m home from work during the week is the default choice, even with the longer days courtesy of Daylight Savings. It’s too easy to ignore what’s outside in this amazingly beautiful part of the world I get to call home, instead settling for watching what ‘everybody else’ is seeing and sharing. Listening to the voice that says it’s a waste of time and that I’m tired and should stay home and recharge.

I DO get out and shoot. I just feel I could do more, more often. Granted, it’s occasionally at an unconventional hour, but it’s better than nothing. Staying out and heading for a likely place to shoot prior to heading home from work is a more workable solution. I’ll keep refining that mental path.

I will fight the good fight and keep at it, Newton’s First Law be damned. Unless I’m tired. Or it’s windy. Or….

Insomnia + Camera = Late Night Street Photography!

Woke up the other morning (night) at 3 a.m. and couldn’t fall asleep again.  Rather than toss and turn any further, I got up and jumped in the car and drove around Oakland with the cameras.  The streets were deserted, for the most part.  Sadly, most of the lights were off at that hour, so there wasn’t much to see.  Shot with x100 and X Pro 1 with 35/1.4, post in Silver Efex Pro.