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.
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.
I took a walk down the Ocean Beach Pier and I came across a cute little cafe down at the end of the pier. It was just called “Cafe” and it had great views of the pier as well as a lot of the nice coastline here in San Diego. To be honest I had never taken a walk down the Ocean Beach pier but the city has some of the nicest coastline in California that is for sure. The sun was shining and it was a brilliant cool December day along the Ocean Beach Pier. A perfect San Diego winter day.
La Jolla has many beautiful places to see. None is more beautiful, strange and mysterious perhaps than the Mormon Temple which is right off the 805 Freeway. You can’t miss it, as you enter La Jolla it is one of the first things you see. At night, it is brilliantly lit and draws your eye. Children believe it to be a castle from the old days. I went there this week to take some pictures. It’s easy to see why some people mistake it for a castle. It is beautiful isn’t it?
My mom lives in Coronado in a simple but beautiful seaside cottage. She decorates everything so tastefully and simply and the spirit of cottage living. We were over to her house visiting her and to watch the Coronado Christmas Parade which is an annual event. It was a nice night, although we somehow managed to miss most of the floats. I went up to her bedroom and it seemed so calm and peaceful. I took this photograph of her bedroom which shows her simple but very nice taste. There is a cross above her bed – she is very religious and always has been. A night-stand, a simple makeup table and books stacked on the floor. My mom likes to read. She reads in bed at night before she goes to sleep. This looks like a nice peaceful place to wake up to in the morning as the fresh sea air and bright sun rises.
Mabel does not want to stay home. Mabel wants to go outside. Mabel thinks it’s more fun out there then in there, unless of course she is out here, then it would be more fun to be in there. Mabel likes snacks. Mabel is hungry. Mabel wants to shred something. Mabel wants a pet. Mabel looks outside. Boy that looks like fun out there. A snack sounds great. I want to go out there. I am going to find something to shred. Mabel wants to go outside. It’s more fun out there then in here, unless of course she is out here, then it looks more fun in there. Mabel you’re cute.
I love taking black and white photos. I love taking color photos. Luckily, deciding which one to shoot is not required at the time a picture is taken rather it can be decided later when you are editing the photos. I still remember using my Olympus camera in the 80’s and buying Ilford film so I could shoot in black and white. I went to Mexico for 6 months and the only thing I took down with me was a bunch of Ilford B&W canisters. I must say the pictures came out more interesting then if I took them in color.
I have a hard time making a decision when I am editing wether I am going to use color or black and white so I will often save a version of each and use them later. My general rule of thumb is that if color is going to make the picture more appealing then I will use it, however if I am trying to convey some emotion I will use black and white. In any case, a good photo will often look great in either so you can’t lose. Here are two versions of the same picture that I took of Tu. You can be the judge and decide which one is better.
The picture in black and white
The same picture in color
He has the same name as me – Frank McKenna. He was born in 1931 in a tough New York neighborhood and fought his way out of it coming out to California with my mom in the early 1960’s. At the time they had one daughter – my sister Kathy and they had no money to make the trip. Arriving in San Diego he eventually settled the family in Chula Vista and established one of the first insurance agencies in the city that was more well known for groves of lemon trees then people or progress. Over the next 40 years he and my mom had 12 kids and supported all of them by money generated from that Insurance Agency. My dad has always been known as a dynamic and creative business mind and is notorious in Chula Vista for his quick wit and interesting stories. For example, he once paid a cab driver for a ride home from a bar with our pet chicken Eggatha (much to our dismay).
I had the chance to take some interesting pictures of my Dad and interview him about his life. The pictures in the gallery show the creative and funny side of my Dad. He was a good father and taught each and everyone of us the value of a good education and hard-work. I like to think that everyone in our family is extremely successful and that is because he and my mother insisted on teaching us these things. Every night we ate dinner and prayed together. Can you even imagine a family of 12 doing that today? I can’t, but I always feel blessed because for the structure and clear direction that it instilled in us. We all love Dad a lot and thankful for everything he did for us. Click on the link below if you want to see portrait photos of his gallery.