Monday, December 8, 2008

wonder wall behind cal state san bernardino

this set of photos was a long time in the making! for probably 3 years i wanted to get back behind cal state san bernardino to take these shots. usually when i'm out on a run or ride i discover new and interesting things to use as subjects for shoots, and this was very intriguing to me. behind cal state is an enormous flood basin designed to catch storm floods before they reach residential areas. approximately 500' to one side of this wall is the beginning of the san bernardino national forest, and 500' to the other side is about a 75' high concrete barrier/levee with various flood containment devices that look like they were installed back in the 60's. access to this area is very limited due to the mountains, the high walls, and the terrain itself. adding to the peculiar environment is an old house standing only as brick walls that was burned out by previous fires. this area in the foothills is a fire zone where building has not been permitted for many years, nor would anyone want to build there due to the limited access and sense of isolation. navigating the terrain is like walking through the dry sand on a beach for close to a mile. the walls create a guantlet-esque voyage from the main campus to this area with the intention of preventing trespassers (and photographers :) from entering without a good purpose. i found this area when we first moved to san bernardino, but never had the time, day light, or opportunity to get back there to take some shots. i finally decided one day that i was alone with the girls that it would be a perfect time to take shots of one or many of the large rusty walls of corregated steel, probably constructed as a kind of wave supressant for any large floods decending the mountainside. jules was at work for the majority of the day, so i packed up both the girls in the bike trailer, the camera equipment, some sippie cups, the big glass head i've used in several abstract shoots, and my running shoes and we were off! only until i got to the concrete levee did i realize what a mistake that was. trying to push the girls with the camera and the bike trailer ended up being a lot heavier than i thought, especially in deep sand. the trailer has a tiny front tire that kept digging into the sand, it weighed about 100 lbs total with the girls in it, the wind was picking up, it was 90 degrees, AND just getting to the wall was a 3 mile trek one way. the return run home was harder than the run there because now i was heading uphill to get back. the girls were getting impatient, hot, tired, hungry, and missing their mom too. it was without a doubt the hardest shortest run i've ever done, but i'm happy with how the photos turned out which made the trip worth it. i would've gone back to do some night shots another day if it wasn't for the difficult trip. at night it can become a snake and coyote-fest behind cal state as i've been followed by coyotes in the past, only on my turf on the developed side of the wall. who know what could happen at night on the other side of the levee between wildlife and criminals.

Friday, November 28, 2008

your guess is as good as mine

about a year before we left san bernardino we were out driving around looking for something to do and as we headed down one of the many nice and livable neighborhoods (riiiiight) near the center of the city i spotted this strange and obscure billboard. i made a note to myself to photograph it at some point in the near future and i actually remembered the camera one day as i anticipated passing through the same area which is wise to do during the day only. to this day i'm still clueless as to what the meaning of this billboard may be, so if anyone can offer any insight on its purpose, by all means chime in. as nervous as i was to get his shot i'm glad i did because i doubt it's still there and doubt i'll ever see anything like it again. these photos kind of have a truman show/punch drunk love/LA story (talking billboard to steve martin that only he actually sees) quality about them. the majority of the public might view this in total confussion, but for one person it makes total sense and was pecurely and purposely placed there solely for their enlightenment. i've studied these photos trying to derive some sort of logical understanding of the sign's existence with no success. no inscription, labeling, or marking of any sort is found on or around the perplexing advertisement which lends to an even greater sense of confusion. perhaps at some point in my life i'll understand what the sign means, and maybe, just maybe, it's my own personal "talking marque billboard" (like steve martin's) that only i can see and comprehend "at night on the side of the LA freeway" and have yet to find its real meaning in my life.

the first shot is a normal exposure with little to no digital enhancement. the second one of course adjusts the saturation, and the third one attempts to convey a retro 70's quality with only color adjustments.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

griffith park observatory

i guess i should start to put how exactly i take these crazy night photos.
no tripod
3 second exposure
ISO 1600

this photo was taken at the griffith park observatory in los angeles. it's probably my favorite place to go just to hang out, sight-see, people watch, learn, explore space (yes, i'm a nerd), and occasionally run to the hollywood sign just behind the observatory. i've been going to the observtory all throughout my life at random times as a tourist. since moving here, it has taken on different meaning as i have gone up there dozens of times with friends and family that come to visit. the visits i made as a kid were just for fun and to look out and see the city and how emense the los angeles area is from the hollywood hills. now when i go it is a place just to escape and meditate and see how small the world really is. i love to see the different types of people that visit the park and try to guess why they are there and what the purpose of their visit is. the observatory has always had a special meaning to me because as a family we came here several times on our trips to socal. thankfully, my parents always took the time to show us around to places other than disneyland, the beach, and tijuana while on outings to socal. i think they wanted to teach us simple yet meaningful lessons about how one can have a good time without doing the typical activities engaged in by tourists. early visits to the park were at a time when the observatory was a much ignored establishment. since the renovation that took place during the years of 2004-2007, it has been rejuvenated with a diverse crowd of visitors with varying reasons for their visits. some come to explore and see the city from a different perspective while others visit to experience a piece of socal and all-american nostalgia. i like to go there and reflect on my family and all the fun and adventurous things my parents helped us experience as kids. i try and make a point to take as many of my friends there as possible so they can also experience the peace and beauty of the park and the environment. it's fun to talk to people from socal that have never been to the park, heard it was renovated, or seen the observatory in person (let alone look through the many telescopes on display for a clear view of stars, planets, and nebula at one low cost of free). i guess you could say i have a peculiar fascination with the place not only because it's neat to visit, but i can vividly remember things from my childhood that were said to me while visiting with my family. we went to a lot of different places on vacations and have seen many neat things as a family, but this one place in particular has never left my mind. after not having visited for 10 years or so, returning was such a familiar experience that i almost found the observatory with no problem or help from locals. i love the fact that i have few places in this world outside of oregon where i have vivid memories of our family being together, and one of those is right here in socal with memories that took place several years before i became a resident. i guess it just goes to show that we never know how our experiences will impact our kids and to what magnitude.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hawaii's Secret Beauty

