Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Different Look

These sunglasses are perfect for cyclist Lance Armstrong. Slowed recently by a broken collarbone, Lance would set the cycling world a twitter if he wore these shades when he gets back on the bike in Italy or the Tour De France. Anybody can wear those high-price glasses, but Armstrong would be easy to pick out of the pelaton (the pack of cyclists) if he had these on.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Time for Dessert

I was recently given a book on food photography. I've learned that many of those delectable photos you see of food in the magazines are the result of many hours of preparation to make the food look really good - make-up artists - set designers - whole crews of folks assigned to the job. My shot is unadorned. Just natural light. This vanilla ice creme/bread pudding dish was served at a place called Abuelita's in the Topanga Canyon section of Los Angeles.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

These Boots Are Made for Showing Off

The other day while visiting Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley, I saw this guy wearing these boots. They are crocodile. A good pair of these will set you back $500 to $800. I have no qualms about wearing animal skin apparel and if I was a 'boot guy' I probably would get a pair of these. But I think I'd wear them for only special occasions. Maybe a walk in the park WAS a big deal for the owner of these skins. They caught my eye because of their beacon-like nature. Most folks were sporting sneakers ... and then along comes Crocodile Dundee.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shooting Blind

Trying something different, I made several shots the other day at the Farmer's Market/Grove while not looking to see what I was shooting. I had the camera down by my side and when I walked passed something I thought might make a good photo, I pressed the shutter button. Needless to say, I got a lot of junk - blank walls, kneecaps, sky- but this one came out. I liked the color red that is surrounding the waiter. I cropped out the left side so as to line up the umbrellas and the awning in the background in some kind of order with him. Don't be afraid to take chances with digital photography - you can always delete the bad shots and hope to get something better.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turning Back the Clock

This is news to me. Vinyl records are on the comeback? Turns out this display-- in a Barnes and Noble book store in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles--is telling the truth. Some research reveals vinyl record sales are have increased the last few years. I always enjoyed buying that format --pretty much wiped out when CD's became popular in the 80's--because of the artwork, photography and extras that came with the package. Remember the ones that opened into almost poster size? At Los Angeles Valley College -- in the Art Department hallways--there's a display of the album artwork from the Bluenote Jazz label like the John Coltrane LP seen here. Cool.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The concept of teamwork can be represented in different ways. But in this case, I think I've nailed it. These two Japanese fans were in the stands at the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium.
I think it's safe to say, one could not be effective without the other. "We are Cham" and "The Pions" don't work without being joined to form the one word.
Japan beat South Korea 5-3 to win the championship for the second time in as many tries. The furry baseball hats add a nice touch. And no ... I don't know what the other side of the sign says.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Game Ichiro

Japan's Ichiro Suzuki- who looks like he's running at full speed already- watches his bunt try for a base hit go foul in the first inning of the title game of the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Ichiro ended up with four hits in the game. His two-run single in the 10th inning drove in the tie-breaking runs to give Japan a 5-3 win over South Korea. Fans for both teams made noise - yelling, chanting, drum beating and the like-the entire game. I have a slight headache after covering this one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Paging Alfred Hitchcock

It was a breezy, cool day at Balboa Lake in the San Fernando Valley and this scene reminded me of that famous movie by director Alfred Hitchcock, "The Birds." It looks like this gull is taking a measure of the folks in the paddle-boat and is getting ready to dive in for a strike. It's not Bodega Bay (where the movie was filmed- telling the story of all sorts of birds that attack the townspeople for no apparent reason) and I don't think this bird is in the performer's union anyway. But there were some ducks at Balboa Lake who were taking nips at people who didn't feed them. That's close enough to Hitchcock for me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pork Chop Plateau

Here's another shot from the front row on Jet Blue Airlines on my way home from New York. I think this chunk of America is in Utah or Arizona (on my maps at home, the name of the state is stamped on each one. Is it too hard to do that in real life?) That flat area - which probably covers hundreds of miles - is what caught my attention. And to think, in another 500 to 1,000 years, it'll look nothing like this as the passage of time carves new shapes in the landscape.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Shooting from the Front Row

My brief trip to New York is over and on the way back home, we flew over the Grand Canyon. I've never been there and this might be as close as I get to it for a while. The sun was low in the sky and brought out the brilliant colors of the sandstone. I hear the Grand Canyon is at least 500 years old. Oh ... make that 500 million years old. They really ought to make those signs bigger.

