Category Archives: travel

Earth Day

With Earth Day officially two days ago, I thought about some natural wonders that I’ve seen. During the 80’s and 90’s, I made quite a few trips to play and photograph in Costa Rica. They were all diverse, fantastic experiences, and I especially admired tropical rainforests.

On a 1994 trip, traveling with long time friend Allen Jones, we hiked into remote Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula and spent a better part of a week camping, exploring and taking pictures.

Considered one of the most biodiverse systems on earth, the park at Corcovado is a classic example of old growth tropical rainforest.

Leaving Corcovado, we noticed a logging road just outside the park so we drove in. A huge clearing indicated lots of tree cutting.

Continuing down the road, we watched a truck leaving, loaded with huge logs.

The red dirt road meandered up into a dense forest.

At the end of the road, workers were dragging logs from the woods then loading them onto a truck.

It was a good time for my limited Spanish to came in handy. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could take some photographs.  They welcomed us and continued working.

Logs were skidded from the forest one at a time then cut to length for transport.

Back in the forest were bare stumps selectively numbered for harvest.

With such beautiful heartwood, the trees must have been quite old.

While cutting a log, the man on the left caught a small wood fragment in his eye. I got my first aid kit equipped with some eye drops to wash it out, a technique I learned as an EMT. He was quite appreciative. Despite destruction of the forest, I had to respect these men, working so hard to earn a living, supporting their families.

Decades later I wonder how much if any, of that virgin forest is remaining.

 

 

 

Road Trips

A few years ago I was introduced to the touring band Lord Huron. I loved their music. My wife was captivated with the group too, so we went to concerts any chance we could.

It didn’t hurt to have a personal relationship with guitarist Tom Renaud either. He gave us passes to enjoy the shows even more, including photography access. With constantly changing lights and performances, I found the shooting to be vastly different from my norm yet highly satisfying.

The first time I saw them was in 2015, during a sound-check at The Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their album Strange Trails had been out just a few months.

The following year I saw them again at the Red Hat Amphitheater also in Raleigh.

In April of 2018, we traveled to Kansas City, Missouri for a show at the historic Midland Theater. Their new album, Vide Noir, had just been released.

In April of 2019 Lord Huron returned for performances in Raleigh, Richmond, Norfolk and Asheville, all within a week. Like groupies, we went to all 4 towns. The above photo was taken at The Ritz.

At Norfolk’s Norva Theater, I enjoyed watching Tom jam with one of his Guild guitars.

The concert in Richmond, Virginia was held at the National Theater where there was plenty of room in the wings for some stage level shots.

At the Norva, I caught the encore from the center balcony with a wide-angle lens. Like all the other concerts that week, it was sold out.

Perhaps my most interesting take was in Richmond, when singer-songwriter Ben Schneider performed Wait by the River behind a life-size skeleton puppet shrouded in fog. The crowd loved it!

Los Angeles-based Lord Huron has been touring here and abroad for years. They’ve appeared on major TV shows, commercials and motion picture sound tracks. Find out more at www.lordhuron.com

 

The Liberty Memorial

Last year when Denise and I visited relatives in Kansas City, Missouri, we were treated with a great tour of downtown. There were so many interesting things to do and see.

One of the finest museums that I’ve ever visited is prominent in the landscape. The National World War I Museum was opened in 1926 and features a 265 foot stone spire as a tribute to those that served in the First World War.

One can spend days, weeks or longer going through the complex. Our second day visit was on a rainy morning and as we went in, I was attracted by the glass ceiling over the lobby entrance, so I went back out in the drizzle and made two exposures over the wet glass panels. One was vertical and another horizontal. They were quick, handheld shots with my current camera of choice, a Lumix mirrorless body with interchangeable lenses.

One of the most prestigious local art shows here is the annual Frank Stick Memorial Art Show hosted by the Dare County Arts Council. It began 41 years ago and I’ve entered a piece in nearly every one.

This year I decided to print the above mentioned photograph and apply an age old photo technique. I remembered experimenting with solarized prints in my darkroom around 1980 and the results were usually surreal and unpredictable.

Tones are often reversed resembling a negative. Photoshop made this easy to accomplish and turned a drab day into one looming and dramatic. I entered a 16×20 print and was given an Excellence Award. There were over a hundred entries and ribbons for me have been rare in this venue.

This year’s show was poignant in that it was dedicated to my friend and prolific Nags Head artist Glenn Eure who passed away last September at the age of 86. He was a well-known and gifted artist. A Purple Heart recipient, he served combat tours in Korea and Viet Nam. I think he would have liked my print entitled TRIBUTE IN KC.

The inscription on the monument reads: IN HONOR OF THOSE THAT SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY AND OUR COUNTRY

 

California Son

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of the Road

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.