Bridge To Nowhere And Comic-Con 2010 Countdown

June 30, 2010 by ·  

San Diego pedestrian bridge over Harbor Dr.

San Diego Pedestrian Bridge To Nowhere

        It’s been about four months since my last post that featured a photo of San Diego’s pedestrian bridge to nowhere. Progress on the bridge has been slow over the last 2 years of construction, or so it seems to me. The dirty white sky is the “June gloom” of San Diego, and it is a constant in the city for most of the early summer. In the background, on the right of the photo is the San Diego Convention Center, which will host the 2010 Comic-Con in less than a month. Because I am a journalist, photographer and blogger, I have been issued a press pass for all four days of the event, plus the preview night.

San Diego pedestrian bridge over Harbor Dr.

The Top Of The Bridge To Nowhere

        Of course there are benefits to shooting during an overcast sky such as the even lighting and lack of shadows. The clouds diffuse the sun’s light, so light comes from the entire sky, not the singular point of the sun. Natural, even light from all directions really is a photographer’s wet dream.

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La Mesa Little League All Star Game

June 29, 2010 by ·  

Kuhlken Field La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

La Mesa Little League Baseball – Kuhlken Field

        Yesterday, I happened to be passing by Kuhlken Field and I saw that a little league baseball game was about to start. The all star teams from Tierra Santa and Serra Mesa were about to play.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Baseball Players Warm Up Before The Game

        Once I saw that a baseball game was about to start I completely abandoned what I was doing and headed straight for the bleachers. The smell of baseline chalk, leather, hot dogs and pretzels instantly transported me back to the mid 1980’s, when I was playing little league baseball.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

The Pitcher Warms Up

        The first thing that I noticed (photographically) from the bleachers was the chain link fence between me and the action on the field. Even with my smallest f/stop, I couldn’t make the fence completely disappear, so I watched the players warm up from the shade of the bleachers, but once the game started, I placed myself under the sun, along the third baseline. From this vantage, I had a clear view of all the bases and the action that would surround them.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

The Action Begins For La Mesa Little League Baseball

        I was hoping to get at least one shot like the one above. I wanted to get some action shots and some photos that would help settle an argument, and that would just be generally exciting. That is exactly what I got.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Out At First Base!

        There are a lot of close plays in little league, and the umpires were on top of every one. They did a great job of keeping things moving and accurately making close calls, like the one above.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Batter, Catcher And Umpire At The Moment Of A Foul Tip

        The biggest difference between a little league and a professional baseball game is the wild card factor. In pro ball, specific pitches, hits and strategies will have a desired outcome 99% of the time. In little league, EVERY pitch and EVERY hit is a wild card, so the games are infinitely more exciting.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Stealing Second Base

        I won’t lie, I pictured myself somewhere in PETCO Park snapping shots of famous millionaires when I took some of the photos for this post. As I baked under the sun and watched these boys play I realized that the heart these kids, coaches and parents have is so much bigger than professional baseball players. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean it in the way that no player on a little league field is paid to be there, yet they still swing, run and throw as if millions of dollars were on the line. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, when I saw this game about to start I was taken back to the mid 1980’s when I was in little league and there was no such thing as a millionaire athlete.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

        There are so many reasons for a child to take up some form of sports, and the best one I can think of is that you may end up in an action packed photo essay like this one. Families converging on a baseball field on a Sunday afternoon, with both dugouts shouting nothing but positive things while the spectators in the bleachers clapped and cheered for every play was my backdrop, so I knew right away this would be fun and the photos would be great.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Safe At Third Base

        There was a lot of action at all the bases, and at home plate as well. As a photographer it is nice to be able to get so physically close to the action that a long lens is not necessary. I had a 55-200mm attached to my Nikon D5000 and it was more than adequate.

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

Sliding Into Second Base

        Something that was new to me was the Little League Pledge. It was recited by all the players just before the game started:

I trust in God
I love my country
and will respect its laws
I will play fair
and strive to win
but win or lose
I will always do my best

La Mesa Little League Baseball All Stars

The Action Never Stops During La Mesa Little League Baseball

        The photo above was a very close play, but the runner slid across home plate just ahead of the tag, scoring the first run of the game.

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Inline Skating Along San Diego Bay

June 28, 2010 by ·  

San Diego Bay, near the Star of India

Great Place To Start Inline Skating Around San Diego Bay.

