Being a tourist you also have to do the touristy stuff at some point right? Naturally, on my first night in LA I had to do the Walk of Fame. After dinner at “The Hungry Cat” (consequently they served primarily fish and seafood) I strolled down Hollywood Blvd. from Vine St. to La Brea Ave. Was a quick walk. It’s one of those “Seen it, done it” checkmark items. It was really difficult to see the interesting things among a gazillion tourists. One of which was this sculptor.
Coachella Valley is a really interesting place. To the Northeast, towards Joshua Tree National Park, it’s a desert-like landscape. Very dry and rocky. To the Southwest there are huge mountains rising, on top of which there is actual vegetation. You wonder where these trees get their water from when down in the valley there is hardly any flora growing on its own without sprinklers. But you quickly forget that head-scratching action once you are stunned by the gorgeous view over the valley down below from atop Mt. San Jacinto.
A good friend of mine who also happens to be a photographer and 2D/3D artist (check out his blog: https://groetzschel.wordpress.com) got me a set of Lomography slide films for my last birthday. Which by the way is almost a year ago, so shame on me for waiting so long to get the first film exposed and developed. I wasn’t really sure what would come out of it as long as the film was stuck in the camera. But no risk no fun right? On my trip to California I finally was able to finish the film.
I have to say that cross-developing is really a beast of its own. It does not work for every subject and in every lighting condition. On this particular flavor of film you need lots of light and contrast. Also since green is getting really pushed it doesn’t work with too much vegetation like trees and grass. The whole image then receives a very greenish tint which doesn’t look particularly pleasing. Blue and red on the other hand work very nicely with the “Lomography XPro 200“.
Next stop on my way down South: Joshua Tree National Park. Heard a lot of it, but have never been there before. Some education upfront: I didn’t really know that the namesake Joshua Tree was actually a cactus. Once you see one, however, it becomes very obvious. And you see lots of them.
Kudos by the way to the Park Rangers who are running the visitor center, recommend hikes for every taste and agility and maintain the numerous trails. Very friendly and well organized. What may have helped though is that at this time of the year the park was fairly empty. Which was great – so I even got to see a rattle snake that otherwise probably would have hidden under a stone. Speaking of stones – what looks like gravel are actually really big stones.
I believe I had already mentioned that we went for lunch to the Santa Cruz Pier? And it turned out to be the place to have a proper feast. Although the whole pier felt like time-warped from the 1950s into nowadays the food selection was certainly superb. No matter where you turned you saw fresh seafood and fish everywhere. Not sure if they also served the seals that were resting peacefully under the pier :).
We are still on the Pier in Santa Cruz. Considering it was end of April it was unusually warm already. But fortunately in particular Northern California had seen considerably more rain than in recent years. So chances are high that we might not see a drought as bad as in previous years. Would be a great relief to the region.