Sunday, June 28, 2009

LA Story

Today I took my wife and daughter on our yearly trek to Dodger Stadium to catch a ballgame. It was a warm and gorgeous summer afternoon -- Mackenzie informing us that today is the first day of summer according to her calendar that has "everything everyone in the world celebrates" -- and so it made for a fun afternoon. This despite the fact that our Boys in Blue lost 4-2, and our favorite, Andre Ethier, struck out twice. Despite being such miserable failure on the day we spent 80 bucks to see him hit a home run, we decided to forgive Andre anyway and on the way home Mackenzie named the free Webkins doll they handed out to all kids in attendance after him. Yes, he's already registered.

On the way out of the stadium we decided to show Mackenzie a little bit of the big city and by the time we drove down Grand Ave, past the Disney Performing Arts Center and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilian, both nestled beneath gleaming glass towers, she said from the back seat, "Now this is a city!" Earlier in the day, while on the way into LA, she had a running commentary on the ubiquitous "gar-feety" as she likes to describe the tagging that's all over the place. Apparently LA has the budget to clean only part of their town.

As we snaked through downtown LA, we were detoured as a movie crew was using a block to film a movie set in New York. A NY taxi, connected to a long beam off the back of a film truck went right past us, and given the amount of flood lights both outside and inside the dummy ride, it was obvious they were filming. I stopped and gawked. Hey, I'm as much a tourist as the next guy!

We finally found Olvera Street which dates back to 1871, the sign said. The little sightseeing walk would double as a cultural experience for our daughter and a trip down Memory Lane for Becky and me, as both of us had made several field trips to the historic site back in junior high days. It hasn't changed much. Just older than it already was.

What had changed was how I looked at the street. No longer looking for some trinket to buy out of my hard-earned allowance, I got to enjoy the smells and the color, and oh my, the color! It was everywhere! I tried to capture some of that in the images that follow. After strolling the lane, we crossed the street to check out Union Station, with it's art-deco design. It's like taking a step back in time.

This is a long post, but enjoy the images, leave a comment if you want!

Even the sky was Dodger Blue!

Dodger Stadium is now the third-oldest stadium in the Majors! Hard to believe!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chris and the Family

Chris Villanueva's life is about to take off. Literally. He leaves to enroll in the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Wednesday. He'll graduate in four years as an engineer and with a pilot's license. All on the government's tab.

Well, kindof. You see, I've had the opportunity to see Chris in action over the last four years, as he has both run on the cross country and track teams I've coached, and he kicked butt in my AP US History course during his junior year. The guy is talented, motivated, hard working and has his sights set on the sky. The Air Force Academy will be a perfect fit for him. So though Uncle Sam may pay the bills over the next four years, it was Chris's diligence over the previous four years that got him this golden opportunity!

He's also very photogenic and loves photography as I do, so it was fun to shoot him and his family before their life takes a big turn on Wednesday. He just graduated from King High with a GPA in excess of 4.0, having competed in three sports (soccer was the third) and excelled at every turn.

I enjoyed spending 90 minutes with the Villanueva clan -- and Katie, Chris's girlfriend too --in the days before Chris's departure; just as I enjoyed spending time coaching and teaching Chris during his successful four years in high school. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Details of the Big Day

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Architecture of Disney

One of the many amazing things about Disney is their ability to appeal to a 5 year old and a 50 year old at the same time. When I visited Disney World a year ago, my daughter had a grand time, but so too did my wife and I. One of the things I loved was the design, both landscape and structure.

Here are a few images of their architectural creativity ... from recreation of Mann's Chinese Theater, to Victorian, to a retro amusement park, to a building seemingly stolen from a Westerner's view of Africa. Pretty cool stuff.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Corona Brothers

Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph the sons of my friend and colleague, John Corona and his wife, Nannette. We utilized downtown Riverside and Fairmont Park, which is, in many respects NOT what a lot of folks in Riverside think it is. It's actually quite beautiful (in parts).

Like typical teens, it appeared the guys were going along with the shoot because they love their mom, but they were good sports and we had a good time.

Enjoy, leave a comment if you wish!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cool Clouds

This is So-Cal. We don't do weather. Thunder? Lightening? What's that?

Until today. A very strange thing happened -- we got clouds, and thunder and lightening, the whole works. It even pitter-pattered a few drops of something they told us on the weather channel is rain!

Clouds are cool. Thought I'd take a snap of them for other people who don't get to see them very often.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm proud to announce a new edition to our family, a Canon 50 mm 1.4. I know that doesn't mean a hill of beans to most, but let's just say I was excited for her arrival. She was delivered at 3:13 pm this afternoon. 1 pound 1 ounce. 3 inches tall.

I'm looking forward to using it on my next shoot! Friday!