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Archive for the ‘urban-explorers.com’ Category


Events: Free Photography Workshops

Filed Under local travel, photography, urban-explorers.com

I run small workshops every once in a while called Shootin’ Up LA. In the past, they’ve been for friends only, but I’d like to make the activity a public event for anyone living in the Los Angeles area (free of charge). Here are the details:

Shootin’ Up LA IV – Good Timez in 09

Thursday, February 19, 5:30PM

It’s about time again! Join me for the fourth installment of Shootin’ Up LA!

Let’s get together Thursday (Feb 19) for a bit of photogging. Who can stay indoors in the evening on days like these? Anyone with a camera is welcome to come, no matter if you own a top-of-the-line SLR or just a disposable. As the saying goes, “It’s not the camera that makes a good shot, it’s the photographer.”

I find that photographing with other people inspires more creativity and sharing of photographic ideas. After work on Thursday (5:30-ish), meet us at the Mission Goldline Station in South Pasadena. After spending an hour or two (or three) shooting stuff in the area, you’re free to grab a bite to eat at one of the superb dining establishments in the area. You can meet us in the area if you can’t meet us at 5:30pm.  Contact me via e-mail on how to do that.

Most of the evening will be played by ear, following our eyes to the next interesting thing, but before the sun sets, I’d like to run a small workshop on macro photography and provide tips & tricks on how you can take quality shots of really small stuff with your camera.

Shootin’ Up LA V – Wildlife Weekend

Saturday, February 21, 10:00AM

Join me for the fifth installment of Shootin’ Up LA – Wildlife Weekend!

Let’s try something new and get together on Saturday for a bit of nature photogging. Anyone with a camera is welcome to come, no matter if you own a top-of-the-line SLR or just a disposable. As the saying goes, “It’s not the camera that makes a good shot, it’s the photographer.”

We’ll meet at the front gates of the The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden at 10:00 AM. If you can’t meet us at that time, you’re welcome to meet with us in the gardens anytime between 10-2pm. Contact me via e-mail on how to do that.

In the gardens, I’d like to run a small workshop on macro photography and provide tips & tricks on how you can take quality shots of really small stuff with your camera. This will be similar to the Thursday evening outing, but location and lighting will make this workshop as different as, well, night and day!

I can be reached at : kahunna@no_spamming_gmail.com


Mohave Meandering

Filed Under local travel, photography, urban-explorers.com

I think I am becoming a Desert Rat. Like many of those who call the desert home, I’ve fallen in love with the dry desolation the Mohave offers. I find relaxation in the solitude, where your eyes can search the horizon in vain for another human being. This expansiveness captured my attention on my first trip to the Mohave, but my most recent trip introduced me to the world found at the opposite end of the spectrum: the minuscule. Early Saturday morning I returned to the Mohave Desert to enjoy both the large and the small of it. I would end up visiting the most desolate place I’ve been in my life.

The last major civilization is Twentynine Palms, CA. Although it is home of the world’s largest Marine Base, the desert community consists of people from many ways of life. As like a waterhole in the African Serengeti where all sorts of animals can make an appearance, so is the case at a Twentynine Palms’ pub. I noticed one across from the gas station I stopped at; motocross bikes and horses were tethered to the railing. If I had more time, I would have gone in to grab a beer with the desert rats to hear some of their stories.

Local Watering Hole

I headed east out of Twentynine Palms and the city was soon in my rear view mirror. Soon all I could see was miles of tough land with a few tough people living on it. Some of these houses looked identical to any house in the suburbs, as if they fell from the sky like in The Wizard of Oz. Outside the city, services were scarce for visitor and citizen alike. Old power lines draped next to the two-lane paved road, but stray far and not only do the power lines disappear, but so does the pavement. Side streets are nothing more than sandy paths carved into the desert, their identification handcrafted by those living on them. Some street signs included the names of all the residents.

Eastbound eventually became northbound, and I crossed into the Cadiz Valley. If one could define the solitude of a place by how much information can be found about it on Wikipedia, Cadiz Valley might possibly be the loneliness place in the US. There’s nothing on Cadiz Valley, nor the Bristol Mountains to the north in the online Encyclopedia. The US Census Bureau reported in 2000 that just 23 souls called this 424 square miles of land home.

But this wasn’t always the case. Amboy used to be a main rest stop for those traveling east on Route 66. By 1940, over 2.5 million people had left their homes in the midwest to try to find a better life. Of those, 200,000 moved to California and had most likely traveled through this area.

Desert Highway

No Parking

I’m sure the people who still live here have to create their own recreational activities. I wandered onto what must be their television shooting range out on Bristol Dry Lake.

Bad Reception


Bristol Dry Lake was once not so dry, and I tried picturing how the area looked when it was filled with water and life millions of years ago. Now, the lake is a major source of the country’s table salt. Mining has been going strong here since they started operations in 1910. They say there’s 60 million tons still in the ground, so we’ll have salt on the table for centuries to come.

Bristol Drylake

Crusty Footprint

This water-filled trench is man made. According to Cargill Salt, salt is created by solar evaporation:

“Solar salt is produced through the natural evaporation of sea water or other naturally occurring brine. Salt water is captured in shallow ponds and allowed to evaporate by means of the sun and wind. During the process, a salt bed forms on the bottom of the pond. The salt is harvested, washed, screened and packaged. The typical solar “crop” takes from one to five years to produce.”

Farming Salt Water

I was there after hours on a Saturday, so everything that might have been active was not. I wouldn’t be surprised if most most of the area’s residents work at this mine. Either way, the 200 census reports that the average household income of these 23 residents was $127K a year, so something in the area is paying the bills.

