Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dinosaurs in the Desert!!

We were driving along Highway 62 in Joshua Tree last weekend and stopped to take some pics of these dinosaurs. It's kind of bizarre seeing these along the side of the road, so I used my iPhone (which adds to that surreal feeling).
Dream Canvas film with Salvador 84 lens
Had to laugh at this one... from this angle it appears the dinosaurs
are tied up to keep them from wandering out in the street!
Linking to Skywatch Friday.
We took the Jeep out into the desert in the late afternoon for a photo session... mostly with my DSLR (got some great ones that I will post later), but I did take a few more with my iPhone. Fun stuff, and it gives the photos a totally different feel!

Happy Skywatch Friday
Also linking to

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spalted Maple

Can you guess what this is?
No? Here's another view.
Still no? OK, here you go-
My cousin sent this to me as a thank you for hosting our desert get-together. He's a professional woodworker, and since he made it himself, it has special meaning to me. Cool, eh? He signed it on the back.
What? Spalted??  According to Wikipedia, spalting is any form of wood coloration caused by fungi. Although primarily found in dead trees, spalting can also occur under stressed tree conditions or even in living trees. Although spalting can cause weight loss and strength loss in the wood, the unique coloration and patterns of spalted wood are highly sought after by woodworkers.

Beautiful woodworking, don't you think? Thanks, cuz!! Linking to Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos. Check it out for great macro shots.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Joshua Tree in Monochrome

So last Friday I posted Desert Skies - Storm On The Way! Well, the storm hit mid-morning and dropped a fair amount of rain on Joshua Tree National Park. By about 4 PM, we were starting to get cabin fever, so we drove into the park. It was cold, with light rain and fog. My initial thought was this was a bust (from a photography point of view). But as the fog and clouds continued to move in, things got really interesting. The Park was practically empty, but the few people we did see all seemed to be photographers! One car kept pulling off at the same turn outs I was taking, and he had one of those big, white, expensive Canon pro telephoto lenses, so I was in good company! Because of the fog and clouds, I decided to post everything in black and white.
Joshua Tree National Park... empty! A B&W image except for the yellow lines in the street.

Linking to Skywatch Friday and The View From Right Here. Have a 
great weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

End of an Era??

Kind of feels like a really big chapter in our life is coming to an end... both bittersweet and exciting at the same time. My wife and I have owned a mountain cabin since sometime in the '70s (we couldn't quite remember the exact year as we were driving up the mountain today to meet with a realtor to list our cabin). But when we were both still in college and couldn't afford CA real estate, a close friend of my wife's family asked if we wanted to by his little cabin in the local mountains (Green Valley Lake). He was asking $17,000, and said he would carry the loan. We said "sure, why not?" Here it is.
About 10 years (and many great times and memories) later, we fell in love with another cabin within walking distance from this one and decided to "trade up". This place was a little bigger, so we could invite more friends and family up to spend time with us. Again, wonderful memories, and soooooo many weekends were spent enjoying the mountains (and painting, sanding, re-roofing, re-decking... you get the picture).

Mountain Jam:  My niece on guitar and nephew on harmonica!
There used to be a small family ski area that was within walking distance from our cabin. We spent many winter weekends skiing (and teaching the kids to ski) at this spot. It was great! Below is a photo of yours truly after walking up to the top of the ski run in summer. Like the bell bottoms? Must have been the '70s :-)
Disaster struck, and our beautiful little cabin had an electrical fire and burnt pretty much to the ground. Thankfully no one was hurt, and the fire was contained to just our cabin. We rebuilt the same year our son was born. Three years later our daughter followed, and our "new" mountain cabin became the focus of our family life. We spent almost every free weekend in the mountains, and the kids loved it!
Photo taken today... Still quite a bit of snow on the ground from last weekend's storm
Our little lake is walking distance from the house, and much of our summertime activity was either down on the lake or out on hikes.
My Son and Daughter boating on the lake!
We kept our rowboat tied up in this cove.
After you catch 'em, you got to clean 'em!
A nice stringer!
Friends out on a hike! My daughter and son are at the far left.
So yes, an end to an era. We rarely go to the mountains anymore. The kids are grown and doing their own thing, and if you follow my blog, you know my wife and I have a new love (the desert). The time feels right to sell (even though the market is terrible!). I just hope the next family can enjoy the property even half as much as we have over the years. We were so fortunate... it's been great fun!
My wife... never met a critter she didn't like!
View from Green Valley Lake Road looking down on Lake Arrowhead.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joshua Tree Saloon Mural

Here's a little local color from the village of Joshua Tree in S. CA. It's a very small town that is build around the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. On the corner of Park Blvd. and Highway 62 is the Joshua Tree Saloon, and the east wall contains this mural. Looks like it has something to do with alien prospectors (?), but I can't really tell. Haven't been in the Saloon, but it looks like a hoot! Have to save that for another post :-)
I used Photoshop to stitch three photos together for this shot.  Linking to Monday Mural over at Oakland Daily Photo. Please click on the link to check out other great murals!  Have a great week.