Can You See the Snow?

Greetings from the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. It's the first day of spring and it snowed this morning. I was given a very complete tour of the place (it opens April 3rd) and it qualifies as being another Wonder of the World.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DWD - Drumming While Driving

This Los Angeles bus driver is drumming while ... stopped at a light. I saw him and I had to capture the image (always have a camera at the ready) because I used to drive and drum and I've never seen anybody else do it - until today. The sight brought back memories of keeping time to the latest from The Cars or The Who or whatever sounded good on the steering wheel of a Ford Pinto or an old Audi.

Keeping the Dolphins Happy

Keeping walls of art in and around Los Angeles free from graffiti is a full time job and you must have the right tools to get the job done. In this case, a power washer to blast away the garbage from this Venice beach scene.

The Dolphin seems pleased with the work so far and I'm sure the artist will be happy. But the street gangs who were trying to mark their territory likely will return - paint cans at the ready - for another shot.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Makes Watching Paint Dry Look Good

Recently while at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles I saw three guys watching the cactus garden ... er...grow. What else could they be doing? Why look at cactus in the first place?
Maybe there is a mystical power coming from the cactus that draws people to the railing even if they don't want to be there.
I was a long way from them as I used a telephoto lens to compress the scene from quite a distance. So I think I was out of the range of the cactus and thus, was not affected by the plant's mind control tricks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

At the Finish Line ... But Just the Start

This was the weekend many college basketball players around the country had been waiting for. The chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The road to the "big dance" was easier for some teams than others.
USC's Daniel Hackett -who seems to have a knack for knowing where the camera is- looks as though he's thanking a greater power for helping his team win three games in the PAC-10 tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA's. This shot was taken just moments before the end of USC's win over Arizona State which sealed the SC's post-season deal.
Hackett - the Italian born Trojan's point guard-
is the emotional center for USC which had a so-so regular season, but now joins 64 other teams with a chance to win college basketball's ultimate prize.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Hello ... tatoo removal?"

As comic Jerry Seinfeld once said, "not bloody likely!" This guy is probably calling his ink supplier if you go by the artwork on his arms and hands. He was on the phone at a Venice beach tattoo shop.
I once thought about getting a tattoo when I lost a bet when I was living in Florida. But the person who beat me on the wager to has not seen fit to make me actually get the tattoo.
Thank you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gas with Style

This United Oil gas station on Slauson Avenue in the Ledera Heights section of Los Angeles had been in the 'under construction' phase for many, many months.
Finally, its futuristic design - sadly lacking in much of the latest architecture in southern California- has become a welcome sight in the otherwise boring world of the gas station.
The sweeping horseshoe shaped roof is eye-catching and the best thing about this gas station is that its prices are lower than most other petrol places in the county. Style AND substance can't be beat.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rockin' the Rim

I had a chance to shoot big time college basketball at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Washington played Stanford in a Pac-10 Tournament game.
Can't beat the seat ... right on the floor at the edge of the court.
The prelude to a slam dunk picture is always a great shot. In this case, The Huskies' Matt Bryan-Amaning left the defender, Landry Fields of the Cardinal, in the 'just watching' mode. The top-seeded Huskies won 85-73 and
advance to the semi-finals against Arizona State. USC and UCLA meet in the other semi-final game.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Making a Statement

I've never been a big bumper sticker type of person. So when I see someone who clearly has no qualms about expressing their opinions via the bumper sticker route, I take notice.
I also feel a tiny pang of guilt. Why don't I feel strongly enough about an issue or a person to slap a sticker on my car to tell the world how I feel? Then I take comfort in the fact that most people don't go bumper sticking and I feel better ... until the next time I see something like this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Everything Works

I call this "Everything Works" because I got lucky with the elements that make up the picture.

The two sailboats on the right mirror the rocks in the foreground and the sun caught the fisherman's line with enough light to be seen in this photo


I took several shots of this guy and in 99.9% of them you can't see the fishing line. But then a bit of a different angle and some luck changed my fortunes.

