Snow Party at the Fendleys

Posted on Dec 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Bridget and Michael have done it again.  The threw another party that amazed everyone in the neighborhood.  This time it was a snow party!  All the kids in the town of Encinitas seemed to show up to throw snowballs, make snow angels and slide down their front lawn in the 7 (Seven) tons of fresh powdery snow that the Fendley’s had imported from a tiny Swiss Village high in the Alps.  The snow had a European Air to it and the fun bounced in the air as everyone ran around having a beautiful time.  If you look closely you might even see my mom taking an intense ride down the Fendley Slopes.  We commemorated the day with a little video to remember the good times we had.  What a happy day!


The Money Pit

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Patrick, my brother bought and old Ford Truck. I mean this thing is beautiful.  It’s got a low profile, nice blue paint and all original interior.  When you get in the truck you smell the old seats and the faint hint of gasoline – you know that smell.  The old car smell.  Well the car is a beauty but definitely a money pit for Patrick.  He is always putting it in the shop for just one more repair.  The old blue truck isn’t too reliable.  We had a hard time getting it started today because they battery drained out.  Time to bring it back in for another repair. Got to love the old blue Ford Truck.

Stunning Photograph’s of Antelope Canyon

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 in photography

I just returned from Arizona and had a chance to visit a very beautiful place called Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks” by the Navajo and the formations under the ground are some of the most beautiful you will see.  The canyon is deep but it still allows for lots of natural sunlight to come through the slots.  That makes this a more beautiful place than many caves that I have visited which are lit up by a variety of colored lights.  All the light in this canyon is natural which makes it the most beautiful to photograph.  There are two canyons, Upper and Lower Antelope Valley.  The Upper canyon is very famous for light beams that shoot from directly above into the canyon and make for some marvelous photos.  The lower canyon which I had basically to myself for 2 hours is a more difficult and narrow canyon than upper canyon and does not have the same light beams.  People usually come to this place during the summer months because the sun is literally overhead and provides the most dramatic light into the canyons.  That’s probably why I had this place to myself.  But the pictures came out very well and I had as much time as I needed in the various places.

It was cold in the canyon (about 30 degrees that day) but it was very calm and peaceful inside the canyon.  I could literally hear every breath that I took since I was all alone.  The canyon is owned by the Navajo Indians and they charge $26 dollars for a photographers pass but you need to bring a tripod and an SLR lens to get that pass.    Also the photographer pass allows you to go on your own without  a guide so you can avoid the crowds.  The canyon can be a bit dangerous because it is subject to flash floods and the slots can fill up very quickly when the rains come.  If it starts raining you need to exit very quickly to avoid drowning in the canyon.  In 1997 12 tourist died in the canyon when flash floods two hours earlier miles away poured into the canyon.  The ladders in place at the time were swept away by the flooding waters through the cave so they had no way to get out of the cave as the raging water swept them to their death.  This canyon is beautiful but can be dangerous.

Photographing Monument Valley Utah

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

If you ever watched old western movies they probably had some iconic scenes in this place – Monument Valley.  Talk about beautiful, this place really took it to another level. Well it wasn’t very easy to get to – many hours driving by car across flat dry cold desert but I finally made it there by around 3pm in the afternoon.  Monument Valley is actually in Utah (right on the Arizona border) and it is in Navajo Country.  When I got there I had a little over an hour and a half to take the rugged trails by car to visit all of the different parts of the park.  It wasn’t easy as the road was all dirt and very bumpy.  It was so dusty but so beautiful – everything was red sand and the sun was setting so the colors were so warm.  I was amazed at how the formations appear to be crumbling. The soft sandstone is constantly changing and in 100 years this place may look very different.  Monument Valley is one of the 7 wonders of the world.  What a beautiful and fantastic place.


Watchin Ollie

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Bridget, my sister, had to work late this afternoon so she asked if we could pick up Ollie and watch him after school for a few hours.  What an afternoon we had. In the course of a little over an hour we ended up playing soccer, eating pizza, watching movies and playing “ink a bink a bottle of ink”. I lost – I stink.  Ollie has such a great and happy disposition and he never stops moving.  Like a lightening ball of energy so you always have to be on your toes.  I really enjoyed the afternoon with Ollie, it’s always fun to spend time with him.

Windansea Beach – San Diego’s Surfing Jewel

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

I am lucky enough to live right next to one of the most iconic surfing spots in the world – Windansea Beach in La Jolla.  During the winter months the swell in the area is such that perfect 6-8 foot waves roll in gently providing some of the best surf in California.  In 1946, they erected a palm covered shack on the rocks and it became known as the Windansea Surf Shack.  Locals still take care of the shack replacing the palm fronds when they blow away in large storms.

The beach first became known because it appeared in the classic surf movie, The Endless Wave and was known for having some of the best surfers in the world frequent the beach.  The beach was also the inspiration for the “Beach Party” movies that became very popular in the 1960’s and Tom Wolf’s book “The Pump House Gang” was based on surf rats that were based at Windansea beach.  There is a pump house near the beach and that is why the book was called that.

I usually head down to the beach at least 2 to 3 times a week just to marvel at the sunsets and watch the surfers out on the break.  It’s a place that you probably don’t want to surf at if you are a beginning surfer and not a local.  They will literally chase you out of the water and there have been some violent confrontations at the beach over the years.  I love Windansea beach and I am so happy to live here.

Desert Dog

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Where did this guy come from.  While driving my very dusty SUV through dirt roads in Monument Valley I found this little guy in the middle of the road.  I have no idea why he was there.  I felt sorry for the poor little guy but I didn’t have any food to give him. I suspect that he got his food from the occasional cars that would pass him by on there way to take photos in the amazing valley.

Stunning Photo of Horseshoe Bend

Posted on Dec 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

I just got back from Arizona after a couple of days of looking for interesting places to photograph.  Well I found a place that is pretty stunning and it’s called Horseshoe Bend.  It is located about 6 miles south of the town of Page smack dab in the heart of Navajo Country.  It is the only place in the world where a river makes almost a complete circle.   The shape of the Colorado River at this location is quite literally a horseshoe and that is why it got the name.

Taking this particular picture took a few things including a long car trip, a short hike up some sandy hills and the ability to let go of my fear of heights.  The vantage point for Horseshoe Bend is 1,000 feet above the water and there are no guard rails to protect you from the sheer cliffs which plunge almost straight down.  A few people die at Horseshoe Bend every year because they get too close to the ledge which is made of sandstone and it literally crumbles beneath there feet sending them all the way down to the water.  When I heard the stories of tourist and photographers being killed at this location it definitely raised my fear level up a bit.

In any case, I did manage to creep to the edge of the cliffs and take several nice photos. I actually stayed there for about 30 minutes trying different angles.  I shot in bracketing mode because there were such extreme lighting conditions between the sky and the bottom of the canyon. By bracketing I was able to expose for the light in the sky as well as the bottom of the canyon.  I am actually really glad I got this picture. It took a lot of work and I almost chickened out when I was there because I was afraid.