For over 30 years, artist Kenny Irwin Jr. has covered his four acre Palm Springs lot with creatures of all sizes. His sculptures have a robot, alien, sci-fi theme. During the holidays, Irwin adds thousands of lights and inflatables.
While open by appointment year round, Irwin has a major holiday hit on his hands. After adding numerous Christmas decorations, about 20,000 visitors annually tour of his display. After a lawsuit, Irwin and the City of Palm Springs reached an agreement to restrict parking in the immediate residential neighborhood.
I visited RoboLights over the Jan. 6-7th, 2018, weekend - avoiding the crush of visitors.
My results are in this flickr album: 2018 RoboLights
Artist Kenny Irwin Jr.
Oct. 21, 2017: Reign of Terror Haunted House at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. I attended the afternoon Lights on Tour where parents can visit with smaller children. There are no live actors - monsters - during the afternoon tour. But with the lights on, I could easily take images.
The award winning Reign of Terror Haunted House is now in its 18th year. The haunted house is spread out over 23,000 square feet and features 100 different rooms.
I posted some 35 images in this flickr album: 2017 Reign of Terror.
Feb. 12, 1979: Stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil takes a 127-foot plunge from atop the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks into an inflatable air bag while filming a scene for the "Wonder Woman" TV show. (R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)
My Los Angeles Times From the Archives post yesterday was on Kitty O'Neal's plunge for the 70's television show "Wonder Woman." Photographer R.L. Oliver was able to shoot a wide angle photo of the start of the jump and switch to - I'm guessing - a 180mm lens on second camera to capture this image.
Link to the post: From the Archives: Stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil takes a plunge off the Valley Hilton.
Volunteers, above, lift off the top of display case during cleaning at the Museum of Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska.
It's been over 20 years since I last visited the museum, but with extra time before the Solar Eclipse, I dropped in.
The Museum of Fur Trade is large, with numerous displays on the history of North America. Included are a large collection of antique rifles, other weapons, textiles, tools and clothing.
The museum's brochure states they are, "Dedicated to preserving the history of the first business in North America - the fur trade."
The museum was established in 1949 at the former site of James Bordeaux's trading post. That trading post was established in 1837 by the American Fur Company.
I've posted over 30 images in this flickr album 2017 Museum of Fur Trade.
For the recent Solar Eclipse, I ended up on a ranch south of Hay Springs, Nebraska. No crowds at this location. I was able to enjoy the event with my cousins.
To shoot the eclipse, I used a Canon Powershot SX60 with its long zoom. The 65x zoom lens has has a 35mm equivalence to a 21mm to 1365mm lens. While it's not as sharp as a good long lens, it fit my budget. I added a solar filter and good tripod.
For the two weeks before the eclipse, I practiced shooting the sun. While using the solar filter, my exposures were normally at 1/20th a second at f/8. I used 200 ISO. In Lightroom I was able to keep the yellow color and add some redish glow around the sun.
During the full eclipse, above right, I removed the solar filer and found that the Powershot SX60 zoom lens added nice flare around the sun.
After the eclipse, I started working in Lightroom on the images. In the middle of the sun was this series of four dust spots - image above left. I started cloning them out. Wrong - after checking other images online, they were sun spots.
I posted these images and more on flickr: 2017 Solar Eclipse.
This morning I texturized a photo of a B-17 taken in February, 2017, at the March Air Base Museum in Riverside. This afternoon, it's time share an example of my workflow using iOS applications.
The original, above, was taken with the Hipstamatic camera app using the Jane Lens and Blackeys Supergrain film. While I’m shooting for the hipstamatic black and white, above, right, the app also saves an original color raw file, above, left.
This morning I opened the hipstamatic black and white version and applied the TinType app, above, left. Next I opened the file in Snapseed, right, and lighten the image with shadows 80, contrast 10, brightness 25 and ambiance 20.
Next, I opened the image in PhotoCopier and used Bruegel Bethlehem preset, left, above. Then In Distressed FX, right, I used Pith 60% and Storybook 50%.
As with most of my texturized images, I finished in the Formulas app, top photo of post, with Glazed 65% and hard cover border with 30 width.
Follow harrysonpics on Instagram.
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.
My thoughts on images past and present.