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Salvation by Way of East Jesus

Jake Reinig travel photographer

Location: Salton Sea, Bombay Beach, East Jesus, Slab City

(Editor’s note: Jake has been having trouble sleeping, so he took a sleeping pill before he started writing this. Please forgive its somewhat incoherent structure.)

(Author’s note: I don’t actually have an editor.)

My brother and I felt like taking a road trip adventure to the Salton Sea area, so we headed out to this little part of crazy this past weekend.  Our first stop was an abandoned city with an abandoned prison somewhere not anywhere close to the Salton Sea; unfortunately, while it’s no longer inhabited, it is decidedly unabandoned. Razor wire and security were onhand, but apparently, my social engineering skills were not.  Undeterred, I’m now trying to find a route via the owners. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Because of the distance, it was late in the day by the time we made it to the lake, so we opted to shoot sunset at Bombay Beach, home to a large number of destroyed buildings from the lake’s sordid past.  Unfortunately, in the few years since I was last there, most of the structures have been totally wrecked. This is one of the last ones still standing.

Building ruin, Bombay Beach

Salton Sea sunset

Sunday we made our way to East Jesus, an artistic community in the midst of the crazy lost settlement called Slab City. East Jesus has some pretty rad installations, this tower being one of them.

East Jesus tower, Salton Sea

Mirror doll,, East Jesus, Salton Sea

Salvation Mountain at Slab City.

Salvation Mountain, Slab City, Salton Sea

Walter the bus, East Jesus, Salton Sea

The “trophy room” at Salvation Mountain.

Salvation mountain detail, Slab City, Salton Sea

The room was full of trinkets; “laser cats” was my favorite.

Salvation mountain detail, Slab City, Salton Sea

Another sunset shot at Bombay Beach.

A bird hunting at sunset, Salton Sea

Interior of Salvation Mountain.

Salvation mountain, Slab City, Salton Sea

Salvation Mountain, Slab City, Salton Sea

A random sand dune that unexpectedly swallowed a road we were driving on. Guess we didn’t want to go to that wrecked neighborhood anyway.

Sand dunes, Salton Sea

Salvation Mountain truck, Slab City, Salton Sea

We had high hopes to do some star photography, but the moon was too full and waaay too bright. Long exposures made the ground look like day. Sort of bored, we decided to try our hand at making our own burning bushes. We’re making plans to go back to East Jesus on an upcoming new moon and do some night work with the installations. With any luck we’ll have more interesting results from that.

Long exposure, box canyon near the Salton Sea

Apparently, this station has been closed for a few years.

Gas station of years past

Terrible psychiatric advice, East Jesus, Salton Sea

Hopefully this mannequin doesn’t get anyone in trouble at work. I mean, she does have geese bodies for arms.

Goose girl, East Jesus, Salton Sea

The difference between me and my brother: he climbs my truck to get a better view of cows, while I try to shoot the abandoned factory. Obviously, I’m way cooler, and I’m pretty sure my grandmother would agree.

Nate with cows at the abandoned factory near Salton Sea

East Jesus, now with 25% more goose parts.

First floor of the tower, East Jesus, Salton Sea

Dear sleeping pill: please don’t let me dream about this guy tonight, especially since I know you’re not going to let me wake up when I need to.

Chimpanzee boy,, East Jesus, Salton Sea

To wrap up, here’s two variations on sunset from the shores at Bombay Beach. With a returned trip planned for the near future, I’ll hopefully have better stuff for you guys next time.  As always, thanks for stopping by.

Salton Sea sunset long exposure

Salton Sea sunset long exposure

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OC Coastline Retrospective

Jake Reinig, travel photography

Locations: Orange County beaches. Subject: Orange County Beaches (duh)

I’ve been trying this thing called “photography” with some regularity since about 2007ish. While our relatively nice Orange County weather cuts down on the number of interesting sunsets we have (no clouds), an evening spent at the beach is never wasted in my book. And so, over the last five years I’ve taken hundreds of photos at OC beaches. Since we’re about to leave our preteen years in a few days for the grown up two-thousand-teens, I thought I’d put together a collection of some old and new coastal shots from what I hope was my adolescent photographic period.  Maybe the next five years will bring some good stuff for a change.

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll recognize a lot of these. Either way, thanks for visiting!

I know the colors in this image look unbelievable, but they’re real. I actually had to tone down the pink a little to get the blue sky to come back a bit.

I shot this at the Bolsa Chica wetlands with a 500mm lens. That’s Long Beach Harbor in the distance.

Self-portrait. Note to self: take off headphones next time.

This is my cousin and cousin-in-law and their “family.” This was taken above Newport Beach as part of a Christmas card set.

