Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mission: MASH revisited

In my attempt to visit the restored and rededicated outdoor set of the old TV comedy series, MASH, I ended up a bit damaged. As I said in my first Mission report, I was "sure that at the very least I was going to have a couple of blisters the size of quarters!" I was right... ugh! I'm not sore from the walk, actually I enjoyed it and can't wait to go back. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to put on a pair of shoes since. The backs of both heels are still a bit raw... Anyone got any aloe?

This sucks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Week 8 of 52

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

"If I leave here tomorrow,
Would you still remember me?"

I saw this at the base of a tree by a river during my failed Mission: MASH trek. It was at the Malibu Creek State Park. I was wondering not so much why someone would do this but how? The person must have planned on doing this, I don't see it as a "Oh look fresh cement! Let's write Lynyrd Skynyrd on it!" opportunity. Then there's the cement. The person had to bring their own cement. How many people do you know, when going to a state park for hiking, picnic, day out or whatever reason would by chance have a bag of cement in their trunk?
The only other explanation would be the people who worked there did this. Which would mean that the rangers working to preserve our parks are closet graffiti vandals themselves?
I wonder if there are similar cement art in Yosemite, Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore. I would like to see "Ozzy" scrawled in cement somewhere near Abraham Lincoln's ear.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mission: MASH

Mission: MASH
Yesterday, a tribute was held in Malibu Creek State Park to the old TV Series MASH. The site was where all the outdoor filming was done for the show. LA Times covered the tribute in where a few of the original stars were in attendance.
I grew up watching that show in the early 70's. Then, I had no idea as to what the Korean War was about. All I knew was that Hawkeye was hilarious, Radar was cool in a weird way, that Klinger made an ugly woman and Loretta Swit was "Hot Lips".
I knew I had to take a picture of and with the sign post in the middle of the camp where everyone in the MASH unit had their hometowns represented with arrows. According to the article, it was a "gentle" 2-mile hike from the parking area to the site. So, the plan was go to the park around noon, take the "gentle" hike, then head to the Griffiths Observatory to take more pictures there. *insert the laughter here*
James called as I was planning the day. I told him the plan and told him I would wait for him if he wanted to come along... *more laughter*

Once we got to the park and got our bearings, we headed out.
Start of trails
Did that sign say 2.3 miles?!

At least it was paved...
Paved path

But then it became hard-packed dirt path but at least it was level...
Hard packed dirt path

The weather cleared up too.
Clear skies

Around the hills it was a little overcast but the sun was shining pretty bright.
a little overcast


Then the path was starting to get wet from the water run-off from the hills.
blue skies

Then the hill... The path made a turn and up. The path got a bit rougher and the steeper. It didn't really bother me too much, in fact I was really enjoying it. I've been walking and exercising more these days and found some of the stamina that I've not had in ages. The only thing was that James and I was not prepared for this type of terrain... our footwear was not suited for this kind of walking. The path got muddier and steeper, footing was starting to become a concern.
muddy & uphill

The mud was like clay (heck for all I know it just may have been clay!). It stuck to our shoes and weighed our feet down.
muddy weights

Sure, we were rewarded with some great views...
first turn on hill

other side

At this point, a light drizzle started. It was more an annoyance because of our cameras. I am still debating what was worse, going up or going down the hill.
at the bottom

Now the path had gotten much narrower.
beginning of Century Lake

After a few turns, we were stopped.
Trail underwater

The trail was underwater! We walked a little further on the area to the left of the path hoping to see higher ground to continue but we ended up surrounded by water and it was pretty deep. There were hikers that had passed us earlier and they had not passed us going back so they must have found another way. We doubled back to see if there was a trail we missed.
After a while, we decided that this "sucked"!
We started walking back and just as we were starting to go up that hill, one fo the hikers that passed us earlier came walking back. I asked him if he made it to the MASH site. He said no, that he actually waded into the water (went up to his calves) and when he got to the scenic bridge (look at the map at the end), he lost the trail. Not much of a consolation but if this guy couldn't get to it (he was Mr. Hiker - he sped walked up that hill and the mud didn't even slow him down) there was no way James and I was going to make it either.

So we headed back. That's when I realized how badly suited our footwear choices were for this terrain. The back of each heel was being rubbed raw by my shoes and I was sure that at the very least I was going to have a couple of blisters the size of quarters!
Back on the other side, looking back at the pass we came from.

From the bridge to the Visitor's Center.
River reflection

We'll be back when it is dryer...
looking back


I'm not very good at distances but James says we walked a good 3+ miles. It felt like more but I'm sure the hill had a lot to do with that perception. The MASH sign post will have to wait.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse bust

Unfortunately, the skies above me tonight was too cloudy for me to get some good pictures of the lunar eclipse. I heard that Dave got some killer pictures of it, at least according to his twitter update "lunar eclipse rocked. photos processing, stand by..." C'mon Dave! Let's the pictures already!
Anyway, this is the best I was able to get. Since it was cloudy I had to slow the shutter speed more than I would have liked. There were a couple of times that a plane was flying in my frame and I wanted to get a picture of that but all I got were streaks of light because of the slow shutter speed. Bummer!!! Oh well...

moon one


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Along the riverbed, My TV and the Moon countdown

I've been taking walks along a nearby riverbed but this is the first time I took my camera along. Usually, I try to get my walk in and get it over with but today I thought I would slow it down a bit and take a look around. There isn't much to see. There are a few parks and a golf course alongside but as rivers go, this one is just "eh". Opposite the main walkway, there are high tension wires and towers and on the walkway itself there are some graffitti (gang and juvenile, wait isn't that the same?). The city tries to keep it nice by putting flowers and nice plants here and there.
The fence separating the walkway and a park.



