Monday, January 26, 2009

Three Ways

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Walking in LA

It is what it is

Friday, January 23, 2009

Empty Seats

A table at lunch time at a Los Angeles food court sits empty, where normally dozens of shoppers will fight for a seat. Despite the discounted environment of LA’s Grand Central Market, a blanket of economic uncertainty, as well as empty coin purses, prevent people from gratuitous spending.

LA’s Grand Central Market

Street Camping

Perhaps this is not just a "camper," but a home. I make it a habit to talk to folks with rigs like this to find out where they are from and where they are going. Everyone has a story, right? Unfortunately, no one was at home.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

LA's Italian Canals

In 1905, most of the LA beaches were mere empty strips of sand and marshland. That same year, millionaire Abbot Kinny bought a sizable swath of oceanfront property, dug out several miles of canals and called it “Venice.” Kinny wanted the canals to resemble those of Venice Italy. The California bungalows build along the waterfront didn't exactly bear a resemblance to Venetian architecture, but the canals and bridges did. However, some of the commercial buildings held a basic Venetian theme, especially those on the corner of Pacific and Windward Avenue.

The B&W photo was taken in 1909.

Street Camping

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunny Day

Lately, Southern California has had exceptionally warm weather. Classic shots of sunsets, green trees and water fountains seem a little overused in my collection, so I thought I would represent our sunny day trend with this shot.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

California Plaza

A man walks through a courtyard at the California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. Behind him are the tops of buildings, giving away its location. One of the landmarks is the Disney Concert Hall.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Historic Mtn Railway by Foot

In the early 1890s, two gentlemen, professor T.S.C. Lowe and engineer D.J. Macpherson embarked on an ambitious project. They planed on building a first-class hotel 1,400 ft (427 m) above the budding city of Pasadena. The mountain they chose was at 3,200 ft (945 m) and overlooked all of Los Angeles. Transporting the formally-dressed patrons was a problem, so they designed and built a funicular that whisked guests up the steep, 62% grade track to Echo Mountain called The Great Incline. On top, a 20-room chalet, an 80-room hotel and observatory were built which earned the resort “The White City.” Click on the black & white photo taken in 1896.

From atop Echo Mountain, another train took adventurers 4 miles (6 km) up to another resort in the oak and pine forest called “Ye Alpine Tavern.” One more ridge, only ½ mile away is Inspiration Point, which I featured yesterday.

Today’s photo is what’s left of that ill-fated railroad to the sky. Sadly, a series of floods, windstorms and fires wiped out every building and much of the narrow-gauge track. Eventually, the money ran out and the desire to rebuild was thwarted by immense disappointment.

Today, however, the hotel ruins, rail beds and even a few artifacts can be seen if you have the leg power to get there. I hike these trails and ruins nearly every week with a some hiking friends. The trail heads are literally minutes from my back door.

Inspiration Point

One of the many natural treasures we enjoy in Los Angeles is our local mountains. With temperatures near 80 degrees F (26 C) and almost unlimited visibility, our outdoor group hiked up to a lookout called Inspiration Point near Pasadena. From here, one can locate nearly every LA town, including Hollywood, Port of Los Angeles and Catalina Island.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Walkway at Night

A lone woman crosses a bridge over a freeway to catch the Metro Gold Line at night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Views of Downtown From the Canyon City

Azusa, CA--Not far from Downtown Los Angeles is a western-themed town nestled against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Incorporated in 1898, Azusa is one of the many scenic cities where highway travelers in the mid-century would stop in for a burger and a Coke along Route 66.

From Old Town Azusa (top photo), people can drive a few minutes up the canyon on HWY 39 and catch incredible views of our Southern California sunsets. The photo above was taken last night from within the canyon. LA’s skyline can be seen in the background.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Joshua On Crutches

Along Pearblossom Hwy in LA's high Mojave Desert stands a lone Joshua Tree, held up by wooden planks. Behind the Joshua Tree (which is actually a Yucca, not a tree) are fruit orchards, watered by the California Aqueduct, built in 1913.

The Joshua Tree, the largest of the yuccas, only grows in the Mojave Desert and is actually part of the Lily (Liliaceae) family.

Pasadena and Los Angeles are just on the other side of the San Gabriel Mountains shown in the background.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Horizontal Tower in Perris

Those not living in the Los Angeles area may not realize that we Angelinos live close to the iconic city of Perris; the other Paris, that is.

Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties all make up what is typically considered "The L.A. Area." Only minutes from the gritty city of Downtown LA can one find respite either at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, atop a towering mountain, the desert or along a dirt road in an endless field of strawberries.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hollywood Movie Location Revealed

Part of Hollywood magic is finding film locations that make movie-goers believe the actors are either in a remote, far away land or even another planet.