Another self-portrait, and a great example of what a shot looks like when you forget to rotate your graduated ND filter.

This next shot is the result of a 4-minute exposure. I don’t do many exposures that long because of our sparse cloud cover, but am always happy when I have the opportunity.

For my last shot, an image taken at Victoria Beach. Thanks for coming by!

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Recapping Europe 2012 -or- Why I Probably Have Super Powers

Jake Reinig, travel photography

My friend John married his lovely bride Svetlana this year, not long after I got back from visiting the wrecked nuclear site of Chernobyl near Kiev, Ukraine. Svetlana is from Russia, and some of her friends were in town from that part of the world.

Introduced to a few of them, they jokingly took several steps back as if I was radioactive.  Even though one does get a “healthy” dose of radiation at Chernobyl, it’s not something the average visitor needs to worry about.

Interestingly enough, many pilots and flight attendants get more radiation dosage than employees of nuclear facilities, and apparently, might get more annual radiation dosage than almost any other profession. Frequent flyers run the risk as well.

But, let’s see: I spent a decent amount of time at Chernobyl, so that’s about 2/3 the annual dosage of a radiation worker in that one trip. On top of that, in roughly the past year I’ve flown back and forth to Europe twice, flown between the UK, Paris, and Ukraine a few times, went to New Orleans twice, San Antonio, and Hawaii, plus several other trips I can’t remember.

Hmmm…maybe the wedding guests were right to step back a little. Nevertheless, I wonder which super power I’ll eventually get. I hope it’s not something dumb like being a Wonder Twin.

All kidding aside, I was very fortunate to be able to travel as much as I did this past year. In a few weeks I’ll do a recap of 2012 in its entirety, but I wanted to cover some of my favorite shots from my trips to Europe. Since people seem to like pictures of the famous landmarks more than street scenes, I concentrate more on the former here. And, since I already talked at length in my previous posts (here, here, here, here, and here) I’m not going to say much this time.

Hope you like the photos!


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Paris and Beyond, Part 3: Saying Goodbye

Jake Reinig, travel photography

My original introduction has been removed, so if you read the comments you might be a little confused. Maybe someday it’ll be back. 

I have another couple of posts from France that I’ll put up, but this is the last one of a general nature. In a few days I’ll be posting about French street art and will also do a “best of” post. Until then, I hope you enjoy this last big set.

The two staircases at the Arc de Triomphe are arduous to say the least. Don’t want to go down? Sneak into the semi-hidden disabled persons elevator next to the gift shop.


Local flora at the Jardin des Plantes. In addition to the gardens, there are a number of great museums here, as well as a zoo. I don’t recall its name, but if you go skip the greenhouse/botanical museum thing. Boooooooooooooooooring.



A friend of mine is obsessed with chandeliers, so I was on the lookout for photos I could take for her (this one is at Versailles). Curiously, I’ve always found them interesting too, likely the result of staring at my grandmother’s large crystal chandelier for most of my childhood. It bugged me to no end that the candles were so crooked on this one.


Toy moulins (windmills) in a shop window near my apartment in the wonderful Butte aux Cailles neighborhood.



The Louvre is an amazing place, but: it’s unimaginably massive, and as you can see below, it’s also insanely crowded at times. Most museums in Paris close on Mondays, so on this particular rainy Monday, that meant everyone wanted to get inside the one museum that seemed to be open.


Sculpture at the wonderful Parc de Bercy.


Something about the woven mask on this mummy haunts me. I don’t know if it’s too many horror movies of monsters with missing faces, or if it’s my brain trying to figure out why there are no features. Either way, I think the funerary garments are beautiful.


The beautiful interior of Sainte-Chapelle.

Iya Traore performs in front of Sacre Coeur. Watch a video of his awesome skills here.

Sculpture at Église Saint-Louis des Invalides.

One of my favorite locks at Pont de l’Archeveche.

Disneyland Paris is awesome, but for someone who grew up within miles of the original park in Anaheim, it feels like some strange doppelganger. It seems…sterile in comparison.  Nevertheless, jump on the RER and head out if you get a chance. It’s a great place with a lot of really fun rides (make sure to go on Big Thunder).  This is a shot of “Phantom Manor,” a “scarier and darker” version of the ride than at other parks (as seen from the steamboat landing).

The animatronic dragon beneath the castle. Sorry for the junk picture; I didnt have a tripod and it’s about negative one-thousand dark in the cave.

Scary “Small World” doll is scary.

I don’t normally colorize my images much, but it’s been more than 30 years since I’ve had a “first time at Disneyland” experience; I don’t have any photos from the first first time, so I thought it only fitting I have one that looked like it.

My mom and aunts visited for a little while. They visited the souvenir shops for long whiles. Here’s two of the three in their natural habitat.

