February 24, 2016

California Son

Filed under: travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:50 pm

Earlier this month, Denise and I took a flight to Los Angeles for a short visit with relatives. It was meaningful for me in that my family has had roots in LA for generations. My dad was one of 3 sons born to Polish immigrants that settled in South Pasadena about 1920. My mother’s family goes back much further with lineage going back several generations with American-Mexican roots. I was born in Pasadena and remember riding in an old Ford, driving by lots of oil wells and orange groves. There was traffic on the freeways then, but nothing like it is today. I was nonetheless, excited to go back. It had been nearly 30 years since my last visit.

buildings                                Spellbound by the urban environment, my first shot was taken in Studio City.

AnnenbergNearby, The Annenberg Space for Photography was showing a major exhibit by Franz Lanting, one of my favorite photographers.

observatoryWith so much to see, we took in a few attractions, beginning with the Griffith Observatory. Hiking trails are all around the property.

big pictureEinstein      The exhibits inside were stunning, interactive and free. The Big Picture of the universe is 20 feet high and 152 feet long, while the bronze statue of Einstein is a hit with visitors.

view form Griffith Perched high on the mountain, I could see for miles.

hollywood signTourists lined up to have their pictures taken with the Hollywood sign as a backdrop.

view from GettyThe overview of LA from the Getty Museum was also impressive, the art exhibits spectacular. You could spend countless hours there.

freewayThe San Diego Freeway passes next to the Getty, through Sepulvida Pass and the Santa Monica Mountains.

little tokyoLittle Tokyo was beautiful at night, especially with the lure of Japanese restaurants.

oysterssushi       I found the sushi irresistible.

desertMy cousin John, invited us out to Wonder Valley in the desert next to Joshua Tree. The feeling there was one of awe, inspiration and isolation.

baja bugJohn’s Baja Bug was a lot of fun off the road.

localsSome of the desert rats even showed up.

RayRay loves to cook and prepared delectable tacos on his portable grill.

desert cabinsuperbowl     We had a Superbowl party at John’s desert cabin, with crystal clear reception on an outside TV under a crystal clear sky.

Mission StThe highlight of the trip was visiting Mission Street in South Pasadena. It still has a small town feeling, much like when I was little.

square dealMy grandfather William, opened the Square Deal Barbershop on Mission Street in 1924. He worked there the rest of his life, passing it on to his son, my Uncle Eddie. Likewise, Eddie continued to cut hair the rest of his career, leaving it to his son John, who now leases it to another barber. The old photograph of Eddie and grandpa was likely taken in the forties.

barbershopToday the barbershop is called Reedy’s, and still has a clean, welcoming appearance.

Reedy'sInside we met barber Steve Reedy with Frank Reader, a regular customer and talented lead singer for the popular Scottish band, Trashcan Sinatras.  It was wonderful to see Steve carry on the tradition of cutting hair in that very same spot. And to think grandpa gave me my first haircut right there. Can you imagine the conversations in that building over the past 92 years?

trafficDespite the constant heavy traffic, I’d go back in a heartbeat, provided someone else drives or takes me on the Metro train.

homeWe arrived back on Hatteras just in time for a snowstorm, a surprising contrast to the warm California sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 11, 2015

End of the Road

Filed under: People,Sea,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 9:56 pm

Continued from previous entry dated May 4, 2015…

What seemed a scavenger hunt, we knew we were headed in the right direction. Journal entries confirmed a place at the end of the road, near Ke’e Beach. There were references to an area revered by Hawaiians. Known as a Heiau (hey ow), locals told us it was next to the trailhead for the Na Pali Coast, at end of the road.

journal

Robin’s leather-bound journal from 2010 was the key.

trail info

The trail entrance to Na Pali is at the end of the road.

trail in

We found an overgrown path and walked through lush vegetation.

discovery

Approaching a rock wall, I felt elation, and knew this was the right place. The view was remarkable and whales spouted offshore. What an affirmation! Robin’s descriptions, photos and journal entries were a perfect match.

ocean view

Stones were laid in an orderly fashion by ancient Hawaiians. The site was a temple and served as a school for the Hula. Students would come from surrounding islands. It is said that the goddess Pele came here from the big island after hearing the drum beats.

arrangement

I tried to imagine what was here hundreds of years ago.

oval

There could have been thatched structures and large carved Tikis.

altar

A shelf in the rock wall looked like an altar where ceremonies could have taken place.

offering

Someone left offerings wrapped in Ti leaves and a beautiful flowered lei.

Ke'e

After finding the location of the Heiau, we explored the beach at Ke’e.

Haena

Ha’ena State Park is next to Ke’e.

Haena beach

The waves at Tunnels were big and breaking on the distant reef.

hanalei l

We spent some time on the wide crescent beach at Hanalei.

hanalei r

Surfers love Hanalei.

entry

The following day we began hiking the Kalalau Trail.

stream

There were torrents everywhere.

