Almost 200 welded metal trees, covered with bottles and recycled items, sit along historic Route 66 south of Barstow, California. The two-acre Bottle Tree Ranch, by artist Elmer Long, dates back to year 2000.
After Long inherited his father’s bottle collection, he began fashioning metal trees to display the collection. Long added various recycled items to create his folk art.
The site is opened daily with Elmer Long usually present. Because of late night human visitors, he’s added security cameras.
I visited back on March 11th and finally posted my images. Over 40 images in this flickr album: 2017 Bottle Tree Ranch.
Bottle Tree Ranch creator Elmer Long.
April 2, 2017: A Confederate soldier fires at advancing Union troops.
The Blue and The Gray Civil War re-enactment returned to Moorpark this last weekend.
The event, normally held in November, was cancelled in 2016. The field at California Lutheran University used for the 2015 event, had been leased to the Los Angeles Rams.
This year, the Rotary Club of Moorpark held the re-enactment at Hitch Ranch, just West of downtown Moorpark. It’s a good site and this year’s cool temperatures really were appreciated.
But personally, the old site at Tierra Rejada Ranch is still my favorite location.
In 1862, following his victory at Manassas in Virginia, General Lee invaded Maryland. On Sep. 17, 1862 the Union troops under the command of General George McClellan attacked Lee’s army at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Union won the bloody fight.
The five battles at this year The Blue and The Gray event recreated the fight at Antietam. Due to a scheduling conflict, I missed the three battles on Saturday, April 1st. But I attended the two Sunday battles. The Union won the first, the Confederates the second.
In the image above, I got lucky and caught a muzzle flash. Below, Union troops react to a pyrotechnic explosion recreating a cannon ball explosion.
I've posted more images in this 2017 The Blue and The Gray flickr album.
April 2, 2017: Retreating Union soldiers react to cannon ball explosion.
April 2, 2017: A Confederate soldier recovers his lost hat.
The poppies are blooming at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Being my first visit, I can’t compare to previous years. Some reports say this is an "ok" year - not great, but not bad.
Anyway, I loved it. While getting about three miles of hiking in, I found the thickest poppy fields in the southeast section of the reserve.
Arrive early. The park opens at 9 a.m., but by then a line of cars stretched almost out to Lancaster Road. I arrived at 8:45 a.m. and got into the parking lot. Visitors arriving later had to park on Lancaster Road.
When I left at noon, it took 20 minutes to exit. California Highway patrol officers were directing traffic. Vehicles were parked for over a mile on Lancaster Road west of the entrance
While driving in on Lancaster Road, there’s a couple of good poppy fields to the east of the entrance. After leaving, I drove north on 170th St. West and east on Highway 138. Additional poppy fields could be found on Highway 138 north of the reserve.
Please stay on the trails. Standing/sitting off the trail kills the flowers. Barren spots stand out all along the trails. One good one, below, looks like someone did a snow angel pose among the poppies.
Park rangers were losing their voices yelling “Stay on the Trail!”
My 2017 Poppy Reserve photo album on flickr.
Nov. 1978: Mock-up of space shuttle built in 1972 by North American Rockwell to help win Congressional approval of the Space Shuttle program.
In 1978, I toured of the Rockwell International plant in Downey, California. The plant was also known as the North American Rockwell facility.
In the 1960s, the Command and Service Modules of the Apollo program were built here. During my visit in the late 1970s, the plant was involved in the Space Shuttle program. Onsite was a full size mock-up of a Space Shuttle where simulated landings were run.
In 2012, the plastic and plywood mock-up was named 'Inspiration.' Currently, it's in storage in Downey.
During my visit, I was shooting wide open with a cheap Vivitar 28 mm wide angle lens. The resulting Tri-X film images are soft. But because of the historic value of the images, I went ahead and scanned, sharpened and cleaned up the images. Here are the results.
Link to full flickr album: 1978 Rockwell Plant Tour.
November 1978: Cockpit of space shuttle mock-uo in Downey, California.
Not only did I find elephant seals and monarch butterflies last Sunday, the day started just after sunrise with about 25 sea otters at the main pier in Morro Bay. A nice surprise.
I posted eight images in a flickr album: 2017 Morro Bay.
Jan. 15, 2017: Elephant seal pup and mother at Piedras Blancas Seal Rookery north of Cambria, California.
After facing extinction by 18th and 19th century hunters, the elephant seals have made a recovery.
In 1892, only about 100 elephant seals remained alive on Guadalupe Island off of Baja California. They were completely gone from the California coast. In the 1920s, Mexico and the United States granted elephant seals protected status. Since then, their numbers have grown.
