The Brown Palace In Denver

June 10, 2015 by ·  

Brown Palace Shower Door Etching

Brown Palace Shower Door

    The other night, I had the honor of photographing DJ Equalizor as he rocked the house at The Church in Downtown Denver. I knew from the start it would be a very late night so I asked a friend to arrange lodgings for me. She set me up at the Brown Palace. What? I was going to stay at the most luxurious hotel in Denver, located six blocks away from the venue I had a photo gig at? What?!?

Brown Palace Bathroom Selfie

Selfie In The Brown Palace

    I rented a camera specifically for this gig and I had about 6 hours to practice with it before the show started. My regular camera is a beast and I have been denied entry into The Church for having it in the past so I rented the Fujifilm X100S just for the occasion. It is the best low light camera on the planet and it looks like something JFK would have carried so on this night, I made it in without any problems at all.

Brown Palace Mirror Selfie

Another Selfie

    I got to The Brown Palace about two hours before the show so I spent that time taking photos and mentally preparing myself for what it would take to shoot a DJ in the most well known nightclub in Denver. The Brown Palace is very accommodating and allowed me ample opportunity to play with my new camera whilst basking in luxury. Make no mistake, The Brown Palace is the best hotel in Denver.

Brown Palace Robes

Robes In The Brown Palace

    I’d like to talk about what I hope are complimentary robes provided by The Brown. They weigh at least five pounds and two of them are provided. I took one of them with me and gave it to my mom. Roman emperors never felt anything like this; these robes make you feel like royalty.

Brown Palace Toilet

The Toilet In The Brown

    The toilet was very normal, but the trash can next to it had The Brown logo on the bottom. That last sentence is NOT a euphemism.

Trinity Church From Brown Palace Skybridge

Trinity Church

    Check out time is at noon so the day after the show I walked around the hotel and at one point found myself on the sky bridge of the hotel, looking directly at Trinity Baptist Church.

Brown Palace Escalator

Art Deco Escalator

    There was no such thing as escalators when The Brown was built so I would guess that the art deco feel of this area was installed in the 1920s. That’s just a guess, so don’t get all pissed off if I’m wrong.

Brown Palace Breakfast

Brunch At The Brown

    Looking down from my room, I was able to see people having brunch.

Brown Palace Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Windows At The Brown Palace

    I wandered around after checking out and came across these stained glass windows.

Brown Palace Ghost

Photo By Bibi Aldana

Ghost In The Brown Palace Hotel

    Finally, I saw a ghost while I was at The Brown Palace. If you think I put on one of those awesome robes and then had someone take my picture whilst standing behind the sheer drapes in the window well then… You are totally wrong. Cheers!

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Review of Denver Public Transportation

January 25, 2015 by ·  

RTD 2014 Monthly Passes

All My Monthly RTD Passes From 2014

    As you may recall, I had a lot to say about San Diego’s public transportation system while I was living there. I’ve been back in Denver for over a year and aside from a couple of posts talking about the closure of Market Street Station and the remodeling of Union Station, I haven’t said a whole lot about Denver’s bus and Light Rail system. I wanted to wait for at least a year so that I would be able to use it through all four seasons in order to give it a very thorough assessment and review.

    I was away from Denver from 2006 thru 2013 and the public transportation system has grown up a lot in that time. When I left there were only 2 Light Rail lines and they both ran from Littleton to Denver. Now there are 6 lines that run all over the metro area from Golden to Cherry Creek Reservoir to Lone Tree. Next year there will be 5 more lines added that will enable us to go to Denver International Airport, Arvada, Federal Heights and an extension to an existing line that will go right through Aurora. In 2018 there will be another line added that will go all the way out to Northglenn. These are just Light Rail lines; there are many regional and express busses that already exist and next year will see the addition of another that will run out to Westminster, Broomfield and Flatirons. It’s already a very extensive system and will only get better from here on out.

    That’s what is and what it will be; now I’d like to tell you about what it’s like to actually travel and commute on Denver’s Light Rail and buses. Just to be clear, the acronym for the entire system is RTD, which stands for Regional Transportation District.

    I use Light Rail for 95 percent of my travels around the city. I live in Littleton and I ride my bike as often as possible so I pedal to my neighborhood Light Rail station, lock it up and then proceed into downtown. Once there, if I need to move around I just rent a bike from B-Cycle. I am a big fan of using Light Rail and bicycles instead of the bus for a number of reasons but the main reason is time. Riding a bike to a station is faster and healthier than taking a bus. There are bike racks on buses so you do have that option but it’s just not as efficient and it adds a connection to your trip. As a veteran of public transportation I’m telling you right now that connections will make or break your trip; the fewer connections the better. If I ride my bike directly to a Light Rail station I just have to connect with the train and head directly to my destination. If I include a bus into the equation, then I have to connect with the bus and then hope the bus is on time so I can connect with the train. Since I live in the suburbs, my bike is an integral part of taking Light Rail because the buses out here stop running at 7 p.m. and don’t run at all on weekends or holidays. RTD is much more geared to get suburbanites to and from work during the week that it is to move them around late at night or on the weekends. That’s not a bad thing but if you’re returning home (to the suburbs) after seven at night and you don’t have your bike or car waiting for you, you’ll want to call someone to pick you up from the station. With my bike and a Light Rail trip I can get from my doorstep in Littleton to the 16th Street Mall in 45 minutes flat any day of the week, so it really is fast and convenient.

