Confluence Park

November 28, 2013 by ·  

Confluence Park From 15th St Bridge

Confluence Park From 15th Street Bridge

    I have been back in Denver for two weeks and the winter season has been remarkably good to me so far. It has snowed once and there have been a few really cold days but for the most part it’s been sunny and warm. Yesterday I went on a 30 mile roundtrip bike ride from Littleton to Confluence Park in 65 degree weather. Denver has an amazing system of bike paths throughout the metro area so I rode the entire way on a paved path, never once having to deal with cars or roads. I was just cruising along and enjoying the sites of Denver so the amount of time I spent on the bike was about four hours as well as an additional hour taking pictures.

    Confluence Park is named because it is situated at the confluence of The South Platte River and Cheery Creek. In the photo above, I’m standing on the 15th Street bridge looking southwest at the park. The South Platte Trail, the trail I arrived on heads off in the distance while the Cherry Creek Trail is on the left.

Confluence Park Rapids

Confluence Park Rapids

    Starting at the Speer Street Bridge there is a hundred yards or so of mild rapids where kayakers are permitted to practice their craft. Everything in the park is free. There are no amenities but there is a river, lots of grass and trails that you may use whenever you like. It is a pedestrian and biking gateway into Downtown Denver. I am very happy to be back in Denver; I’ve been in San Diego for the last 8 years and just didn’t realize how much I liked and ultimately missed the Mile High City. I grew up in Denver, most of my friends and family live here and I know the place like the back of my hand so these last two weeks have been an amazing homecoming.

Confluence Park Pedestrian Bridge

Pedestrian Bridge Over South Platte River

    I have been into Downtown Denver a few times since I’ve been back but this was my first time riding my bike there and just taking some time for myself and my camera. I’ll be the first to admit that the San Diego sun has jaded me against cold weather so I was very nervous about moving back to here at the onset of winter. Denver is a very sunny city and the mountains get the lion’s share of the snow so it’s not like living in Alaska, but it’s also not like living in San Diego either. Truth be told, it’s better than both of those places. Yeah, I said it. Cheers!

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Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

November 21, 2013 by ·  

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Side Whiskey Pete's

Bonnie Parker And Clyde Barrow’s 1934 Ford V-8

    Inside Whiskey Pete’s Hotel & Casino in Primm, Nevada is the car in which Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed. It is referred to as, “The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car” by fans of the criminal duo. In the 79 years that have passed since this car was shot up it has been exhibited and shown off in several states but now resides in Nevada. So, for all you enthusiasts out there; as of November, 2013 the car is in Whiskey Pete’s, just over the California border in Nevada off Highway Interstate 15, exit 1.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Front Whiskey Pete's

The Authentic Bonnie And Clyde Death Car

    Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are among the best known criminals from the golden age of gangsters. They met in Texas in 1930 and were both shot to death when they were ambushed by police in Louisiana in 1934. During their few short years together they had a life of crime that included bank robbery, stealing cars, kidnapping, burglary and murder. They were never married and may not have even been a romantic couple but that didn’t matter for depression era America as their exploits have been romanticized from the very beginning. For some reason, there is something alluring about a man and woman criminal team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Had Clyde been on his own he probably would have been seen merely as a gun toting, murdering psychopath while Bonnie on her lonesome may have been viewed as nothing more than an imbalanced crazy lady. However, put the two of them together with an element of implied romance and their criminal actions seem a little less criminal.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Top Whiskey Pete's

Bullet Holes On The Roof

    Of course their crime spree and in particular their vehicle thefts drew the ire of what would become the FBI. With a gang of early G-Men on the case it would only be a matter time before Bonnie and Clyde would be captured or killed. It finally happened in May of 1934. They were driving along a road outside of Sailes, Louisiana and drove right into an ambush of waiting police officers. The police fired more than 100 rounds into their car, killing them both instantly while simultaneously solidifying their position as iconic gangsters.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Back Whiskey Pete's

The Back Of Bonnie And Clyde’s Car

    If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend the 1967 movie, “Bonnie and Clyde” starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. It’s a Hollywood movie so of course it’s not very accurate but it is a good movie that blends enough fact and fiction to have you rooting for the bad guys and feeling sad for them when they die at the end.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Tommy Gun Whiskey Pete's

Bonnie Holding A Thompson “Tommy” Submachine Gun

    At the end of the day, the era of Bonnie and Clyde and their contemporaries such as Al Capone and John Dillinger is a piece of American history that is very unique in that it was the last stand of the proverbial gangster. Prohibition criminals got so good at crime that they forced the creation of modern crime fighting. You could almost say they were victims of their own success. Anyway, there are not many things you can physically see from that era anymore but The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car is one of them so it’s worth the stop if you happen to be road tripping on that area of I-15. Cheers!