        My latest inline skating adventure led me to the northwest area of San Diego Bay. There is a path that runs from Market St. & N. Harbor Dr. all the way around the northern edge of the bay, past the airport and over the bridge at the western edge of Harbor Island. I took the orange line trolley to American Plaza station and then walked 1 block west on Broadway, where I popped on my skates and headed north. I was there on a Friday at lunchtime and it was pretty crowded with pedestrians from the Broadway pier until I got to Hawthorn St. At that point, the foot traffic dropped off so it was smooth sailing. The trail is concrete and parallels N. Harbor Dr. and the coast of the bay. It is wide and smooth the whole way, and as the trail curves to the west you can see planes taking off from San Diego International Airport on your right, and watch the calm, San Diego bay to your left. The path goes right past the Coast Guard base, so you can see their helicopters and hangers as well.

Inline Skate Path At San Diego Bay – Shot with Nikon D5000

        In the spirit of making this blog more dynamic and interesting, I am learning the best ways to use my Nikon D5000 to add video to the posts. The best way is probably not to shoot video while hand-holding the D5000 and skating at the same time. That being said, the video above is a little jumpy, but it will give you a great sense of what the path is like, as well as the video capabilities of the D5000, in case you are considering purchasing one. One thing I don’t like about shooting video with the D5000 is that you have to focus manually, which is not fun when you are trying to stay upright on skates.

San Diego Bay Inline Skate Path Between Harbor Island & The Airport

New Flowers For The Path

        The shot above was taken just where the trails curves to the west, between terminal two of the airport and the bay. This will make a great before and after shot, once the plants have matured and the orange safety fence is removed.
        So, yet one more skate path that is accessible on San Diego public transportation. Both the orange and blue line trolleys stop at American Plaza station and from there it’s just a one block walk to the path. To see other blog posts of mine from other San Diego skate paths, click here.

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La Mesa Construction Workers

June 27, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa construction at the intersection of University and La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa, CA June 25th, 2010

Digging Up The Street In La Mesa

        Over the last few months, crews have been tearing up streets in my neighborhood. They have slowly migrated their way down the street and around the corner. At one point they accidentally knocked over a fire hydrant, which created a great firefighter and water filled photo-op for me.

La Mesa Construction

Worker Emerges From The Street

        When I capture images of people, I prefer the subject not be posed, just captured. I like natural looking, spontaneous images and if the subject happens to be smiling that’s just fine, as long as they aren’t told to, “look at the camera and smile.” As I snapped photos of the work area, the man above emerged from the giant hole in the street and happened to look at the camera.

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Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

June 25, 2010 by ·  

Lake Murray Panorama

Lake Murray – Mission Trails Regional Park

        Now that I have been rediscovering my inline skating roots, I am also discovering great places to skate around San Diego. Mission Trails Regional Park – Lake Murray is in La Mesa, CA and is very close to my house. There is an asphalt trail that winds its way around Lake Murray and it is for bikers, skaters and pedestrians only. Awesome! The Alvarado Water Treatment Plant sits along one edge of Lake Murray, and is a restricted area, so the trail is not a loop. That means that it is a 6 mile round trip, and it is worth every bit of it.

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant

        As you approach the entrance to the Lake Murray section of the park, you will pass by the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant, which bristles with fences and warning signs. This is one side of the plant, and the other side is actually a dam that is also off limits to park-goers.

Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park Entrance

Lake Murray – Mission Trails Regional Park

Ducks In Lake Murray

Ducks In Lake Murray

        I had never skated this trail before, so my concentration on the terrain and skating technique, not my photography. This path is asphalt, so it will wear down your wheels, especially the front two over the course of the 6 mile skate. There are a few dips and sharp turns, but they are fun, not scary and even a beginner skater will enjoy them. There are only a few sections of the path that are lumpy, but they are short sections and don’t ruin the skate at all.

Lake Murray In Mission Trails Park

Weekend Visitors Enjoy Lake Murray

        Most of the photos for this post were taken at the far end of the trail that circles most of the way around Lake Murray. The shot above was taken from the very end of the trail, with the camera pointed back across the Lake.

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant And Dam On Lake Murray

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant And Dam On Lake Murray

        This is the view from the OTHER side of Alvarado water treatment plant and the reason for a giant NO TRESPASSING sign at the end of the trail.