    As for the process of buying a Light Rail or bus ticket and boarding a train, I do have a few things to say about that. For the bus it’s very straight forward; either insert exact change into the money taking machine next to the driver or show the driver your pass or transfer. For Light Rail it’s a little bit different and to be honest, a little convoluted. The good news is that the ticket vending machines will give back change and most of them take credit and debit cards but the bad news is that how, when, where and for how long your trip will be all need to be taken into account when you buy your ticket. This is a problem that RTD is aware of and is working on but until then, you really need to do a little homework so you can figure out how to get the proper fare. It really is beyond the scope of this post to explain it but it should be smoothed out by the time those new lines open next year. I purchase a monthly pass to simplify things but even those passes have three different options that are based solely on distance. At least with a proper pass you can just walk onto any bus or Light Rail without having to waste time at a ticket machine or carry exact change around with you. Also, the touch screens on the ticket machines are not as responsive as smartphones or tablets so they can be a little frustrating and hard to read sometimes. They can also break so a machine that is supposed to accept money and credit cards may not accept one or the other which is very frustrating because most of us only carry plastic OR money which is why I advocate buying a pass ahead of time. If you are straight up unable to buy a ticket and a transit guard asks to see your fare, politely tell the guard what happened and you’ll be fine.

    The RTD transit guards are very nice and that is something we all need to appreciate. In San Diego, the guards are nothing more than thugs that I have personally witnessed tackling commuters to the ground and arresting people for smoking at a station. Here in Denver, they say please and thank you and will gladly give information to help you get where you need to go. Another big transit difference between San Diego and Denver is the way people board the train. In Denver, people line up at the marked door entrances for the train. When it arrives, people exit the train and then the line of people calmly boards the train. In San Diego, when a train pulls into a station it turns into a mob scene straight out of a horror movie. People push and shove and there are lots of people that bring wheeled carts onto the train too. Denver is certainly the more cosmopolitan of the two cities.

    This review turned out to be much longer than I thought it would be so allow me to boil it down for you; Public transportation in Denver is very good. The trains and buses are clean and they run on time. I wish there was more shade and shelter at the stations but beyond that, they’re well lit and snow is shoveled constantly. The security guards are nice and the system is extensive enough to get you just about anywhere you need to go, as long as you do a little research first. Something I didn’t mention before is that you can take Light Rail to Broncos, Avalanche and Rockies games so remove yourself from some traffic and try out RTD. Cheers!

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Goodbye Market Street Station

May 9, 2014 by ·  

Market Street Station Denver Underground

Market Street Station – The Denver Underground

    Market Street Station in downtown Denver was my first destination on public transportation. That was back in 2002; I took the number 44 bus from Wheat Ridge where I lived into downtown where I worked. Why did I decide to take the bus to work on that particular day? Well it was because my car had gotten towed the day before and I wouldn’t have enough money to get the car out of impound until I got paid in a few days; I HAD to ride the bus and since it turned out to be pretty easy it planted the seed in my head that maybe could get along without a car. So, my car getting towed and me being forced to take the bus was ultimately the catalyst for me becoming a public transportation person and Market Street station played an integral part in the very beginning of that.

Market Street Station Ticket Window

Ticket Window At Market Street Station

    I did not catch a lot of buses in the underground portion of Market Street but I did buy a lot of monthly passes from the people at the sales kiosks under there and I would get warm and once and a while I would even brave the bathroom. From that first time in the spring of 2002 until I moved to San Diego in January 2006 Market Street was the beginning or end of most of my trips.

Market Street Station Denver Farewell Graffiti

Farewell Graffiti For Market Street Station

    The reason for all the graffiti is because Market Street Station is closing in just a couple of days. People are going to miss this place as you can see by the writing on the wall. All of its bus lines will be transferred to Union Station at the west end of the 16th Street Mall a few blocks away so we’ll see how people adjust to that. I am all for the changes I like what Union Station is about to become.

Market Street Station Denver Underground Waiting Area

People Waiting For Buses

    Market Street Station is kind of claustrophobic and it just has a lot of hard edges. You can see in the photo above that to sit down on you just have these big round pieces of stone for chairs. They are well polished and very round but not very comfortable. You can also see just how underground Market Street station is. The new Union Station is going to be a lot brighter and a lot taller and grander; it will be a functional work of art in the middle of downtown Denver.

Market Street Station Denver Underground Bus Gate

A Bus At The Gate

    With Market Street Station being so small it is very easy to navigate and get anywhere quickly. Hopefully navigating around Union Station will be just as easy. I know it’s going to be a lot bigger so it’ll take longer to get from place to place it should be very nice and streamlined. I’m really looking forward to going through there for the very first time.

Detex Watchclock At Market Street Station Denver

Detex Watchclock Station

    The station has physical ties to the old world and old-school ways of doing things at the bus station. I had no idea what a watchclock station was so I had to go look it up. Back in the day, station guards would carry a watchclock around with them as they made their rounds. The stations would have numbered keys in them the guards would use to punch their watchclock, proving they were making their rounds. I imagine most of the watching in patrolling in union station will be done electronically and with cutting-edge technology.

Market Street Station Denver North Entrance

Market Street Station Glass Atrium

    Market Street is not much to look at from street level. It’s just a couple of glass atriums that cover the escalators that lead to the underground part where you catch the buses. Union Station on the other hand will be quite a sight to behold. Today is May 9, 2014 and in two days Market Street is going to be closed and that’ll be that so this is my swan song for the station. The biohazards that pass for bathrooms in the station should be encased in concrete or perhaps donated to science or taken out into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and sunk. In all seriousness the brand new bathrooms in Union Station are going to be the new highlight of my public transportation commute. Cheers!

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Chee Chee Club in San Diego

March 15, 2014 by ·  

Chee Chee Bar In San Diego

Chee Chee In Downtown San Diego

    When I lived in San Diego, I walked past Chee Chee Club hundreds of times. Besides the walking, there is a bus stop next to it so I did my fair share of waiting in front of the club as well. For years, every time I was within sight of the place I wanted that to be the time I would finally go inside and have a drink. That day never came and now that I have moved away from San Diego, it is possible that it never will. At night the pink neon sign lights up an area of the sidewalk on the corner on 9th and Broadway and I always thought that would make for a great photo but I never did that either. I guess I took it for granted that I was living in San Diego and that I would always have time to take more photos and visit a specific bar.

