Monthly Archives: February 2017

Portrait of James


James was a really GREAT and smart boy. I enjoyed snaping his portait because he took directions very well. At first, the prop in front of him was either sticking out of his head or leading from his elbow and it didn’t make for good composition,. I asked him to move until I got a good pose with good composition; he worked with me well, patiently and exuberantly

James was 11 years old he from Torrance, California, USA. He was in the fifth grade  and interested in baseball and Taekwondo. He wanted to play the trumpet at some point in his life.

James also liked internet gaming, Star Wars and Legos. He owned Star Wars Legos, even thoughhe didn’t hae a favorite Lego set. His father described him as, “a kind and bright kid.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Frances


Frances lived in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA, but was originally from Pink Hill, North Carolina, USA. She came to California in 1961 with her husband who was transferred by his employers, Harding-Williams food services, a restaurant chain that no longer existed at the time of this posting.

Francis was a registered nurse who worked in hospitals or in employee-health for the commercial sector. Her career included time for Kaiser Permanente and also for DuPont USA, at their Dacron plant. Frances was a charge nurse once in her career, but did not enjoy it, I think because she was a quiet person and didn’t like the responsibility of having to tell people under her what to do. But that’s just speculation.

Frances had three three children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She had a wonderful life. She looked forward to having fun every day in her future.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Rene


Renee worked at the Indian Point Ostrich Ranch, which unfortunately will be closed by time you read this. The Ranch was located in Tehachapi, California, USA. Rene, a staff guide, was very proud of their celebrity ostrich, Ralph, 25 years old, who had been on the Discovery Channel several times now. The lifespan of an ostrich is about 75 years. The owner had Ralph since he was a hatchling.  I didn’t get a picture of him, but I did get one of his current mate, below.

Rene had been, “on the Ostrich Ranch, off and on, for maybe about 2 years.” Renee enjoyed giving tours, which included Ostriches’s of all ages, Incubating Ostriches and Juvenile Ostriches. She loved working with the birds because “it’s not often that you get to see the largest bird in the whole wide world with the largest eyes.” She gave tours and when she told people about them they said, “Oh my!”

Rene was not originally from Tehachapi, but from San Gabriel Valley, California and she had a second home in Mammoth Lakes, California because she was an avid skier. She had been a professional project manager before she retired and dabbled in the theater. After retirement, she moved to Tehachapi and came to work at the Ostrich Ranch. “It’s the perfect retirement job,” she said.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Rene with a nameless Juvenile Ostrich

Rene with Ralph’s current mate, 20 year old Peggy.

Portrait of Izac


Izac and his family came to visit the Mountain Spirit Center at the same time as I was there taking pictures. His Dad showed him how ring the zen bell by swinging the beam (see below.) We all noted that the bell tone was very relaxing, then I researched:

The 大鐘 Ōgane (1) is the largest bell used in the monastery, it hangs underneath a specially-designed structure. The heavy swinging beam (2, 撞木 shumoku) is used to strike the bell. It is this bell which reflects the spirit of the Buddhist temple. The ring has a peculiarly soul-pacifying effect.     SZÓTÓ ZEN SŌTŌ ZEN

Izac was a seven year old from Tehachapi, California, USA. Isaac liked playing Minecraft, and with Legos, and going to the park. He obviously liked Batman (notice his cap); his favorite Batman villain was Joker.  “Batman is my favorite,” he asserted, “because he has a battery ram and he has a grabble hooker so like when he’s far away, he can like hold the grabble hooker and then he can like get up where no one can go.”

For those of you who are not familiar with Batman:

LEGO Batman with Grappling Hook

Izac likes the cartoon Batman a bit more than the live action version. Both he and he Dad were surprised to find out that the actor, Mark Hamill, who was Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, played the voice of Joker on the cartoons.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Buddhist Prayer Bell

Posted on:

I love music

Portrait of Karen


Karen was from Friend, Nebraska, USA. She came to visit her son and his girlfriend in Tehachapi, California, USA. I met her at the Mountain Spirit Center, a Kwan Um School of Zen Buddhism, as she was enjoying the view and taking pictures of the gorgeous site (see below.) It was the embodiment of ZEN, that is, it was extremely relaxing. Please read the link to learn about their lifestyle and philosophy of sustainability and environmental concern.

Karen was a manager at  Walmart for 13 years. Karen was a quiet and shy person and I really appreciated that she let me take her picture because usually people who are as reticent as her don’t let me take their picture.

Since I started doing this project, I have asked many strangers to let me take their portrait and post it on the internet. The majority say no. You can’t imagine how many people don’t let me photograph them. Or maybe you can. The ratio is minimally one lets me take a picture to every three who don’t. But it could be even bigger than that.

The day I  Karen, I snapped this moment in Karen’s life, I went to a meeting in Mojave hoping that I would get to take pictures of several people. I thought I’d come out with a minimum of three pictures. But it ended up I got no pictures at that meeting. So I went driving off into the desert, and then into the mountains and that’s how I found Jason-3, Milford, Karen, and Izac.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Hills of Pine Canyon, Tehachapi, California

Portrait of Milford


When I met Milford on the main road, in the Pine Canyon area of Tehachapi, California, USA, he was driving his tractor to repair potholes caused by the rain. Milford lived in the area for 33 years and owned his John Deere 2305 4WD Compact Tractor for 10 years; he praised its performance (see below.)