Fishing In Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

Fishing In Lake Murray Mission Trails Regional Park

        Mission Trails Regional Park is a great place to skate, and entry to the park is free, so if you haven’t skated the trail around Lake Murray, you really should give it a try. If you go on a weekday, you will have the park to yourself, but on the weekends, the beach areas draw crowds, and the path may have enough (walking) people on it to cause you to have to maneuver, but it’s only the skaters and cyclists that go all the way to the end, so the farther from the entrance you skate, the less people there are.

The End Or Beginning Of Lake Murray's Skate Path

The End Of Lake Murray’s Skate Path

        When you see the sign above, you have reached the end of the path. This is where you can hang out, look at the people across the lake, catch your breath and think about where in San Diego you will skate next.

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Ocean Beach Bike Path & Dog Beach

June 23, 2010 by ·  

Dog park on the beach

OB’s Dog Beach

        I have decided to delve into the inline skating community of San Diego. Being able to explore (on inline skates) what San Diego has to offer during the middle of the work day is just about the only thing I can do that does not cost money and bring me joy at the same time. Yesterday I decided to skate the Ocean Beach Bike Path, picking it up just north of the Old Town transit center, and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in a long time. If you are skating west, the trail ends at the mouth of the San Diego River and it was here that I discovered OB’s Dog Beach.

Ocean Beach Dog Park

Running In The Pacific Ocean With Your Dog

Ocean Beach Dog Park

Dogs Just Want To Have Fun

        This park is HUGE and carries itself inland, up the mouth of the San Diego river for at least a quarter of a mile. When I reached the end of the path, I removed my skates in favor of flip-flips and walked down to the shore. Dogs having fun at the beach is a great thing to watch and is also a great photo op.

Ocean Beach Dog Park

Every Dog Is Your Friend At OB’s Dog Beach

        A dog park is very unique because every square inch of every dog park is fair game for photographers. All you have to do is walk down to the park or in this case, the beach and take pictures of dogs running at full gait up and down the beach and leaping into the air catching toys.

Ocean Beach Dog Park

Dogs Jump Through The Air

        I included the above shot because it shows just how weird the world can be when viewed at 1/2500th of a second. Two dogs playing yet neither one is touching the ground.

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

New Friends At The Dog Beach

        I don’t know why, but the beach brings out the best in a dog. So, plan a trip with your dog to Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach, or just skate the bike path to the park and watch other people having fun with their dogs. You don’t have to take a car or a dog to get to this beach since it is the start/finish of the OB Bike Path. A great set of maps that detail everywhere to bike or skate in the county can be found on the iCommute website.

Ocean Beach Dog Park

Dogs Playing In The Ocean

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Dogs Playing On The Beach

Ocean Beach Dog Beach Park

Triple Exposure Of A Dog Catching A Disc On The Beach

        A safari like this one really helps to illustrate just how fluid life can be. I had planned on taking pictures of the Ocean Beach Bike Path as a reference for other skaters and bikers, but a giant beach set aside for dogs turned out to be subject instead. I thought it would be a good day because I strapped on my skates and had my camera, and it was, but in a completely different way. For those of you interested in places you can skate or bike without having to worry about automobiles, should click on this link. It will take you to a website that shows you every exclusive bike/skate path in San Diego. They are referred to as RED ROUTES. A red route is a bike/skate path where automobile traffic is forbidden. The Ocean Beach Bike Path, which leads to the dog beach is one of them.

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Dinosaur Cage Sunset And SEO

June 20, 2010 by ·  

Dinosaur Cage AN/FRD-10 Sunset In Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach’s Dinosaur Cage At Sunset

        The Dinosaur Cage, as it’s referred to is a defunct HF radio listening station the Navy constructed in the 1960’s to detect, monitor and plot the location of Soviet submarines. There are 14 other AN/FRD-10 stations around the world, but only two, in Canada are still operating. The largest ring is 845 feet in diameter and the smaller inner ring is 747.5 feet in diameter. The Dinosaur Cage is on the Southern tip of Coronado in Imperial Beach, CA an area that I go through often, and little did I know it would drive traffic to my blog.
        Looking at web traffic statistics for my blog is very, very helpful for creating content that people will find and enjoy browsing through. For example, I have discovered, by looking at my web traffic stats that a lot of people discover my site by searching for “dinosaur cage.” I have a few other pics and post that feature the Dinosaur Cage, so the search engine found that content that lead to my site. People are interested in photos of the giant, round antenna and information about what it is. What that means for me as a photographer and blogger is that I can create a post with content that already know people are searching for.
        So what do I do? I take a great sunset shot of the Dinosaur Cage sitting majestically on the southern tip of Coronado, write a couple paragraphs that include the words “dinosaur cage” a few times, include some quick and helpful facts and then throw in a link to a site that can give a complete description of the Dinosaur Cage. That means that from now on, when some one searches for “dinosaur cage” they’ll find this post along with the picture. That’s the nut’s and bolts of SEO and it is infinitely better at driving traffic than whatever metadata can be attached to a photo. Useful content will drive the traffic that leads people (potential clients) to the photography, which is what I actually want. Photographers! You must have keyword dense content on your site or no one will ever see your photography.

