Images & Observations

Another Time

Back Door of Commerce

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 12mm ISO 200 1/50 f/11 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

This is a section of commercial building wall that originally faced an alley behind “D” Street in Chino, California.  This was the home of a hardware store at one time.  I was attracted by the textures, colors and remnants of commerce painted on the wall.

To view in high resolution or to purchase this or similar prints please click here: http://goo.gl/DDUfc


Renwick House

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 26mm ISO 200 3- bkts f/11 Lr4, HEP2, TpzSim; PsCS6

After ten years of marriage and the death of her husband, Helen Goodwin Renwick left Iowa and brought her son to Claremont, California.  Mrs. Renwick then built her house in 1900 where she raised her son and became a philanthropist to Pomona College.  Mrs. Renwick died at the age of 86 in July, 1930, bequeathing her home to Pomona College.  From the obituary published July 31, 1930 in the Claremont Courier  I found this charming line about Mrs. Renwick:

Following a romance of unusual charm she was married to William Renwick in 1879 and together they enjoyed their home and a companionship in Davenport, Iowa for 10 years.

The Renwick House now serve as the offices of the Pomona College Annual Giving department.

To view in high resolution or to purchase this or similar images, please click here: goo.gl/5XCBv .


Seaver House Detail

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 28mm ISO 200 1/8 f/22 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS6

This was the home of the Carlton Seaver family and was originally constructed on a site at Holt and Garey Avenue in Pomona, California in 1900.  All of Carlton Seaver’s children a attended Pomona College, Mr. and Mrs. Seaver  and subsequent generations of the Seaver family have been major donors to Pomona College.  The Seaver house was willed to the college by Carlton Seaver’s widow and moved to its current site on the campus of Pomona College at 305 Campus Avenue, Claremont, California.  Seaver House now serves as the location of the Pomona College Alumni Relations Office.

To view in high resolution or to purchase this or similar images, please click here: goo.gl/5XCBv .


2:38 P.M. At Claremont Station

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 18mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/14 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS6

Originally constructed in 1927 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the Mission Colonial/Spanish Colonial Revival style, Claremont Station is now a embarcation point for the Metrolink San Bernardino commuter rail line.  The station, on First Street at the base of Harvard Avenue in Claremont Village is staffed by Foothill Transit (the local public transportation compan) and serves as a transfer point for bus riders.

To view in high resolution or to purchase prints please click here: http://goo.gl/yN321 .


The Carnegie Legacy

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 20mm ISO 800 3-bkts f/11 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

The Carnegie Library on the campus of Pomona College was opened in 1908 after receiving a grant from the Carnegie Foundation and is one of two academic libraries built by the Carnegie Foundation in California.  The building on the campus in Claremont, California was repurposed after the present campus library was completed in 1953 and now is known as the Carnegie Building and houses Social Sciences offices and classrooms.  The Library was designed by Franklin P. Burnham using reinforced concrete in the Classical Revival style.

Andrew Carnegie  one of the wealthiest men that the United States had produced was a Scottish immigrant who began as a worker in a bobbin factory and eventually rose through the railroading and steel industries to become one of the largest philanthropists in American history after he sold Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan (who through merger turned it in to United States Steel)  and netted the equivalent in 2012 dollars of  $6,303,451,104.


Leven Oaks Endures

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 24mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/11 Lr4, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Located three doors south of Foothill Boulevard on Myrtle Avenue in the heart of the Monrovia, California “old town” commercial district is The Leven Oaks.  Built in 1911 by L.B. Vollmer The Leven Oaks was envisioned as becoming the best hotel west of the Rockies.  The fact that Monrovia was founded by Prohibitionists and was a dry town may or may not have been considered by Vollmer when he opened his hotel.  In 2000 the hotel was transformed in to an assisted living facility.


Clean Chevy: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Two Door Hardtop

Spring Car Show Season

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 38mm ISO 200 1/100 f/18 Lr4, TpzSim; PsCS5

Standing its ground among superior numbers of Corvettes at the Corvettes West/Ronald McDonald House car show, April 1, 2012 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.


