I went to some random places and made some photographs of them. Also of my pretty girlfriend. Enjoy.
I went to some random places and made some photographs of them. Also of my pretty girlfriend. Enjoy.
A few weeks ago some friends and I decided to go wander the desert (thus my mildly sacrilegious title). While we didn’t find any manna, we did find some really interesting places. When in the desert, it often pays to take the road less traveled. I’ve been working my tail off and am exhausted, so I’m going to stop talking and show you pictures. Bye.
Hello again. I did want to say this: if Toby’s friends sought fit to erect such an awesome roadside memorial, I feel like he or she was the type of person I would have liked to have known. Rest in Peace, person whom should have been my friend.
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More unpublished stuff for you.
First up are some photos of my friend Tim Gill, who’s an amazing musician and leads a few different incredible musical groups, including the Tim Gill All Stars. You should probably go see them live or buy some of their music if you know what’s good for you.
I did some work with my friend Anna Habrat (the Magical Blonde Hair Stylist) for entries in the NAHA competition. While I can’t show you the super rad styles she came up with until after the competition, I thought I’d throw in some interesting outtakes if for no other reason than model Dawnielle has amazing eyes.
I made this mermaid a few months ago with my Pixelstick. There’s supposed to be some dolphins in there, but they’re jerks and aren’t showing up well.
I know this photo doesn’t look like much, but I’m pretty sure it’s the most perfect photo I’ve ever taken. Some day when I die this will be sold for millions of dollars. Get your copy now for a mere $1,000.
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I’m too tired to come up with a clever title tonight or to write words good. So, pictures look you. Bye.
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Most of my pictures never get published. Usually this is because I’m unhappy with the photos. Other times, it’s because the photos are redundant to other shots I like better. All of the items below are unpublished photos from a trip I took to Kiev, Chernobyl, and Paris (also London, but I hate most of those photos). I’ve got loads more images from Europe, so I’m sure I’ll do another one of these in the future.
If a town near Chernobyl “died” as a result of the nuclear accident, it was typically razed and buried to prevent people from visiting it. When this happened, a sign with the town name was erected and a red slash placed on it, denoting that the town was no more.
This is what a destroyed grocery store looks like.
Graffiti by an unknown artist in Pripyat, Chernobyl’s most famous lost town.
I’ve published a photo of this refrigerator before, but since I love the subject so much I decided to post a second image. One of the great mysteries of my life will forever be why this home appliance came to be hanging out on the corner of a Parisian intersection.
Pripyat’s most famous icon is the Ferris wheel in the town’s amusement park, which was scheduled to open just a few days after the meltdown occurred.
To finish up, here are two shots of the Eiffel Tower: one at sunrise and one not long after a stormy sunset.
I think that most visitors probably don’t care about my commentary (like in part I), so I’m going to keep the chattiness to a low roar. The photos below come from various places in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, including Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Shiprock, Zion Canyon, and more. If you would like more info, post in the comments or better yet, let’s go have a beer (or wine, as the situation warrants).
Here’s one thought to be Kokopelli, a Native American god that combines Johnny Appleseed, the pregnancy stork, St. Patrick, and Loki all into one, much cooler figure.
Sand Island bluff, a short drive north of Monument Valley, has a large panel about 100 feet in length just covered with thousands of petroglyphs. It’s pretty neat and only takes about 20 minutes of your time to see it all.
Note the icon high up on the wall. It’s maybe 25 feet off the ground, so it’s kind of a mystery how it got up there. What’s not a mystery is that some idiots have tried to hit it with firearms, thus the bullet damage in the surrounding rock. Dear random morons: I hate you.
Below are a few shots of the hike to Angels Landing in Zion Canyon (here’s an overly dramatic video that shows the view and some of the dropoffs). The hike is very strenuous and the final approach to the landing is basically a cliff ledge. It’s not for the faint of heart. (Sorry about the photos; to save on weight I didn’t bring my big cameras with me).
The whole reason I planned this trip initially was to photograph Shiprock, a huge, 1,500-foot-tall monadnock in northern New Mexico. The day I went to visit, that part of the state was absolutely nailed by torrential rains. The closest I could get was about 7 miles out, as the roads became impassable. I had to slog through deep mud and deal with non-stop rain to approach these horses. Thankfully, they stayed still long enough for me to get a portrait.