In the crypt of the Pantheon.

The Elizabeth Tower (home of “Big Ben“) in London.

Resting place of a young Parisian.

The roof and chandelier in the beautiful Palais Garnier (also called Opera Garnier)

Mass at Notre Dame de Paris.



My daily view as I left my apartment.

Parisian sparrows hold court at Parc de Bercy.


Sacre Coeur, as seen from the Belvedere of Sybil at the delightful Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

The centerpiece of the park is the lake and artificial island pictured here. The so-called “suicide bridge,” near the left of the picture, gets you access to the Corinthian-style Belvedere on top of the island.

Prayers drift in the dark of Notre Dame.

Ghost fish at the Paris aquarium.

Play time, as shot from the top of the Centre Pompidou.

Sacre Coeur near sunset.

Late night traffic at Mont Saint-Michel.

Long exposure of the Moulin Rouge. If you want a unique experience, get off the metro at Pigalle and walk to the theater. And by “unique,” I mean be the object of attention for adult store workers or drug dealers. Unless you want to be (literally) robbed, don’t go into any of the clubs here unless you’re fluent in French.

My last photo of the post, dedicated to Andrew. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you to Paris for being so good to me.

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Paris and Beyond, Part 2: Getting Up, Getting Out, and Causing Super AIDs

Jake Reinig, travel photography

“I hope that man gets swine flu,” I muttered under my breath. I didn’t really mean it, of course, but I’m occasionally an impatient photographer, and people kept walking into my shot. I was standing near the top of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel in a light drizzle, desperately trying to get a photo as the sun broke through the clouds.

As one group would leave my frame some other person would walk in. Rather than keep moving, they’d find the one spot that made it impossible for me remove them later, and would camp out and take pictures or rummage through their backpacks.

“Your shots are going to be terrible,” I’d say. “Your family called. They said they don’t want to see your pictures when you get back, so maybe you should just keep walking.”

Just moments before I was hanging over a wall/cliff, trying to shoot part of the abbey that jutted out dramatically over the water. A set of doors in the lower wall was apparently a human factory, as people just streamed out of it like it was some magical womb that produced French adults.

Hopefully I don’t have any magic powers, as about 60 people will now have various diseases, including hantavirus and super AIDs. If that did, in fact, happen to you, I’m very sorry about your typhoid. But really, it’s your fault since you took so long to move.

This dapper chap lives at Passy Cemetery.

The chapel at Versailles.

View of the Seine from the top of the Eiffel Tower.


The Eiffel Tower, as seen on my first day in France, shot from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

One of the things I love about Paris is the amount of green space spread around the city. There was a neat little park behind my apartment, and I discovered this hidden gem (Jardin Michelet) while walking nearby. Tucked between some large apartment buildings, most people passing by probably had no idea it existed.

One of the themes I was committed to working on was the Eiffel Tower reflected in puddles. One of the days I wanted to try it ended up being super rainy, so I ducked into the aquarium at the Trocadero. It was really dead.

One part of the museum has a massive wall with giant, swimming animals projected on it. Across from the wall are balls that visitors can spin that turn these animals in all directions. Feeling a little mischievous  I waited until I was alone in the hall and turned all the animals upside down. Like giant goldfish on their way to Valhalla, they dutifully floated that way for a few minutes. I laughed quietly to myself as confused children entered the room.



Detail of the altar thing (pulpit?) at the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle.

Long exposure at the Arc De Triomphe, site of one of the craziest traffic circles in the world.

Paris has a lot of awesome flower shops, all of which seem to treat their window displays as works of art.

Although I think the Rodin gardens are a wonderful place to spend time, I personally don’t like Rodin’s work for the most part. Bored trying to shoot “The Thinker,” I found this flower more appealing in the end.

Interesting skull art in the Oceania portion of the Louvre.

Hot chocolate art in a French cafe.

Sharks in waiting at the aquarium.

Young love on the Seine.


A path of reflection, at the beautiful Albert Kahn gardens.

I hadn’t originally planned on visiting the Palace of Versailles when I visited France this time.  Pictures of the gardens I had seen made them seem sort of boring, and I don’t personally find palaces and such very interesting. I mean, it’s cool to see how the kings and queens lived and to learn about the insane ritual that followed them every second of every day, but it’s not really my bag.

Nevertheless, Versailles turned out to be one of my favorite places in Paris. Marie Antoinette’s estate (specifically the Queen’s Hamlet) is incredible, and is something you absolutely have to visit if you’re in Paris. If you can make it out there, I’d encourage you to spend time at the main palace, and then spend the rest of your day at her estate. Skip the Grand and Petit Trianon palaces if you’re limited on time.  I ended up visiting twice, and would have gone back again if I had more time.

