Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monterey Afternoon 1

Tree, Building, Self Portrait - Monterey  2013

The drive from L.A. to Monterey takes some hours, more than one might think. Google Maps shows the trip taking slightly over 5 hours, but since I don't drive that fast (and stop for photos) it takes me longer.

Since I had left somewhat late, by the time I got into Monterey the sun was dipping towards the horizon and shadows were starting to lengthen.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Seal Blogging

Seals - Monterey County  2013

Taken at the same spot as last September's seal pix.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vinyards, Santa Lucia Mountains

Vinyard, Santa Lucia Mountains - Monterey County  2013

Seen as I was refilling the car in Greenfield in Monterey County. Soon after, the clouds went away.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Santa Barbara Mission 2

Agaves - Santa Barbara County  2013

Agave, Road, Palm - Santa Barbara County  2013

. . . some more agaves seen just off the main road.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Santa Barbara Mission 1

Agave, Fence - Santa Barbara County  2013

Recently I've been making a routine stop at the Santa Barbara Mission whenever I drive 101 up the coast. This time, however, I opted not to visit the interior courtyard (too many tour buses), wandering around outside instead. High clouds provided nice even light.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fort Ord

Abandoned Barracks (Fort Ord) - Monterey County  2013

Rugged - Monterey County  2013

Mike drove through the former Fort Ord Army base last month just outside of Monterey, finding a few reminders of the location's old military role. A crumbling abandoned barracks. A fading sign for the 14th Engineer Battalion, once located there.


In point of fact Mike entered the U.S. Army on December 26, 1963 (yes, the day after Christmas) in Los Angeles and completed his basic training at Fort Ord in Monterey County, living in a barracks very similar to the one pictured above. Didn't have broken windows, though.

Let's see, try 'n do a little in-the-head arithmetic . . . Whoa! That was 50 years ago today!


Mike used to stand of an evening at the barracks' 2nd-story window, the sound of the Beatles in the background, gazing at the lights of Monterey and the twilight view of Monterey Bay. At the time he was somewhat older than most of the recruits and was able to use the serene view to transcend the inevitable basic training Army doldrums.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Nandina - Marin County  2013

. . . earlier this month in our backyard.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Los Angeles Mall Christmas Decorations

Winter Wonderland - Los Angeles  2013

Xmas Balls - Los Angeles  2013

Seen at the upscale mall known as "The Grove."

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Pigeon Blogging

Pigeons - San Francisco  2013

Taken during a recent trip to S.F., on California Street.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Channel Islands

Channel Islands - Ventura County  2013

Leaving Los Angeles Mike had to stop at the beaches just north of Ventura to take some pix of the clouds soaring over the Channel Islands.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Black Billboard - Los Angeles  2013

Escalade - Los Angeles  2013

Top: Black billboard, black outfit.

Bottom: Black Escalade.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Construction Site Art

Construction Site Art - Santa Monica  2013

I saw this tableau wandering around Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Neat: construction site with construction site art in the foreground and thunderclouds in the distance.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Salgado Exhibit

Genesis Exhibit - Santa Monica  2013

Genesis Book - Santa Monica  2013

Joe and I spent some time in Santa Monica at the  "Bergamot Station Arts Center," taking in the Sebastiao Salgado exhibit at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.

Thousands of dollars per print: not what you could call affordable art.

And here's the thing: not that Salgado isn't talented. He is. And I'm sure he's a hard worker! But in the art world, as in the music world, it's hard to discern what drives success: talent or luck. Of course, it's a combination of both, but as Alan Krueger (Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers) points out (in remarks delivered at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame):

The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large. We are increasingly becoming a “winner-take-all economy,” a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented – and it is often hard to tell the difference – have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.

These same forces are affecting the music industry. Indeed, the music industry is an extreme example of a “super star economy,” in which a small number of artists take home the lion’s share of income.

I would submit that the same thing is true in the art world. I'm sure that there are many, many photographers just as talented and hard working as Salgado, but maybe not quite so lucky.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Melrose Avenue #44: Creating Street Art

Art In Progress - Los Angeles  2013

Art, Finished - Los Angeles  2013

Anonymous artists at work in the evening. I walked by the next day to see the finished product.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Melrose Avenue #43: Setting Up The Shot

Street Art: Setting Up Shot - Los Angeles  2013 

Street Art: Taking The Shot - Los Angeles  2013

Good utilization of street art.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Pigeon Blogging

Pigeons & Dracula - Los Angeles  2013

Pigeons rather liking that Dracula billboard.