Two views of the Monument Valley “mittens”:
Here’s a few shots from the unspeakably beautiful Upper Antelope Canyon. Go here before you die.
And to close, sunrise at the “totem pole” in Monument Valley. Thanks for visiting, and let me know if you’re interested in prints or want to give me a high five.
On the last day of my trip I found myself seated across from an attractive female employee of the MGM Grand Las Vegas, eating lunch and discussing travel. As the meal wound down I briefly reflected on how relatively uneventful this trip had been. I was immensely tired and travel worn, a cancelled flight shuffled some plans around a bit, and I’m pretty sure a ghost chased me out of an isolated pet cemetery one inky Utah night, but that’s all business as usual for me. Despite having seen some of the Southwest’s most beautiful sights, I felt slightly incomplete still.
After a moment I looked back to the face across from me, thanked her for buying me lunch, and watched while she placed the just-signed check directly into a glass full of water by mistake. Enjoying the slightly embarrassed but highly amused smile that arose on her face, I quietly thanked the universe for the proper ending I was hoping for.
Ten days earlier I started my journey in Laughlin, the decidedly lower rent version of Las Vegas. For $25 I had a nice hotel room and ten thousand senior citizens to keep me company. In between these two gambling bookends was 3,000 miles of driving and a disappointingly large number of mediocre photos. Below are some that I hope are slightly better than mediocre. There’s kind of a lot, and I’ve written a fair amount of text, so feel free to take a break if you need to. I’ll wait until you come back. (Click on a photo to enlarge.)
The first destination was some hole in the ground, apparently called “The Grand Canyon.”
My friend X-Ray joined me for the first few days of the trip and suggested that we swing by the Flintstone’s Bedrock City in Williams, AZ, not too far from the Grand Canyon. This place was hilariously awful. Even though people worked there and some people who probably had leprosy were camping there, the place was about as abandoned and neglected as could be. It was sublimely beautiful in its decay.
Way to let me down, Flintstone’s Bedrock City.
This is Horseshoe Bend just outside Page, Arizona. Go here instead:
Below are the “Betatakin” Anasazi ruins at Navajo National Monument (one of three such sites at the monument). Unfortunately, this time of year you can’t get to the 800-year-old dwellings, so I had to be content with photos from across the canyon. The scale of the photo is a little misleading, as that alcove you see here is about 450 feet high. The canyon is about twice that in total.
Valley of the Gods is north of Monument Valley, and because it’s not on Navajo lands, you don’t need a guide. While driving through the park I saw these cattle grazing with Monument Valley in the distance. I took this photo from the same spot as I did the shot of the Prius. As I crept closer to the nearest cow, which had surprisingly large horns (do female cows have large horns too?), I kept looking back at the car hoping that it was close enough to run to if need be. I’m not sure that it was.
I call this photo “birds of a feather,” ’cause…you know…the oil thing in the back kinda looks like the horse. Yes, I know I’m very clever. Yes, I know horses don’t have feathers, which makes the title funnier. Yes, I still know that I’m very clever.
This is the inside of a tiny little chapel on the road to Flagstaff. It appears to be always open and usable by anyone. While taking photos inside snow was lightly falling outside. It was a very pleasant, calm moment. Curiously, as if to provide an exact definition of “juxtapose” for me, the bible on the lectern was open to Jeremiah 14. God is in full “angry Old Testament god mode” here.
I played tourist one day and went to the Four Corners monument. Here’s me kinda-sorta standing in four states.
And here’s a wider shot of the monument:
I mentioned earlier that I was at a very remote, very large pet cemetery one night, which I happened to come across accidentally while exploring another area. The sun had already set so it was getting dark quickly, and there was absolutely no wind; all the wind chimes you see in this picture weren’t making any noise. I took this photo and then kept walking in the direction of the newly dug grave in the background. Suddenly, a large group of birds exploded in a panic out of a tree next to me and the wind came up out of nowhere, sending the wind chimes into a frenzy. I figured that was my cue to leave, and with the largest goosebumps I’ve probably ever had, hurried back to my car.
This next shot is of Agathla Peak near sunset. Rising more than 1,500 feet from the earth, it’s the hardened throat of a volcano that has long since disappeared.
I’m going to wrap up Part I (quite suddenly, I might add) with this photo of a Monument Valley sunrise taken from the balcony of my hotel room at the View Hotel (which was awesome). I should have Part II up in a day or so, so check back soon! Also, I might actually make prints available for some of these photos (which is rare for me), so if you’re interested, let me know.