All the roads in Pine Canyon were private roads. The residents maintained these passageways without government assistance. It was typical in a wet year for the roads to get soaked, so the people who had the means to do the work would volunteer. There was a group of people who helped, but sometimes too many showed up. In that case, there were conflicts. Milford did not consider it pleasant to work when too many people showed up. See the big smile on his face. He was working the road alone that day.

Milford was a retired Aerospace machinist. He was stationed as a civilian in both Mojave Airport and Edwards Air Force Base, participating in flight test activities.

After retiring from Aerospace, Milford worked at Billingsley Veterinary Clinic, a large animal veterinary hospital close to his house. He assisted the veterinarian both with Road Calls and In-office visits.

The best part of the job, though, was that he got to ride his Arabian gelding to work. He would park his gelding in a stall, give him treats during the day, and then ride back home after work.

Milford believed that his horse learned more that year and became a better horse because of the regular routine and the discipline. Milford didn’t think that he could have tamed him as well without the regular, everyday regimen.

In addition to his horse, Milford raised goats. His wife had nothing to do with the livestock.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Milford on his John Deere 2305

Posted on:

M is for Middle

Also posted on:

Wordless Wednesday
Last week we needed a sleigh…

Portrait of Jason-3


Jason worked for AT&T and on the day I met him, he was sent to do some repair work at at Alta Wind Energy Center  part of NRG Energy, in Mojave, California, USA. This location is also known as Mojave Wind Farm,  and it’s one of the largest wind energy projects not only in California, but in the world.

Jason was happy to be out in the desert because he came from Bakersfield, California, USA, which was “gloomy, cloudy and nasty looking.” When he got to the main offices, it was sunny and pleasant.

Jason had worked for AT&T for 22 years, straight out of college. He was hired and got on-the-job-training. At first, he worked in the office, doing customer service, but was the type of person who didn’t like to be inside very much.

Eventually, Jason was accepted into the technical aspect of AT&T and was trained for field work. That made him very happy. Again, he was in an on-the-job-training program, but this time, he got to be outside, and he he got to travel around his office’s district.

See the pictures below to see what it looked like by the wind farm on that gorgeous day.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Electrical Substation at NRG Site

Transmission Wires at NRG Site, Wind Turbines in the Background

Portrait of Shanice


This is Shanice who was the office manager and a Certified Medical Assistant for almost ten years at Dermatology and Skin Cancer Services – LA Laser Center, in Palmdale, California, USA. She became manager about three years prior to this posting, and that was one of the most proud moments of her life.

Shanice and her husband had three children, 11, 6 and 1 years old who were all proud of what she did; her 11 year old so much so, that she wanted to become a registered nurse. However, even though her younger daughter was inspired by her mom, Shanice recalled that she always had a profound interest in the medical field and decided to pursue the career on her own.

Shanice described herself as a “laid back” person who was mostly a “homebody” who spent time either at home or at work.

Shanice Prepping to do a Medical Peel

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Posted on:

Wordless Wednesday

Portrait of Mac


This is Mac who worked for United Parcel Service (UPS) for 16 years. He was originally from Los Angeles, California, USA. At the time of this posting, he lived in Tehachapi, California, USA, however, he did his deliveries out of Mojave.

Although I assumed Mac delivered most of my packages, I usually didn’t get to see him do the deed, so to speak, because I either was not around or, he knocked, dropped the package by my door and ran off.

My dog’s knew when he came way before I knew. They had a certain look; their ears went up; I would hear brakes in front of my house; and through the window, see the UPS truck.

At my door, smiling Mac would stand, waiting for a signature, and I would be happy to see him delivering me a package ON-TIME and to the correct domicile.

Posted on:

U is for Unity

Also posted on:

Wordless Wednesday
Lots of red, white, blue…

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Ricardo



Ricardo was the general manager at Superior Grocers in Lancaster, California, USA. He was the manager there for 2 years but sustained this grocery management career for 15 years altogether, managing various departments including Meat, Produce and Grocery.

Ricardo loved working at Superior Grocers, “People that love what they do, take that ownership and do better.” Ricardo chose this career path because when he was a young grocery shopper , watching people working, he noted the way people worked and was sure he “could do a better job than what you normally see people do in a grocery.”

Ricardo grew up in in Lancaster but he went to Palmdale High School. His younger son was a Junior at Palmdale High School and  his daughter majored in business at  Antelope Valley College.

His oldest son was 24 years old, attended University of Washington and majored in Bioengineering. We spoke about UW for awhile because I graduated from UW College of Engineering,in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Ricardo had been on the UW campus with his son and showed me copious amounts of pictures as I called out the names of the buildings and places. We both had fun reminiscing about the gorgeous UW campus.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.