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Inline Skating Around Mission Bay

June 19, 2010 by ·  

Eastern Edge Of Mission Bay, San Diego

Mission Bay’s Eastern Shore

        I had a great day yesterday. Inline skating used to be everything to me, so from 1995 until 2007, I racked up more miles on my skates than most people do in their cars. I skated everywhere, and even spent 3 of those years on a 12 foot vert ramp. Life was good and the future was very far away. Thanks to a very brief, yet poignant article in the San Diego Reader, I got back on the skating wagon yesterday. I discovered a gem of San Diego that, for reasons unknown even to me, I have never explored. There are beautiful, wide, paved trails all around Mission Bay, and yesterday was the first time I skated on them. I have been in San Diego since 2006, and yesterday was the first time I took my skates to Mission Bay and skated the trails there. It was amazing, and now, 24 hours later, I am still trying to get the smile off my face.

South Shore Of Mission Bay In Rose Marie Starns Park

Rosa Marie Starns South Shores Park

        The entire Mission Bay Park area is beautiful, and something that helps to enhance this beauty is the fact that it is very accessible on San Diego’s public transportation. If you live downtown, jump on the #30 bus and it will zip you right into Mission Bay, Pacific Beach or La Jolla Shores. If you live in Old Town, you can grab bus numbers 9, 9a, 8 or 30 to get to the beaches. If you live anywhere else along San Diego’s 53 miles of trolley track, get on, head to the Old Town transit center and jump on any of the above mentioned buses.

Jet Skiing On The South Shore Of Mission Bay

Jet Skiing Along The South Shores Of Mission Bay

        My journey was rather epic on this day. I live in East County and I do not drive, so in order to get to San Diego’s beaches, I must take public transportation. I started out by taking the Orange Line Trolley into downtown, where I had a bite to eat at my favorite taco shop “Azteca” at the Park & Market trolley station. They have a special called the “Big Plate” that consists of 2 rolled tacos, a regular taco and a bean tostada for $4.08 after tax. Yummy! Ordering and consuming this meal took less than 15 minutes so I was able to catch the next trolley up to City College, where I debarked, walked down Broadway and caught the #30 bus. Downtown traffic was a nightmare, but since I was a passenger on the bus, I was pleasantly amused by the traffic, while listening to my iPod. I felt sorry for all the suckers in their cars, I really did, but watching them putz along reminded why I don’t drive, and even though buses are prone to traffic too, but I can sleep, rock out or daydream through it, rather than rage about it.

Sailing In Mission Bay At Rose Marie Starns Park

        I rode the #30 bus into the fringes of Pacific Beach, debarking at Grand Ave. & Bond St. From there I crossed Grand Ave., put on my skates and headed south on the Rose Creek Trail, which took me right to the northern edge of De Anza Cove, which is home of the start (or the end, depending on your direction of travel) of a beautiful, 10 foot wide concrete path the travels down the entire eastern shore of Mission Bay, curls around to the south and on past Sea World. From there, the path parallels Ingraham St, through Vacation Island and meets up with Bayside Walk Path. By the time I reached Vacation Island, I was becoming very hungry, thirsty and… Hungry. The #9 bus runs along Ingraham St., so I ended my skating adventure, jumped the bus and headed to the Old Town transit center. Once there I boarded the Green Line trolley, which took me to Grossmont transit center where I took a #1 bus that dropped me off a few feet from my house in La Mesa. It was a good day.