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Road Trip From San Diego To Denver

November 18, 2013 by ·  

Uhaul Trailer In Imperial Beach

Uhaul Waiting For The Road Trip To Begin

    I have lived in San Diego for eight years and I have enjoyed it immensely. I spent my first five years in East County in the town of La Mesa and the last three years in South Bay in the country’s most southwestern city, Imperial Beach. The weather, the people, the beach, and having the magnificent Pacific Ocean practically on tap made living there a joy that I will not soon forget. Alas, the job market out there had been kicking my ass for over two years so after much internal debate, I’ve moved away and landed back in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. I’ve been back in Denver for four days and while I’m not happy to be arriving here at the onset of winter, I’m very happy to be back amongst my family and old friends.

    I had been somewhat isolated in San Diego and on top of that I was living in a somewhat isolated area of San Diego. The area of Imperial Beach I lived in was right next to Bayshore Bikeway so I had an easy three mile ride to Silver Strand and an equally easy nine mile ride to Coronado which I frequently did on my inline skates or bicycle. The beach and the weekly Farmers Market were a very pleasant 10 minute ride from my place and were usually the highlight of my week. All those things kept me here, hoping that my next big break was right around the corner but it finally seemed that I run out of corners so I had ultimately decided to leave. As I would be taking all my stuff and a few items of furniture with me, this would be an escape made by road. As is usually the case with moving road trips, a trailer from Uhaul is needed, so above you see the trailer that would hold everything I own on a two day journey that would cover almost 1100 miles.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car At Whiskey Pete's

Bonnie And Clyde Death Car

    This was not a “stop and smell the roses” kind of trip but it wasn’t the Cannonball Run either. My awesome parents drove to Imperial Beach from Denver to get me so it was their vehicle the Uhaul was attached to. Our route would take us out of California through the southern tip of Nevada, clipping the extreme northwest corner of Arizona, plunging straight into Utah where we would meet up with Interstate Highway 70 which is the highway that would lead us west, straight into Denver, Colorado.

Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

Bonnie And Clyde Death Car In Whiskey Pete’s Casino

    One place we did stop on our first day was in Primm, Nevada so we could take a look at the original Bonnie and Clyde death car. It is sitting inside Whiskey Pete’s Casino behind a glass enclosure. As I was a bit bummed about moving, I hadn’t even touched my camera until this point so it was nice to get out of the car and take a few photos. The glass made it difficult to get great shots but in all honesty, it is something that is more fun to look at than to try to photograph. This would be the only stop we would make other than to get gas or to sleep for the remainder of the trip.

Front Hoe On A Steep Hill

Front Hoe On A Steep Hill

    After our stop to see the Bonnie and Clyde death car, we continued northeast and stayed the night in Cedar City, Utah. When we got back on the road the next morning I was feeling much more upbeat and the joy of being back in Denver was beginning to overcome my sadness of leaving San Diego. As such, I wanted take more photos so I had my camera at the ready most of the day. Utah is full of natural wonder and HUGE canyons and cliffs. We were all rather anxious to get to Denver so we didn’t stop at any of the scenic places; I merely shot them from the moving car.

Plowed Field Seen From A Moving Car

A Plowed Field And A Blue Sky

    It takes about two and a half hours to fly from San Diego to Denver and about 16 hours of actual road time to drive there. I know airports can be a real pain but the speed of an airplane is very convenient. However, road trips are the original way that people went on trips. You sacrifice seeing the land in order to have speed if you fly. It can be difficult to embrace America if all you see of it when you travel are crowded airports or mountains from 35,000 feet in the air.

