Friday, April 30, 2010

Urban Oasis

Earlier this week I visited a real oasis in Southern California. That experience got me to think about urban oases that I have witnessed. We have all seen them, but so often these are fleeting moments that are quickly forgotten. As a photographer and nature-lover, I incessantly observe my surroundings and record mental images and maps of my environment. Back in March I walked around San Diego and found this interesting "urban oasis" on a lovely street corner. We all know that walking through a city is the best way to learn of your surroundings, but most, including myself, seldom explore our cities. We go through life buzzing to work, eating lunch hurriedly, restarting work, and then retreating home only to repeat the process the following day. During the workday I enjoy taking my sandwich out for a walk and exploring. In March 2010 I stumbled across an excellent "urban oasis" (pictured above). The plants are eclectic, yet perfect. I stopped my journey and enjoyed these plantings for a few minutes. The palm trees and blue sky in the background are not only quintessential San Diego, but also nicely complement the foreground. When I travel to a new city, the first thing I yearn to do is "get lost" by walking back-alleys and wandering aimlessly. It is hard to motivate oneself to do this in your own backyard, but on this occasion my efforts are fruitful.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chinatown Hang

The sun was about to set on San Francisco when I grabbed by camera and power-walked to one of my favorite destinations in the Bay Area, Chinatown. Chinatowns across the country are filled with culture. The pungent aromas, vibrant colors, distinct architecture, and the almost requisite hanging lanterns provide ample sensory stimulation. San Fransisco's Chinatown did not disappoint! The red hanging lanterns pictured above were helped by a pop of fill-flash.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ocotillo Infrared

The mystery plant in the photograph below has been identified! A leggy ocotillo is pictured above as well. Off the beaten path of Southern California's renown network of asphalt highways lay countless photographic opportunities. The tall lonesome ocotillo in the center of this frame was found north of Palm Springs. At 95 degrees, full sun, and no water in sight, the ocotillo fared well. The plant even blossomed with vibrant orange flowers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Desert Weed-Burst

Strange species reside in the desert. The pictured plant with green leaves tipped by orange blossoms is one such species. The leggy stalks stood out in the Southern California desert. I have yet to identify this plant. If you happen to know any information on this type of plant, please contact me or comment below.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Canon S90 @ Hole Concert

Courtney Love put on a great performance at The Music Box at The Fonda in Hollywood yesterday, April 22, 2010. My wife likes Hole's music, but only a few songs really hit the right notes for me. I expected to put up with Hole's music, but last night's performance was eye opening. After a long hiatus from touring, Courtney Love proved that she could still bring the house down. Looking around the smoke-filled room during the concert I saw young fans, twenty-somethings like myself, and the older generation glowing with excitement. I am shocked to say this, but attending the concert was exciting. Courtney Love's music sounded excellent live and The Music Box at The Fonda was a perfect venue. The smallish size of The Music box, eclectic decor, and plush sueded seats made for a great atmosphere. The surprisingly short set, less than one hour, shocked many people sitting near me. However, the quality of Hole's music made up for the length of the set. For more in depth coverage, please visit the Orange County Register article, Courtney Love roars back to life with brief by powerful Hole set in Hollywood. If Nobody's Daughter, Courtney's new CD, is anything like this concert, it will be rewarding. (Concert images are not for sale.)

Canon S90 Captures Courtney Love

My vantage point in the balcony at The Music Box at The Fonda in Hollywood proved perfect for photographing Courtney Love awash in smoke-diffused light. Image details: f/4.9, 1/25, ISO 1600, Noise Reduction in Post

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Contest Details - New Images

Outdoor Photographer is conducting the 3rd Your Favorite Places Photo Contest. Five of my images are in the running for this contest. There is a "people's choice" component for this contest. If you like my images, please vote for me by clicking the links below, registering, and rate each photograph. Thank you to any of my readers in advance! The five images I entered are: Pastel Bluffs Wrought Rotunda Moonrise Ha Long Fishermen Striped Sea Stacks Stormy Falls The image above was taken one fine San Diego evening. The sun set over the water, the moon gracefully hung in the sky, and the calm water in the foreground reflected the heavens' beauty.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Warm Daisy Rays

Wildflowers are blooming all around San Diego. Backroads and freeways currently have abundant color. It seems an easy task to capture the essence of the sun. The sun is often overpowering and is difficult to harness. However, the feeling from this photograph is warm. Perfect. April is one of the best times of year in San Diego. Get out and enjoy the warm sun!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Venetian Algae Swirl

Venice is a wonderful place to visit. Most people gawk at the ornately adorned buildings that are precariously perched at the water's edge. Some enjoy exploring the canals and walkways that dissect Venetian neighborhoods. Others are enthralled with the bustling marketplaces. Nearly all people visiting Venice have one thing in common, they look up a majority of the time and neglect to appreciate the water that makes Venice's "streets" so romantic. This image captures one of the often overlooked necessities, steps into the lagoon. Without such steps, disembarking from watercraft would be difficult, if not impossible. I exposed this photograph along the Grand Canal as the sun set on a day filled with memories. I was drawn to these algae-covered stairs that were in front of an empty building. The beautiful green algae intermixing with the lagoon's turquoise tides is fixed in my mind. So much of the lagoon's waterfront is heavily trafficked in the tourist areas, but getting outside of one's comfort zone is the best recipe for interesting compositions.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Snow-capped Quinault

Last week I experienced the brilliance of the Pacific Northwest. As my plane started to descend on approach into Sea-Tac, bright stripes of illuminated rain danced by the windows at 150 mph. Sure enough, the precipitation continued while en route to the hotel. Seattle, Washington is known for its gloomy weather and rain. However, this often gives Seattle a bad rap and in fact, the storms beautify Seattle with lush foliage and a variety of outdoor activities. I could not have planned a better time to visit Seattle and the surrounding National Parks! The rain provided excellent opportunities for dramatic clouds at sunset for the first few days and then the storm deteriorated. As the time neared to head west to the Pacific Ocean, a torrential downpour dowsed my hope for nice weather while exploring the Olympic National Park. Did the persistent rain wane? Oh yes! This panoramic image highlights the beautiful snow-capped mountains surrounding Lake Quinault.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Balboa Crescent

Spring is here. The sunny San Diego weather is back, not that it left for very long! Deep blue skies and a touch of clouds make for fabulous photographic opportunities. Visiting Balboa Park in San Diego is wonderful because of the numerous museums, laughing children, and Old World-styled architecture. The varied subjects make for an exciting adventure each time I visit the park.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Waterfall: A Taste of What is to Come

On the Olympic Peninsula there are numerous waterfalls that feed the rainforest. I like the dissecting line emanating from the waterfall in this image.