De Anza Cove In East Mission Bay, San Diego

De Anza Cove In East Mission Bay

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SDKA Go Kart And Supermoto Race At Qualcomm Stadium June 13, 2010

June 15, 2010 by ·  

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

SDKA HPV4, Formula YC, and Superbox Racers Take The Stage

        The last SDKA (San Diego Karting Association) event I attended was back in April, and the resulting photos and blog post I produced had me lamenting that the fact that it seemed my SDKA photo shoots had become very dull and ordinary. As such, back in April I promised that my next SDKA photo-op would be different… “like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” Well, the SDKA race in May 2010 was in Perris, CA which is too far away for me to travel to, so I had to wait for two months to redeem myself, and I really do think that I did.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

Seconds After The Green Flag

        In order to distance this photo-shoot at this particular SDKA race from the others I have done, I knew I needed to shoot something that was NOT in any of my previous posts or photos. It took a lot of thought to figure out what that might be. I though about traipsing through the pits and snapping some shots of racers as they prepared to race but I ultimately nixed that idea. I wanted ACTION shots that I haven’t seen online or anywhere else.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

The Checkered Flag

        I did some research, and by research I mean that I used avenues other than Google, because Google will provide law enforcement with search records without a warrant. Since I am a child of the 1990’s, I knew how to go to a library, read encyclopedias, and generally conduct an information search that was 100% Google (law enforcement’s puppet) free. What I found out was very simple. SDKA photos and articles did not have photos of the start or finish of their races. Bam! I had my agenda.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

HPV-2/HPV-1/Junior-1 Racer Tears Up The Track

        So, even after doing my Google (CIA, NSA & FBI) free research, it still took a little time to get into my photographic groove. For one thing, by 3:30pm, the sun was really starting to dive into the Pacific ocean, so one side of the SDKA track was back-lit, and the other side was bathed in late afternoon sunshine. If you are a photographer, then you know the challenges this lighting creates.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

The Checkered Flag

        Number 12 buzzed across the finish line first, making him the winner for the HPV-2/HPV-1/Junior-1 class. I was hoping for some photo-finishes, but the winners of each race were very much in a league of their own, beating the rest of the field by a wide margin.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

TaG Seniors And TaG Masters Take The Stage

        So, in the spirit of photographing something I’ve photographed in the past, but in a different way, I have shots of the start and finish of most of the races. I’m also grouping the photos for this post according to the class of the racers, as opposed to a random assortment of photos. I think it will help the post be a bit more linear and help to tell a better story.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

TaG Racer Roars By During An SDKA Race

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

The Winner Of The TaG Heat Takes The Checkered Flag

        It is very exciting to watch the winner of a race cross the finish line. For that moment in time, everyone knows that you are the best, with a checkered flag and possibly a trophy to prove it.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

SDKA Shifters Explode From The Starting Line

        As a person that knows a little less than nothing about go karts, I will make the following assumption: The shifter class of go karts are the fastest karts on the circuit. These guys fly around the course, Tokyo drift around the corners and generally control a certain amount of chaos behind the wheel.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

The Winner Of The Shifter Class

        I think the body language of this racer says it all, and rightfully so. This SDKA racer CRUSHED his competitors, and as the photo above proves, he was so far ahead that his competition was nowhere in site.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

SuperMoto Invades SDKA Go Kart Racing At Qualcomm Stadium

        This is the first time I have ever seen motorcycles racing at an SDKA event. It was very, very cool, and (no offense intended to go kart racers) the highlight of the race for me. I love motorcycles and even own one myself, even though I never ride it.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

Panning A SuperMoto Racer At Qualcomm Stadium

        Just in case other photographers would like to know, every photo in this post was taken with my Nikon D5000 at 1/1000th, f/8, 200 ISO. The D5000 really is an incredible camera and until I have a D700 fall into my lap, it will be with me just about everywhere I go.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium On June 13, 2010

The SuperMoto Winner Crosses The Finish Line

        The SuperMoto racers were the final heat for the day. If nothing else, my time at the track on this particular day inspired me to get the hell back onto my motorcycle. Motorcycles rock, and god damn it, I rock too! The brief video below does not do the racers justice but I figured I’d throw it into the post anyway. Cheers.

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Antiques Roadshow In San Diego

June 13, 2010 by ·  

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

My Souvenirs From Antiques Roadshow

        Today, I was lucky enough to attend a taping of Antiques Roadshow at the San Diego Convention Center. This was a very odd event for me because the experience was exactly what I thought it would be AND a few things that I thought it WOULDN’T be. All of those OTHER things, the things I wasn’t expecting are what made going to the show a very fun and worthwhile experience.

