Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deeply Routed in 66

Barstow, CA -- One after another popped up while driving with one eye on Route 66 and the other on buildings decorated in the old highway's glory day theme.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Route 66 El Rancho Motel

Barstow, CA -- A classic motel along Route 66 in the California high desert. Barstow is at one end of the National Trails Highway. This scenic byway gives the driver a never-ending show of historic buildings, 1930s era gas stations and cafes. Many of the building walls are abandon and surrounded by a fence but their spirit lives on.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Bottletree Man

Oro Grande, CA -- (Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Los Angeles along the National Trails Highway on the old Route 66 near Barstow)

He calls himself "The Bottletree Man" or just, "The Bottleman." He also goes by Elmer. A labor of love and an expression of artistic talent, this strip of desert land is yet another classic example of what one may find along California's old Route 66.

Elmer took us on a tour of his property after talking to another interested blogger, traveling from Santa Cruz in Northern California. The Bottleman was happy to tell his story of each artifact attached to the top of every bottletree. He said he's been retired for some time now and is happy working on his on-going project. He doesn't charge anything to wander the forest of empty glass Coke, 7-Up, Royal Crown Cola and even relics like the one printed on the side: "Frank M. Towne, Pharmacist. San Bernardino, Cal. Open all night." Each tree, of course, has it's own trophy welded on top collected by Elmer and even his dad.

A few of the artifacts on the trees are a shot gun, cash register, saxophone, two California Highway Patrol helmets, an antique Radio Flyer wagon, truck horn, various wheels, and even an old dresser top mirror his mother bought used in 1939. And that's only the beginning; he has over 400 trees!

Visit Elmer either in person or his blog at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mako Sharks of West Covina

West Covina, CA -- Until today, I didn't realize we had Mako sharks roaming the hills of LA.

While on a trail in Galster Wilderness Park, I ran into an amateur paleontologist. Wearing a loupe around his neck and a rock pick in his hand, Keith pulled out a handful of sharks teeth and set them on white paper. He said the teeth (pictured) are millions of years old and are abundant in the hills of the Park. He also showed me a fossil of a prehistoric fish, closely related to a sardine. He said the teeth were found on the trail within the last hour!

Fascinating and quite serendipitous.

Supporting Single Moms

Los Angeles -- While standing in line at the Pantry Cafe in LA, Vince was strutting his new, Christmas shirt for the passersby. I'm not a fan of what the shirt says (or it's meaning...) but I thought the photo was worth posting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cowgirl in Hollywood

Many of the movies filmed in "Hollywood" are in fact in Burbank, California. I guess Hollywood simply sounds better than Burbank.

I shot this photo at a neighborhood horse stable in Burbank, about a mile from Disney Studios. No, that's not Dale Evens, that's my Saddle Pal "Scout." I took a series of shots of her in different locations throughout the property; all reminiscent of the old western do-gooder cowboy flicks of the 40s and 50s.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ghost Town George

Randsburg, CA -- At first you might think this 2-wheel road warrior's name is Jake. But it's not--meet George.

George didn't bother removing his goggles for the photo but he sure enjoyed having his picture taken. Randsburg is full of interesting people and artifacts. Less than an hour from the Los Angeles county line, the town of Randsburg has plenty to see if you are easy to please. It doesn't have as much commercial appeal as it does character and quirky charm. The tiny town is surrounded by dozens of abandoned mines, a few car chassis and lots of dirt, wind and a passing tumble weed or two. My kind of place.

Sky on Fire

I shot this while driving home. No filter--no special effects. Pure Southern California sunset.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Accordion King of Venice

Venice Beach, CA -- His music was inspiring, but it was his spirit and stage presents that stole the show.

“Sometimes we strive so hard for perfection that we forget that imperfection is happiness” --Karen Nave

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Passion for Cactus

Beavertail Cactus are abundant in and around Southern California. It thrives in the canyons and home gardens in the LA area, but never have I seen such a subspecies such as this.... It looked as though someone "modified" the beavertails into valentine figurines.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Face in the Crowd

When I am not working, I am carrying my camera. I walked into a Target store the other day and decided to bring the D90. After 45 minutes of browsing the isles, I came away with no images. Recently, I happened upon a group of kids on a field trip. I parked the car, pulled out the camera and--without permission--took a few dozen portraits of kids. One teacher finally asked who I was. I handed her my DailyPhotoLA calling card and I told her that I am giving away photos today and told her how to contact me.

For the record, I don't always shoot first and then beg forgiveness--especially with kids. However, I will often give a little nod and hold up my camera, shoot, and say, "Thank you."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eaton Canyon Swells

Pasadena, CA -- As the rain continued to pour, the banks of the Eaton Canyon stream widened, bringing much-needed water to our drought-burdened town.

Despite the problems storms can brings to some, I love to get out and experience the rain. One of my favorite destinations during downpours is Eaton Canyon--a quick 5-minute drive from my house. Rain water accumulates from the steep San Gabriel mountains and flow into tributaries, eventually collecting in the canyon. As like today (Saturday), there were a few spectators standing on the banks of the stream, watching the muddy water pass through rocks and shrubs.

In 1938 and again in 1969, this quaint little stream made headlines as water nearly ten-feet high rushed through the canyon, destroying buildings, bridges, homes and trees along the way to the Pacific Ocean. Since then, debris dams and reservoirs were built to help control the torrents of water that come during some of our wet winters.

Got to love this storm!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Walking in the Rain

Pasadena, CA -- Rain-lovers brave the storm and venture a muddy, dirt road to see the swollen stream in Eaton Canyon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Other Side of The Mountian

Put back the sun roof, turn up the tunes and drive!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Last Leaf of Autumn

For a moment, blue sky broke through the clouds casting sparkling sunshine on the new fallen snow. This is a cold start of winter for us as snow levels are supposed to drop as low as 1,500 feet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Before The Storm

6:30am -- We untied the straps and dropped the 17-foot Old Town canoe into the lake. It was quiet and cold. No wind, just a few wisps of smoke from a nearby chimney, lingering above the conifers and black oaks. A small pack of coyotes watched from the shore while groups of mallards flew in to join a flock of coots in their early morning feast on the water.

With little effort, we paddled across the still water shooting photos and taking in the natural beauty of this place and breathing in the fresh, morning air.

All this just 80-minutes from downtown LA.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tails in the Air

Even the ducks take part in synchronized swimming.