I have never really loved Los Angeles to tell you the truth. It is a city that has never made any sense to me. It is a hodge-podge of 99 cent stores, check cashing places and homeless everywhere, everywhere and that feeling that just about everybody is on some type of drug. Sure it is probably a city that appears in more movies than any other city in the world (thanks to it’s proximity to Hollywood), but the city can never seem to progress like other cities have in the past 20 years. It is as if nothing has been rebuilt and restored, as if everything there has been mis-managed into a state of disrepair.
There is a single bright spot in the city that rises up and provides some real beauty in stark contrast to the rest of the city and that is the Walt Disney Music Hall. It has almost cartoonish lines and curves and is entirely made of smooth brushed steel. When you see it in the city you almost cannot believe it at first because it is so beautiful. I took a couple of pictures of this beautiful building the architecture is just astounding to me.
America’s cup is in San Diego this week. This is the first time that it has been in San Diego for the last 16 years since Dennis O’Conner lost the cup to New Zealand. While I did not get a chance to go and photograph the event from my brothers helicopter, I did head down to the Bay to check out all of the excitement. While I was down at the Bay I also took the chance to visit many of the famous ships that are down at the docks. One of the most notable landmarks in San Diego is the Star of India – a very old sailing ship – actually the oldest active sailing ship in the world. It is kept in pristine condition and at times goes out on sailing trips in the Bay. The ship was built in 1863 and is now docked as a museum in San Diego.
Tonight I found a new location to photograph the Coronado Bay Bridge. A place with just a little bit more light than trying to photograph it from the Island of Coronado itself. If you go a little bit west of Chicano Park (which can be dangerous for a white boy hanging out alone), you’ll find a small bridge the juts out over the water. It is near the various naval shipyards so it provides some unique views of the bridge. A little known fact is the Coronado Bay Bridge has two reasons why it was designed with its beautiful curves rather than going straight over the water. The relatively short distance of between the mainland and Coronado is so short that if they built a straight bridge it would have been too low for the Navy ships to go underneath so they needed to create a curve so that they could make the bridge longer and higher. The second reason is that in order to qualify for a city bond the bridge had to be a certain length, so they had to put the curves into to make the bridge longer.
It was a beautiful night in San Diego last night; an almost full moon, wispy clouds and temperature in the mid 60’s. I decided to get the camera and tripod out and take a trip down to the Bay to see if I could improve my night photography skills. Shooting at night is a bit difficult because you have to allow for longer exposures and have to carefully compose your shots so that you are not bringing in too much or too little light. For example, you might see a great shot but smack dab in the middle of that shot is a street light with blaring light that will drown out everything else with obnoxious lens flares. Anyway, you can take some very nice photos at night. I prefer to shoot along the water because you can get nice reflections and the steady ripple of water flattens and smooths out nicely on long exposures. It can be a lot of fun after a night photo shoot, taking your camera home, uploading the pictures and seeing if any magic happened during the night. This is one picture I took right near SeaPort Village near some boats. Not a perfect shot but we’re getting there with practice.
There is a new commander at the San Diego Yacht Club and he needs a photo. So my brother, his friend (a professional photographer) and I went up late this afternoon to take some beautiful pictures of him with his wife cruising their boat along the city view of downtown San Diego. What a beautiful sunset it was as my brother kept the chopper at low altitude allowing us to snap some compelling pictures. As is typical, it is a bit frightening sitting in the chopper with the doors off cruising a few thousand feet above the ground. We take the doors off so we can snap pictures without the glare of the glass – the pictures turn out so much nicer that way. Great afternoon for pictures again here in San Diego.
I haven’t had a chance to update my photography blog recently because I was in New York for the week. I did not bring a computer. I regularly do not travel with a computer anymore just my IPAD – it’s lighter and allows me to check email and watch movies which is enough for me. So this was a business trip which meant that I didn’t have a whole lot of time to take pictures which is unfortunate because to me New York has got to be one of the best places in the US to take pictures. The city is vibrant, full of activity and unique characters. I did get a chance to take some pictures of Times Square and Occupy Wall Street while I was there, as well as some portraits of my good friend Maryann and her boyfriend Lee. I will post those later. I really cannot wait to go back to New York and spend 3-4 days just taking pictures of the different boroughs. I got a chance to visit Brooklyn and Williamsburg which was amazing – the character of the neighborhoods there is like nothing you have seen in any other city in the US – you really feel as if you are going back in time. The attached photo is at one of the busiest places on earth – Times Square. The rest of the pictures will be up in a gallery which I will setup soon.
I learned something today, and because of that today was a good day. This afternoon I headed down to the Civic Center to check out how the Occupy Movement was progressing there and to inform myself a bit more on what it stood for. It was a typical 70 degree sunny and warm San Diego day and the plaza was filled with a pretty diverse crowd. Occupy San Diego is comprised of 8-10 camping tents, about 150 or so protestors, 15-20 police officers and 10-15 tourist – everyone seemingly getting along in what appears to be a very cooperative culture. For those of you that know me, you know I support the Occupy Wall Street movement because of the greed fraud and corruption that I witnessed first hand working as a fraud consultant to the industry. I support the movement because one of its central philosophies is that the government and big time wall street executives have a relationship that is too cozy.
What I learned today was just how difficult organizing a movement that represents 99% of the population of the US. The economic grievances that US citizens feel is so pervasive, so widespread that there are literally hundreds of different causes and groups that should have a voice with the movement. Quite literally there is so much economic inequality between the mega rich and the rest of us that it touches just about everything in our lives. What I did see today was that the people protesting were interested in including each and every single person and listening to what they had to say – the drunk, the homeless, the destitute, the unemployed, the forgotten, the left behind. Now people might criticize the Occupancy movement for not having a targeted agenda – but what they did stand for – at least what I saw was treating all people as equals no matter how much they made or how little they appeared to contribute to society.
One of my favorite signs that I saw said. “This piece of cardboard is the only lobbyist I could afford”. To me that said it all. Corporations spend millions to put politicians in their back pocket – a capability and luxury that no individual in the 99% can afford. This movement is that piece of cardboard – the message on the sign. The occupy movement is the populist means to lobby are government officials and tell them what we think. We may not have millions to donate to their campaigns but quite honestly should we. We may not own the newspapers or media outlets that the wealthiest in this country own but that does not mean we don’t have a message or a voice. About 60% of Americans now support the occupy movement, and that support has not come through main stream media but through blogs, word of mouth, Facebook and other alternative forms of social networking. Not surprisingly the same way that many of the successful revolutions in the middle east were started in the past year.
Take a look at the gallery pictures to get a sense of what is going on with Occupy San Diego. I am actually pretty proud that we have people that stood up and did this in our great city.
I went out at Sunset yesterday to one of my favorite places to photograph – Scripps Pier La Jolla. It was pretty much a cloudless and sunny warm day – typically La Jolla. While taking pictures you have to be open minded about what you are going to shoot because what you originally intended to take a picture of might not work. For example, I went to take a picture of the pier but there was this guy that kept jumping into the shot with his own camera – rude. So I turned around and saw this surfer running to the water to catch the last set of waves before sunset. This is what La Jolla is all about.