Sunday, May 31, 2009

Seattle 3 / Pike Place Market

We had thought to arrive early so as to beat the crowds. But we had not anticipated the numerous cruise ships berthed within easy walking distance of the market.

So it was crowded. But not crowded enough to prevent us from getting fresh cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes. And a café americano. And a cha siu bow.

Photos: Public Market—Seattle, 2009; Balloons—Seattle, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

. . . from the archives #44: Cat in Room—Los Angeles, 1994

Some say the world will end in gloom:
A dusty space, an empty room.
And others think the future's bright
With bursts of flame and colored light.

But the very latest thought, it seems,
On what the information means
Is that the world will some day stop
Rotating, like a spinless top.

—from the poem "Cycles" by Richard Summers

Photo: Cat in Room—Los Angeles, 1994

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seattle 2 / Space Needle

In spite of its ubiquity—or maybe because of it—Mike didn’t visit the Space Needle.

He tried his hand at taking some pix though, even though he's coming in rather late in the game.

Photos: Café Mecca—Seattle, 2009; Open 24 Hours—Seattle, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seattle 1

Pix taken while walking around Seattle near our hotel.

We were quite close to the construction site for the new home of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—quite an impressive undertaking.

Photos: Northwes—Seattle, 2009; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Construction Site—Seattle, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Olympic Sculpture Park / Wake (Serra)

Mike visited the Olympic Sculpture Park during a recent trip to Seattle that he and Hali took. Very impressive with the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Peninsula in the background.

Also of interest was one of Richard Serra’s monumental weathered steel sculptures, shown as it should be—outdoors (unlike a similar piece squished into the basement of LA's Broad Museum.) This particular piece is entitled "Wake," made with five identical modules.

"What’s important is you moving between them, through them and around them . . ."

Photos: "Wake" (Serra Sculpture)—Seattle, 2009; Olympic Sculpture Park—Seattle, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Two images of grazing cows in the San Geronimo Valley at sunrise.

Yes, it would have been visually better to have horses grazing, but still . . . OK, I think.

Photos: Cows, Sunrise—Marin County, 2009; Two Cows—Marin County, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hike ‘n Ride

Mike hikes, Hali rides: on Tuffy, of course.

A hot spring day meant an early start. Tuffy was slow going out, but quite fast coming back.

Stops for some of Mike’s favorite photo ops: a foreground fence with hills and redwoods, then H & T amongst the hills.

Last seen: a young deer scampering across the San Geronimo Golf Course.

Photos: Fence, Grass & Hills—Marin County, 2009; Hali & Tuffy—Marin County, 2009; Deer, Golf Course—Marin County, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Argia (Mystic)

I was going through my contact sheets for October, 2006 trying to see if I’d overlooked any possible images to put into my booth when I came across this boat pix. Taken in late afternoon in Mystic, Connecticut.

It’s interesting, I think. Going to print it and see if it sells.

Photo: Argia—Connecticut, 2006

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hollywood Freeway North

Leaving L.A. early in the morning . . .

Photo: Hollywood Freeway North—Los Angeles, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

More West Hollywood

During my little walk around West Hollywood I experimented with this three-photo panorama of the Santa Monica Blvd / San Vicente intersection.

Also, up on Sunset Blvd, pix of this green building with nice reflective windows ever-so-suitable for a self-portrait.

Photos: Santa Monica & San Vicente Intersection—Los Angeles, 2009; Sunset Boulevard Self-Portrait—Los Angeles, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

. . . from the archives #43: Mud Hills—Death Valley, 1992

Listen to the crunch and crackle of my boots, here in the mud hills. The last light of the day picks out little details on the dried mud clots. A fine ramble, but somehow, in spite of the deep physical satisfaction that I take in my rambling, there is something missing. Shall we call it x? At times it seems to me as if my life is a mathematical problem to be solved, but a problem to which I haven’t the key. Perhaps if I assign an arbitrary value to one of my unknowns? It is not that I am unhappy.

In the gullies and swells high above the salt plains the first stars appear; the sun has finally set. In the twilight: mud thoughts in the mud hills.

—from Notes From My Desert Novel, by Rebecca Saito

Photo: Mud Hills—Death Valley, 1992

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kimchi & Such

I didn’t know that it was Buddha’s Birthday until I saw the sign.

I guess that it wasn’t exactly his birthday. A little digging around shows that in 2009, Buddha’s Birthday falls on May 2nd, whereas Joe & I went out for Korean BBQ on May 4th. (Restaurant rec sent by Jenny K. at culturepress.)

But no matter . . . the food was great, especially the little bowls of banchan (side dishes), set in front of us just before the main course: kimchi and such.


Photos: Buddha’s Birthday—Los Angeles, 2009; Korean Banchan—Los Angeles, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


For some reason, folks like to plant palm trees here in Northern California. Well, the climate is Mediterranean, I suppose, but the palms planted here and there in San Francisco seem a little artificial.

Of course, Los Angeles is a different story. Palms are quintessentially L.A.