Red Rock Cliffs

Red Rock Cliffs

    With the exception of the hilarious 1980 movie, “Airplane!” not many other great things have been created that revolve around airplanes. Take it easy! I know fighter jets are cool and aerial photography has changed the world; what I mean is that people tend to come up with great things whilst on the ground. Just imagine what “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac would have been like if he had written it while traveling on airplanes and named it, “In The Air” instead? Or what if Hell’s Angels were an outlaw airplane gang? Hunter S. Thompson would never have been able to write, “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.” If Isaac Newton had been sitting back in coach on a flight to London he may never have seen the apple fall. See what I mean? Any eureka moments you will have will probably not come to you until you get off the plane but on a road trip, you may have one as you travel.

Utah Canyons

Canyons In Utah

    These are the things you think about when you are on a road trip. You can see just how big our world is so you begin to have big thoughts. When you are on an airplane all you’ll really think about is how small it is so your thoughts for the duration of the flight will be small. I’m not saying there have never been eureka moments on a plane, I’m saying they are much more likely to happen if you are able to experience travel from the ground. After you conclude your road trip and get settled in to wherever it is you need to be, give yourself some respite by walking or riding your bike without a destination in mind.

Runaway Truck Ramp Sign Eastbound I70

Runaway Truck Ramp Sign On EastboundI-70

    After two days, five states and hundreds of miles, we began to see runaway truck ramps on westbound I-70. That meant that we were over the Continental Divide and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. In other words, it would be all downhill from here. The sun was already set when we got to The Eisenhower Tunnel so 45 minutes later when we emerged from the foothills, the Denver skyline was twinkling out at us from the darkness. We made it! I am really looking forward to writing and posting photos for The World Is Raw from out here. In the four days I’ve been here things have already started looking up and I’m very excited to assimilate back into Denver and Colorado. Cheers!

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Shooting Pool In La Mesa, CA

November 17, 2013 by ·  

Playing Pool In La Mesa CA

Matt Lines Up A Shot

    Way back in 2011, right before my birthday I was in a pool hall in La Mesa, CA. I was there with my good friend, Matt and we were just shootin’ the shit as we shot some pool. Of course I had my camera so shooting things was on my agenda with or without pool. Both of us had been in the Navy way back when so hanging out in a hall full of pool tables is always something that brings back memories of the days when I was young and the rest of the world was old.

A Woman Plays Pool

A New Friend Joins The Game

    Cue balls used to be made exclusively from elephant tusk ivory which of course, in this day and age seems almost unbelievable. A pair of tusks from an adult male elephant would only yield eight to ten cue balls so in order to supply the demand for ivory, elephants where nearly hunted into extinction during the 19th century.

Lining Up A Pool Shot

Shooting Pool Is Not Easy!

    The funny thing about pool is that it’s not as easy or straightforward as you may think. It’s like math because there are a lot of angles to consider, it’s like chess because you need to plan four or five moves ahead and it’s like golf because you need to have a keen eye with a steady hand. All those things must come together perfectly for every shot you take in order for you to win. Trust me, it’s not easy and can be very frustrating when you miss and that happens all the time, not matter what your skill level. At the end of the day it really comes down to the fact that it’s a game than anyone can try without hurting themselves and it’s a game that allows people to hang out together and chat. Since most pool halls serve booze and most bars have a pool table, you will most likely make some new friends as you hone your skills. Cheers!

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Occupy San Diego Is Dead

November 9, 2013 by ·  

occupy-san-diego-general-assembly-night

Occupy San Diego On It’s Deathbed

    Back in December 2011 I photographed Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego because the Occupy San Diego movement was going on and according to what I had read online, it was a force to be reckoned with. Not so much. At the time I predicted that the movement would be dead by the beginning of the New Year. It did in fact die. The photos for this post were taken on January 9, 2012. This was less than two weeks after my initial post and as you can see, nothing was happening.

Occupy San Diego General Assembly

Goodnight And Good Luck

    I’m not knocking the occupy movement but I am saying that it didn’t accomplish a damn thing. They should learn from two other organizations that always get what they want; the NRA and the AARP. There are never any marches, rallies or sit-ins for these two groups. You never see a gang of people with guns marching down Main Street any more than you see senior citizens shuffling down the road demanding an increase in their benefits. Why? Because the have the brains to know that marching does not accomplish a damn thing. They organize and vote! All you natural born citizens that stupidly wonder why your government can’t get 12 million illegal aliens out of your country is because their family members vote. All you do is complain about foreigners at a booth at Denny’s as you eat a meal made by the people you don’t want in your country!