1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Roadster

Spring Car Show Season

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 24mm ISO 200 1/1000, 1/250, 1/60 f/16 Lr4 HEP1; PsCS5

I captured this classic American automobile at the Corvettes West/Ronald McDonald House car show April 1 of this year in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  Rather than characterizing this vehicle among adjacent contemporary vehicles and structure I elected to composite it in to a scene I had previously captured at The Huntington (Library, Galleries & Gardens) in San Marino, California more than a year earlier.  I put a lot of hand work in to this final image adjusting the edges and painting out the reflections on the body paint, but I still have a ways to go in terms of getting good edges and matching brightness, saturation and clarity in my composite work.  I do feel that the scene that I put the car in to is a great improvement to the parking lot behind a commercial building.


Palms Depot

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 11mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, ASSnapArt3; PsCS5

The Palms Depot was built in 1887 when it overlooked a grid of new streets in the subdivision of Palms, which was the only urbanized area between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica.  A few years later the Palms Depot became a part of the Southern Pacific Railroad, it was electrified in 1908 and served passenger and freight traffic until 1933 when the railroad transferred its functions to Culver Junction.  The Palms Depot continued to serve the Pacific Electric Railway’s trolly service for 20 more years, until terminated in 1953.  The architectural style of the Palms Depot is Eastlake, and it served as a motion picture backdrop for Laurel & Hardy and Little Rascal films.  The depot was moved to Heritage Square, Los Angeles in 1975, where it was restored and is used as the Visitor Center.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.  Click here to view the depot “back in the day”.


Church At The End Of The Lane

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Lincoln Avenue Methodist Church had its cornerstone laid on September 21, 1897 at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and North Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, California, which was surrounded by orange groves at the time; a U.S. Postal facility now stands where the church originally stood.  In 1981 the church was cut up in to six pieces and moved to Heritage Square in Los Angeles.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


William Hayes Perry Residence

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 13mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

Designed by E.F. Kysor, the Perry residence was erected in 1876 in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles for lumber barron William Hayes Perry.  The classic Greek Revival Italianate building was accepted in its era as one of the finest, most expensive homes in the city.  In 1975 the house sat neglected and vandalized in its original location and was moved to Heritage Square by its owners, the Colonial Dames Society of America.  In 1995 the house was deeded to the Heritage Square Museum, where restoration was ongoing.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Hale House: Another Angle

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 17mm ISO 400 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

A recurring subject in the blog, another angle on Hale House in Heritage Square in Los Angeles.  You may compare it to the previous version here.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Proud But Forlorn

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Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 26mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/11 Lr3, HEP!, TpzSim; PsCS5

The Amtrak station in Pomona, California, quietly standing as a monument to the heyday of long transcontinental rail travel.   This station services the Sunset Limited (running between Los Angeles and New Orleans) which passes through three times a week in each direction.  This was the most under utilized station in the Amtrak system in 2010, with an average of 4 passengers leaving or arriving per day.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


The Departure

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 1/800 f/22 +2EV -2EV Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5 (background image)

A tableau that might have been real in the last century, or alive just in  my mind.    This is a composite of three images; the Buick is pink and white in real life.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Roaring 20’s Excursion

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/8 Lr3; HEP1

A typical baggage cart loaded with hand luggage and mail bags is on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.  The era represented could be the Roaring 20’s, the advertising card is for a rail excursion in 1923 from Venice, California to the 13th National Orange show in San Bernardino.  The excursion was operated by the Pacific Electric Railway Company, which during its heyday had electric trolleys, popularly termed “red cars” criss crossing the greater Los Angeles area.  The excursion from the beach at Venice inland to San Bernardino would have been roughly 100 miles if travelling by automobile, Pacific Electric offered a special excursion fare on Washington’s Birthday, February 18, 1928 for $3.25, round trip, via their electric trolleys

Pacific Electric’s operations began declining after the second world war, and most of the rail lines were eliminated throughout the 1950’s.  The scandale that arose in the 1960’s was that it was widely thought that oil company and automotive manufacturing interests were responsible for the decision to replace the interurban rail transit system with freeways, cars and buses.

