Lori Carey Photography

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A good shake

I was all set to post another photo today, and then the earthquake hit. Although originally reported as a 5.8, looks like the final official report is a 5.4 near Chino (or Diamond Bar, depending on whether you consult USGS or Caltech), although it was interesting to watch how the USGS continual changed both the magnitude and the location of the epicenter, and Caltech was not in agreement with either for quite some time. There were close to 50 aftershocks afterward, one a 3.8 but most much smaller. I'm not surprised it took them a while to sort it all out.

After it hit and I calmed myself down (every time you have to wonder if this is "The One" that they say is coming), Bill called to make sure I knew to check for a gas leak and walk through the house looking for damage. Then of course there was talking to friends for the next few hours and seeking out information as to how bad it was at the epicenter, which is about 45 miles from here. Thankfully there was no damage even at the epicenter, just a power outage and some small stuff like things knocked off of shelves and fallen ceiling tiles. So with all of that excitement here I am, no photo post. But for the benefit of my family and friends on the other side of the country and other parts of the world, everything is fine. It was a good couple of jolts followed by what felt like endless rolling, but no damage to person or property. It was honestly the scariest one since I've lived here, I can't lie about that. Not only was it stronger, it certainly lasted much longer than any we've had recently. But no damage, thank God. It was a good warning to stay alert and a good reminder to review our emergency plan and double check the bugout kits.

Nothing after the jump. More photos tomorrow!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fun with Fruit

I'm falling behind on processing the images I've shot this month because new ideas pop into my head and I just have to go play. Since we had a house full of friends last night we had a quiet, relaxing morning just kicking around the house today but I was still itching to shoot something. This type of shot is usually done in a studio, but since I hate being stuck inside on a beautiful day I wanted to see if I could create a controlled environment outside in my backyard. All ambient light here, no strobes needed (didn't think I'd be able to get away with that). Took a little creative thinking, but I think it paid off and the man of the house has requested a print for the kitchen of one of the shots (hehe!).

And I think this might just be what I need for a project I've been asked to work on, so sometimes it pays to give in to the urge to just go play.

Nothing after the jump.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Big Cats

Working my way through the photos I took at La Brea Tar Pits and the George C. Page Museum at Hancock Park in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Neat place, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I've had some people tell me it wasn't worth visiting, but I don't think they took the time to go through the museum. We even got to check out some excavation activity at Pit 91, which is apparently only open for one hour every day or so. Good timing on our part. Thanks for wanting to go up there, Mom!

I just loved this sculpture of two lions by Herman T. Beck, located outside the main entrance to the museum. There is so much tension and power in it. There are four of Beck's sculptures on the grounds of Hancock Park, two at the entrance of the museum, but this is by far my favorite.

Flash photography is allowed at the museum (yippee!), so when I saw this life-sized animation of a saber-toothed cat attacking a Harlan's Ground Sloth I used it to my advantage to darken the background and create the image I envisioned where you could barely tell it was taken in a very crowded museum. Check out those teeth (and the claws on the ground sloth)!

I haven't finished all of the photos so the gallery isn't up on my website yet. Just wanted to post a little teaser.

Nothing after the jump.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Searching for the light

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Been feeling a bit uninspired lately. This week is PhotoShelter's Shoot! The Day and I was really excited to see a group form in Orange County. I had already joined the L.A. group, but I thought it would be great to hang with some local people. So while the L.A. group got a big group together to do a shoot, complete with media coverage, in true O.C. fashion the Orange County group did...nothing. The group leader never showed his face after creating the group and no one seem to want to commit to anything. Actually, they all just faded away. I know I shouldn't have actually expected anything, that really is the way things go around here. An Orange County flikr group started up a few months ago so I checked on them. At their last scheduled meeting apparently not one single person showed up.

So I guess that bummed me out because I was pretty excited about the whole thing. I should've made the trek up to Venice Beach to join the L.A. people, my own fault. Between that and this darn marine layer that just doesn't seem to want to leave this year...I kinda feel like the light post in the photo above. And every time I look at that image I get this uneasy feeling that it is backwards. I've been half-tempted to flip it, but then again I think the uneasy feeling goes along with what I want the photo to say.