This next group of photos are all from the Queen’s Hamlet, which Marie Antoinette had built to escape the rigors of court life at Versailles. Built to resemble a rustic French village, it’s almost startling how simplistically beautiful it all is compared to the grandeur of the nearby palaces.

The Temple of Love.


The moulin (or mill). The wheel itself is only decorative, and doesn’t actually connect to any machinery inside the building. The queen built what was essentially her own Disneyland (see the rock fountain below).

Part of the estate is still a working farm and vineyard.

This guy lived at the farmhouse. Because of his two-face coloration, I named him Louis Antoinette in honor of the king and queen who last lived here. He seemed to like it.

I wasn’t going to make this joke, but I think it’s clear you forced me to: there is a fair amount of livestock to be found through Versailles. Here, your mom poses with some of them. (Hey-oh!)

The Tour de Marlborough, built to resemble a lighthouse.

The queen’s house and billiard room. About 12 people contracted the plague while I waited for this shot, if my magical powers are as good as I think they are.

Another shot of a farm house in the hamlet.

The structure on the right is called the Belvedere Pavilion, and is a neat little building. Having fallen on hard times since being used for music and dance prior to the French Revolution, it recently got a face lift.

The structure to the left is listed simply as “the Rock” on the maps provided to tourists. Built in the 1700s, it’s actually a man-made structure that has small waterfalls starting from the upper levels.  A small grotto with a peep hole and staircase allowed the queen to hide from annoying guests.

Leaving Versailles now, here’s a shot of the wonderful Sacre Coeur as seen peeking between an installation at the Centre Pompidou.

Invalides, as seen from the Eiffel Tower.

The artist’s square is a neat place to hang out in Montmartre, near Sacre Coeur, but if anyone offers you a free portrait, it’s best to say no. This man sits for a paid portrait. Note the third face on the wall.

The Mona Lisa is a small, inconsequential painting at the Louvre surrounded by other works of art far more interesting. And yet, for some reason, it is always swamped.  It’s so strange. Notice that it’s set behind like 6 inches of bullet proof glass, while all the other works are in open air.  So odd….

If you want to see it up close, keep your hands on your belongings. Pickpockets are known to operate in the tight crowd.

Prayer, Mont Saint-Michel. Not pictured: a sign just out of frame that says “no pictures.” Sorry sign, but I couldn’t pass it up.





Note the white border around the columns in this shot. They mark the edges of a window that is a looooong way up the side of the abbey at Mont Saint-Michel in the cloister, which saw construction begin in the 13th-century. As you can imagine, the window wasn’t there originally. I’m pretty sure that prior to the 20th-century people knew that accidentally walking off this ledge would be fatal, so it amuses me that there’s no balcony or railing or anything. Many a monk was likely lost to a mis-thrown football.

Chaos in the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe.

The Grand Arche of the Defense. Go here if you can.



Finally, the shot I was waiting for at Mont Saint-Michel. Just a few minutes earlier the lighting was more dramatic, but what are you gonna do? Mostly alone for a moment, I took a breath and pressed the shutter, thankful at last for a decent shot.

My picture taken, I promptly walked across the garden and stood at the wall for like 5 minutes.

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Paris and Beyond, Part 1: 300 Miles to Everywhere

Jake Reinig, travel photography

The last day of my trip to Paris, France, was the most stressful one of the trip by far. Confusion over the navette from my hotel to Charles de Gaulle airport got me there incredibly late, leading me to practically sprint through the claustrophobic walkways of the annoyingly designed terminal 2.  Wayward children choked on their crepes and leapt from my path as I navigated a luggage cart towards my check-in counter, conveniently placed at the opposite side of the airport from where I was dropped off. Sweat literally dripping from my face, I pulled up to see the staff closing the luggage doors. I was not happy.

5 weeks earlier I had been in this same airport, much more relaxed (albeit just as exhausted) as I made my way to the RER train station. Nary a child was injured in the journey to the apartment I had rented near Place d’Italie in the super charming Butte aux Cailles neighborhood. My employers had graciously allowed me to work remotely from Paris, so during the day I got to run loose photographing the city and worked at night on a roughly California timeline.

Over the next 3-4 posts I’ll be sharing a selection of photos I took in Paris, Mont Saint-Michel, and London. In the 5 weeks I was abroad, I walked almost 300 miles and took more than 1,000 photos, most of which are complete junk. Even so, my one real regret is not doing more candid street photography, which will be rectified on my next such trip.

I got to know Paris exceedingly well and plan on doing  a practical guide  a little later. In the meantime, if you or anyone you know are planning to visit France, feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any questions. I’m happy to help!