Ironically, local government and transportation authorities began championing interurban rail transit again in the 1980’s and the first Metro Blue Line rail transit (subway) line began operations in 1990 and later the Red, Green and Gold Lines were added, as was the Metrolink heavy rail system linking more distant exurbs.  All of this work completed or still under construction in 2012, at considerable more cost to the taxpayers and environmental impact than would have accrued if the Pacific Electric Railway would never have been abandoned.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Telegrapher’s Perch

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 1/10 f/8 =2EV -2EV Lr3, HEP1

This is a period reproduction of a railroad station from 1910 in the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.  In so far as it being a historically accurate representation the museum might want to consider re-designating it as a railroad station circa 1920, as the rotary telephone was not invented until 1919.  I do appreciate some of the details, such as the spittoon, the telegraph key (visible in a high resolution view) to the left of the typewriter, and the telegraph receiver above and to the left of the telegraph key.

Please click on the image to view it in high resolution.


Cold War Relic

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/10, Lr3, PsCS5

If you know what the phrase “Duck and cover” means, and probably practiced it, you know what this object is.  Living in the Los Angeles area during the Cold War era I also know what an air raid siren sounds like.  The Civil Defense authorities would test all of the sirens at 10:00 A.M. on one Friday a month, and if we were in school we were taught to duck under our school desks, crouch down in and curl our bodies in on themselves, and cover our heads with our hands.  We were curled in to almost a fetal position waiting for our doom from the blast and tremendous heat of an exploding atomic bomb over our heads.

We were fortunate that we never had a bomb explode over us, and are fortunate that humanity has moved past the immediate threat of atomic annihilation, but others have not been as fortunate as us, either those who lived through the German V-1 bombing in Great Britain before our generation, or those who have lived through the “Shock And Awe” bombing in  contemporary Bagdad.  The sound the sirens make is all too real for these people, as is the impact of the devastation created by warring nations.

Please click on the image to view in high resolution.


Ready To Peal Again

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/8 Lr3, HEP1; PsCS5

Among the artifacts on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum is this old locomotive bell.  A nice jog of the memory of times past actually lived (by some of us) or as reproduced on the motion picture or television screen.  I can hear that distinct sound of a locomotive bell  pealing as it is rocked back and forth on its cradle in my mind.


Hose #1; An Exercise In Post Processing

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 12mm ISO 1600 1/20 +2EV -2EV f/8 Lr3, HEP1, CEP3; PsCS5

We are still at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum this week, and as we started last week off with a vintage piece of fire fighting apparatus, this week starts with a view of SAN B’DINO HOSE No. 1, a horse drawn truck for transporting the fire hose to the fire.

As with the majority of my images, the three frames that make up this image were shot hand-held.  The camera raw images were converted to DNG in Lightroom and then processed with Nik Software’s HDR Efrex Pro using a custom preset that I had previously devised.  This composited the three images together and tone mapped the result.  I used a custom preset in HDR Exfex Pro that I had previously devised, and the composite image only required very minimal “tweaking”.  The image was then moved in to Photo Shop and a duplicate background layer was created which then had a Gaussian blur applied.  I then masked out the fire truck, removing the blur from the truck.  A duplicate layer was created and then processed in Nik’s Color Efex Pro 3, the entire image, except the masked out truck, was modified by applying Color Efex Pro’s Midnight-Bright Sepia filter.  There was minor fine tuning along the way, and I spent some time magnifying the image and cleaning up edges of masking that overlapped, or underlapped.

I thoroughly enjoyed post processing this image and I think it has a nice, vintage feel to it, yet retains great clarity and detail on the truck.

Please click on the image to view it in high resolution.


