Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Rotarians enjoy Ansel Adams retrospective


U.S. National Archives
Art history lecturer Kay Payne showcased Ansel Adams’ work, including the above photo, “Glacier National Park” (1941), in her Dec. 12 presentation for the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

Los Altos resident Kay Payne, art history lecturer in charge of the Community Speakers’ Program for San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, presented a retrospective of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ work for members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos Dec. 12.

“I knew my destiny when I first visited Yosemite,” said Adams, who became the unofficial champion of America’s national parks.

According to Payne, in 1916, the 14-year-old Adams received his first Kodak Brownie Box Camera. From his perch atop a crumbling tree stump in Yosemite, he unexpectedly tumbled while snapping a shot of the forest upside down – a new way of looking at nature. Every year thereafter, he returned to Yosemite, eventually composing a visual diary of its wilderness.

With his early 1921 “Lodgepole Pines” shot, Adams felt “a photo should look like a watercolor,” Payne said. Later he sought clarity, so he used a standard K2 yellow filter on Half Dome, gleaming in the sun and partly obscured in shadow. In his 1927 “Monolith,” he progressed to a red filter and reduced the exposure by a factor of 14 to enhance the tonal values, thus intensifying its emotional impact.

Adams traveled 1,200 miles through New Mexico in 1927, taking black-and-white photos. Payne said he urged his students to keep accurate records of their photographs and evaluate their compositions with large cardboard frames before wasting film. At that time, his photos sold for approximately $10, the equivalent of $160 today, Payne noted. Today his prints sell for thousands of dollars.

The father of Peter Starr, Stanford University’s famed but fallen mountain climber, asked Adams to photograph the majesty and danger of the High Sierra’s Minarets, Payne said. Adams produced a series of half-tone photographs using continuous tones from white to black to emphasize his emotional response to the wilderness. The photographer gradually developed a “zone system,” she added, to control the tonal range of his prints: technical excellence with a strong emotional interpretation. He sought a predictable result typified by radiant light. His Cadillac’s license plate touted “Zone 5,” according to Payne.

Although Adams produced approximately 3,000 color images, he felt that working in color was “like playing an untuned piano,” Payne said, for he preferred the abstract element of working in black and white. Some of his finest works, such as “El Capitan,” were shot on Polaroid Land cameras of the 1940s.

From the 1920s until his death in 1984, Adams was respected as a fervent champion of the national parks, Payne said, adding that he preferred calling them “reserves” rather than “parks,” for he felt that everyone should touch “the living rock.” He would walk for days without seeing people, cooking over a campfire and recording his impressions of untouched nature.

Mount Ansel Adams near the southeast entry to Yosemite National Park awaited its name until 1985, the first anniversary of Adams’ death.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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