Oh, and as for the airport: I got checked in with three minutes to spare.  I’m having a terrible time readjusting to the atrociously boring pace of life in Orange County; maybe I should have done more to “accidentally” miss my flight. ;)

This is how I brought my California workspace to Paris (although the wine was consumed while I wasn’t working, I promise!).  The large monitor is actually the apartment’s TV, pressed into service as a second monitor.

A bridge in the Japanese garden at the wonderful Albert Kahn museum and gardens.

Opera Garnier is the setting for the Phantom of the Opera. The placard on this door pays tribute to the location where the phantom sat.

Self-portrait at the Pompidou modern art museum.

Headstone decoration at the aristocratic Passy cemetery.  Some of the most magnificent funerary art can be found at this small cemetery near the Eiffel Tower.

The Tower Bridge in London.

Interesting flowers near my apartment.

This Mustang in the middle of Montmartre was one of the more unusual sites I saw while in Paris.

Bookseller on the Seine near Notre Dame.

My friend Jen poses near Notre Dame while we take a break on the Seine.

“What are you looking at?” Mont Saint-Michel.



About the time I arrived in Paris, many in the Muslim world were upset about an obnoxious American film, and a week later, about some offensive cartoons published in a Parisian magazine. A small protest-turned-small-riot happened near the US embassy in Paris, and it was rumored that more of this might happen the next weekend.

Never one to shy away from danger (i.e. “Jake is often stupid”), I decided to go looking for trouble. I happened to be near Gare d’Austerlitz when I saw a huge contingent of Gendarmes (para-military police) organizing and hung around a bit. A short while later a large group of young people began thronging a nearby bridge, so I headed in their direction. Within minutes I was surrounded not by angry Muslims, but by what seemed to be a million young French revelers at the Techno Parade 2012. I have never seen so many people in my life. Dora seems genuinely surprised too.

In order not to be overwhelmed, I climbed up on top of some sort of large electrical box and shot photos for an hour or two until the parade had passed me, leaving an army of very efficient street sweepers in its wake.

Behind them came another large team of Gendarmes, decked out in riot gear.

Lots of people were doing stupid stuff (like climbing on top of bus stops and trees and traffic lights), but fortunately, I didn’t see anyone get injured. Later, however, I happened to walk by a triage facility and noticed a fairly large number of people being treated for who knows what.

This old lady was dancing like a maniac on her balcony. The crowd loved her, despite the fact that she wasn’t really very good at dancing to electronica.

This shot shows a small portion of the parade as it makes its way towards my neighborhood. Like I said, it was insaaaaane how many people there were.


Towards the end of my trip I stayed with a friend in a small, sleepy suburb of Paris. In the middle of the river is a small island (actually two islands that look like one) nicknamed “hippy island” for its eccentric populace. At one end of the island is an abandoned waterpark of sorts. Unfortunately, because the island is private I wasn’t able to make it over. Regular readers know that I’m a junky for abandoned buildings and such, so it was painful to be so close to a site like this without being able to get to it.



Dueling Eiffel Towers and a full moon, shot from the Trocadero.

Long exposure shot inside the Pantheon.

Parisian cemeteries are super fascinating for their imaginative graves and mosoleums. Someone must have managed this particular grave for a while in order to get the tree to wrap the headstone in this manner.


I like doing panning photographs, but oddly enough, only tried it twice. This was shot near the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle.

I don’t recall where this was shot, and am currently too lazy to look it up in my journal. So, you’ll just have to take my word that it was somewhere nice.

Marie Antoinnete and Louis XVI were basically dumped in the Madeleine cemetery after their executions during the French Revolution. Several decades later, during the Bourbon restoration, their remains were exhumed and moved to the royal necropolis at the Basilica of St. Denis. Note: the Basilica is absolutely worth a visit, but it’s in the poor suburb of St. Denis. Be mindful of your surroundings if you do go out there and be prepared to see some sad sights, including a large corps of injured and disfigured beggars.

Note the discoloration of the queen’s boosies; that’s what happens after 200 years of people disrespecting a grave site.  Oddly enough, for as many important sculptures as there are at St. Denis (kings and queens from the 500s are here), visitors can get right up next to most of them. Some of the monuments have been heavily defaced by idiots carving initials and names into them. Marie Antoinette has been heavily groped, but appears to have avoided being carved on.

Here’s a rear shot of the memorial statue of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

The face of Medusa, hanging in the Pompidou.

A section of the abandoned Petite Ceinture, not far from my apartment in the wonderful Parc Montsouris.


The king’s view, at the Palace of Versailles.

Inside Hotel des Invalides.


The London Eye near sunset.

I went to the Paris Aquarium at the Trocadero one rainy day. I have no idea why, but this little red light in one of the exhibits fascinated me. I think people were confused by why I was photographing it for like 10 minutes.