    Anyway, the photo above is my only photo of the front so I hope you already see what the moral of this story is. Take photos of everything, all the time. You never know when you might be looking at something for the last time and all of a sudden something you saw everyday on your morning commute becomes something you can only see if you travel. Don’t let hesitation turn something you want to photograph into a Chee Chee, like it did for me. 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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Unalaska Memorial Park

September 19, 2013 by ·  

Unalaska Memorial Park Flags

Unalaska Memorial Park and Iliuliuk Bay

    Unalaska Memorial Park was set up in 1992 and I had the privilege of visiting the site in early 2013. As a veteran of the United States Navy it’s always a treat for me to see parks and memorials like this because it is very important not to forget that there are people that have given their time and their lives whilst serving in the military. The island of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor were home to the military during World War II and remnants of the military presence remain to this day. Concrete bunkers and pillboxes are all over the island. In the photo above you can see Iliuliuk Bay in the background, the propeller of the USS Northwestern on the right and a concrete pillbox on the left.

Unalaska Memorial Park Bunker

View From Inside A WWII Concrete Bunker

    Above is the view from inside the pillbox that was visible on the left of the first photo. These were observation bunkers where military personnel would stand watch and be on the lookout for Japanese planes. I was in Unalaska from January through early April of 2013 and while it was not bitter cold, it was no picnic. I can only imagine what it was like to be out in an unheated concrete structure like this in the dead of night while a world war was raging. I’m sure there was quite a lot a pressure to stand a vigilant watch while trying to stay warm at the same time.

Unalaska Memorial Park Flags

Unalaska Memorial Park and Cemetery

    The park does seem to have suffered from the ravages of Alaskan winters during its 20 year existence. Not all the flags are raised all the time and one of the flag poles has broken off completely. It’s amazing how salt from the ocean and the cold wind can absolutely destroy man-made objects. Even the concrete base looks like it was recovered from the wreck of the Titanic! In the background is the Unalaska cemetery.

Unalaska Memorial Park Bering Sea Patrol

Bering Sea Patrol Monument

    If you can believe it, Unalaska is not always covered in snow. Unfortunately, I left just as spring was arriving so every one of my photos shows the place looking like a winter wonderland. In the spring and summer, Unalaska goes through the same transformation that the lower 48 states go through. The grass turns green and you don’t have to walk around with a jacket and beanie on all the time. If you are interested in seeing more of what Unalaska looks like, be sure to check out my other posts. Cheers!

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Anchorage International Airport

May 21, 2013 by ·  

anchorage-alaska-airport-vintage-airplane

Fairchild Biplane In Anchorage International Airport

    The international airport in Anchorage, Alaska is a place I got to spend about 12 hours in. It’s like no other airport I’ve ever been in so, here we go; it’s an airport that houses mounted grizzly bears, vintage airplanes and many great places to eat and drink. I arrived in Anchorage via Dutch Harbor, on my way to Denver.

kodiak-grizzly-bear-anchorage-alaska-airport

World Record Kodiak Grizzly Bear

    The full title of this airport is Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and it happens to house the largest Kodiak grizzly bear ever killed by a human being. This kind of record is not governed by the weight or height of the animal; it has to do with the length and width of its skull. Anyway, back in 1997 a guy named Will Gay shot this bear and now it’s on display in the airport.

anchorage-alaska-airport

Local Art In Anchorage International Airport

    I mentioned that I spent 12 hours in this airport so I got to see the night and day difference between… Night and day. What I can only assume is a typical winter storm moved in whilst I was there so the overcast day turned into a snowy night.

anchorage-alaska-airport-skylight-view

The Natural Light Of Anchorage

    I had my camera but it was still a challenge to drag my luggage around AND take pictures. As it turns out, Anchorage International has a baggage storage service that worked out rather well. They stowed all my gear for about ten bucks so I was able to roam the airport without looking like some dumb ass American tourist.

anchorage-airport-snowstorm-alaska-airlines-plane

Snow At The Airport

    As I mentioned before, day turned into night and it started to snow while I was in Anchorage. I’m not a scaredy cat traveler that frets over weather or maintenance of whatever vessel I happen to be traveling on. In my eyes, everything is an adventure, whether what happens is good or bad, perfect and planned or all goes horribly south, I’m in it for the journey and not the destination.

anchorage-alaska-airport-snowstorm

Night and Snow In Anchorage

    I eventually flew out of Anchorage without incident. The plane was de-iced and seven hours later I was in Denver. Cheers!

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Photography In Dutch Harbor Alaska

May 4, 2013 by ·  

Rob-Hurlbut-in-Dutch-Harbor-Alaska

Rob Hurlbut In Dutch Harbor, Alaska

    After spending three months in Dutch Harbor Alaska working for Westward Seafoods, I have a lot to say and I have many photos to show. Depending on what mood I’m in, what I have to say will either be about the terrible time I had working at Westward Seafoods or about the great time I had exploring Dutch Harbor. I’m in a great mood right now, so aside from saying that you should not work for Westward Seafoods at their racist, unsafe plant I’ll leave the issue for other posts. THIS post will be about the photographic opportunities that Dutch Harbor has to offer. The photo above is a 10 second exposure with me flashing a light on my face three times at three slightly different positions, that’s why you see my pretty face in the middle of Dutch Harbor.