This was shot at Venice beach on a perfect day for trying to catch dinner.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cleared for Landing

From this angle, it almost looks as if Christopher Chan of Los Angeles Valley College is walking on air ... or shooting pool (really look at it.)

But of course, he's clearing the bar during his pole vault rotation. Chan eventually won the event with a vault of 13' 9 1/2" at a recent meet at Valley.

I took this shot with the intention of rotating it for a conventional view, but why be a slave to convention when this angle makes it a better picture.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Extra Time to Blow Bubbles

Finally, daylight savings time is here and Freddie, who was attending a youth baseball game in Santa Monica, used his little sister's bubble maker (I wish I had something this big when I was a kid) to demonstrate an advanced technique in bubble blowing.

I had planned to use a totally different picture for my latest daily entry, but this shot went to the head of the line when I saw Freddie trying to set a bubble blowing record.

Bright Lights of Which City?

Ahhhhhhhh ... Paris in the springtime. I'm sure it's nice, but this is a scene in Glendale, California.

The dancing water display at the Americana at Brand shopping mall is a popular attraction for visitors who are taking a break from spending what's left of their cash at some of the expensive stores on the grounds.

Actually, The Americana - being an outdoor mall - is a nice place to go and relax before pulling off that well thought out bank job to raise more money to spend there.

And on the weekends, a live jazz band plays at night for free. But, ahhhhhhh Glendale just doesn't have the same allure as Paris.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another One Headed to the Jobless Line.

This signboard guy seems to be screaming to the heavens about his job coming to an end in a few days.

The big consumer electronics chain, Circuit City, is going out of business and the doors will close for good this weekend.

I've joined the vultures in looking for good deals, but there's not much worth buying now ... thus the "up to 80% off" portion of the sign as they try to entice just a few more customers before the padlocks go on the doors.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Road of Reflection

Don't those reflective tanker trucks make you want to take a picture?

While driving on the 101 heading north, I saw this truck and because of the broken clouds, I knew there was a picture to be made.

I got lucky because I'm the only car on the road near the truck and I was able to get a clean image.

You might not think much of this picture, but there's a truck stop wall in Fresno that's crying out for artwork.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"My Other Car is a Cougar"

Burbank High School is close to where I live. And on my way home I saw a car that gets my vote for paint job of the year. I know it's just March, but I don't think this ride will have much competition. I'm guessing it belongs to a student. In fact, I HOPE it's a student's car. But if a member of the faculty is its true owner, then he or she must be the most popular teacher in school for having the coolest car.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Moving Lights

The front steps of the downtown Burbank AMC movieplex is the perfect setting to practice slow shutter speed photography. It's a little tricky (and time consuming) to find the right settings but after several combinations of f-stop and shutter speed-while using the Manual setting-I finally got something I liked. At 2.8 and 1/5 of a second (200 ISO), I moved the camera just after pressing the shutter button to create the streaks of color.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Rain Returns

Less than a day after 74-degree, clear sky weather, it rained in southern California. Luckily bad weather often helps produce nice pictures.

Shooting through the windshield, I zoomed in on the water droplets on the hood of my car. I did this while waiting at a stop light. I never take pictures while the car is in motion ... well, not unless there's a once in a lifetime chance at a shot that will secure that job at National Geographic.

The red accents come from the reflection of a car in front of me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Face to face ... to face

It's amazing what people will do if you ask them. This guy had just put his face pretty close to the beak of the blue parrot. Somebody in the crowd- with a video camera- asked him for a do-over. After thinking about what life might be like without a nose, he dipped toward the bird again and thanks to the advertisement in the background, I was able to get the shot I was looking for. The bird was a camera magnet at Venice, California beach on a perfect 75 degree day. I hear it's supposed to snow back east.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hard Times Everywhere?

Jockey Aaron Gryder is a walking billboard before the 6th race at Santa Anita Park. When I saw him standing in the paddock area while waiting for his mount, I thought it was unusual for him to be wearing a "For Rent" sign on his back (and his front for that matter.) But as it turns out, Gryder is not as hard up for a sponsor as you might think. Westside Rentals- a big apartment rental company in southern California- chose this way to advertise its services. BTW, Something Sonic finished second and paid $10 for a place bet.