The photo is actually one I took while working on Nikolai's assignment this week to photograph one of our hometown's street light...in it's environment and in a way that says something about the street light. Although this has been my favorite so far, it doesn't make the cut because I have no surroundings in the image. I'm sure that every one in town thinks I'm crazy because I've been running around looking for a street light in just the right surroundings. Normal people don't understand why we would want to photography a street light, no matter how you try to explain.

But the weekend is coming. Friday night with friends, Sunday with friends...that will recharge my batteries!

Nothing after the jump.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On a mission at the Mission

Photos from my last visit to Mission San Juan Capistrano have been added to my website and many are available for licensing at Photoshelter.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is the 7th of 21 California Missions along El Camino Real (The Royal Highway) stretching from the oldest, San Diego de Alcala in the south up to San Francisco Solanno, the only Mission founded after Mexico's Independence from Sprain. The Missions were founded by Father Juniper Serra, a Franciscan friar. They were founded not only to convert the local native Americans to Christianity; they gave Spain a foothold in California.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was known as the Jewel of the Missions because of The Great Stone Church. Renowned Mexican architect and stonemason Isidoro AguĂ­lar designed the church and supervised the Ahachamai (Juaneno) Indians who built it. Laid out in the shape of a cross, it had a dome with six vaults and a campanile (bell tower) 37 meters high. Construction of the "Great Stone Church" began in 1797, and reportedly required the participation of the entire Ahachamai labor force. Finished in 1806, the church was the largest and most beautiful church on the West Coast of California, and earned the Mission the nickname The Jewel of the Missions. The Great Stone Church was destroyed in an earthquake which also took the lives of 40 natives, including two young boys who were ringing the bells, in 1812. Restoration work began in 1987 to prevent further damage to the beautiful ruins.

When I'd visited the Mission in the past, like most people and photographers I fell in love with the gardens, the romance and serenity. There's a reason why this is a favorite location for wedding photographers. The downside is that, like most favorite locations, everyone basically takes the same shots. The Moorish fountains with the lily pads and koi, the one corner of the courtyard draped with bougainvillea, the barracks from afar with the gardens in the foreground. I got some great photos on the last time I visited (of the same things everyone else photographs), but unfortunately they were with an older digital camera and the file quality just isn't there. On this trip the gardens were lovely as always, but whether it was just the wrong time of day and the light wasn't right or I was in the wrong mood, I just wasn't feeling it. So keeping my stock portfolio in mind I challenged myself to take a new look and capture beautiful images of things that other people weren't. That apparently was the right thing to do as most of the images I submitted were accepted by my agency (there are a few more in my website gallery - click on the photo above). It's a good reminder to revisit places with a fresh eye - every time I go back to a favorite location I see something new.

But I still need to go back and do those gardens justice with a real camera!

Nothing after the jump.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Tyto Alba babies

Phew! I have been trying to take a decent shot of those guys for over a week and that is the best I have been able to do. They hide in the shade underneath a palm frond during the heat of the day, and I don't want to flash a strobe into those little sleeping baby owl eyes...Aren't they just the cutest? Kind of remind of me furbies, minus the long ears.

Yes, the pair of barn owls who have been hanging out in my palm trees every night decided to have their family in one of my trees this year. I noticed a change in the adults' behavior a little over two weeks ago, and then heard a strange new noise that I couldn't identify. When I noticed that Mom and Dad were spending a lot of time in one tree in the front of the house I kept an eye on it, and sure enough one evening I noticed there were three owls in the tree. The babies are quite large by the time they show their cute little faces, I'd guess about 14 inches tall. I didn't realize at first that it was a baby until I realized that two of the owls were bringing food to the the owl in the tree all night long. And what a ruckus! Barn owls don't hoot - they scream, screech, hiss and croak. (If you've never heard them, a site with some really good sound files can be found here. The first time I heard a barn owl I thought a neighbor was being mugged!) As soon as the sun starts to set the baby starts calling for its parents. They do a few low fly-bys and call out to the baby, who screams back at them. When one of the parents lands in the tree the noise really starts.