Rob-Hurlbut-in-Dutch-Harbor-Alaska-fish-eye

Rob Hurlbut Uncropped In Dutch Harbor, Alaska

    Above is the uncropped version of the first photo in the post. Dutch Harbor has no trees so it looks like someone shaved off the portion of the Rocky Mountains that is above the tree line & dropped it in the Bering Sea. There is some wildlife on the island in the form of waterfowl, foxes and especially bald eagles. The rest of the wildlife wonders are found under the sea just as the fauna are found under the snow.

Unalaska Dutch Harbor At Night

Unalaska at Night

    As evidenced by the constellations in the photo above, this is the north side of Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Alaska. Even after spending three months there I still don’t know what or where Dutch Harbor is, relative to Unalaska. I think Unalaska is the name of the town, while Dutch Harbor is a geographic feature of the island on which the town is located but I really don’t know for sure. Anyway, from the Westward Seafoods plant where I was working, the area below is where people went when they “went into town.” This area has a library pool, recreation center and a very old Russian Orthodox church, visible in the lower center of the frame. To the south, on the other side of the mountain I was standing on when I took this photo is the airport, a grocery store, a bar and a liquor store. Guess which side of the island was more popular?

Russian Orthodox Church in Unalaska Dutch Harbor Alaska

Russian Orthodox Church In Dutch Harbor, Alaska

    Above we see the Russian Orthodox Church that is visible in the previous photo as well as the mountain I was standing on for that particular night shot. The far right of the photo was my perch for the previous shot and the left of the photo, obviously out of frame is the harbor.

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I Was At CES 2012 In Las Vegas!

January 31, 2012 by ·  

lamborghini at CES 2012

A Lamborghini And Josh At CES 2012

    Whether I’m in front of or behind the camera there is one type of photography I’ve never been a fan of: Evidence of being there photos. These are the photos people usually use as proof they were at a location or met a certain person and usually they’re just standing there looking at the camera. Years later do people in those photos look at them and reminisce about how they had to stop what they were doing in order to turn around and grin at the camera? I would much rather take a photograph that shows a person in a natural pose, held for a moment within a beautiful scene than a picture that represents an interruption of that moment. Of course for this trip to Las Vegas, my friend wanted some evidence shots, so I willingly obliged. The two shots in this post represent the work and the play side of the trip. I was there to cover CES 2012 which is where the Lamborghini above was displayed and the convention was in Las Vegas, home of casinos, liquor and gambling, which is what the photo below is evidence of doing.

inside-hooters-casino-playing-video-poker

3 Nines on 2 Machines Inside Hooters, Las Vegas

    After long days of walking for miles at CES, enduring crowded monorail rides and walking even more miles to get to my room, I was ready to relax by sliding up to a video poker bar, feeding it some money and then drinking for free until the wee hours while catching up with my old friend, Josh. The evidence photo above was taken as evidence not of being at a certain place, but for us both winning on separate video poker machines at the same time with 3 nines in our winning hands. Something like that deserves a shot and a picture. The above photo was taken inside Hooters Casino, in the back bar. We weren’t staying here but we still spent a lot of time here because it is very chill, has a great restaurant and is just a great place to waste a few hours. Until next time, happy travels!

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Inside Caesars Palace Forum Shops

January 30, 2012 by ·  

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Grand Spiral Staircase Of Caesars Palace

    Caesars Palace is an inspiring place to go to because you can’t help but plan a trip after you spend some time in there. I would very much like to travel to Italy and Rome in particular now just because of the walking I did through there. I’ve never been to Europe but now I really want to go and I think Italy is going to be my way in, with Rome being my first Las Vegas inspired stop. Caesars Palace and the Forum Shops are grand and decadent in an ancient Roman way and there are celebrities from time to time to add to the fun. Pete Rose and Dick Butkis were there and Dennis Rodman scheduled to appear later in the day. Last year, I posted a single photo of the fountains in front of the hotel so it felt good to walk through, get some decent photos and ultimately plan a trip to a foreign land.

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The Non-Moving Statues Of Caesars Palace

    The famous moving statues were not operational during my visit so I have a reason to return, which is not a bad thing at all. Since my actual reason for being in Las Vegas was for CES 2012, I didn’t have time to take in a single show, explore new food or do any shopping. I didn’t have the money to do those things either so it was a trip filled with busy days, hectic nights and lots of walking.

Video From Caesars Palace Forum Shops

    Until I go to Rome, I suppose I have nothing for me to compare Caesars Palace to. It is unbelievably vast and is a photographers dream, especially a photographer w/ an 8mm fish-eye lens. While I was in Las Vegas my new lens was my constant companion and it was the only lens I brought. I have become hooked on the all encompassing view as well as the way it forces me to get physically closer to subjects than I ever have before. A prime lens makes you do all the work. That coupled with the fact that my lens is all manual made it feel like I was walking the Las Vegas Strip in 1955 with a film camera in one hand and a bona fide photographic assignment in the other. So get inspired and plan a trip somewhere, take pictures and then when you get back start a blog and write about your adventure using your photos as visual aids. Cheers!

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Skating by the sea at Hotel Del Coronado 2011

December 8, 2011 by ·  

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Golden Hour Ice Skating At Hotel Del Coronado

    Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas is just about as Christmas as San Diego gets. If you would like a quintessential Christmas in San Diego, The Del is where to go, especially with the addition of their annual ice rink. Skating By The Sea literally allows you to ice skate right next to The Del, the beach and the sea, with great views of Point Loma and California sunsets. The rink is in place until the New Year, so get down here soon! The photo above shows the glorious Hotel Del Coronado bathed in golden hour sunlight as ice skaters enjoy a sunset session of fun in the sun… And skating!

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A Lucky Couple Has The Ice To Themselves

    A little planning and patience can go a long way, so let me prepare you for something; the 3 hour skate sessions cost $25. That price is absolutely the best deal in town and I urge everyone to head down and check it out sooner rather than later because if you play your cards right you can take you wife, husband, lover, mate or friend to the Hotel Del Coronado and ice skate, all by yourselves as the sun sets behind Point Loma, a clear blue ocean and a thick blue sky.