Also: nice sunset!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

United Oil

United Oil - Los Angeles  2013

Gas station at the corner of Fairfax and Melrose.

Yes, it reminds you of an Ed Ruscha piece, does it not?

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Sarah Silverman & Gandalf - Los Angeles  2013

Lady Gaga - Los Angeles  2013

Top: Sarah Silverman and Gandalf. Both are looking at an unknown something off to the right.

Bottom: Lady Gaga.

Tech note: Both photos taken with the Olympus E-PL5 at an ISO speed of 3200 using the underappreciated 14-150 lens. Not bad!

Friday, December 13, 2013

L.A. Sunrise; L.A. Sunset

CBS, Sunrise - Los Angeles  2013

Telephone Poles, Sunset - Los Angeles  2013

Top: Sunrise lighting up the CBS building.

Bottom: View (compressed via telephoto lens) looking down the alleyway in back of my motel.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Melrose Avenue #42

Wanted - Los Angeles  2013

On a side street just off Melrose.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Los Angeles Rain

Keep L.A. Beautiful - Los Angeles  2013

Caution Wet Floor - Los Angeles  2013

I used two Olympus cameras during my trip to L.A.: an E-PL5 mid-level model, and the new OM-D EM1.

To be honest, the results from both cameras were great; there wouldn't be any differences between the two that would be discernible on the web. The difference is in the handling, with the EM1 being much more user-friendly (experienced photographer user-friendly).

The above photos were taken with the EM1 and the Panasonic 20mm (prime) lens. I don't think that I'll be identifying the camera used in the rest of the L.A. series unless I think it's relevant.

I was lucky in one respect: L.A. rain!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

L.A. Farmers Market

Farmers Market - Los Angeles  2013

An L.A. landmark at Fairfax and 3rd. I was on my way to Trader Joe's to get a salad.

Rain clouds rolling in.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Cow Blogging: Driving to L.A.

Cows Off Highway 5 - Central California  2013

Welcome Professional Drivers - Central California  2013

Typical sights seen driving to L.A. on highway 5.

While I was in Southern California I saw a Salgado exhibit in Santa Monica. So, as a homage I added a bunch of film grain to the cow photo using Photoshop. Yes, it would have been better if the cows had been milling around and kicking up a bunch of dust, but oh well.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oak Tree

Oak Tree - Marin County  2013
Oak Tree - Marin County  2013

Oak tree at the stable, in color and black and white. (Not the same exposure.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Alameda County Landscaping

Stairs - Oakland  2013

Park - Berkeley  2013


Friday, December 6, 2013


Trees, Fog - Marin County  2013

Autumn Leaves, House - Marin County  2013

Taken in Ross before Mike's dentist appointment. Nice street!

BTW: Mike refuses to use Novocaine. Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shopping Center Plants

Autumn Leaves - Marin County  2013

Flower Pots - Marin County  2013

At the upper-end mall in Corte Madera.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Damaged Olives - Marin County  2013

Well, this is annoying.

Mike's 2013 olive crop was totally decimated by the olive fruit fly. 100%. There had been some fruit fly damage last year, which Mike didn't mention, but this is far worse.

For those seeking more fruit fly information, please consult this UC Davis publication. So . . . what you're supposed to do as a mitigating measure is make sure that there are no olives left on the tree or on the ground. Then, install fruit fly traps. Then, probably , cross your fingers and knock on wood.

This is annoying.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

San Francisco Smog

Skyline, Smog - San Francisco  2013

Recently I drove highway 101 from Los Angeles heading north.

So: Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Monterey, San Jose and then, the Bay Area. By far the worst air quality (visually speaking) was experienced in the Bay Area. That's ridiculous.

And, I've complained about this before. Yikes!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Junco Blogging

Junco - Marin County  2013

It's the latest thing: out-of-focus areas emphasizing your lens' exquisite bokeh.

Taken from the kitchen window. I took some pix focused on the little bird, some on the flowers. Liked this one best.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Angel's Trumpets

Angel's Trumpets - Alameda County  2013

. . . related to the notorious Datura.

"Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison and as a hallucinogen."