This guy (Iya Traore) puts on one of the best shows in Paris just outside Sacre Coeur (one of my favorite places in Paris).  If you’re up there, make sure to watch if he’s performing.

I love the interior of Invalides. The design of the dome and its surrounding alcoves makes for really interesting wide angle photos.

Long exposure near sunset at Mont Saint-Michel. Unfortunately, major construction is being done on the causeway, so I wasn’t able to leave it to get more shots. Even so, it was a pleasure to watch the sun set over this interesting site.

Incidentally, I say “unfortunately” above, but really, the construction is a good thing. Mont Saint-Michel used to be a frequent island when the tide rose, but since the construction of the causeway in the 1800s, water can’t circulate correctly and much of the bay has been silted in. It’s only an island during extremely high tides now. The work is being done to change the causeway into a bridge, which will allow water to properly flow once again. I hope to go back in a few years once the work has been done.

This shot of the Eiffel Tower is my last for this post. Check back in a few days for the next set of photos from Paris. Thanks for looking!


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Rushing Towards July

Jake Reinig, travel photography

A year ago my good friend Gavin was born, and it’s been amazing watching him grow in the duration.  I had the good fortune to chase him around over a couple of days as his birthday drew near; below are some of my favorites.

Work paused while G took a “chase the duck” break.

“Oh, you want me to hold still and not crawl on your reflector? Too bad.”

Late in the day I got a little too much motion blur, but this is probably my favorite.

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Seasets VIII: A Study in C Minor

Jake Reinig, travel photography

I’ve been having an incredibly difficult time getting motivated to photograph, well, anything recently, but especially Orange County. In an effort to shake off this couch related inertia, I assigned myself the project of going to the same location on multiple days to shoot the same scene and see what I could come up with. “Heck,” I reasoned, “even if I don’t want to shoot it’s better to enjoy a sunset at the beach than be at my apartment.”

“Me,” I said, “you’re pretty smart sometimes.” And then I gave myself a high five.

I decided to make little Corona Del Mar beach my target. Although I spent a considerable amount of time listening to French lessons and an audio book, I spent more time listening to amazing classical music. “Me,” I said, “that last piece was in C Minor, which is a funny nickname you could give to ‘Little Corona.’ You should call it that on your blog. Women will throw themselves at your feet, you’re so clever.”

I’ve seen nary a woman, but I do have some ok photos, so I thought I’d share them with you. Maintenant, je vous présente mes photos de la plage de plusieurs jours. 

Some kelp drifted into the neighborhood, so the crabs had a party. Except the big ones, who decided being in the open with a big target that said “My guard’s down, come eat me” wasn’t in their best interest.

How’s this for light pollution? I’m looking at you, Newport Beach.

Long exposure self-portrait.

And finally, a super long exposure about 30 minutes after sunset.

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In the Flower Fields the Poppies Blow

Jake Reinig, travel photography

My brother—the failed alchemist—and I went to the Carlsbad flower fields today. Despite having lived in San Diego for exactly 0 days, I never knew this place existed. I’m not sure what it’s actual purpose is, but it’s pretty cool. I do wish you could actually walk through some of the fields, but that aside, it’s still a nice way to spend an afternoon.

(Note: I don’t think there are any actual poppies. I just like McCrae’s poem about World War I.)

On the way home we swung by Trestles to see if any good sunset photos presented themselves, but not a whole lot came along. After a few bird photos we turned and trudged up the long path back to my motor coach.


The aforementioned brother takes a stroll.

There was a surprisingly small number of bees. With millions of flowers onsite, we expected to see more than the 6 or so we did encounter.

Signs everywhere tell you to stay out of the fields, but apparently the rules aren’t always adhered to.  :)

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Mcdonald’s (Paris), Je T’aime

Jake Reinig travel photographer

Location: Paris, Giverny

Subjects: Cool buildings, flowers, Eiffel Tower, dead people, more!

After some time in London and Kiev I headed over to Paris for about a week.  Lufthansa demonstrated its hatred for me again by massively delaying a flight on this leg as well, causing me to run like a madman across Munich airport with my pants halfway down my butt (my belt was still off from security) and one of my shoes in hand. I was super sick and so super annoyed, but at least I looked like a homeless person, so that was nice.

I laid low that first night and planned on spending it safely and warmly in my hotel bed getting well, but because their WiFi wasn’t working and because they apparently didn’t care about fixing it, I spent most nights in a nearby McDonald’s that had free WiFi. They saved my rear, as I was able to work and keep in contact with home. They also had automated kiosks in English, which made ordering copious amounts of caramel sundaes very easy. So, thanks McDonald’s! I’ll name my first born after you some day.

