Thursday, December 29, 2011

West Coyote Hills

My wife and I were walking our rambunctious chihuahua (Miley) today along one of the trails in North Fullerton.  The trail is bordered by former oil company property that is fenced off and has not been used in many years.  This property may or may not be developed, and many of us here in Fullerton hope to save Coyote Hills from development (original plan drawn up for 760 residential units... yikes, it's already WAY too crowded here!!).  Anyway, about half way along the hike, there is a gaping hole in the fence.  Couldn't resist squeezing through and stepping back in time to "old California".  It's incredibly nice nice open space, and I really hope in stays just as it is.
Panorama shot... trail leading to Coyote Hills can be seen on the left.
Late afternoon sun flare
Old oil company road (lots of weeds growing through the degrading asphalt -
road hasn't been used in many years) with red berries of a toyon tree on right.
iPhone shot of back-lit grass

Heading home!
   Happy Skywatch Friday, happy weekend, and Happy Newyear!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Desert Crescent Moon

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!  A highlight for me is my visiting nephew, his wife, and brand-new baby girl Zoe.  It's really made the holidays special this year.  Also very memorable was a spectacular Christmas dinner with my sister (Lap Dog Knits) and her family.  
   Well, DG and I managed to escape out to the desert for a couple days (returning home tomorrow), and we were capturing a few photos as the sun was setting.  The moon was very visible, even before sunset.  Also, very cool looking because the crescent shape looks great out here in the desert sky.  I googled "today's moon" and learned that today's sky is indeed special:  "Be sure to head out after sunset to catch a close pairing of bright Venus and a thin waxing crescent moon in the western skies".
I was wondering what that bright spot below the moon was!!
You gotta look hard, but almost directly below
the crescent moon is Venus.
Crescent moon and telephone lines.
This has nothing to do with the moon, but I like the shot.  Used my
telephoto and tripod for some nice pink desert sky!
Late afternoon sun makes even mail boxes look interesting!
DG found an old frame during our wanderings.
She wasn't in the mood to smile.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Seal Beach Pier

I met a buddy of mine at Walt's Wharf in Seal Beach yesterday.  I've worked with this guy for 15 years, and we have some wonderful shared experiences... but I digress.  After a great lunch and discussing topics that will solve all the world's problems, we wished each other Merry Christmas and left.  As I drove my car down Main Street to turn around and head back home, I could see the Seal Beach pier and decided to take a walk out on the pier.  It was a beautiful December day in the mid '60s so off I went.
  The Seal Beach Pier is a wooden pier, which is kind of cool.  Many of the other S. CA piers have been rebuilt over the years and are concrete.

My favorite shot of the day.  These kids appeared to be totally enjoying themselves, on Christmas break, and hanging out at the beach without a care in the world.  Does it get any better than that??

As I was walking along the pier, I saw this boat pull up to the pier and briefly dock.  I overheard someone saying this happens daily, and the boat drops off the workers from the offshore oil platforms.  There's a sign on the pier that says "When the boat docks, reel in your fishing line".  I didn't see anyone catching anything, but quite a few lines in the water.

 View from the pier, looking north... blue skies, no crowds.  A perfect winter beach day in S. CA!  That's downtown Long Beach in the background.  The Queen Mary is near the white dome on the left.

The seagulls on the pier were extremely tame, and seemed only too happy to pose for photos!  Happy Skywatch Friday, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas!  Please visit Skywatch Friday for great views of skies from around the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flea Market Cameras!

My sister over at Lap Dog Knits found some very cool old cameras at a local flea market a while back, and I've been wanting to share them on the blog.  I have them 'on display' in the living room (thanks, Sis!), and used my macro lens to get some detailed photos.  Hope you like them and that they bring back some fond memories!
The Kodak Duaflex II.  I'm hoping to do some TtV photos one of these days!
The Brownie Starflex... I think there were millions of these sold!
The Ansco Pioneer.  I think this one is older than the others.
Brownie Hawkeye... I'd forgotten how huge the flash units were!
Wow, we've come a long way with our digital cameras, haven't we?!  Please check out Macro Monday for really great macro photos! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blast Off!!!