the hawaii temple is one of the most beautiful temples i've been to! i can't believe how amazing it looks at night especially. the photos didn't turn out that great because it ended up being a huge bright blur in the dark sky. i also took this photo from standing in front of it looking down toward the ocean. i think i looked kind of funny standing there at midnight by myself in front of the temple with a camera and remote with students, couples, people with dogs walking in front of me wondering what i was up to.

this is the blissful view we had from our little studio house right on the beach. yeah, just looking at this picture takes me back to a place that is worlds away from our little "tropical studio" in socal. i went out every night to get this same photo and other versions look good too, but this is my favorite. i made a little tripod out of rocks one night and then used an audaman another night. whatever works right?

this is from our room on the 9th floor of our hotel in honolulu. i went for a run that afternoon while jules took a much needed pregnanacy nap. i was dying to explore the city with nothing but my tank, shorts, and running shoes. i ran across downtown up to diamond head which is a lookout point of the entire city. an 80 degree tropical downpour added to the excitement of the run along waikiki beach. i haven't felt rain on my skin in over 10 months, so the shower was welcoming. later on after the rain had cleaned every surface of the city, i took this photo from our hotel balcony. there must have been 50 of this same shot making this the most photographed object/subject that i've ever taken of one thing besides my family. i challenged myself to take a virgin shot with no need for editing. it's great to use cs3 for some shots, but i'm usually still true to manual photography and avoiding the temptation to cheat on photos. someday i'll print a 6' x 8' version to cover a wall......i love this photo that much!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

the venice canals- of socal

these are some random pictures that i took while roaming about the venice canals in los angeles. probably is my favorite neighborhood anywhere because of the beautiful serenity, silence, and artistic value. there are networks of canals instead of streets that were designed back during the industrial revolution to mimic what is found in venice italy. one man decided to try and re-create here in the states the same beauty and natural element of water and rural development that is found in italy. over the years with fluctuating economies and socioeconomic changes in society, the canals have evolved over the past 6 decades into what they are today. what started out as smaller beach style modest homes of middle to higher income residents, have now turned into large upscale homes reflecting contemporary modern masterpieces. many of the houses today are priced into the single and double digit millions and are most likely summer or vacation homes for the super-elite. these photos are some of my favorites on the outside....if i could only get inside for some interior shots!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Bernardino

getting a little close there! we had some pretty bad fires this last year near our house, as you can tell! they were actually a lot worse up on the mountains behind our house on the other side. this is just a little hill that caught on fire but they had to evacuate a ton of people in our neighborhood. most of the cars flying by the house in the picture are fire trucks and rescue workers. i've really been getting into doing night photos lately so this will be the first of many that i take/post on here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

cows in the field

these are some random cows i photographed out in a field up near the city of taft near the central valley in california. i was up there for a meeting one day and took the camera with me in hopes of finding something up there photo worthy. there wasn't much as you can see, but the beautiful black cows grazing in the lush green grass. i'd never seen so many black cows in such a beautiful setting before. the funny thing about the photo is the one white cow in the photo looks like it was p-shopped, but it was just sitting there looking at me while the rest of the cows looked on. sometimes i feel a little awkward taking photos like this. the local people were probably passing me on the highway in their pickups wondering what in the world i was doing. city folk don't see cows very often. if sophie or ava would've been with me i probably would've treated the experience like a trip to the zoo, seeing that this is about the extent of animal exposure my little ones get besides the occasional lizard on our historical 1930's wrap-around swing-laden porch (i mean, 7'x7' porch that i can't do jump rope on). :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

windmill farm

ever since i can remember i have been enamored with these windmills that are found about 30 minutes from our house and about 30 minutes from palm springs. they're out in the middle of nowhere between two small mountain ranges, divided only by the 10 freeway and a few rural highways. there is a kind of beautiful mystique about them as they move at varied speeds from each other, weathering the harsh climate of the desert, while representing another technological attempt of man to artificially generate our most critical resource- electricity. there is an architectural and technological beauty to such an advanced device that seamlessly meets with nature in the desert landscape. occasionally i venture out to the palm springs area for meetings and this time i took the camera in hopes of having a blue non-hazy sky and a few minutes to get the windmills on film. next time i plan on hiking around the area at night with a full moon so i can take some unique night shots.