Visual Journal

  • I’m not exactly sure what the name of this plant is. I’m not sure that I really need to know. What I do know is that this plant holds a large reminder for me. A reminder of my troubled teen years when I was on my own and the generosity of a teacher that taught me what unconditional caring was. 

    It was my time with this teacher who opened up their home to a teenager in need, when I learned what it was to be a good person. Not through any specific lesson, but through the simple actions of this teacher. It takes a lot for a person to do what they did and the impact of their actions have remained with me.

    This teacher was also influential in my love for photography and use of it as a means of communication and help for others. 

    Photos of this plant were all over this teachers house from a trip they took to the southwest and when I see them in person my heart warms at the memory of living in their house. It was one of the first times that I can actually remember feeling safe.

  • In my time here in CA, I’ve never actually been to Randy’s Donuts. I didn’t even know where it was and to be honest, it wasn’t like I was on a mission to find it. With most of my explorations here the greater Los Angeles area, I prefer to stumble upon things - and that’s what happened here courtesy of a missed exit.

    I’ve heard that the donuts were just ‘ok’ and I’m sure I’d enjoy them because, donuts. However, we were on our way to the Kings Hawaiian restaurant in Torrance and for that level of deliciousness, one should have an empty stomach.

    I do need to make it a point to get down here and eat at Randy’s before it closes or some corporate entity snatches it up (which I hear rumor that Dunkin’ Donuts is going to be doing with this location soon).

  • A few weeks back the skies opened up for almost a full 48 hours here in our lovely drought stricken state and showered us with a downpour that we desperately needed; so of course I went out in it to take photos. 

    I’m still drawn to this notion of a “3rd Space” that is a transitional space between the destination of work an home. With that, I still keep gravitating to Bus Stops and the people that are there at any given time. While the demographics of the people at the bus stops are of interest to me, what interests me more is how the inhabitants place themselves in that space. It’s a larger project that just keeps rattling around in my head and maybe it won’t actually become anything…we’ll see. 

    In the meantime, we needed the rain and the weather before, during and after the rain was something that I cherished. 

  • A week or so ago, our weekly Friday hike took us to Eaton Canyon, just east of Pasadena. This hike was probably my least favorite so far. 

    To get there, you have to drive WAY up a mountain, similar to going to Big Bear, but with no reward of snow and cabins or a quaint town. Once you get to the top and pay to park, you then start walking down a paved road that starts out as a switchback and continues for about a mile until you hit trails. I will state here that the first mile is steeeeep going down and really weird walking down because it’s not normal to keep your ankles at close to a 130-140 degree angle and it’s pretty stressful on the knees. This is all also in straight sunlight, but you’re at a high altitude, so it’s not horrible. 

    Once you get down the pavement, you end up in a nicely shaded area for most of the trip. Depending on the rain, you also have to cross a creek or two, but with the drought we currently have, you’re pretty much okay with barely getting your shoes wet. Also, there are cabins that can be rented, and it seems as if some folks live there.

    It’s a fairly easy hike at this point; you follow a stream for almost the whole hike and there are these dams that look like they are secret rebel bases from Endor or Yavin 4 - I was hoping to see an Ewok or two, but alas, no luck. 

    The waterfall was…more of a dribble, and I know that it’s because of the draught, but it just wasn’t very tranquil as I had hoped.

    Maybe I overhyped the idea or was irritated with the first part of the hike, who knows - I don’t plan to do this one again.

  • We went back to Solstice Canyon to hike again this past weekend. When we first went, we considered taking the Rising Sun Trail back out of the canyon, but it was getting late and the trail was steep and windy, and we certainly wouldn’t be able to see anything so we opted to not do it. This week, however, we did and I’m really glad that we did.

    The breeze and weather were perfect and at the top of the trail, you can see all the way to the ocean (Malibu Beach).

    The incline was maybe 60-70 degrees, and it switched back frequently, however, it was not too terribly difficult. While on the trail, you can see down to The Roberts Ranch house which is neat to explore, but seeing it from the trail puts the whole space in to a bit of perspective. 

  • Finally got a chance to have lunch with this awesome guy. Jon is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where he earned an MFA and he’s also a writer. His work is pretty damn great and you should check it out here: www.jonbryantcrawford.com

  • Ray and I hiked Eaton Canyon Trail last Friday. It was about 6 miles round trip to a waterfall and back. The first half of the trip is not very shaded and it’s dusty, but about 1.5 miles in when you go under the bridge, it cools off immensely. The elevation gain is roughly 2600ft or so but it’s subtle (with the exception of a few rock/boulder climbing spots). 

    The drought is realllllllly evident here; the picture with the house should have a river in front of it and the waterfall should have been wider.

  • When I first started driving around L.A. just to see the city and get to know my new home, I kept ending up in Downtown L.A. #DTLA - this whole area is in the middle of a resurgence of sorts where young professionals are starting to migrate to downtown. It’s interesting to see more and more people out and about in the area and one thing I’ve noticed is the population of homeless men and women migrating out of the center of downtown into whats known as skid row…which is expanding by a few blocks as it fills up and becomes more populated….I digress.

    I kept crossing the L.A. river back and forth and was curious about how to get down there and whether or not it was legal etc…I managed to find out where the entrance is (which is so easy it’s ridiculous) and headed down. The area is super cool and when I was there the first day, there were people doing a model shoot in the river and also a team of what looked to be council members or developers (Here’s why there was developers: http://6stbrp.nationbuilder.com) and a few folks that made their homes in the river.

    Walking through the dark passageway is a little creepy and you definitely have to watch your step…you’ll also catch strong whiffs of urine, but when you come out the other side, it’s pretty damn neat. 

    I liked it so much that I dragged Ray down with me to take a few portraits. 

    I’ll definitely be going back here before developers change it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the new design, it’s just that this place has a history tied to L.A. and is the site of scene from various movies (Terminator 2 and Grease for starters…) along with a bunch of car commercials. The bridge itself has a great architecture that is some of the best in L.A.

  • Hiked through part of Solstice Canyon over near Malibu and really enjoyed it. The main trail has a gentle rise and is mostly shaded which was nice. The air is great since it’s so close to the ocean. It’s a 3 mile hike in and out and the landscape is quite nice. There’s a lot of burned trees and from what I’ve read, the most recent one was in 2007. 

    Aside from burned trees, there’s also a house that was built and then burned down and the foundation still exists. There is also a pool that’s been filled in and behind where the house was, is a waterfall and a few grottos. It’s really neat just exploring and seeing this space. 

    There’s another trail called “Rising Sun” which is the trail back out once you go in and it’s much more rigorous and steep. We’ll be doing that one back next time.

  • Lately on Saturdays we’ve been getting out and driving around L.A. into new area’s that we may not have been yet and some we have. What I love most is that even in the same places I’ve been, they change at different times of the day.

    What I’ve noticed more and more are these…street food spots in different neighborhoods. I see them all over town and love them. They always smell SO damn good. They’re small little set-ups right on the sidewalk and there is always a crowd and people are always happy while eating at them. Definitely going to have to give it a try.