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Larry Werner Is Homeless In La Mesa

November 8, 2013 by ·  

Larry Werner Homeless In La Mesa

Larry Werner

    Larry Werner is a homeless man that lives in La Mesa, California. La Mesa is in an area referred to as East County that is very hot in summer and sits about 12 miles from the coast. Larry lives in the doorways and storefronts of downtown La Mesa and can frequently be seen walking around or sleeping in shady or sunny spots of the city. Depending on who you ask, he is either a blight or an institute of the city.

Homeless Man In San Diego

Larry Werner Sleeping In La Mesa

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Imperial Beach Pier At Sunset

November 7, 2013 by ·  

Sunset IB Pier Man Fishing

Fishing At Sunset On Imperial Beach Pier

    Imperial Beach is the most southwestern city in the continental United States. It’s pier juts out into the Pacific Ocean and is a great place to watch a sunset or do some fishing. There is even a seafood restaurant at the end of the pier so if you happen to get hungry, you’re covered. As a photographer, sunsets never get old even though they may seem to all be the same. To help keep sunset photos interesting it’s important to have something in the foreground to help convey the wonder that is happening on the horizon. It really is the foreground that keeps every sunset photo from looking the same. Think about it, if the frame only has the sun and the horizon there is nothing to give any scale or depth to the photo.

Imperial Beach Pier Sunset

The Edge Of Imperial Beach Pier At Sunset

    The photos for this post were taken one pleasant Monday evening a couple weeks ago. I am very fortunate to live in a place where I can ride my bike to the beach and enjoy a sunset on a pier. I know the ocean doesn’t draw everyone towards it but it definitely draws me. When you are on a beach in San Diego you can really feel how this is the edge of the continent and the edge of the United States. If you jump in a boat and head west from San Diego, you’ll have a journey of over 5,600 miles to reach Japan, the next significant land mass. My point is that it’s a great big world out there so enjoy it and photograph it, wherever you may happen to be. Cheers!

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Black And White Photography

November 6, 2013 by ·  

black and white tree

A Tree Under False Moonlight

    I was very fortunate to grow up in an age when film photography was the only way to take a picture. Truth be told, I wanted to be an artist that worked in the mediums of paint, charcoal or pen and ink but after a couple years of classes I still wasn’t any good at it. Way back in 1987 I was in 8th grade and that was when I took my first photography class. That was a galvanizing moment for me because the workings of a camera and the methodology of photography were something I was able to understand right away. Aperture, exposure, shadows, highlights and film type were all things that clicked in my mind just as fast as my camera’s shutter. Add to that the Zen of spending time in the dark room to develop my film and make prints and there was a recipe for pleasure that I’ve been using ever since.

black and white mini blinds

Vertical Blinds

    My dad was a photographer in the Navy back in the 1960s so when I started to develop in interest in photography in the 1980s, he broke out a bunch of photographic equipment that I never knew he had. In a tiny corner of the basement of our house he set up a darkroom for me. The trays, enlarger and even the red light bulb were all vintage things he’d kept since HE was a teenager and were now being used by us together. When I had an assignment in school, I was able to develop my film the night before it was due in my own darkroom and even produce some prints to see if I’d exposed the film correctly.

black and white dirty handle

Dirty Handle

    Another thing my dad was able to do that helped me out very early in my photographic career was to buy film for me in bulk. There was a fee for the photography classes I took which included a finite number of rolls of film. Back then you would normally buy film in rolls of 24 or 36 exposures that you would take to a store to have developed and printed. Film and processing was an expense that added up very quickly, especially for a 13 year old with no income. Buying film by the foot, rather than by the roll was something my dad introduced me to. He had reusable film canisters and the cost of chemicals to develop 100 rolls of film was cheaper than the cost of having the store develop six rolls of film so that is where my allowance of $20 per month went for the next 4 years.

black-and-white-robe

Looking Up A Bathrobe

    I enlisted in the Navy and was a film photographer during my entire four year hitch and for about six years after that. In 2002 I picked up a digital camera for the first time and even though the 1.3 megapixel quality was shit, I saw the potential for a photographic revolution. I had a job photographing products for a company that sold stuff on eBay and I was learning to use Photoshop so I felt like I was on the cutting edge of the next big thing.

black and white styrofoam

Styrofoam

    Christmas of 2005 is when I received my first digital camera. It was a Panasonic DMC-FZ4 and I toted it around with me like a movie starlet totes her Chihuahua around Los Angeles. All the photos in this post were shot by me within the first week or so of receiving it so by looking at these photos you are literally looking at the beginning of my photographic career. Cheers!