Photos: Palm Fronds—Los Angeles, 2009; Palm & Moon—Los Angeles, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Langton St PM

Corner of Langton St & Brannan in San Francisco, late afternoon.

Darkened the shadows to enhance that "empty" look.

Photo: Langton St, Afternoon—San Francisco, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

ProPanel Setup / Booth Configuration

Above is a photo of my latest Farmers Market booth, taken in Oakland earlier this month. As noted before, with the use of the ProPanels as shown I was able to push together my pegboard easels and hang larger frames.

The only change that I might make would be to "invert" the panels. Currently the ProPanel angle opens to the inside of the booth, so only those who choose to enter can see what’s been hung. If the angle opened to the front, then more pix would be visible to passersby.

Also thinking of a way to convert the pegboard sandwich boards to a more flexible, vertical arrangement.

Oh yes, the bottom line was that I sold at least 10 times as much stuff as at the Marin FM. We speculate that this might be because the Oakland location has much more local residents out for a stroll, whereas the Marin location is accessed mainly by auto and is very food-centric. So, more potential customers in the urban area.

Photo: Booth—Oakland, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Farmers Market—Los Angeles / The American Scene

When I was in Los Angeles I read an interesting review by Christopher Knight in the L.A. Times of a Roger Kuntz exhibition in Laguna. Mr. Kuntz—an oil painter—used as his main subject matter the freeways in Los Angeles. The article ties Mr. Kuntz to the art movement known as "The American Scene."

Kuntz's freeway paintings seemed Pop because they represent full immersion in unprecedented subject matter, which had rarely turned up before him. Edward Hopper, for example, painted the somewhat similar concrete canyon of a railroad approach into a city in 1946. But that's the point: Like Hopper, Kuntz was an American Scene painter. What makes Kuntz's work distinctive is its singular subject.

Mr. Knight goes on to write that

In the 1930s and '40s, American Scene painters generally represented the city as a brooding, even threatening place, or else they pictured the agrarian world as the nation's epic heartland. The moral, cultural and social tensions between urban and rural life had been a theme for painters for hundreds of years. Kuntz swept all that aside. In its place he pondered something entirely new — the unique suburban model that Los Angeles was in the postwar throes of inventing.

Anyway, I was quite taken with the term "The American Scene." So much so that I’ve redescribed the blog as "California & The American Scene: Photographs & Text by Michael Mundy."

After breakfast at Charlie’s in the Farmers Market I took this photo of the iconic Farmers Market sign, turning to Pat and Joe as I did so saying "See? The American Scene!"

Photo: Farmers Market—Los Angeles, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Phoebe & Horse

Had to quick slip this one in. My phoebe sightings have now encompassed Fairfax, L.A. and now the stable in Woodacre. Saw two of them chasing a crow recently.

Wouldn’t you know, the autofocus on the camera (Canon G9) wouldn’t focus on the phoebe, but zipped right by and hit the stable wall.

So the little bird is out of focus, a situation, alas, which even heroic Photoshop sharpening can’t fix.

Photo: Phoebe & Horse—Marin County, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

. . . from the archives #42: Apples—Sierra Nevada, 1986

The first printing of Gary Snyder’s poem "Tree Song" took place in 1986. The letterpress broadside printing of the poem by Peter Koch formed one element of a "keepsake" presentation, the other elements being a specially printed envelope, a printed enclosure and a black and white photograph (Dogwood, Forest—Yosemite) by Michael Mundy. The combined project was presented to a combined meeting of the Roxburghe and Zamorano Clubs in October, 1986.

James Linden, the publisher and energizing force behind this project, and I, the photographer, brought a number of letterpressed poems to Mr. Snyder’s residence in the Sierra foothills for his signature.

This was a while ago, you know: it follows that much has faded from memory. But I do remember Snyder’s cat, Ediza (named after Lake Ediza), an apple tree and some apples in a woven bowl.

Photos: Apples—Sierra Nevada, 1986

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lamp Posts & Tar Pits

The lamp posts. Yes, well the lamp posts were installed in front of the Broad Museum by Chris Burden, the contemporary artist. Apparently he had enough left over to do a similar installation in London.

The creature. The whole L.A. County Museum of Art complex is located adjacent to the La Brea Tar pits. So you have your art, your pits and your creatures peacefully coexisting.

Photos: Lamp Posts—Los Angeles, 2009; Variety—Los Angeles, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Design Center

So the reason I was in West Hollywood, other than gawking at the parking regulation signs, was to just walk around the Pacific Design Center and check it out. This is a large blue-glass covered building popularly known as the "The Blue Whale."

I was intrigued by the courtyard to the side, empty at this early (for L.A.) hour, and by the flopped-over umbrella at Wolfgang Puck’s Red Seven restaurant (mixed reviews at Yelp.)

Since I still had, by my calculation, some time left on my West Hollywood parking spot, I walked on up to Santa Monica in order to view the 1950’s site of the Pacific Electric rail yards. Alas, no more Tower Cars. Now a big parking lot for buses.