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, however, is not all that remote; the park is minutes away from a major highway in LA. Viewers of films like Star Trek, Bonanza, Zorro TV series, Buck Rogers, Batman, Austin Powers, and hundreds more, might think the actors were in another world, but no, they were only on the fringe of “Tinsel Town” know as Hollywood in my hometown of L.A. Click here for more info on the movies shot at Vasquez Rocks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Girls of Baywatch, 1917

Introducing the "Keystone Girls" of 1917. The photograph was taken at Venice Beach, about 15 miles from Los Angeles. These lovely bathing beauties, as they were affectionately called, were part of the Keystone Pictures Studio, famous for the Keystone Cops and where Charley Chaplin got his start.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunny Pasadena Trails

Meet Festus and friend (Festus being the hound). I ran into the two along the Lower Arroyo Seco during a hike Saturday. Festus is a tall, handsome dog with a gruff voice to match his front porch, coon-hunting persona. He wasn’t too sure about a Nikkor lens pointing at his face but he did let me capture his striking profile.

The Arroyo Seco is a shady dirt road and trail which winds along a stream, eventually transporting hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians to a number of wooded destinations, all within a five-mile walk from Pasadena.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Solar Blast

Luckily, I found a pole to steady my camera for this photo. I was late getting down the mountain but could not resist capturing this scene. As the sun was setting, the horizon above Los Angeles exploded in color.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dinosaurs Found in Desert

Not far from LA stands a most impressive collection of dinosaurs. Built nearly 30 years ago, motorist can pay $5.00 and walk back into time as well as inside the dinosaurs.

(Wow, we are experiencing an earthquake RIGHT NOW. Hold on…!)

All is OK for now…

The dinosaurs were built to attracted tourist to the Wheel Inn Restaurant next door, which opened in 1958. These prehistoric giants are another example of the near bygone art of vernacular architecture. I featured another example of this at the Wigwam Motel along Route 66.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We All Need It

A simple street scene in South Pasadena along Route 66. I like how the city decided to keep the Christmas decorations up a little longer. Open the photo and you will see the "Historic Route 66" sign on the second pole.

Hope from Knoxville, this one's for you, friend. :)

On Top of LA

Eighteen of us "Happy Hour Hikers" meet tonight atop Echo Mountain for our weekly Wednesday night hike. With a 3/4 moon and LA's bright lights illuminating the trail, we hardly needed flashlights. Two falling star sightings, great friends, food and drink made for a great start of 2009.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Drifting Along With the Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Down the way from the Desert Lodge Market is an open stretch of highway begging to be driven on. These are the highways dreams, songs and movies are made of, and I'm glad to part of them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chavez Ravine

Pasadenaadjacent commented on my Dodger Stadium post about having friends who were evicted from Chavez Ravine. Sadely, many families were forced to leave their homes in order to make room for the new stadium and public housing.

The top photo is Chavez Ravine in 1950. The second photo was taken during a forced eviction in 1959.

You can read more about Chavez Ravine here.

Digging Out Dodger Stadium, circa 1961

Construction on Dodger Stadium began in September of 1959. Lawsuits and landslides (some things never change in LA) forced the construction to be completed a year behind schedule. On April 10, 1962, over 52,000 baseball fans crammed the new state-of-the-art stadium, built to hold 50,000 people.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stormtrooper Sighting

Other than "LA is a melting pot of culters and lifestyles," I have no comment.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gremlin Greets Passersby

A growling creature caught my attention while walking past a home in Pasadena. There, on a front porch stood a snarling gremlin dressed in a red sweater and blue bow. I walked across the grass to get a closer look only to discover that the yapping beast was in fact only a dog.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rose Queen Photographer

I doubt the Tournament of Roses leadership appreciates their queen popping off shots from her point `n shoot.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Joshua Tree at Saddleback Butte

This photo was taken at dusk in the high desert town of Palmdale at Saddleback Butte State Park. The park has a campsite, complete with a camp host and a barking, four-legged sentry.

A sandy trail begins after a mountain lion warning sign at the camp and wanders past the human-like stands of Joshua Trees and thousand year old creosote bushes. After a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) hike up to Saddleback Butte at 3,651-foot (1113m), the desert sky opens up, offering spectacular views of the Southern California high desert as well as the snowy San Gabriel, San Bernardino and Southern Sierra ranges. More on this subject later....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pasadena's Rose Parade

Proud members of the Pasadena City Collage Marching Band. Today marked the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade.

Angels View from California Plaza

Two symbols of Los Angeles glow in the setting sun. From atop the California Plaza, one can see most of the eastern section of the city. Earlier this month, I featured the 1901, Angels Flight Railway, as well as the 1928 Los Angeles City Hall. Both are early examples of LA's diverse architecture.