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Christmas Lights On The Del

    Once the sun goes down the lights turn on for the visual side of The Del during Christmas. 3 hours is a long time so don’t think you have to spend that entire time skating; you can skate for a while, then hop off the ice for something hot at the rink-side coffee bar that includes chairs that circle wood burning fireplace heaters. You may get on & off the ice as you please during your 3 hour session so pace yourself, explore The Del and notice all the little details of the hotel. The lobby is decked out for Christmas as well, so be sure to walk through there and you can also check out my photos of The Del during Christmas last year.

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Zamboni Machine And A Coronado Sunset

    You don’t have to be a registered guest to ice skate or explore the grounds, shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants or walk through the lobby of The Del. I’m telling you, a 3 hour $25 ice skating session will change your view of life and help you realize just how fortunate you are to live in or visit Coronado, CA. Below is a video that shows what a scenic, great time it is to Skate By The Sea. Cheers!

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San Diego International Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour II

May 27, 2011 by ·  

San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour

On The Tarmac At San Diego International Airport

        For the second time in four months I was fortunate enough to go on the San Diego International Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour. This tour is a great way for you to involve yourself with and educate yourself about the larger than life role Lindbergh Field plays for San Diego. Back in February, when I went on the Terminals to Tarmac Tour for the first time I tried to be as meticulous as possible, recording video, snapping photos and taking copious notes. This time was a little different because I just wanted to have fun. And take pictures, so that’s what I did.

San Diego Airport Terminal Two Green Build

San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour People

        When you take a tour you are, in effect, gambling because you know what the best and worst case scenarios are, agreed to them and then rolled the dice. The quality of the tour, the tour guide, the weather and your tour mates are all beyond your control and that’s what makes tours into the unknown so exciting. If you don’t know exactly where you are going then you don’t know exactly what will happen and that should add some bloody EXCITEMENT to your life! The Wright Brothers made their first flight in 1903, nine years before my grandfather was born and yet here I am, for the second time this year, learning about an industry that didn’t even exist when my dad’s dad was in elementary school! Just imagine what American citizens in 2111 will be learning about. No one knows for sure, but what I can tell you is that on this tour you will learn why San Diego Airport is a leading economic engine region for the region, get to walk onto the tarmac and stand right under the west end of the runway as planes from all over the world make their landing approach and roar past you, right over your head. There is an interactive, multimedia employee blog featuring Lindbergh Field from the perspective of front-line Airport Authority employees called, The Ambassablog that is full of “in the trenches” info about the airport. It’s a great read and is a great supplement to what you will learn on the tour. The above right photo shows my tour mates looking skyward at a plane while the above left photo shows the progress of the new addition to terminal 2.

Thinking About San Diego International Airport

Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky

        It’s worth noting that my tour mates on the San Diego Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour (besides my cousin) where a group of about a dozen home schooled kids, along with four or five of their moms. My cousin & I were the only other adults on the tour so we had a discussion or two about home schooled kids. My opinion is that home schooling is stupid because the day a kid steps out of home school is the day they realize the real world has nothing to do with their home, or their schooling. Just like saplings need wind to develop bark so they can grow into a tree, children need to know that the funny part of a joke is called a punch line, which means that in order for a joke to be funny, somebody has to take one on the chin and that person might be them. I don’t believe that’s something that can be taught, I believe that’s something you’ll only appreciate after personally giving or receiving a crack on the jaw. You can’t accurately describe a rock concert or being in love to some one that hasn’t personally and physically experienced them because these are life experiences that are personal and different for everyone, as opposed to what your mom tells you it should be. Seriously, can you imagine being turned loose on the world at the tender age of 18 with only your mother’s knowledge as a basis for how to function in society? Maybe it’s not that bad but I’ll tell you what, I needed school and I had to take some licks that were real world lessons no home-school can provide.

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I Travel With My Camera To Improve My Photography

April 5, 2011 by ·  

Utah Canyon With Snow During Golden Hour Sunset

A Beautiful Golden Hour Scene In Utah

        Somewhere in the wild blue yonder of Utah, in a location I would really have to struggle to find again is the canyon you see above. Seeing an unspoiled view like this, identical to what the pioneers saw hundreds of years ago keeps the spirit of exploration in me alive. Traveling is good, and I think the tiger inside me has awakened and wants to roam around. The tiger inside me wants to travel.

Standing in front of NO LOITERING sign

No Loitering! This Is A “Traveling Only” Zone.

Utah canyon snow blue sky golden hour

        I want to take quick, inexpensive outings like the trip I took to Las Vegas last month and I want to take them regularly. Going to new places is fun and since I take photos the whole time I become a better photographer, which enables me to make more money which enables me to travel more. This helps me to improve my photography because I take more photos while traveling than while at home because the inspiration and excitement I get from traveling to a new locale causes me to click the shutter way more often then when I’m in a familiar place. Traveling with your camera is a win-win situation for everyone… New places are seen and photographed, those photos are shared and inspire a whole new group of people to travel or pick up a camera.

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Nightclub & Bar Convention – Las Vegas

March 13, 2011 by ·  

wristband nightclub bar convention trade show las vegas

My Wristband For The Convention

        The people I’ve known the longest go back, way back to the days I lived in Denver, CO. Unfortunately most of us, including me have moved away from Denver, towards warmer parts of the country. It is very rare for all of us to be in the same state, let alone the same room for any length of time but recently it did happen, and with a big helping hand from my friends, I was able to attend this gathering, with my camera.