PS:  Found this old pickup out behind the Saloon, just waiting to have it's photo taken!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Desert Skies... Storm on the Way!

Almost midnight on Friday night, so I better make this a quick post if I want to link to Skywatch Friday! My wife and I are out in 29 Palms this weekend, and we took the Jeep out exploring just a few miles from the house late this afternoon. We were fortunate to have some pretty desert skies and a lot of good photography opportunities.  
Desert Homestead cabin in 29 Palms

I have no idea what this person has on their roof. Water tank? TV antenna?

People in the desert are so quirky... I couldn't resist stopping to
take a pic of this gate, that says "You are at 68560 Two Mile Rd.
Now go away! Do not annoy the craze person". My wife suggest
I use the telephoto lens :-)

A favorite shot from today... my wife silhouetted by the setting sun.
Happy Skywatch Friday, and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

...For Manly Men

I don't condone smoking, but if you must smoke, smoke Machismo... For Manly Men!
These candy cigarettes have been in my office for a while now. I think my wife gave them to me. For some reason, they caught my eye tonight and I decided it deserved a photograph. Hope your week is going well!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Milkweed Seedpod - Macro Monday

All my wife will tell me is she collected it in the "wild"... and that it is a seedpod from a milkweed plant. Butterflies like milkweeds, and she likes butterflies.
Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens, f18, 1/60 second exposure, iso 1600. Check out Lisa's Chaos Macro Monday for awesome macro shots.  Have a great week!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Philly Skyline

I left for Philly Monday AM in returned late last night, so not much opportunity for photography this week. I stayed at the Loews hotel in downtown Philly, and about mid-week decided to wander up to the 33rd floor at the top of the hotel. There were some spectacular city views, so I pressed my iPhone up against the glass and took a couple pics. Happy Skywatch Friday, and have a great weekend! Click on the link to view great skies from all over the world.

I'm doing this as a total afterthought... I visited Through a Photographers Eyes blogspot which got me thinking about how I might edit the above photo. I transferred the photo to my iPad and used a program called AutoPainter to turn the photo into something that looks like a painting. There are a few different painting types to choose from, but the only one recommended for use on night photos is "Van Gogh", so that's what I went with.
Yuck, I don't like the result... too abstract, and you've lost too much of the detail. So I imported this "painting" into Photoshop, and used the original photo as a layer (same process you would use if you were adding a texture), selected "pinlight", and adjusted the opacity to 50%. This added a little more detail, and I like the result much better.
For my final edit, I bumped up the opacity to 100%. I guess it's a matter of taste which you like better. I think the 100% below gives the best mix of painting and photo, but that's just me! Check out Through a Photographers Eyes for some great photography and edits!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Electrified Gee-Tars!

So technically not a mural, I couldn't resist posting this mosaic tile mural of a red Fender Statocaster. I live in Fullerton, the home of Fender guitars, basses, amplifiers and related musical gear. Leo Fender developed Telecasters and Stratocasters in the early 50's, and the design was so perfect they remain virtually unchanged to this day!
By all accounts, Leo Fender was a quiet, unassuming man, but he changed the world. Reportedly he had little talent for playing a musical instrument or singing, but loved country western music and was relentlessly interested in improving the sound produced by electric guitars. He would ask musicians of the day to try out his gear, then he would go listen to them in concert and later head back to his shop to make changes to further improve the sound. I'm a huge fan, and own a number of Fender guitars and amps.
Photo credit:  Guitar Legends: The Evolution of the Guitar from Fender to G&L, by G. Fullerton, 
Fender later sold out to CBS, and later still Leo Fender and George Fullerton formed G&L Guitars (initially here in Fullerton, later moving to Huntington Beach). To my knowledge, there are no longer Fender or G&L guitars being made in Fullerton, but if you drive around, you just might notice Fender Avenue and other signs that you are at the home of Fender guitars! Oh, and if you happen to have an old Fender guitar under your bed or in your closet from the 50's or 60's, please let me know!!
Linking to Mural Monday at Oakland Daily Photo. Check it out to see some great murals!