Ultra Economy Class

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 18mm ISO 1600 1/15 -2EV +2EV f/13 Lr3, HEP1, CEP3; PsCS5

While those One Percenter’s are getting their shoes shined on the tarmac in front of their private jet they never forget the rest of us, and kindly arrange for alternative transportation for the wage earners.

This is a Hudson Bay Railroad hand car on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum.


The Original Hook & Ladder Truck

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 14mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/16 Lr3; HEP1

One of the artifacts on display at the San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum, San Bernardino, California is this hook and ladder “truck” that dates back to the 1900’s.  If you look closely you can see the hook protruding from the red ring hanger that is attached to the rear of the truck chasis.

The Los Angeles County Fire Museum also displays an early hook and ladder and had this to say about it on their web site:

The fact that it is hand drawn, and not horse drawn, does not mean that it is older than horse drawn equipment. Small towns that did not require large firefighting equipment did not invest in the expense of having horses. So this vehicle may have served a small town or village, and they elected to stay with hand drawn equipment because they did not need the more capable, more expensive steam fire engines or horse drawn equipment…

It carried ground ladders and a roof ladder. A roof ladder is a ladder that has hooks that are spring loaded on the tip of the ladder that could turn perpendicular to the ladder so that the ladder could lay flat on the peak of the roof. The hooks would grab the ridge and hold the ladder in place so that the firefighters could work off the ladders. This is particularly helpful when there is a steep pitched roof. Especially when it is wet, it can be very hard for a firefighter to keep his footing. So, the roof ladder is used to provide better footing and safety.

It also carried axes and picks, and also the famed “hook”, giving it the name “Hook and Ladder”. The hook was used to pull down damaged buildings or chimneys to stop the spread of fire by creating a fire break. Sometimes, in early chimneys, the fire would get going in them and they could not put it out. So, they would just pull the chimneys down with the hook. The hook and a chain and a rope, and they used a long stick to get the hook up to the height to whatever they needed to grab, whatever piece of the building they needed to grab onto. They would use the chain and the rope hooked to the building, and a bunch of men would grab that to pull the wall down, or pull the chimney down.

Please click on either image to view in full resolution.

Nikon D7000 10-24mm @ 24mm ISO 1600 3-bkts f/13 Lr3; HEP1


Hobbs Battery

Nikon D7000 18-200mm @ 48mm ISO 800 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

It has probably been a long time since this building on Glassell Street in Orange, California had an inventory of batteries for sale, but I am glad the advertising sign on the side of the building has survived.  I love the look of mature buildings with period decoration or art work on them, even commercial art work.

Please click on the image to see a high resolution version or to purchase a fine art print.


The Corner Pizzeria

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 31mm ISO 400 1/400 f/11 Lr3, TpzSim; PsCS5

Located at corner of Yale Avenue and 2nd Street in Claremont Village (Claremont, California) is a staple of any college town, the pizzeria.  Where it is likely local merchants and farmers were once conducting monetary transactions with their banker in another time, dough of another kind is being tossed and baked.


Hale House Re-visited

Nikon D7000 18-135mm @ 20mm ISO 200 3-bkts f/16 Lr3, HEP1, TpzSim; PsCS5

I think it is never too late to go back and revisit images that have been previously captured and processed and bring a new perspective to the images based upon the passage of time and my own growth as an artist.  I was happy with my last rendering of the Hale House image last July because I had achieved a personal milestone in processing tools and techniques in the rendering of that HDR image as described in that blog posting.  Since that time I have been exploring more and more with tools and techniques that result in my images rendering in a decided painterly style.

In the case of this image, I did turn down the Clarity slider in Lightroom and brought up the Vibrance slider, and after sharpening and noise reduction then moved the image in to Photoshop and used Topaz Simplify to remove detail and soften textures, and add some definition to edges; then copied that layer and applied Simplify again.  I applied final touches back in Lightroom.  My goal in applying the painterly effects and amping up the color saturation and brightness is to defeat any perception of this being a documentary photograph and to allow the viewer’s mind to fill in any blanks in terms of the story this image might tell or feelings it might evoke.