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Laser Displays Make Anyone Look Like A Rock Star

        Anything that can be served in or placed in a bar or nightclub are what this show is about. My Denver friends are all current or former owners & managers in the service industry, so it’s one of those fun business trips fun them, but for me it was a little bit different. I got some great insight into what goes in to making a club or bar successful and just how much thought goes into making sure their customers like what they see and love what they drink while inside.

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The Only Way To Know Is To Try

        It doesn’t matter what the bottle or the woman that’s serving them looks like, the only way to know which new alcohols are good and which are shit is to try them one shot or one cocktail at a time for eleven hours, over the course of two days. Welcome to Las Vegas!

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        This is better than any gadget or technology show for two reasons: First, it’s in Las Vegas and second, it’s a trade show where as a representative of a company it is your job to sample every type of alcohol in the building. Yep, and the iPad doesn’t even support flash.

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This Show Is About Alcohol…

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And Having Fun

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And Smashing Through Groups Of People

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        There is a reason this show is not the drunken frat party you think it must be if it’s a convention center filled with a bunch of professionals right in the middle of sin city: They are professionals so they are not a threat. The people at this show are the people that have to deal with the drunken idiots on a nightly basis, so they know how to act properly when alcohol is involved, even obscene amounts. This is a professional show for businesspeople that know how to get drunk in an exemplary and highly professional manner, not amateur night.
        The next time you are in a bar and you see a group of people that are being a little more obnoxious and loud than you would normally think would be allowed in a place like that yet they get constant, attentive service and never have a break in their good time, then they are a group of pros in the service industry just letting off steam and the staff of the place knows it. They also know the group will regulate their own party just like mafia would, so if anyone actually did start doing something that would legitimately ruin the party a stick would be brought down between that person’s eyes, bringing him or her back into line long before anyone else even saw a problem… Because they are professionals. It was a great experience that had me learning new things, spending quality time with old friends as well as engaging in some old fashioned street photography, which turned out to be an unexpected highlight of the trip. You’ll want to be sure to check out my next two posts which will consist of the people and sights of the Las Vegas strip. Cheers!

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San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour

February 11, 2011 by ·  

Jet Plane About To Land At San Diego International Airport

About To Land At San Diego International Airport

        I recently had the pleasure of going on the Terminals To Tarmac Tour at San Diego Airport. From the website:

See behind the scenes of San Diego International Airport! The Airport Authority is offering free tours of the airport and airfield, including up-close looks at the runway, endangered species areas and public art. Tours are two hours long and are offered four times a month – each second and fourth Thursday at 10 a.m. and Friday at 1 p.m.

Ryan - Tour Guide For Terminals To Tarmac Tour At San Diego International Airport

Ryan, Our Tour Guide Through San Diego Airport

        Ryan, our tour guide is a great ambassador for the airport. He has a great sense of humor, was very informative and really brings a lot to the table so the tour was much more than just a photo op or an endless barrage of boring statistics and facts. What Ryan was able to do was show the relationship between the airport and the city of San Diego, and how that relationship leads to exciting things happening at the airport, which in turn makes San Diego an even more exciting city to live in and visit.

Inside Terminal 2 At San Diego International Airport

Inside San Diego Airport’s Terminal 2

        In a nutshell, the tour breaks down into two parts, each part is an hour long and there’s a ten minute bathroom break in the middle. You start out by meeting your tour group at the commuter terminal, receiving a visitors badge and then jumping into a shuttle bus that takes you to terminal 1 to begin the first part of the tour, which is a walking tour of both terminals. After that the shuttle bus takes you “inside the wire” and out onto the tarmac for a slow, circling tour of the runway and it’s operations.

Puff The Magic Dragon In Terminal 2 Of San Diego International Airport

Performing Art In SD Airport’s Terminal 2

        The puppet show version of Puff The Magic Dragon you see above was going on as part of the Airport Art Program. This was going on in the baggage claim area of terminal two during the tour break so I though I’d throw it in.

Ryan Explains The Geography Of San Diego International Airport

Tarmac Worker At San Diego International Airport

        Over a very helpful model of the airport, Ryan explained several things about the airport to us. The tour is very much one of those “have to be there” kind of things, so you should just take the tour because being there, seeing it and listening to the tone and excited inflection of the tour guide’s voice compliment each other in a way that probably won’t be adequately represented here. The video at the end of this post is about 6 minutes long and in it you can here Ryan talk about just a couple things about the airport. He really packs a lot in during that time, so if what you see in the video or in this post seem even remotely interesting to you then go to the San Diego Airport’s website and sign up for the tour! As we walked through the terminal, Ryan told us the trifecta of nouns that make up the theme of the airport are sky, sea and surf. As soon as he said that and pointed out a few things, it all came leaping to the foreground like pieces from the Da Vinci Code… The weather and/or the beach is why people live, move and visit here. I’m one of them. I can proudly say that I’ve been clean and sober from snow and sub-freezing temperatures for over five years, since moving to San Diego from Denver, Colorado. If the weather and the beach are the main reasons people come here, then it makes perfect subliminal sense to remind people of that in the airport. I learned on the tour that San Diego is not a “connecting” city which means that most visitors to our airport are either starting or ending their travel here, so the airport being themed as it is helps people to have a great San Diego experience that starts as soon as they get off the plane. This tour really shines a light on the amount of thought that goes into parlaying our weather and beaches into tourists, the experience they have and the money we want them to spend.

View Through Windshield Of San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour Bus

Through The Windshield Of The Terminals To Tarmac Shuttle Bus

        I’ve been through both terminals of San Diego airport before, so I didn’t take too many photos during that portion of the tour, I did a lot of listening. Once our shuttle picked us up and drove us out onto the tarmac… I was listening a little bit less. San Diego Airport only has one runway, so all the action took place right in front of us as the shuttle slowly circled around the runway, eventually stopping on the north side, where I was able to get out and take some photos.