Photos: Courtyard, Pacific Design Center—Los Angeles, 2009; Red Seven—Los Angeles, 2009; Bus Parking—Los Angeles, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Melrose Avenue #7: Alley

More stuff found after hiking up to Whole Foods for some . . . uh . . . whoo . . . can’t remember. Ground coffee, I think.

Anyway, then down Fairfax to the newsstand to pick up the NYT, then through the alley over to Ogden.

Photos: Tear—Los Angeles, 2009; Screen Novelties—Los Angeles, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Theory of Signs

According to Saussure (1857-1913), a sign is composed of the signifier (signifiant), and the signified (signifié). These cannot be conceptualized as separate entities but rather as a mapping from significant differences in sound to potential (correct) differential denotation.

OK? Are we all comfortable with that? As we all know, the theory of signs plays a major role in modern conceptual art. Well, then, here are two "signs" pix, both with seemingly ironic intent.

The West Hollywood No Parking signs have a carefree over-the-top joie de vivre feeling to them, as if to say, "Yes, having this many signs is insane, but aren't they jolly anyway?"

On the other hand, not only does Mr. Baldessari’s painting have an obvious ironic edge to it, but it also most likely got sold for a pretty penny.

Note: others have had security problems taking pix in the Broad Museum in L.A., but photos of this particular painting are everywhere on the web. I myself use the "take the photo whilst the camera is at waist level" approach.

Left to be discussed: the ironic intent of the photos themselves, versus the objects depicted.

Photos: Signs—West Hollywood, 2009; Tips (Baldessari Painting)—Los Angeles, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Highway 5 Revisited

I first traveled down highway 5 in the 70's, soon after it was constructed. It was built through a largely uninhabited section of California's Central Valley: no rest stops, and gas stations were few and far between.

My most recent drive took place a week ago. The green hills of just two months ago had now been replaced by undulating tawny ones.

Plenty of gas stations. For those planning their trips around Arco gas stations (less expensive, but requiring cash), there’s a new one just one exit south of Harris Ranch.

Both pix are three-photo panoramas.

Photos: Dry Hills—Central California, 2009; Arco Station—Central California, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Banner Pix

. . . from my most recent trip to L.A. I’ll have to remember to use it next Halloween.

I actually took the photograph thinking that I’d use it for the banner. In order to be used for the banner the photo has to be resized to 2 by 7 inches. In addition, there has to be a clear area up at the top so "the mikereport" is legible. (The blog service—"Blogger," from Google—has very limited customization properties. So I can’t move the words "the mikereport" up or down or sideways.)

In other news, my MS Word 97’s spellchecker intimates that "blogger" is a misspelling. It suggests "blooper." Another suggestion: googol or goggle for Google.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New York Rain

Some folks would have been dismayed at the amount of rain coming down. Not photographers. Time for atmospheric park pix and nighttime reflections.

Of course, the light was fairly dim. Luckily, my Olympus C-8080 had a tilting LCD screen, so I was able to rest it on various objects (garbage cans, parking meters), using them as makeshift tripods.

Photos: Park in Rain—New York, 2006; Night Rain—New York, 2006

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Cloisters

We visited The Cloisters on an overcast, damp day and wandered about through the artworks and the outside gardens. One particular favorite of mine was "The Annunciation Triptych"—a 16th Century oil painting almost photorealistic in its detail.

This part of New York was quiet and subdued in the luminous October light.

Photos: Columns (The Cloisters)—New York, 2006; Park Entrance—New York, 2006

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Dan and I were both attracted to the peeling paint and geometric forms of this building’s façade.

Photos: Sprinkler—New York, 2006; Photographer—New York, 2006

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trinity Church & Isack's Studio

The statue in the background is of John Watts, which fact enabled me to do the old Google routine to nail the graveyard as belonging to Trinity Church.

The Isack's Studio photo was taken during a solo camera outing in the Chelsea district, near where we were staying.

Photos: Graveyard, Trinity Church—New York, 2006; Isack's Studio—New York, 2006

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vinca Major

Ubiquitous decorative plant found in a church parking lot in Marin's San Geronimo Valley. Nice Sunday pix.

Yawn. I mean, interesting, huh?

Vinca Major—Marin County, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another New Olympus SLR

OK, so I’m still plugging away with my trusty Olympus E-510.

But so far this year Olympus has announced not only the E-30, but now the E-620.

Wow! A small 12-megapixel SLR with live view, in-body image stabilization and a tilting LCD screen! Please note that I haven’t forgotten that I’ve said in the past that a tilting LCD screen is without a doubt one of the coolest things that a digital camera could have.

But wait, there’s more! Olympus will soon be announcing their entry in the "Micro Four-Thirds" category. Looks like I’ll need to keep on usin' my E-510 until some reviews and user experiences start coming out.

Also, if the E-30 and the E-620 are good, what about next year's (hypothetical) E-40 and E-630? I refuse to even consider Nikon.

Photo: E-620 from Digital Camera Resource