The baby fledged and would sit in its favorite tree in the back of the house at night while its parents brought food. The noise made it pretty hard to sleep some nights, but I had a lot of fun watching this for a little over a week. One afternoon I looked up into the tree in the front of the house where the baby sleeps during the day and saw that there were two owls. Barn owls lay their eggs two days apart. I have to guess that either some didn't hatch, or the delay was more than two days in this case. I thought the noise was bad enough with one baby! The older baby stopped moving to the tree in the back at feeding time since his younger sibling couldn't fly yet. Then, two days later, the third one showed his adorable little face. You should hear the nights at my place now!

The sources I've consulted state varying lengths of time before they'll all leave the nest, but the eldest has been gone a few days now. No more chances to catch all three sleeping together. The other two are definitely flying - I watched the three of them take a short flight to a nearby tree the other evening. Based on the timing of the first one I expect the second to leave in about a week, and the last one shortly after that.

None of my neighbors knew what was going on and somehow a rumor was started that 'someone' was feeding the owls and creating all of the noise and commotion at night. Yes, that is exactly what my one neighbor told me! So one afternoon while I was out checking on them I had everyone craning their necks to peek up into the tree and I explained what was taking place. Makes it a little easier for everyone to handle the sleep disturbances.

Pretty cool to have all of that going on right in my own yard.

So why have I been so lax with my blogging? After the jump...

My parents started on their lifelong dream of driving across the country back in June. I knew they were headed out this way but we didn't know when they would be here (good for them, I'm so jealous). They had never been west of the Mississippi, and when you see the West for the first time it takes your breath away. Photos don't do it justice. There is so much to see out here and the land is vast. On July 3rd I received a phone call from my parents that they had been in Arizona for almost a week and were ready to come visit me. Of course I told them to head on over; we hadn't seen each other in a few years. They were right in Flagstaff, a day's drive away.

When they were planning their trip last year I tried to tell them to leave in May...boy they hated driving through the deserts in July! Neither one is in good health and both have trouble walking. When they got here they practically collapsed. To make a long story short, what they thought would be a few days ended up being a bit longer due to problems with my Dad's prescriptions, a minor car problem, the need to change some of their travel plans due to the wildfires up north and I think a bit of road weariness. We did fit in some easier sightseeing; my Mom was set on seeing La Brea Tar Pits and I'd never been so we did that one day. Of course we had to visit Mission SJC another day. My Dad is really getting into photography (woohoo!) and loves nature/wildlife/birds, so I took him to La Jolla Cove, Bolsa Chica, and two trips to Newport Back Bay. Of course I was shooting the entire time, too, but I didn't have time to even look at my photos while they were here, so this week I'm playing some catch up with all of that.

They had originally planned to drive up the coast through Big Sur but 101 was closed due to the fire. After a few days it didn't seem like they were making any progress with the fire so Bill and I helped them map out a route through Sequoia NP to Yosemite for a few days. Then over Tioga Pass to Mono Lake, then a stop by Bodie on their way to Yellowstone. Wouldn't you know the day before they left they announced that they anticipated opening the entire stretch of the 101 by Monday? Tough decision - Big Sur or Yosemite! But Big Sur would've meant staying with me another two days, and hotel reservations were already made at Yosemite.

I talked to them this afternoon. They had made it to June Lake (I sent them there since there were no rooms available in Lee Vining and Bill had nothing good to say about that town anyway). Tioga Pass was their favorite part so far, which made me breathe a sigh of relief. It is a beautiful drive, but the only thing on the other side for hours is Mono Lake and Lee Vining. My Dad said he was too tired to see the tufa towers tonight, and they're heading to Yellowstone tomorrow. If he stops at Mono Lake, it'll be too hot at midday for him to visit Bodie, so he's got a tough choice to make tomorrow morning.

Wish I could jump in my jeep and drive around photographing all of the national parks for the next few months.