US Airways Jet Plane Lands At San Diego International Airport

US Airways Jet Plane Lands At San Diego International Airport

        Landings and take-offs all happen in the same direction and that is to the west. From our photo op area on the north side of the runway we had a great, window-free vantage to get some pics of the planes coming and going.

Private Jet Plane Taxis At San Diego International Airport

Private Jet Taxis At San Diego Airport

        After that the shuttle drove us to the eastern end of the runway. This put us directly under planes as they came in on their final approach to the airport. From here, we literally had a view of the underbelly, front and back of planes, full of people that are the reason San Diego Airport is not just a place. It’s a thing. It’s an organism that lives only because there are people that live in and visit San Diego, California.

Right Under A Jet Plane Landing at San Diego International Airport

Seconds Away From Touchdown At San Diego Airport

        I didn’t want to plan on learning anything during the tour, but I did. I just wanted a great photo op, but now I want to go back again not so I can take more photos, but so I can listen to what the tour guide will have to say about the airport, and the slight variations that each tour would have because Ryan was not reading from a script, he was telling us a story based on inside information he has as an employee and a guide for the Terminals To Tarmac tour. My destination was the San Diego airport, but my journey didn’t begin until I got there. I’m not an airport, aviation or airplane buff, but after this tour I can see how it would open up a whole new world of photography to me if I was. Coming to San Diego does the same thing for other people in an infinite number of ways. I took these photos yesterday, early in the second week of February and just look at those blue skies, look at all that sunlight streaming in through the terminal windows! The temperature was perfect, the barometer was gorgeous and rising and the humidity had us at a dew point that might make the glass that’s holding your margarita damp. We live in San Diego people! The five plus years I’ve lived here have helped me forget what wind chill, coat checks and winter are, and if you don’t know what any of those things are then consider yourself lucky. Do you like apples? Yeah? Well you can fly from San Diego, nonstop to Maui and London, among other places. How do you like them apples? I thought so. Cheers, and happy traveling!

Video From Terminal To Tarmac Tour At San Diego Airport

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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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Joshua Tree National Park

May 31, 2010 by ·  

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Trees In The National Park

        Even though I have not traveled much in the last ten years, I like to look at the laundry list of places I have been with pride and nostalgia. I have traveled to 5 continents, 18 countries and 17 American states. With any luck at all, those numbers will grow as will my understanding of the world. On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2010, I traveled with my cousins to Joshua Tree National Park.

Skull Rock

Joshua Tree Sign

        Skull Rock and The Hall Of Horrors can not be seen anywhere else. You must go to Joshua Tree National Park to see them, and countless other geologic, animalistic and aquatic features. Check out the Joshua Tree website and plan your trip today. A few major things to know: Bring your own water, firewood and DEFINITELY bring your camera.

        Joshua Tree National Park looks like the set of a motion picture where the story takes place on a planet that is not planet Earth. Earlier I mentioned the number of places I have been on this planet, not to brag, but for some perspective. Joshua Tree National Park is not like traveling on Earth, it’s like going the surface of an unknown moon of an unknown planet. The only familiar things are what you carry with you and the people you travel with.

Joshua Tree National Park

Wildlife

        Located about 175 miles from San Diego, 140 miles from Los Angeles and 215 miles from Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park is an easy and interesting place to go for anyone in the southwest United States.

Joshua Tree National Park Flower

Flowers Reside Here Too

        For this journey, I had my trusty Nikon D5000 and two Nikkor lenses. Between these two lenses I covered the photographic spectrum from 18 to 200mm, and I ended up using every single bit of that distance. The one thing that I am lacking with this rig is macro capability; At 200mm, I have to be at least 3 feet away from my subject. Not a big deal, but it is something to consider when shooting flowers and bugs.

Joshua Tree Hummingbird

Hummingbird In Joshua Tree National Park

        The hummingbird you see above had one of the loudest wing beats I have ever heard. It almost sounded like a helicopter in the distance, or a very large bumblebee very near by. Either way, it landed and stood still long enough for me to take a single photo.

Joshua Tree National Park

Rocks And Joshua Trees

        Aside from all the things to see in Joshua Tree National Park, there are a lot of rocks to climb. Seriously, this place is a rock climber’s dream. There are rock formations that that can be stared at for hours or climbed upon for days.

Joshua Tree National Park

An Insect On A Thorny Plant

        For me, one of the best things about going to a National Park, or any outdoor/wilderness setting in general is being able to see the way non-humans live and go about their lives. Since animals do not have to compete with us for life inside a park, we are able (if we quiet our minds and take the time to just look & listen) to physically and personally see just how connected every living thing is. The photo above helps to illustrate how every plant and animal has a reason for being, and that reason is not to be subjugated by people.

Lizard In Joshua Tree National Park

Blue-Belly Lizard

        I saw a lot of lizards during my time in the park, but they are very fast and always seemed to be running away from me towards the cover of the nearest shrub or crack in the rocks. The specimen above was sunning on a rock, and stood still while I approached and photographed him.
        That will bring this post to a close, but stay tuned for another post in the next day or so that will feature some amazing things I saw just north of Joshua Tree National Park. I won’t give it away, but historic Route 66, the town and volcanic crater of Amboy, Roy’s Cafe, shoes and immortalizing myself with rocks are all on the menu. Cheers!

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

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Travel To Hawaii

November 29, 2009 by ·  

Barbers Point, Hawaii

Barbers Point, Hawaii

        Hawaii is a place where you can do a lot of things and it doesn’t matter how old you are because in Hawaii, you can do it all. Even though Hawaii is a an American state, you have to travel overseas to get there, so American tourists in Hawaii are different than American tourists when they are traveling within the the 48 North American States. The beaches, clubs, beachside restaurants, boat and water activities and adventure hiking are all first rate. For solitude you have to leave to island of Oahu. Maui is about 30 minutes by air shuttle and is well worth seeing even if you are not seeking solitude.

