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Portrait of Sebastian

Sebastian, who was called “The Caveman,” was homeless. I met him in Mojave, California, USA, where he came to connect with churches and to speak to people at the fellowships. Sebastian was called “The Caveman” because he went into church and into stores with no shoes on.

Sebastian was from all over Southern California, that is, “from Bakersfield all the way down to Orange County.” He had a rough time in high school and was “saved” when he was 19 years old.

Sebastian obtained a volunteer position at Tehachapi Christian Store when, after one time, he was sitting in his “office,” a bench outside the Store, speaking about Jesus and God. The owner heard him and hired him to help him paint his house and help in the store.

Sebastian was impressed that I fearlessly walked over to him and his two homeless friends. After barraging me with random nonsense, he said he was testing my spirit a little bit, “you have a really good spirit, I can tell. You didn’t get scared when I saw you walking up to us. Being scared is the sign of the devil. You’re not supposed to be scared of nothin’. You’re supposed to be scared of God, not of God, but of what God could let happen to you.”

Sebastian claimed he was in Mojave “because every time I get upset, or every time I get wondering about the Holy Spirit, I wanna do something, and I get on the bus. I don’t drive because I still drink.”

Sebastian claimed to have saved the life of one of his friends. Furthermore, he had just started NOT having a beer before he went to church, and only had one afterwards.

There seemed to be a connection between the homeless in Los Angeles and public transportation in Los Angeles. There was a task force within the Los Angeles Metro offices for the homeless and there was also an article in the Los Angeles Times about transportation policies for the homeless in the Los Angeles area.

Sebastian gave me his opinions on this subject. He stated that there are homeless people in Pasadena, Long Beach, and Lancaster because all three of those cities are the terminating lines of the Metrolink which, which is the Los Angeles Suburban line connected to the Metro within the city itself. Recently, the Metro System completed their line to West Los Angeles / Santa Monica. So in Sebastian’s words “Santa Monica is gonna be a new spot for the rejects in LA. The way the bus lines are made, the last stop is Lancaster or Pasadena or Long Beach and now it’s gonna end there too.” Meaning, that in Santa Monica, the homeless were to be a problem in the near future, “if not already.”

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

Portrait of Bob-1

Bob was the owner of the Souza Family Vineyard, in Tehachapi, California, USA. He established The Vineyard thirteen years prior to this posting and The Tasting Room five years after that. Bob and his wife started their business when they took a Sunday drive and saw the Cummings Valley Road ranch for sale. He realized that he was eleven-ish years from retirement and decided to buy the property. Upon retirement, he started from scratch, that is, got into the wine business himself, that is, without any help or advice from experts. He said, “I dug holes in the ground and put the plants in the holes.”

Bob was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. When he was in junior high school, his parents moved from Boston to the Los Angeles area, where he mostly lived in Chatsworth, California, USA. He graduated from Notre Dame High School, in  Sherman Oaks and attended Los Angeles Valley College, in  Van Nuys, but quit to go work in the business sector. He was an insurance broker for 41 years.

Bob primarily sold retail out of his Winery. Sometimes he did wholesale transactions with local markets. He used to sell wholesale to restaurants in the area, but those restaurants either went out of business or changed ownership, so he stopped doing that. He did not have the license nor the inventory to export. Besides, he preferred retailing his product himself at his little Winery.

It was such a pleasant nice place, with a beautiful view. The customers seemed more like guests and were all happy drinking wine, having cheese and slices of apple. I could see why he didn’t want to sell his wine anywhere else but from his little bar.

Bob’s Bar

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

A view of the he vineyard through a vine.

Wine racks in retail store/tasting room.

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 Michaela

Michaela was an eleven year old girl who attended Golden Hills Elementary School in Tehachapi, California, United States. She loved puppies, painting and music. In fact, Michaela noted that she liked art in general.

Her favorite type of music, for listening, was County Music, but she belonged to a dance ensemble at The Dance Craze where they practiced musical theater. Michaela described this form of dance as “acting out the song.”

Michaela was very mature for her age. She understood that I wanted to find a nice background, and that the light had to be acceptable (at least.) I met Michaela at Mountain Gardens Nursery & Pet, which normally has gloriously, colorful backgrounds, but it was dreary in January, so this was the best i could do.

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

Posted on:

E is for EXIT and ENTRANCE

Portrait of Drew

Drew had been working at at Tehachapi RV & Cycle for three years, however, prior to his employment at this establishment, he had over 20 years working in motorcycle repair. Although this job had it’s ups and downs, as any other job, Drew really liked working at this location.

I was standing on the ground looking up at Drew, who was on top of an RV installing weather-stripping. I switched to my telephoto lens; this is the first picture in this portrait series that I took with my 75-300 mm EF lens. At one point, he had to stop to answer his cell. I liked this shot best because he was looking up and had a casual smile.

It was interesting how he was out in the cold, bundled up, working, and yet he answered his phone. My hands couldn’t mange the “buttons” with gloves on. I’d be afraid to drop my phone ground-ward while on the roof. I guess to him, this was normal.

Drew lived in Tehachapi, California, United States, was originally from Rosamond, California, United States, and had attended Rosamond High School. At the time of this posting, he had recently married and hoped to have children and his own home some day.

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

Portrait of Kelly

I live in the desert where it hardly ever snows. When it does snow, it doesn’t stick. Tehachapi is 45 minute from my home and since they had snow, I took a trip out there to get portraits of people in snow.There was no snow in the city, I drove up the mountains, but no one stopped to let me take their portrait. I ended up with some landscapes in the snow (see below), but no portraits, useless for a Portrait Project..

I went back into town and no one was working outside, except for two gentlemen who were working at Tehachapi RV & Cycle.

This is Kelly, who was from Tehachapi, California, United States, attended Hope Academy and was 20 years old. Working on RVs and motorcycles was his third job since high school, and even though he had to be out in the cold, he seemed happy.

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

spring haiku and tanka

Tehachapi wildflowers in spring

spring haiku and tanka

early spring rainfall
soaks into dry claylike soil

scattering seedlings
diverting mountain waters
interference criticized
let spring bloom naturally


Written for:

Sensational Haiku Wednesday

This week’s theme is: Spring

Also written for:

Prompt #143 – hour

Also written for:

#318 – Wild

Also posted on:

haiku my heart

Also Posted on:

Wordless Wednesday

Photos credits: Wall Street Journal Online

Photo credit:  Bat-Ami Gordin  © 2010 all rights reserved, credit if you use it, please.

Three Desert Snow Haiku

Desert Snow

Three Desert Snow Haiku

beyond the desert
mountains capped with virgin snow
rare combination

desert mountain high
snow way past the horizon
lizards gaze in awe

new desert landscape
delighful Joshua Trees
winter came today


Written for:
Take Our Banner

Also Posted on:

Also posted on:

haiku my heart -postcards from paradise

Also posted on:

February 19th – Theme or Word: Snow

Photo Credit: Bat-Ami Gordin  © 2011 all rights reserved, credit if you use it, please.