So, driving home from the desert on Sunday we couldn't resist making a quick right (north) turn off Highway 62 onto Sunfair Road.  There was one of those classic desert scenes:  a semi-crazy looking guy on the corner with flags and canopies and other-worldly-looking vehicle and a sign advertising "hand-made Christmas Gifts".  How could we possibly not stop?
Turns out the hand-made gifts consisted almost entirely of pipes for smoking pot.  A nice enough guy with a really interesting vehicle that resembled an Airstream trailer.  He said he bought it from a guy who worked at Lockheed and used airplane-grade aluminum and other parts to build it!  Truly one of a kind!  It has a Cadillac engine, and the door handles, hinges, lights, etc. really did look unique.  A sticker on the door said "High Voltage", and I couldn't help chuckling at the overall impression the vehicle had on me.  Here's a cropped close-up.  No one on my Christmas list is in need of a hash pipe, so we said thanks and moved on.
A little further down Sunfair Road on the left is the small private Roy Williams Airport.  In case you're wondering, Roy Williams was a Disney cartoonist who did the original script for the Mickey Mouse Club TV show and (drum roll please) invented and designed the famous Mickey Mouse ear hat!  What an interesting tidbit of information!  Below is the airport logo and a picture of Roy.

In front of the airport they have what probably in it's day looked very 'space-age' and ultra-modern:  a miniature jet mounted on a pole.  This is what caught my photographer's eye as we were driving by.  Very cool, and now in nearly 2012 it looks like another one of those strange things you see in the desert and wonder what the heck it's doing there.  I decided to use black & white/high contrast to give it that vintage look.

Have you closed your Flight Plan?  
Happy Skywatch Friday, and have a great weekend!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Soggy Macro Monday!

Mind you, I'm not complaining.  Here in S CA we have some of the best weather in the world.  Lots of rain today, but for us, that's a good thing.  I took this photo a few days ago using my macro lens.  This is our backyard grapefruit tree, and it was a nice sunny day.

Here's what today looks like.  Tried to capture rain coming off the patio cover mid-drip.  Happy Macro Monday!
For great macro shots, please 
check out Macro Monday

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fourth Street Bridge, LA (part 2)

I wanted to share a few more photos taken on and around the Fourth Street Bridge in LA.  A couple of people commented on my 'Part 1' post that they avoid downtown LA at all costs (a good time to pause and say thanks for the comments, always appreciated!).  I tend to agree and I usually avoid large urban areas.  However, once I get in this environment, I must admit it gets really interesting.  LA's such a weird mix of people, architecture, decay, and over-the-top display of wealth (with skid row right around the corner), my head is spinning and it's hard to take it all in!

A word about the photos.  I took triple exposures (+2, normal, and -2) for many of these images and used merge to HDR in Photoshop.  I'm finding that sometimes the photos look too surrealistic, but other times I like the effect, so bear with me.  It's a learning process, and I'm really enjoying trying to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop!
 Fourth Street Bridge architecture can be seen in this photo, along with cool old light fixtures.  One website I found refers to this area as "LA Noire" because of the building style dating to the '30s and '40s.  In the background is the Sixth Street Bridge.  For those of you who know LA, Whittier Blvd. turns into Sixth Street at the bridge.
The manufacturer and seller of ribbon wire must be wealthy, because it is omnipresent in LA!
Above is a view of the Sixth Street Bridge spanning railroad tracks and the LA River.  The LA River is defined as an "urban river"... looks more like a cement drainage area to me!
Looking east on the Fourth St. Bridge
Railroad tracks under the east side of the bridge.
Unfortunately, there are many signs of decay and urban blight in the area.  Some areas are downright disgusting.  I tried for a sepia tone look on this image.  It came out a little light, but I like the effect so I left it
Iphone photo of an old building and fire escape just at the west end of the bridge.  I really like the way this one came out.
One big change I noticed in Downtown LA from years ago is the acceptance, and even embrace, of street graffiti.  It's seems to have grown in popularity in parallel with tattoos in the younger generation.  If you can view it with an open mind, it really is very interesting and artistic!   

