Tribute to American Graffiti


This past weekend was the annual Tribute to American Graffiti car show in Petaluma. I’m not much of a car aficionado, but I love seeing all the old cars. I don’t get into the engines and mechanics of the cars, I just like the aesthetics of the old cars.  There’s something about the designs that car makers just can’t replicate in cars today. The car show takes over downtown with more cars than I could count, a couple hundred easily.

This year I went with my father-in-law who grew up in Detroit. He likes the classics to be original and stock. I tend to agree with him, but I appreciate the craftsmanship and originality that goes into some of the hot rods. As we walked by the cars he would say things like “My brother had this exact car” or “My uncle had this car”, and so on. His knowledge of the American cars pre-1970 is astonishing. It really added a lot to car show to hear stories of people who drove the same cars in everyday life.

I took a couple of hundred photos with over 60 that I liked. I’m still processing and uploading them to Flickr and Zooomr. I have a set on Flickr with shots from this year. There’s also shots from the 2008 car show in a separate set.

Chevrolet Bel Air

Back to the Challenge

Day 67 - Curves

I’m back to shooting for the 2009 Photo Challenge this week with this shot for the Curves theme.  We took a day trip to Bodega Bay to do some whale watching, but the wind was furious and the surf too wild to see anything.  Fortunately, the tide was low so the tide pools were easily accessible.

The wind was definitely a force of nature yesterday. The Sonoma Coast can get darn windy, but yesterday was something else. I was worried about sand blasting my camera so I kept it tucked into my jacket when I wasn’t shooting. The wind literally pushed my 6 year old backwards as she walked and our parked mini-van was shaking from the wind. We didn’t spend a lot of time out in the elements, but long enough for this shot of natural curves.

I took a dozen or so shots of these mussels trying to get the curves just right, but in the end none of the shots compared to how they look in nature. The patterns and colors were truly spectacular if you took the time to appreciate it. Most people gravitate to star fish or sea anemones, but these guys are worth a look.

I took last week of the 2009 Photo Challenge off.  I just couldn’t get into the theme – Emotion. Emotional shots to me can’t be planned. I knew there was no way I could take an honest emotional shot given that I work full time. I see a lot of joy and happiness in my kids, but I didn’t want to use them as subjects. I’m also not entirely comfortable taking pictures of strangers. That is an area I need to work on, but I don’t think the Photo Challenge is the right venue.

January Reflections

All in all, a good day
I have certainly hit the ground running this year, at least in terms of photography. I decided to attempt the 2009 Photo Challenge so I’ve been taking a lot of photos. I’ve only missed one day so far, which means I’ve posted 34 photos for the challenge alone. I’ve also posted about 40+ other photos to Zooomr and Flickr. That has to be one my best months ever with about 75 photos in the month.

I’ve also been very pleased with the quality of the shots I’ve been posting, and several have received a lot of faves and views. While I’d like to think I’m growing as a photographer, I’m certain the 2009 Challenge has helped me improve. In fact, a friend is buying prints of three shots taken specifically for the 2009 Challenge. That will be my first photography sale. I’m also contributing a photo to a fund raising auction for my kids’ school later this month.

One of the high points of January was my first photowalk with Jeremy Brooks and Andrew Lighten. I was on a jury in San Francisco and Jeremy and I decided to meet up one evening. It just happened that Andrew flew into SF that day. Hanging out even for a short time with other photographers is very rewarding. Thanks guys. I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to get to other Bay Area photowalks this year.  This is one of the shots I took on that walk:
Night on the Bay

January was a good start to the year for me. I know the economy sucks and California is heading into a severe drought, but I’m looking forward to this year. And looking back, this is my favorite shot of the month:
Day 28 - Water

One final thing, I want to give a little promotion to the PhotoNetCast podcast. I’ve only recently started listening to this and have really enjoyed it. It’s entertaining and informative. I know everyone listens to TWIP, but you should also listen to PhotoNetCast. Really.

My Top 10 Photos of 2008

I hadn’t considered doing a post summing up my year in photography, but today I saw a tweet from Phill Price reminding people to submit their Top Ten to Jim M. Goldstein’s blog project. I’ve run across Jim’s blog before, but for some reason I haven’t subscribed in Google Reader. Well, that has been fixed.

I usually find it hard to pick shots I like. The shots I like are often not the ones that get the most views or faves. I went through my Zooomr photostream and picked the ones I like best that were also favorites of the Zooomr community. So here are my best shots of 2008, in no particular order:

Dreaming of Summer
Dreaming of Summer
Elk Lake, Oregon. One of my favorite places.

Seeing Stars
Seeing Stars
My wife always has fresh flowers in the house, so I get a lot of opportunities to take flower shots.

Barack Obama, plate 6
Barack Obama, plate 6
I had to include one of these shots. I was one of the highlights of the year for me, and the nation.

Return to Earth
Return to Earth
Morrison Planetarium, Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Heartland Dreams
Heartland Dreams
Somewhere near Southwick, Idaho. Another shot from our summer vacation.

What do you hold in
What do you hold in
A fence post near Petaluma, CA

Everything you want
Everything you want
Taken in Redding, CA at the Sundial Bridge. Also from the summer vacation.


Another shot of flowers in my house.

Visual Pollution
Visual Pollution
Power lines in Petaluma, CA

Petaluma, CA

Sunset Photos

I’ve been keeping up with the April Challenge, but seem to fall behind in the 2008 Community Challenge. Maybe because there is so much that falls apart. Anyway, here are the shots for week 14 and week 15 (which by my count is this week).