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

People Waiting In Line With Treasures To Be Appraised At Antiques Roadshow

        The people that converged on the convention center, with all manner of treasure, heirlooms and trash are what made made attending Antiques Roadshow such an amazing ordeal. I was naive enough to think that people who entered the lottery for a ticket to the show would just be people trying their luck at a chance to be on TV. Nope. Not at all. Every person there, every person I talked to and every person I listened to were there because they love the show and care deeply about the history and value of the items they brought.

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

The Line Keeps Moving

        In a weird sort of way, standing in the lines at Antiques Roadshow was like being at a dog park. A dog park is not a collection of people with random dogs interacting for arbitrary reasons. A dog park is a place where members of a family take other family members to play, bond, talk and laugh. It is a place to have fun. People at the dog park like to talk about their dogs, and people at Antiques Roadshow like to talk about their antiques.

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

Antiques Roadshow Volunteer Guides The Crowd

        For those of you that will be fortunate enough to attend a taping of an Antiques Roadshow episode, here is a rundown of what you can expect: You will arrive at the place where the episode is being filmed, and you will wait in at least three lines. The first line is a staging area, that one could call a “practice” line. This first line is the line to enter the area of the event that us fans will recognize from TV. This line is also the place where you will start talking to the wonderful people all around you, and soak in the the stories of how they came to posses the antiques they brought for appraisal. For me, this first line lasted a little over an hour. The 3 photos of the people above were all taken in this first line.

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

Photography Is Prohibited

        The end of the first line is marked by the sign above. What that means for you, the reader is that I have no photographs of the next TWO AND A HALF HOURS spent in the next line. Once you pass the sign above, you are in the inner sanctum of Antiques Roadshow. If you were to look at the layout of this inner sanctum from above, it looks like the wheel of a bicycle. The area that we see on TV is the center hub, and the spokes are the many lines for all of the various categories of antiques. Some of the lines are so long that they begin to curve like the arms of a cosmic, antique spiral galaxy. Let me say right now that the line for PAINTINGS is the longest line at Antiques Roadshow. I spent a little over two hours in this line, but had some great conversations with everyone around me, and the gentleman in front of me had a painting that was worth $22,000 so I felt like I had been rubbing elbows with… A person that brought a more valuable item than me.
        After having an item appraised by Nan Chisholm, my partner and I fled for the exit door, because we were very, very hungry. This is my blog, so I can say and write whatever I want… Nan Chisholm was kind of a snooty bitch while appraising the painting my partner presented to her. The 100 year old painting she appraised in front of me was no bigger than a standard playing card, which caused her to have a “sucking on a lemon face” for the duration of the appraisal. I had the distinct feeling that had this appraisal taken place on her home turf, or some other consequence-free environment, she would have tossed the little painting on the floor and shouted, “NEXT!”

Antiques Roadshow In San Diego, June 12, 2010

Leigh Keno In San Diego While Taping Antiques Roadshow

        When it was all said and done, I headed through the exit and back around to the entrance to get a picture of the famous Antiques Roadshow arch that every visitor in every city must pass through to attend the show. Standing under the arch, amidst a throng of fans was Leigh Keno, one half of the Keno twins. Leigh Keno is on the left side of the above shot. There are two things I like about this photo. The first is that somehow, despite being surrounded by and talking to fans, Leigh looked at my camera just as I took the shot. The second thing is the guy on the right side of the photo. He looks like the happiest man alive, just because he’s in the presence of a PBS celebrity. Right on man, right on.
        Anyways, I walked away with my ticket autographed my Mark L Walberg, and very slight idea of what Comic-Con will be like next month. It was a good day, so good that I hope Antiques Roadshow comes to San Diego again next year.

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Balboa Park Gardens

June 9, 2010 by ·  

Balboa Park Flowers

Flowers In Balboa Park

        Across the street from Nate’s Point Off Leash Dog Park is where I happened to be when I took the photo above. You’ll find the dog park on the west side of Cabrillo Bridge.

Alacazar Garden In Balboa Park

Above Alacazar Garden

        You will want to, over time, visit all the gardens in Balboa Park. I’ve been to all of them but I don’t have a large collection of photos taken inside them. I’m not sure why, but I plan on fixing that ASAP.