Before I get to the photos, some quick complaints: Europe hates ice, so don’t expect to get any. Paris apparently doesn’t like to convenience its customers, as no one seems to offer free WiFi. Also, I really don’t understand why public toilets are a) nearly non-existent and b) always cost money in Europe. Based on my years as a Craigslist urologist I feel confident in saying that the majority of humans possess a bladder and occasionally need to empty it when they’re visiting tourist venues. Apparently this medical breakthrough hasn’t made it to Europe yet. Finally: while we’re wasting time on a War on Terror ™ Europe has waged a very successful war on drinking fountains. Thank god that scourge has been eliminated.

Oh, and two things you should know about me: First, I have the uncanny ability to get nice weather when I travel. Photographers like interesting clouds, but I never seem to get them. So, travel with me if you want pleasant weather. Second, I know that complications arise when you’re traveling overseas. You can go to a modern country like Italy where they have modern trains, but for some reason you can only buy a ticket for them from one guy who works at an unmarked desk in a closet and only accepts cash on odd days of the week and only if the one pen he owns has enough ink in it to write out the ticket on a carbon copy form. France is a little better, but if a kiosk isn’t working there’s a good chance someone is on strike. In other words, I know I should allow extra time to get to critical transportation points. For some dumb reason though, I ignore this and pretend they work like we do and never leave enough time. So, if you like good weather and like the thought of hearing me curse under my breath while sprinting through a train station, I’m the guy to travel with.

Ok. Let’s be done with all that, shall we? On to the photos.

After my Friday travel day I headed off to the Pantheon first thing Saturday morning. Wow, what a place that is. This photo taken from a nearby street doesn’t do justice to how massive it is.

Pantheon, as seen from a nearby street

View of the expansive main dome.

Interior dome of the Pantheon

There are a series of large, beautiful paintings portraying the life of Joan of Arc. This is the 4th panel in which she is to be burned at the stake. Joan of Arc painting

The "altar" of the Pantheon

The Foucault pendulum in action. A time-keeping pendulum at the Pantheon

Notre Dame de Paris was a zoo on Saturday, so I just shot it from the outside. I love when places merge the modern with the ancient, in this case a children’s soccer match. I’m not sure what happened to the color balance in this photo, but I’m apparently too lazy to correct it right now so you get this version.

Note the kid in red getting ready to kick the ball when it comes down. He did–and hard–and positively wrecked another kid who got in the way.

Kids playing soccer outside of Notre Dame Cathedral

A properly color balanced, exterior shot of of the main stained glass window at Notre Dame. Even though the cathedral itself is around 1,000 years old, most of the stained glass is about 200 years old. The originals portraying religious icons were destroyed in the French Revolution.

Exterior detail of the main window at Notre Dame Cathedral

In a few places in the heart of Paris are bridges containing locks with names on them. One very near to Notre Dame had more than I saw at others. I would guess there are hundreds of thousands of them possibly.

Locks of Love on a bridge near Notre Dame

Some of the locks, like this one, are super interesting.

Interesting lock on bridge near Notre Dame

Winged Victory (of Samothrace) on display at the Louvre.

Winged Victory at the Louvre, long-exposure

Ceiling of my favorite room at the Louvre.

Interior of a room at the Louvre

Surprise refrigerator!

Surprise refrigerator on the streets of Paris

Justin Bieber joins the greats near the Eiffel Tower.

Justin Bieber graffiti near the Eiffel Tower

This is the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. Not only is it beautiful on the outside, it’s breathtaking on the inside. Like the jerks at Westminster Abbey, they don’t allow you to take photos inside, however. Don’t they know I have a blog I need to update?

Not only is it beautiful inside and out, it’s also 1,000 miles up the top of a hill. My friend advised me to take the back way to avoid the crowds, which is nice, but man is it a steep climb. If you visit, go on the weekend when a cool art market happens.


An altar in the crypt.

Crypt at Sacre-Coeur

This man was playing “Let it Be” by the Beatles. It was amaaaaazing. Doubly so because he hauled that heavy harp to the top of the hill, which probably took him about 6 months.

Harp player at Sacre-Coeur

This guy was probably the coolest street performer I’ve ever witnessed. Most of the time he would balance on that tiny rail where the white sign is and kick a soccer ball around, which was cool by itself. But then he’d climb and do tricks on the light pole whilst spinning the ball on a stick in his mouth. I wanted to give him a high five after the performance but he was too busy impregnating 100 beautiful women by merely glancing at them.

Soccer performer at Sacre-Coeur

Remember how Sacre-Coeur is at the top of Mount Everest? I’d suggest taking a rest before you do the climb to the top of the church. It’s a breathtaking view of Paris, but unless you have wings it’s difficult to do both walks back to back like I did.