Week 7 of 52
Walking back home, I notice more and more of these things on top of homes. It also gave me my project's 7th week early. I had the song "My TV" by Vinx already chosen but I had no image yet. So...
My TV by Vinx

Total Lunar Eclipse
There will be another Total Lunar Eclipse next Wednesday. It will take place early in the evening (aout 7:30-ish). The last one took place in August last year and I took a few pictures.
Red Moon

I want to take some pictures again but I was thinking of a different location. Not sure if it will make a difference though. Well, I took a practice shot tonight from the backyard.
almost there

Monday, February 11, 2008

Week 6 of 52

Good Day Sunshine by the Beatles.

Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles

"Good Day Sunshine, Good Day Sunshine, Good day Sunshine

I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about..."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve wetlands

There are wetlands across Pacific Coast Highway from Bolsa Chica Beach.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve wetlands is a 300 acre coastal sanctuary for
wildlife and migratory birds. There's a wooden bridge crossing over a tidal
inlet and a 1.5 mile loop trail providing spectacular wildlife viewing.
It was unusually warm today so of course that meant going out and taking some picture OUTDOORS! I've always drove past these wetlands and a few times thought to myself that I should check it out some day...

Bridge from the small parking lot to the reserve.

From the beach you can still see that there is snow on the mountains.
snow in the mountains

There are a number of trails that run throughout the reserve's different sections.
pathway south

pathway north


There are also a number of photographers who also took advantage of the great weather. I had major lens envy when I saw this one.... *drool*
lens envy



Another photographer with an indifferent model.


James' and my shadows on one of the many trails.



It got pretty chilly as the afternoon wore on. We think that we may have walked somewhere between 2 -3 miles that afternoon. It could have easily been more if we were wearing shoes better suited for long walks and gotten an earlier start.
The wetlands is a great place to explore. There are picnic tables and benches at certain spots. It isn't dog/pet friendly. There are signs that even state that dogs, even on leashes are not allowed. Otherwise it is a nice place to check out. I certainly plan on going back.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Flowers and macro shots

So I've been playing around with different types of photography for a while now. Though, I've become competent with some types, there are others that I've yet to try. So far, landscapes have been a favorite of mine. So much so, that I try to plan outings or drives to places that I think will give me a great vista. Actions shots still elude me and long exposures are hit or misses, mostly misses.
I am trying some macro (close up) floral shots lately. The convenience there is I don't have to go any further than my backyard.



With a little "Photochopping" to frame them, I ended up with these. What do you think?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

52 Weeks of Music Project

I had a project that I've started for the new year and I've just realized how difficult it is going to be to keep it current. My first one fell short of completion, so am trying very hard to stay on it.

The Project:
I'm tying in photographs I've taken to songs (either the title or the lyrics). The main problem is I will be in a mood and I won't have a photo for it. Worse yet, is having a photo but I won't have a song for it. Music don't come to mind as easily as some people I know, who are walking music libraries.

I've decided that the photos I use has to be taken at that particular week, which forces me to get out there each week and capture something. Anyway, here are the photos so far.

Week One: Still Got the Blues by Gary Moore
Still Got the Blues by Gary Moore

"Used to be so easyto give my heart away
But I've found out the hard way
there's a price you have to pay
I found that love
was no friend of mine
I should have known
time after time
So long, it was so long ago
but I've still got the blues for you..."

Week Two: Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads
Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads
"We're on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin' that ride to
We'll take that ride
I'm feelin' okay this mornin'
And you
We're on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go..."

Week Three: Heavy Clouds No Rain by Sting
Heavy Clouds No Rain by Sting

"The sun won't shine till the clouds are gone
The clouds won't go till their work is done
And every morning you'll hear me pray
If only it would rain today ..."

Week Four: Sitting In the Park by Billy Stewart
Sitting In the Park by Billy Stewart

"Sitting here on the bench
With my back against the fence
Wonderin'-a-if I
Have any sense ..."

Week Five: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Off To See the Wizard

For some reaso this song came to my head when I took this picture...

"Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow the Yellow Brick,
Follow the Yellow Brick,
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

We're off to see the Wizard,
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You'll find he is a whiz of a Wiz!
If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz!
there was The Wizard of Oz is one
because,Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We're off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of

I guess we'll see what next week brings...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I've been experimenting with a lot of different ways to take a picture with my camera. One of the techniques I've been playing around with is Bokeh.
The word is actually derived from the japanese word boke (ぼけ), which means blur. In photography it refers to the out-of-focus part of a picture made by the lens with a large aperture because their depth of field is pretty shallow.
One of the things I've been doing is trying to manipulate the points of light in the background that are out of focus. I made some cut-outs to fit in front of my camera lens with different shapes. I made this out of old lids from butter/margarine tubs. They are soft enough to cut with an X-acto knife and stiff enough to hold its shape.

This one was just to see if it will work.
Bokeh hearts

The following are self portraits with different cut-outs.
Star cut-out:
Bokeh experiment: star

Spade cut-out:
Bokeh experiment: spade

Wheel cut-out:
Bokeh experiment: wheel

I'm still playing around with different shapes. Some have worked out but others not so well. I'm going to be trying out a Hello Kitty cut-out (yeah Celia asked me to try to make one).