Waikiki Sunset

Waikiki Sunset, Hawaii

        There is beauty everywhere in Hawaii, so spend at least a month there if you can. A stay that long will allow you to delve into the islands and find things to do that are not in any tourist brochures.

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Travel To Las Vegas And Hoover Dam

November 29, 2009 by ·  

Hoover Dam From Just Above River Level

Hoover Dam From Just Above River Level

        If you go to Hoover Dam, it is probably to take a break from your activities in Las Vegas, so you will understand what it means to pay a little more to to get something a lot better. The special tour is $30 and you get a much better experience than you do with the $11 tickets.

        My special access ticket allowed me to get a less than common shot of the dam from a very low level. The sky was blown out so I cropped it and made the dam itself look as dramatic as possible, without going to full on black & white.

        I had a hard time taking pictures in Las Vegas because everything looked so familiar from movies and photos in magazines. I just didn’t see how I could take a unique shot in that town. At the time, The Venetian was one of the newest casinos so a friend asked me to shoot it for her. The shot below is a small section of the architecture of the hotel’s exterior. Every room in the hotel is a suite with queen or king beds and 32″ flat screen TV’s.

Venetian Hotel In Las Vegas

Venetian Hotel In Las Vegas

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What I Love About Denver

November 28, 2009 by ·  

Denver Capitol Building, 1999

Denver Capitol Building, 1999

        Denver is a great city, no matter what time of year it is. Downtown, LoDo and Capitol Hill in particular are such great places to live and spend time. Anything you need and everything you want is right there, sports, drinks, food, walking, skating, shopping and sightseeing are all touching each other.

Inside Denver Capitol Building Christmas 1999

Inside Denver Capitol Building Christmas 1999

        There are two very different forms of solitude available to the residents of Denver, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Depending on your mood, the time of year and your own reasons for wanting to get away from all human beings for a while, you can drive to west or south to the mountains or drive east towards Kansas and America’s Bread Basket. Personally, I like the mountain form of solitude better than the endless plains form. Being out in the woods is more engaging and more inspiring for me, I feel like there is more nature per square inch in the mountains.

        Sometimes, the history of Denver is what held my interest for extended periods of time. So many things have happened in Denver in the last 150 years and all of it is interesting and fun to talk about. Click here to visit the city of Denver’s website. There is just so much to do, and there are so many restaurants, all of which you can walk to. Downtown Denver is a great place.

        Four sunny seasons is what you will find in Denver, Colorado. Fall colors, winter wonderland, spring is colorful and warm and summer is hot with thunderstorms that will make you take notice. The mountains are so different with each season and each mountain town is different as well. Estes Park, Boulder & Golden would be good starting points for visitors that want to start visiting mountain towns. After them, head out to Cripple Creek, Georgetown or Central City. Now you’ll be ready to head deep into the Rockies to visit ski towns and do some real exploring!

Mile High Stadium And Unborn Investco Field

Mile High Stadium As Investco Field Is Built, 1999

John Elway & Denver Broncos - Superbowl XXXII Champions 1998

John Elway & Denver Broncos - Superbowl XXXII Champions 1998

        There was a stretch, back in the late 1990’s when I was going to a lot of Bronco games, and almost every game was watched from the south stands, in both stadiums. Those that were attending home games of the Denver Broncos in the late nineties will remember what a time that was. The Broncos had already won the Superbowl and were on track to win for a second time. The new stadium was about to be built and John Elway was just awesome. The pic on the right was taken following the Denver Broncos Superbowl victory parade through downtown. John Elway & The Denver Broncos are on the steps of the city & county building for this photo. I did not take this John Elway shot, but I was standing next to my friend when he shot it. It was such a fun day and we both waited since we were kids to see the Broncos win the superbowl.

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Memorial Day Weekend In Palm Springs 2009

May 26, 2009 by ·  

Palm Springs

Aloha from Palm Springs, California

          A three day weekend is a pretty good reason to drive from San Diego to Palm Springs, California.  I never set foot in the pool and came out ahead in the casino so it was an oddly perfect weekend.  My fellow loungers were the perfect company and made the trip what it will be remembered as being.  For now it was an epic road trip from San Diego to Palm Springs, CA, with the photos here presented as a record of things that were seen, and might have otherwise been forgotten.


You must play with purpose!

You must play with purpose!

          As we do not have air hockey in San Diego, we took full advantage of the tables.  As Palm Springs caters to the rich & famous, the pucks are made of solid gold and beautiful women bring you cocktails of blasphemous potency.

Different windmills currently in use in Southern California.

Different windmills currently in use in Southern California.

          Clean, renewable energy should be one of everyone’s favorite things.  Recycle cans, use permanent plastic water bottles instead of disposable plastic bottles and do what you can to get wind and solar in to the mainstream.

          Traveling through the colossal windmill farms of southern California was electrifying and terrifying.  So much energy is generated by the windmills, that the nighttime desert floor glows in a site so indescribable that no photographer has ever been able to spoil the view by looking through their camera’s viewfinder to take a picture.


Must Make Art

          This vacation gave me a chance to remember that I love to create art, just for the sake of doing it.

          My friends and I were on a mission in Palm Springs, and we failed to complete it.  As warriors in a hazy battlefield of glass, fire and liquid we ultimately returned home defeated in war but soaring higher than any living things have before in spirit…  We had become The Trifecta.

The day we left, this perfectly throw took place.

The day we left for Palm Springs, this perfectly aligned throw took place.

          With a start like this, we knew it would be a good trip and that there would be some great photography taking place.  Our Triangle Zen arrives when the disc is thrown.


Traffic

Unfortunately, even famous photographers must deal with traffic.

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