Eiffel Tower as seen from the top of Sacre-Coeur

One of the days I headed over to Père Lachaise Cemetery, possibly the most visited cemetery in the world. It’s also the largest above ground one I’ve ever been to and is indescribably big. It’s also a thing of beauty, as there is some amazing art here.

Yes, this is a tomb shaped like a cave.

Cave tomb at Pere Lachaise

The stained glass artwork in many of the tombs is worth the visit on its own. A lot of it was destroyed, but what remains is pretty cool.

Stained glass art in tombs at Pere Lachaise

Stained glass art at Pere Lachaise

Stained glass art at Pere Lachaise

I wonder what sin this family committed to have their tomb turned into a storage shed for the grounds crew.

Abandoned crypt at Pere Lachaise, now used for gardening

There were a number of interesting busts and life-size statues. I wondered if this one inspired the engineers who created the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Interesting bust at Pere Lachaise

Jim Morrison’s grave, which was crazy busy. It’s cordoned off but still obviously gets a lot of attention. If I were dead I’d hate to be buried by this guy.

Jim Morrison's grave at Pere Lachaise

House-like tomb at Pere Lachaise

This is the tomb of Oscar Wilde. For the last 100 years women have kissed the tomb while wearing red lipstick as part of a tradition. Heavily damaged by the attention, it was repaired and encased in glass a few years ago.

Tomb of Oscar Wilde

Cool street art. I gave a big smile to the genius who saw rib cages in the street grates.

Skeleton graffiti

My hotel was very close to the Eiffel Tower, so I shot it a lot. This is a shot near dusk.

Eiffel Tower at night

I took a train out to Giverny one day, home of impressionist painter Claude Monet. Hoping for cool weather (nope, nice and warm), I rented a bike to make the short ride out. That was loads of fun and put me by a lot of neat sites like this one.

Bridge ruins near Giverny

France was just starting to come to life with flowers, and this endless field was testament to this. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any closer because of a river and fence. Also, mad looking cows.

Wildflower field on the way to Giverny by bike

Surprise ostriches! Also, surprise alpaca!

Surprise ostriches near Giverny. Also, surprise alpaca.

Giverny has beautiful flower gardens, but unfortunately, they don’t let you get all that close to most of them.

Flowers at Giverny

Here’s a painting Monet did a century ago of the Japanese bridge.

And here’s what it looks like today.

Flowers at Giverny

Tulips at Giverny

I took the train home and sprinted off to the “Ballon Air de Paris” hoping to shoot the city at sunset from above. Unfortunately I was too late and was only able to get this photo as it descended from its last voyage. For more shots of the balloon in action, go here to the blog that inspired me to see it.

Ballon Air de Paris at sunset

Eiffel Tower through the trees at night

On Tuesday I visited  the Paris catacombs. According to my guide, the network of tunnels under Paris (of which the ossuary is just one part) has more mileage than the city above. Similarly, the 6 Million skeletons that reside here are more populous than the city of Paris itself. In fact, some of the chambers holding skeletons run for something like 15 miles.

This sign, describing the “empire of the dead,” welcomes you shortly after you start the tour.

Door in the Paris catacombs before entering the ossuary

Sculpture in the Paris catacombs

Skull, Paris catacombs

This is a statue of Joan of Arc in Notre Dame. Since I first saw this statue 10 years ago I’ve often felt sort of bad for her. She’s one of France’s most endearing heroes and all she gets is a pedestal and some candles.

Statue of Joan of Arc in Notre Dame

Great place for lunch!

Exterior of Notre Dame

More street art. I don’t remember what this was referring to (ba dum ching!).

"Forget" graffiti in Paris

This is the exterior of Les Invalides, a former military hospital, current military museum and resting place for some of France’s greatest military leaders (also: miltary). Napolean Bonaparte is interred underneath that huge dome.

Exterior of the Hotel des Invalides

Here’s his sarcophagus, which is absolutely massive and much bigger than it appears here. Hundreds of feet above him is that gold dome.

Napolean's massive tomb

The tomb of Ferdinand Foch, commander of French forces near the close of World War I.

Tomb of Ferdinand Foch at Invalides

The great altar. This is pretty incredible to see in person.

Altar at Invalides

Although I shot a ton of other stuff, I didn’t want to bore you by putting up much more of it. And so, I’ll close the post with a few more shots that I took of the Eiffel Tower at different times, including one at dawn (I didn’t know they still had dawn any more; people get up then?).

Eiffel tower at dusk

Eiffel Tower at night during the light show

Eiffel Tower at dawn

Thanks for checking out the post. Email me if you need help with logistics of getting around Paris or to Giverny. Now that I’ve sprinted through multiple train and metro stations, I’m a pro!

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