In 1955, elephant seals were spotted on Ano Nuevo Island near Santa Cruz, California. In 1990 they were first reported on the beaches south of the Pideras Blancas Light Station. In February, 1992, the first pup was born. By 1996 nearly 1,000 pups were born.
Thus, February, 2017, is the 25th Anniversary of first elephant seal pup born at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery. Today nearly 25,000 elephant seals and pups line the beaches north and south of the Point Piedras Blancas.
Starting in 1997, boardwalks and parking areas have been constructed allowing visitors easy viewing of the elephant seals. The beaches, including the rookery, became part of the California State Parks in 2006.
On Jan. 12, 2017, President Obama placed the Piedras Blancas Light Station into the California Coastal National Monument.
I've posted twenty more images in this flickr album: 2017 Elephant Seals.
Jan. 15, 2017: A Monarch butterfly poses at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
About 10,000 Monarchs currently are at the Pismo Beach location posing for hundreds of visitors and their cameras. I found the single fellow, above, right next to the highway.
The site averages 25,000 Monarchs, so numbers were actually down this year. The Monarchs form clusters on tree branches hanging with wings down. This provides shelter from rain and warmth. The cluster's weight also provides protection from strong winds dislodging the Monarchs.
The wintering Monarchs live six months. The migrating Monarchs each live about six weeks for a total of five generations each year.
There are about 200 known wintering sites for the Pacific Coast Monarch migration. These sites are active from late October through February.
The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove has onsite docents from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.daily. Talks are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
I posted 18 images in this flickr album: 2017 Monarch Butterfly Grove
Jan. 8, 2017: Images of the S.S. Victory Lane museum ship in San Pedro, California, taken with iPhone hipstamatic app.
Launched on May 31, 1945, the S.S. Victory Lane was delivered to the Maritime Commission, War Shipping Administration on June 27, 1945. The vessel served in World War II, Korea War and Vietnam War.
On Oct. 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 2032 into law transferring the S.S. Lane Victory to the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII. The organization took possession on June 7, 1989. The ship was towed to Port of Los Angeles and given a restoration into a museum ship.
On Dec. 14, 1991, the S.S. Lane Victory was designed a National Historic Landmark.
For the next two decades, the S.S. Lane Victory operated out of the Port of Los Angeles. The “Victory at Sea” day cruises were very popular. But due to needed boiler repairs, no cruises are currently planned.
One hundred and fifty Victory Ships were named for educational institutions. The S.S. Lane Victory is named after Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. The college was named after co-founder Dr. Isaac Lane, a former slave who became a Methodist Preacher. So indirectly, the vessel is named for Dr. Isaac Lane.
The ship is opened daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for self-guided tours. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Two of the ship’s cargo holds have been converted to museums.
A total of 534 victory ships were built in the United States. Three remain as museum ships. The S.S. American Victory is in Tampa Florida. In 2013, I toured the S.S. Red Oak Victory is in Richmond, California.
Link to 2017 SS Lane Victory flickr album.
Link to 2013 Red Oak Victory flickr album.
Dec. 18, 2016: Christmas Tree Lane on F and G streets in downtown Oxnard, CA.
Every December I love to visit and photograph holiday lights. This year's highlights were Gemini Street and Waverly Avenue in Camarillo; Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills and Christmas Tree Lane in Oxnard.
In Camarillo and Oxnard, walking is the best way to take in the lights. In Woodland Hills stay in your vehicles as the streets around Candy Cane Lane are narrow with no sidewalks.
Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Years!
My related flickr albums:
2016 Oxnard Christmas Tree Lane
2016 Woodland Hills Candy Cane Lane
Oct. 3, 2016: Former school building, now a chapel in Shaniko, Oregon.
In 1900, the railroad arrived and Shaniko quickly becoming the “Wool Capital of the World," as Oregon ranchers could quickly ship their products to Portland. Population soared to 500 in 1910. But in 1911, another railroad line through Bend, Oregon, by-passed Shaniko allowing wool and other farm products a better transportation route. Shaniko starting a slow decline.
In 1942 the railroad has pulled out. Today it’s nearly a ghost town with about 30 residents.
A healthy preservation program has kept many Shaniko buildings is good condition. Summer brings plenty of tourists. A festival - Shaniko Days - is held the first weekend in August.
The center of town is dominated by the two story Skaniko Hotel and Cafe. But the building is closed - a developer pulled out over ten years ago. But there are plenty of gift shops, small museums and old cars to check out.
My planned two hour stop became and entire afternoon. I've posted about 60 images are in this flick album: 2016 Shaniko, Oregon.
My thoughts on images past and present.