Sunset Twine at Sunset
I set out yesterday evening to shoot the old Sunset Twine building because the light hits it perfectly with few shadows. The building is truly amazing. It was a working factory up until about a year ago (maybe two). Developers had planned to turn it into condos, but the city kept dragging its feet on approving plans, so the developer finally gave up. I want to see the building preserved and hope someone comes along to take care of it before it falls down.

Barn at Sunset
This barn was moved a couple of years ago to this spot by the river to make room for a parking garage downtown. The move was about a 1/4 mile as the crow flies. I tend to not like development that displaces or destroys old buildings, but I was ok with this move because it preserved the building and put it in a new riverside park. Moving it was a good compromise.

These shots were taken as part of the 2008 Challenge at

Devolution Days 2-5

I’ve actually been keeping up with the April Challenge, so far. It’s only Day 5, so I guess it’s not much of an accomplishment yet. Here are the shots for days 2-5.

April 2, 2008
Layer upon layer
Paint peeling off the old barn/shed in my backyard. This building is probably 100+ years old, and looks like it. It is also my next project at home. I’ve neglected it for too long and will be fixing it up over the next few months.

April 3, 2008
I’ve blogged before about trains (or lack thereof) in Sonoma County. This is a section of track north of Penngrove, CA.

April 4, 2008
Sunset Twine 1

April 5, 2008
Bits and Pieces
One of the thousands of pieces of glass from my car window that was smashed yesterday in a random act of stupidity. Actual size is 1/2 inch long.
These shots were taken as part of the April photo challenge.

Water Street Trestle

Water Street Trestle
At some point in Petaluma’s past, trains ran down this stretch of track in downtown. Since I’ve lived here, it’s been a hazard and an eyesore. The trestle runs along the water front of the Petaluma River turning basin, a main pedestrian thoroughfare in downtown. Several years ago the trestle was fenced off to prevent people walking on it because it had deteriorated to the point where it became a safety hazard. Now the 85 year-old trestle sits, neglected, in the heart of town as a sad reminder of our past.

But, there are some who care about preserving history for future generations. The Petaluma Trolley Project is working to get the trestle and trolley service restored to Petaluma. There is even talk of putting the trestle on the National Register of Historic Places. I would love to see the trestle restored with trolleys running along the river. I’m not sure it would help traffic, but it would be cool, kind of like the Cable Cars in San Francisco. OK, maybe not as cool, but for a small town like Petaluma it would be great.

So much local history gets lost, and it seems there is little support for preserving old landmarks. Developers want to make money off the land, or turn places into resorts to generate profits. I’d like to see more historic places preserved for everyone.

The Petaluma Argus-Courier has a good article on the efforts to restore the trestle and its history.

This shot has a Geotag on Zooomr for those that want to know the exact location. This shot was taken as part of the 2008 Challenge at

Playing Catch Up

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been behind in the 2008 Challenge. This week I’m trying to catch up a little by posting two shots, both of which I took this morning while on a walk with my dog.


Only a few blocks from downtown sits one of the town’s dairies. I don’t know how long this one has been around, but I’m pretty sure the site has been a dairy since Petaluma became a town. This one also sits across the street, diagonally, from city hall. Petaluma has a long history as a diary town, so it’s nice to some reminders right in the middle of everything. The trucks coming and going are probably a nuisance since it’s a residential neighborhood, but I like seeing it.

What Remains
Petaluma has its share of graffiti problems, but this is actually authorized graffiti artwork. I am totally opposed to graffiti as vandalism, but completely support property owners who allow graffiti artist to paint walls as a form of
expression. In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater allows graffiti art on the back wall of the building. The art is clearly visible from one of the busiest streets in town and has grown more colorful and expressive in recent months. This shot is inside an old room attached to the building that has no roof. Fortunately the left over cans and trash aren’t visible from the street.

Both shots are hosted on Zooomr for those that want to know the exact location. Both shots were also taken as part of the 2008 Challenge at

The Sky We Live Under

The sky we live under
I took this for the 2008 challenge last week and posted it to Zooomr and Flickr, but haven’t had a chance to blog it yet. I also submitted it to JPG Magazine under the “Fresh” theme for Issue 16. I’d appreciate a vote if you like it.

This scene is very representative of the farmland around Petaluma at this time of year – green and yellow with a bright blue sky. Even though much of the country is still in winter, California gets to experience Spring starting in February. We’ll get some more rain before Summer, but at least we have color early. The color will fade by June and the fields will all be brown then, so I always enjoy the green while it lasts.

The irony of this shot is that the county landfill is nestled in the hills in the background. Fortunately, you can’t seen it in this shot.

This shot has a Geotag on Zooomr for those that want to know the exact location. This shot was taken as part of the 2008 Challenge at

Antoher Spring

Another Spring
It’s the end of February and Spring is in full force. In typical California fashion, a few weeks of bad weather was followed by a week of upper 60s and low 70s, so all the plants have started budding and blooming. I drove by this house kind of on accident today and had to stop to take a picture.

Even though I didn’t plan the shot, it’s perfect for the 2008 Challenge for this week because the weather has been spectacular, as it usually is in February. Our town has a lot of flowering trees and several beautiful Magnolias. This tree, in particular, is stunning and the photo just doesn’t do it justice. So, no long blog post for this one, just enjoy the weather, if you can.

I used a polarizing filter, so the sky is really dark. I did some minor contrast adjustment, but this one is pretty
much “as is”. This shot was taken as part of the 2008 Challenge at The photo is hosted on Zooomr, along with these others I shot this week.
Signs of Spring There is beauty in imperfection