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fourth Street Bridge, Los Angeles (part 1)

Well, here's a change of pace.  I had to make a trip to downtown LA this week.  Even though LA is only 45 minutes away (add qualifier used by all Southern Californians... depending on traffic), I very rarely drive up to LA.  As I was mapping out my driving route, I noticed I would be crossing the Fourth Street bridge, which is something of a landmark.  It's also been on the news because it's falling apart, and the city is debating rebuilding a vintage bridge to match the current bridge (too expensive) or a more "modern", less expensive design (too ugly, but will likely be the option that is taken).

I know nothing about bridges, but here are a few facts.  The Fourth Street Bridge was built in 1931.  The bridge allows vehicles and pedestrians to cross over the Los Angeles river, and it replaced the last wooden bridge over the river downtown.  The bridge is adorned in Gothic Revival detail.  The porticos, lighting standards, and railing are all inspired by Gothic architecture; they feel as if they've been lifted from an early European cathedral!  For this post and the next, I'm sharing some of the sights you will see when you walk the bridge.  It's a really interesting area, and I hope to go back sometime for more photos!
Walking West at the start of the Fourth Street Bridge
View north; railroad tracks skirt both sides of the LA River.
LA is a pronounced mix of old and decaying with new and modern.
View from the Fourth Street Bridge into abandoned building 
View from Fourth Street Bridge looking north towards downtown and blue LA skies!! 
Happy Skywatch Friday, and have a great weekend.  Click on this link Skywatch Friday to see more great skies from around the world.  Check back in a day or two for more photos from LA's Fourth Street Bridge!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday Night / Sunday Morning

I usually try to get the Christmas lights up by Thanksgiving weekend, but running about a week behind this year.  Finally got to it on Saturday as the sun was setting, and took this macro shot.  A little shaky because of low light and being on a ladder, but I like the effect!
My Sunday mornings always start with brewing a pot of coffee, then reading the Sunday Times, and time permitting, working on the Sudoku puzzle. Today was a particularly good day because the puzzle was rated "tough" (on a scale of gentle, moderate, tough, and diabolical).  I usually can't solve the tough ones... maybe about 1 in 5.  Anyway, I solved today's puzzle, so off to a good start.  I had my trusty chihuahua by my side for moral support.

As I was working on my Sudoku puzzle, my wife was working on a sewing project (modifying a dog sweater).  For really fine work, she will sometimes wear two sets of reading glasses for better vision.  But the dog was not sitting still for this activity... pretty funny watching her trying to do this project with the dog all over her!
Later in the morning, my wife was sorting through old holiday cards (trying to figure out what to keep and what to toss) and we came across this one from Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (aren't they in jail??).  What do you think... is it a keeper??
My wife was also busy putting out Christmas decorations and I couldn't resist taking this photo of a display on the fireplace mantle.  When the kids were young, we always took them to the same Santa every year to get their picture taken.  From the ages of about 2 - 5, my daughter would cry hysterically when placed on Santa's lap no matter how hard we tried to gently back her in so she couldn't see what was going on.  Ah, fun times!  She laughs about it now.
Happy Macro Monday, and have a great week.
Check out other macro shots at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rattlesnake Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park (Part 2)

I'm not a fan of long, rambling blog posts, hence the Part 1 and Part 2 for this post.  My son and I hiked Rattlesnake Canyon about a week ago (accessed from Indian Cove campground in Joshua Tree).  Just adding a few fun photos to that post (using Photoshop to make them a little more interesting).  My legs are no longer sore (finally!) and we had a really great time.  Go back to my "part 1" post for details on location and level of difficulty.  Hope you like the photos.
View from the top! Cropped and textured in Photoshop.
Photo credit to JB.  The kid's got a good eye!!
Beautiful fall colors in Rattlesnake Canyon!  Used
Photoshop to turn everything B&W except the tree.
Pine tree in the Canyon... canvas texture added.
Unidentified plant
Beautiful blue desert sky in the Canyon - Happy Skywatch Friday!
The road home from Rattlesnake Canyon.
Linking to Skywatch Friday.