Another day, another “where the heck do I pust this stuff?” post. Since most of this has kind of a forlorn feel, I figured it made sense to group it together. The next post should be happier, including some photos I did for my awesome friend and her new business.
First, some photos from the ol’ abandoned Griffith Park Zoo. Built in 1912 and closed in 1966, the zoo was probably a terrible place to raise your animal family. According to Wikipedia, it was constructed in the “caves-with-iron-bars style,” which as we all know is how most animals in the wild have built their homes since the discovery of iron in the 15th-century.
This is the view looking up from inside one of the iron cages. The view out the front was pretty much the same sad thing.
It’s hard to see in this shot, but that thing at the bottom is a gigantic wolf dog. Members of a wolf dog rescue group were at the park with several of these magnificent animals, one of which was apparently curious as to what I was doing.
Up next is a random road-side display I found when visiting a friend. I really hope the owner of that car didn’t have a run in with a drunk driver, although seems to be somewhat common these days unfortunately.
To close, a few beach photos.
I wanted to take some photographs on New Year’s Day, so I figured that a good way to start off 2014 was to visit my “memorial rock” and do some reflecting on the past. I said hello to my lost friends, took some pictures, and headed home thinking of the future. As always, thank you for visiting.
I had a birthday recently, and because I’m so awesome, Catalina Express decided to give me a free round-trip ticket to the lovely island city of Avalon. Someone told me that they do that for everyone on their birthday, but I’m pretty sure they’re wrong and they did it because I smell nice, among other things.
Anyways, I’ve been traveling to Catalina for years to scuba dive, but had never actually photographed it. So with my trusty camera in hand, I headed over.
The weather was pleasant and the island quiet, so I had a fairly relaxing day (more on that in a minute).
The first thing I did was head over to the Casino to take the walking tour of said building, which I had never been inside of.
Catalina was at one point quite famous for its “Catalina tile,” which is still used extensively to decorate the island. The next few tile mosaics (?) are on the walking path to the Casino.
This one shows what I think is Sugarloaf Point in the distance, before the large rocks were destroyed to make room for buildings, including the current Casino.
As I waited for the tour to start, the young woman selling tickets took a call on her cell: “Please tell me you’re not calling with bad news….She…didn’t make it? … Oh $&*#…Oh $&*#….” I was the only one who heard her in this very private, very sad moment. I felt like I should say something or try to comfort her, but what do you say to a total stranger in a situation like that? In a moment she had moved into a side room and the tour started, so I never found out what I may have tried to say. I hope she’s doing ok.
Back to the tour, I’ll say that the inside of the Casino is incredible. The Wrigley family spent an obscene amount of money making it about as ornate as was possible at the time. The waiting area just outside the movie theater has a roof filled with 22-carat gold-leaf stars. I don’t have a photo inside the theater, but trust me when I say that it’s breathtaking.
View of an island traffic jam from the second floor of the building, which is actually about 10 stories up.
This is the chandelier…thing at the center of the formal ballroom on the top floor of the Casino. The piece is quite large and can be rotated.
In the entry way to the theater are a number of beautiful mosaics and wall paintings. These pieces, which are the originals put up in the 1920s, are still impressive to look at.
In the event that your workplace doesn’t like au naturel, 85-year-old mermaids painted onto the sides of large public buildings, I’ve decided to make this one small. Click to see it full-size. This mural was the only one completed as originally intended using Catalina tile. With opening day around the corner, the Casino’s designer was told to paint the rest directly on the concrete facing of the building. This piece is one of the prettiest works of art I’ve yet to see in California.
Earlier, I mentioned that the day was relaxing. That is, with the exception of hiking to the top of the cliff just above the Casino. What a trek! Walking to the cliff-face directly over the building, I came across this structure set into the ground. By the looks of it, it was buried for some time and was recently uncovered when the dirt was washed away. Decorated with a tile cross and about the size of a child’s grave, I couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t just that. I’ve not been able to find any information on it though.
No idea what this is meant to be, but I found it looking out from a house on the hike back down the hill.
I got a late lunch whilst waiting for the sun to get lower and took some pictures of various tile installations around town. It’s quite interesting to see the large design variety on structures and buildings. Below are two such examples.
Carrying all my gear up the hill again didn’t sound very appealing, so I hired a cab to take me part of the way. The sunset wasn’t spectacular, but the waning daylight still made for a great view.