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Stop And Smell The Roses

November 5, 2013 by ·  

Wine At Sunset In Anza California

Pouring A Glass Of Wine At Sunset

    With all the hustle and bustle we have in our world today, I’d like to take a moment to remind everyone just how important it is to take some time for yourself once and a while. We have to commute to work where we have the constant pressure of looming deadlines and when we are not at our jobs there is pressure to create content and update our status for every aspect of our personal lives. I’ve enjoyed cultivating this blog for over four years and I am a fan of Twitter as well but sometimes I get a little too wrapped up in either one. There is a lot of information out there that interests me and there are a lot of words and photographs I’d like to present to the world so sometimes I can forget about everything else for days or weeks at a time. We must stop and smell the proverbial roses. I think Ferris Bueller said it very well when he stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

    The photo above was taken earlier this summer in Anza, CA. I was with my cousins for the weekend so I had the pleasure of having a glass of wine with them as we watched the setting sun. It was such a pleasant change of pace to enjoy something just for the sake of enjoying it. There are so many things to do that don’t require a laptop, smartphone, television or electricity. What I’m saying here is that it is very important to get back to basics by remembering that life did not always revolve around digesting and producing as much information as possible. Go play outside and get some fresh air; you’ll feel better if you do. Cheers!

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Navy Helicopters At Sunset On Coronado

November 4, 2013 by ·  

Helicopter On Silver Strand Coronado At Sunset

Navy Helicopter Against A Coronado Sunset

    The area around Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) on Coronado is always buzzing with helicopter activity. To the south of the base in Imperial Beach is the Naval Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) so choppers are always flying around as training for pilots and Navy SEALs takes place. There is an area adjacent to the giant “Dinosaur Cage” where Navy personnel can be seen practicing combat exits from hovering helicopters, sliding down a rope to the beach below. Earlier this year they were training at sunset so it made for a great photo opportunity and a chance to test the limits of my camera.

Faux Night Shot Of Helicopter On Silver Strand Coronado At Sunset

Helicopter And A Sunset Made To Look Like A Moonset

    When the sun is directly behind your subject there are two things you need to be aware of. The first is that your subject will be a silhouette and the second is that you need to be careful not to go blind from staring at the sun as you are setting up your shots! Obviously the sun is the brightest light source you will ever have to contend with so having it in your frame means you will most likely need to allow the minimum amount of light to reach your sensor as your camera will allow. For me, that meant using a shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second and a tiny f-stop of 32.

Navy SEAL Exits Helicopter Silver Strand Coronado

Navy SEAL Exits A Helicopter

    Something that I hardly ever talk about is white balance. Yellow light looks warmer which is why the time around sunrise and sunset is referred to as “golden hour” and always has a nice warm feel. Blue light looks cooler and has more of a nighttime feel to it. By playing around with the white balance you can completely change the feel and mood of a photo. All three photos in this post were shot at sunset, but the middle one looks a little different. That’s because I adjusted the white balance to the blue end of the spectrum, robbing the sunset of it’s warm light which makes the setting sun look like a nighttime full moon. There are a lot of filters that people use to change the look of their photos, but as a person that grew up in the age of film photography, I prefer to stick with white balance adjustments, the ORIGINAL filter. Cheers!

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Murder Of Crows

November 2, 2013 by ·  

Murder of crows in flight

A Murder Of Crows In Flight

    I live in Imperial Beach, right next to the South Bay Marine Biological Study Area. That title is a fancy way of saying that there is a wildlife and bird sanctuary in IB. Bayshore Bikeway cuts through the area so it’s very easy to get up close and personal with the birds, the plants and the water of San Diego Bay.

    Lately, there has been a murder of crows that visits the area at sunset. They cause quite a racket but they keep to themselves as they forage for food at the southern edge of the bay. I’ve made a habit of watching them and the sunset every evening now and I must say that it is a nice bit of Zen to end the day. Cheers!

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