Ke'e overlook

The first overlook gave a spectacular view of Ke’e Beach.

precarious

At times the steep drop-offs were precariously close to the trail.

edge

coast

In a heavy downpour it got so muddy, we had to turn back after going in ¾ mile.

orchid

On the way back to our cottage, a man on the roadside sold us a lei made by his wife.

going up heiau

Early next morning we went to the Heiau with Robin’s ashes.

ascent

view from Heiau

It was a spectacular day, and a few whales breached from the ocean.

wall

We spent an hour contemplating the moment, and the sacredness of the site.

me

cocos

We placed the ashes up against a sheer rock wall, splashed an offering of Hawaiian rum and presented the lei.

lei

Our task was done.

 

 

May 4, 2015

The Journey

Filed under: Sea,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 8:39 pm

In the Fall of 2013, I did some blogging about Robin. He had a rich life but now is gone. We said our goodbyes and have had lots of time to reflect. Robin had directives in place to disperse his possessions. But there was also a last request. He wanted his ashes taken to the island of Kauai.

After he lost his wife Carey, to cancer, he returned to Kauai in 2010 to scatter her remains. Years prior, they made a number of trips to the island. Carey worked as a nurse at the hospital in Lihue and went again in 1993, after Hurricane Inniki ravaged the island. They were both very fond of the place and told captivating stories about it.

Robin wanted his final wish to be carried out by me and Denise. His directions where to go, were not crystal clear. As clues, there were vague vocal descriptions about “the end of the road”. There were also some photographs and a journal that we used, to narrow down the possibilities.

In March we embarked on a journey that ultimately took us to the North Shore of Kauai to carry out our calling. It was an introduction to a gorgeous part of the world. And for me personally, it was inspiration to remember a friend and revitalize my photography.

wing

Reality didn’t set in until I was cruising high over the Pacific Ocean bound for Kauai.

Waimea

The next day I was standing on the edge of Waimea Canyon.

secret

We spent some time exploring beaches around Kilauea.

nice

The water was amazing!

Kilauea

Kilauea Point is a National Wildlife Refuge with a lighthouse on it.

stairs light

Originally built in 1912, it was recently restored.

albatross

There were sea birds like this Laysan Albatross nesting in the surrounding cliffs.

farm

We hiked through a farm with 40,000 mahogany trees on it.

market

And we loved the local farmers market on Saturday.

taro

We saw how taro plants growing in Hanalei Valley provide critical waterfowl habitat.

Hanalei

Perfect waves at Hanalei were visible from an overlook a mile away.

bridge

The single lane, double bridge going over the Wainiha River would eventually take us where we needed to go.

one lane

to be continued….

April 3, 2015

Wettest Place on Earth

Filed under: aerial photography,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:56 pm

At times I’ve thought I live in one of the wettest places on the planet. That’s when we have flooding from storm surges, and not so much from rainfall.

With over 450 inches of measured annual rainfall, a place I visited recently is arguably the wettest place on earth. There was a good reason to be there and that’s another story.

On this trip Denise and I flew in a helicopter around the stunningly scenic island of Kauai. Ben, our pilot took us into the huge three sided crater of Mount Wai’ale’ale’. Billed locally as the wettest spot on earth, there were clouds hovering all around, and we could feel the cool moisture inside the cockpit.

Entering the crater was dramatic.

going in waterfall

Vertical walls were streaming with water.

wall

waterfalls

On the side where multiple waterfalls drop thousands of feet, is The Wall of Tears.

wall of tears

Mahalo.

October 3, 2013

The CR Connection

Filed under: beach,People,travel — j0jgvm89bj @ 2:38 pm

In 1982, at the invitation from friend Jeff Ray, I made my first trip to Costa Rica. Jeff had been there lots of times and even owned a rustic thatched hut on a secluded beach. It was this introduction that had me returning numerous times thereafter. I loved the country, the surf and the diversity of nature. It was a photographer’s dream.

I went again in 1990. This time I was traveling with my brother and Robin. They had never been to Costa Rica before and I showed them places that I enjoyed on previous trips. We moved around for about a month, but spent the bulk of our time in one of my favorite spots, the left handed point break of Pavones.

monteverdeRobin posed with our rental 4×4 at the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

hammockWe set up camp right at the point, and the cantina pit bull became our friend.

pointOnce camped out next to the river mouth, we made ourselves quite at home. This was Easter dinner.

centenarioTailgate party at the point, featuring Rob, Ron Centenario and Robin.

cantinaOne afternoon my brother and I sat on the wall at the cantina and watched Robin buzz by toward the cove.

pavonesThen he walked up the rocky beach and joined us in the cantina

Robin was so amazed by the place that he went back there almost every year since. He got to know the locals and made many new friends. His final trip was 2010.

I went back in 1994 for some extensive hiking, but didn’t return after that. It was not until 2007 when Robin invited Denise and I to Costa Rica for a belated honeymoon. Through some friends, he arranged for us to stay in a beautiful house perched on the hillside of the rain forest at Punta Banco. It was a trip of a lifetime. We will never forget his consideration and love for us.

aracariThe view from our room was spectacular, and the beach exquisite.

beach