To close off the post, here’s a shot of Avalon harbor just after dusk. Thanks for visiting!
I’m currently engaged in a project at my day job that is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever worked on. If it doesn’t kill me, there’s a good chance I might collapse into a whimpering heap, appearing only occasionally to buy sour candy and look handsome in a tuxedo.
Since I probably won’t be able to travel until March, and since I just got a new camera, I figured I should get one last photo road trip (or phroad trip, as the scientists call them) under my belt. The new camera is significantly more light-sensitive than my previous body, so I decided to head out to the Trona Pinnacles to get some shots of the Milky Way. Turns out, I’m really bad at that, but more on that in a minute.
Regular readers know that I’m crazy for abandoned places, so in my research on the route to Trona I found an abandoned military complex to visit. Unfortunately, the place had been severely worked over by idiots prior to my arrival, so what could have been a cool time capsule was instead a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
That said, some of it was kinda cool and/or funny, like this trailer blocking one of the roads into the town. Someone loves their zombie movies.
Payphone booths, now empty.
I’ve been to some pretty crazy places, but I still get nervous walking through dark hallways, even during the day. At times I feel like I’m one meth head away from a shiv to the kidney, so once in a great while I might have a weapon on me…
…particularly when there are zombies lurking about.
This is why we can’t have nice things. Not only are there tire tracks on the tile, but notice all of the holes smashed into the walls.
The best selfie I’ve ever taken.
I’m no expert, but I think fire alarm quality is reduced by bird nests built inside of them.
One of the things I’m always amazed at when I visit abandoned places is how shot up they are. Bullet holes are everywhere, proving that many gun owners are not at all responsible individuals. In the event that you had to be somewhere when an idiot started firing into a building, this is actually a good spot to be: that door, as the entrance to a justice center, is fairly bullet proof.
It took a beating, but very little of the glass was actually punctured all the way through.
Continuing up the road the traveler goes through Johannesburg, California, home to one of the the loneliest playgrounds in the world.
The Trona Pinnacles are the really interesting remnants of springs that bubbled up from the bottom of an ancient lake that has since disappeared. Actually, I say interesting, but they’re likely super boring unless you’re a photographer or a geologist. Visit once for sure, but you probably don’t need too long if you’re not there to take pictures.
This shot was taken from several miles away, so you can see how big the tufa formations are. In the foreground are some semi-abandoned train cars from the semi-abandoned “city” called Trona. (Fun fact: the Trona high school football team has one of the only all-dirt football fields in the world.)
Two questionable attempts at industrial art:
Note the cars in this shot. They really show how big some of these things are.
As the sun sets, some of the rocks and hills take on really interesting colors.
Returning back to my earlier statement about being bad at Milky Way photography, I’ll complete the story: my new camera is pretty light sensitive compared to what I’m used to, so I figured the Milky Way would practically photograph itself. Turns out there’s a lot more to it, and I did a pretty bad job of the photos. Basically, I let in too many stars I didn’t want, and didn’t bring out enough of the galaxy that I did want. I also didn’t do enough homework to know that by far the best time to photograph the MW is around summer, when the galactic core is visible. I’m posting these photos as evidence that I still have a tremendous amount to learn. Hopefully in a few months I’ll have the right conditions to capture some truly awesome photos.
So, about the Japanese tourist I almost hit with my truck: the pinnacles are in the middle of nowhere, and once the moon sets the valley they’re in becomes pitch black. The main body of pinnacles has a confusing series of roads that runs through them, and I was driving slowly in the inky darkness trying not to get lost. I drove over a rise in the road, and there, smack dab in the middle of this tiny little trail is a man with his tripod. He was very sorry that he was in the way, but asked very earnestly if I wouldn’t mind driving my truck into the rocks so that he wouldn’t have to move his camera, which was likely in the middle of a long exposure. A fellow photographer, I obliged him, but was even more annoyed when I got back on the road to find his car (with his friends inside) turned completely across the road, blocking it again. At least I had the satisfaction of knowing that I probably ruined his photo (insert evil laugh).
Having established that I’m a jerk, I’ll close with this next photo. While waiting in my nice warm truck for the moon to set (and the sky to darken), I put my old camera out in the cold to capture a four hour time-lapse of it going down.
Stay tuned for more (and hopefully better) photos from Trona in the future.
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