Alacazar Garden In Balboa Park

Inside Alacazar Garden – Balboa Park

        I think a series of posts or one big post that have to do with the gardens of Balboa Park is on the agenda now, so stay tuned. Subscribe to my feed or follow me on twitter to to be notified when I post something new.

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Hawk And His Prey

June 4, 2010 by ·  

Hawk

Hawk

        The other day, I heard the resident hummingbirds in my neighborhood really chirping up a storm. The hawk in the photo above was the reason why. It was eating lunch in the tree next door to the hummingbird’s nest and they did not like it at all. The hawk flew off right after I took this picture and the hummingbirds went back to doing whatever it is they do.

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Roy’s Cafe, Amboy And Historic Route 66

June 2, 2010 by ·  

Roy's Cafe In Amboy, CA

Amboy, CA & Roy’s Cafe

        Just north of Joshua Tree National Park, situated along Historic Route 66 is the town of Amboy, which consists of Roy’s Cafe and a decaying, 60 year old church. As you head north out of Joshua Tree, you will travel through Bristol Dry Lake to get to Amboy, where you can gas up and have a meal at Roy’s Cafe.

Amboy Church

Roy's Cafe In Amboy, CA, Route 66

        Roy’s Cafe has been an institution in Amboy and Historic Route 66 since 1938, eventually serving travelers with food, a place to fix and/or gas up as well as stay the night. At the height of travel along Route 66, Roy’s employed 70 people. That all changed in 1972 when I-40 opened up to the north, which meant that Amboy would lose all the transcontinental traffic that made it into a boom town in the years after WWII. I-40 completely bypassed Amboy and Roy’s Cafe, so the area became a ghost town and fell into disrepair. As a visitor during Memorial Day weekend in 2010, it is hard to believe that 70 employees were needed to run the place because I saw less than a dozen travelers the entire time I was there. It is sad to think that 30 years ago, with the stroke of a pen on a map, Route 66 and the town of Amboy became relics of the past, and I-40 became the corridor of the future.
        Barstow, which lies to the west along I-40 boomed, while Amboy and Roy’s Cafe, along the instantly forgotten Route 66 were stripped of their status as a way point for travelers and were reduced to a point of curiosity that people only see if they specifically mean to go there.

Amboy Crater

Amboy Crater

        At the intersection of Amboy Road and Route 66 were some roadside vendors selling fresh jerky and cherries. The jerky vendor advertised a website: www.freshjerky.com that I explored and found that they have a two California retail locations: One in Olancha and another in Needles, as well as a location in Golden Valley, AZ. My cousin purchased a bag of jerky from this “retail outlet” of Gus’s Really Good Fresh Jerky and it was in fact really good and really fresh. The photo of Amboy Crater above as well as the top photo in this post were taken from the vantage of this roadside vendor.

Approaching Bristol Dry Lake, Amboy Crater & Roy’s Cafe

        The silent movie above shows just how timeless a journey through the desert can be. When you drive through a dry lake on the fringes of the Mojave desert, it is easy to forget what planet you are on, but it’s even easier to forget what year you are in. The grainy, jumpy video above might be 50 years or 50 days old. We just don’t know for sure.

Downtown Amboy

Downtown Amboy

        Desert towns rely on a steady traffic flow of desert travelers for their economy to flourish. In 1972, when I-40 opened and bypassed the town of Amboy, the town went belly-up, and became a novelty destination, which does not encompass enough people to be sustainable for small desert town situated along a now defunct Route 66.

Historic Route 66 Shoe Tree

Historic Route 66 Shoe Tree

        After a nice meal at Roy’s Cafe, head east on Route 66 and you will see history rewind before your very eyes. So many people over so many years have passed through here that even roadside garbage has a story to tell.

Historic Route 66

Immortalized On Historic Route 66

        As you leave Amboy and head east on Route 66, you will notice the shoulder on the north side of the road contains the names of countless travelers, hand-printed with stones for miles and miles. It is difficult to say when this impromptu tradition started, but I think it must go back to the 1920’s. With that in mind, I decided to add my name, with dozens of carefully selected and positioned stones to the roster. Take the time to do the same and who knows what you’ll find in the process. For example, I planned on arranging my name with stones, snapping a picture and leaving. Who would have known that a .38 snub nose revolver and a beer can, so old that it was made out of steel would make an appearance? Either way, Historic Route 66 is American heritage, so on your next road trip, you really should veer off of our interstate highway system and detour along the original cross-country highway… Historic Route 66.

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