Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Box

My realtor buddy e-mailed me to ask if I might be interested in buying the 5 acre parcel adjacent to us in the desert. He bought it for back taxes and decided he's a little over-extended and over-committed on other projects. After a quick discussion with my wife, I think it took us all of about 5 minutes to agree on a very reasonable price, and we just signed the paperwork today. We're excited about it because now we know the property can't be built on and we will maintain a nice open desert view, which is great. I would like to keep things exactly as they are! The value is really in the land, but there are a couple "fringe benefits" thrown in that I think will be very fun projects...
I'm naming this "the box".  It's a little homestead cabin likely built in the '50s. No heat. No plumbing. Just a box that's about 12' x 12'. If you have a good imagination, you might be able to picture it as being a very cool little vintage cabin once it's fixed up. There's an outhouse out back. Like I said, you need a good imagination!
The previous owners left this old Datsun pickup behind (late '60's?), but my realtor friend wants to keep it and restore it. Fine with me... we told him if he wants to leave it behind, we would take it (gives the little cabin a lived-in look).

The previous owners also left this old trailer behind, which is now ours (my realtor friend said he would like to have it, but no place to put it!). It's a total stinky mess on this inside, but fire up that imagination again, and you might be able to picture something restored, cool, and vintage looking.

There's crazy stuff all around the house, like this toilet next to the trailer (above) and a huge collection of old wine and whiskey bottles (below).
Kind of funny... my friend specifically asked if he could have all the wine bottles for an art project that his wife wants to do. I said "heck yes"! (glad to get rid of them).
The amazing, and kind of sad, thing about this property is two brothers lived here since the early '80s... around 30 years in the little box and the trailer, with no heat and no indoor plumbing. I think for the most part we don't realize how fortunate we are.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shooting Into the Sun

I think there's a basic photography premise about always trying to keep the sun to your back. So guess I'm breaking the rules with these photos. I'm finding some of my favorite photos are taken shooting directly into the sun, providing back-lighting and interesting sun flares.

One of my favorite walks when we're in the desert is right out our back door and up the wash into Joshua Tree. Took this walk last weekend as the sun was setting and fired off a few shots into the sun. Hope you like them!
f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 200, 60mm
Ravens on the move!  f/18, 1/125 sec,  ISO 100, 31mm.  Put the sun behind one of the desert thistles.
I like these back-lit Cholla cactus... their spines glow yellow!  f/18, 1/80 sec, ISO 100, 16mm
Cactus skeleton against blue desert sky.  f/22 for maximum DoF, 1/60 sec; ISO 100, 20mm
And for a little fun, a long exposure night shot taken the same day... and wow, just happened to catch a UFO streaking across the sky!! Talk about perfect timing! (OK, and a little help from Photoshop!).
f/2.8, 30 seconds, ISO 2000, 16mm
Linking to Skywatch Friday. Thanks to Yogi, our new host! Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Crazy Desert Signs!

You see some crazy stuff in the desert... seems like the more remote you get, the crazier it gets! So here are a few crazy desert signs I've seen. I'll start with my favorite first... this is a collection of signs way out in the middle of nowhere (which makes the collection seem all the more strange). People have added on sign after sign (and even a mailbox!!) to this desert pole to the point that it is totally full now! 
Linking this photo to Madge's Weekly Top Shot. Click on the link to check it out!
Bouncing around in my Jeep today and ran across this one in the Joshua Tree area. What the heck is a "Contamination Field"?? That big blue dot on the left is a large mirror. Pretty sure this sign is a hoax but decided to honor it rather risk the wrath of Julia!!

WARNING: Skip this next one if you're offended by profanity! Saw this cool little desert cabin up against the rocks today in Joshua Tree... but very clear the owner doesn't want visitors!!

Time for one more. I took this one almost a year ago, and I was very cautious as I got out of my Jeep to take the photo. The last thing I need is an annoyed "craze" person taking a pot-shot at me!!
Hope you're having a great weekend and have time for some photography!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Front Yard Pear Tree

Sometimes I have to remind myself... I don't have to travel far to find things to photograph. Case in point, the pear tree in our front yard (I'll call it a Bradford Pear, although there are many varieties of flowering pear, so this is just my best guess) is putting on quite a show this year with prolific white flowers!
So here's my attempt to get a slightly different angle on the tree... photo credit goes to my daughter.  I think she did a nice job framing it up, wouldn't you agree? I look like a knuckle-head, but that's OK!
Fully stopped down lens (f/22) for max DoF; 1/25 second exposure; ISO 200; focal length 23mm
 My head was literally pushing against the tree trunk as I shot these straight up toward the sky. I like the white flowers against the blue background.
B&W version
Close up of the flowers... these are really common trees in S CA
A crop from my second photo... I used "Topaz Simplify" to make this stylized version of the pear tree flowers.
Finally, I couldn't resist this sky shot with the wispy cloud in the background. Linking this shot to Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from all over the world!

In a couple weeks, when the flower petals start to drop, it will look like snow in S CA! Hope your week is going well.