Amboy Crater & Sunset

I reached Amboy Crater just as the sunlight faded over the horizon. Many Southern Californians would be surprised to hear that they could take a day trip to climb a volcano. The volcano has been extinct for a while and the crater was created about 6,000 years ago, leaving behind one of the the most symmetrical volcanic cinder cones.

I watched the silhouette of the crater – which stands about 250 feet above the desert floor – fade into the landscape as the sun set and the stars came out. Another trip would be needed to explore the volcano more closely, so I headed back to Joshua Tree National Park to take a few long exposure photographs before heading home.

Joshua Trees at Night


Shootin’ Up Los Angeles III

Filed Under local travel, photography, urban-explorers.com

Not too long ago, I created a photography group called Shootin’ Up Los Angeles (SULA). The idea was to explore different areas of Los Angeles with cameras and a desire to share photography ideas. Anyone with a camera is welcome to join SULA, no matter if they own a top-of-the-line SLR or just a disposable. As the saying goes, It’s not the camera that makes a good shot, it’s the photographer. I find that photographing with other people inspires more creativity and sharing of photographic ideas.

So on Thursday, September 18th, a two friends and I headed to downtown Los Angeles. I was hoping for a larger turn out, but with just three of us, it allowed us to get around much faster than if we had more people. In fact, for SULAII, we had just enough time to explore a few streets in Pasadena and Chinatown. But the amount of terrain covered is not the point of SULA – it’s seeing the world through the perspective of other Angelino photographers, which hopefully leads to creativity and growth.

To see the other photos, check out my SULA flickr group. Here are a few of my photos:

Thorn Tree Blooming Pink

Metro Reflections

Quiet Olivera Street

Cameron The Photogger!

LSD Times

The Road to Perdition

Randell Taking a Photo of Me Taking a Photo of Him

Artist in Union Station

Ghosts of Union Station

The Disney Hall


Shootin’ Up Los Angeles II

Filed Under local travel, photography, urban-explorers.com

How often can you say that you do something “once in a blue moon” and really mean it? I was going to start this blog by saying “Once in a blue moon…” but I stopped and went to Wikipedia on a hunch and whatdoyaknow – it really is a blue moon this month (May 5th – June 2nd).

So, once in a blue moon, I organize a photography outing with my friends to share photography techniques and to explore our home turf. I invite anyone and everyone to join me, even if they own just a camera phone. I find that photographing with other people inspires more creativity and sharing of photographic ideas.

This time out (our second), we kept it green: only public transportation and our feet were used to get around. The five of us started in Pasadena and ended in Chinatown. Here’s some of my photos:

Perspective on Photography
Protecting the Nest
Safety Mirror
Red & Green
Stained Glass & Ivy
Tree vs Bricks
The Ducks Are Done
Public Telephone
Capitol Milling Company Group Shot
Metro Goldline, Chinatown
Capitol Milling Company
Chinatown Metro


Fog Slideshow

Filed Under graphic design, local travel, photography, retrotravels.net, urban-explorers.com

A little slideshow I made for my Flash class…



Filed Under retrotravels.net, urban-explorers.com

A couple of weekends ago while I was studying an old Bingo set I bought on eBay, an idea for an urban challenge popped into my head: how difficult would it be to locate specific terrazzo found on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles by the smallest to clues? I’ve spent many-a-weekend afternoons photographing my favorite street, but only recently started concentrating on the interesting textures found beneath the soles of one’s shoes. I grabbed my camera, a couple bingo chips, and headed downtown. It was just my luck that it was something around 1000 degrees downtown, but after an hour of taking a handful of close-up shots of the Broadway sidewalks, I had what I needed. I posted the following challenge on my blog over at retrotravels.net:


Each BINGO game piece was photographed on Broadway Boulevard in Los Angeles in front of famous landmark buildings from a bygone era. Can you name each location? I also posted it on Flickr and shared it with the blogdowntown photo pool, hoping that the challenge takes hold. Eric Richardson over at blogdowntown.com has picked up on my challenge on his site, helping to gain support. There has been a mixed reaction to the challenge. Some have mentioned that they plan on going downtown with a printout of my collage to try to identify the historic urban terrain. One guy had given up before he had a chance to begin, saying that it is impossible since “the shots are are too tight to identify” and not enough detail is given of the area. Hm. I guess he didn’t see how the texture, the metal lining, and the colors of the marble terrazzo are as unique as the buildings they lie in front of. This challenge wasn’t made to be easy, folks! It won’t be solvable online no matter how well you are at googling. Get out there and take a walk down Broadway! After all, the whole point of this challenge is to hopefully introduce you to the amazing strata of history located downtown. As you pack a water bottle and a camera (I want pics!), I’ll wait patiently for you, wondering if there’s an Angelino out there willing to solve this challenge.UPDATE! ~ June 16th, 2006 – Eric Richardson of blogdowntown.com solved my urban challenge! I would have loved to see him walking around trying to figure it out. He did such a good job, he even identified exactly where I had photographed most of the bingo pieces. Kudos goes out to Eric for his interest in my little game!



Filed Under eurotrek.net, kahunna.net, retrotravels.net, soundsdowntown.com, urban-explorers.com

Here we go! The first entry in my website’s blog! Exciting, isn’t it?!? Nah, I didn’t think so either. I guess I’ll start this off with the reason why I added yet another blog onto the Internet. It’s simple, really: organization! Right now I’m creating/adding to/helping with a handful of projects that I’d like to share in one area, making it easy for you, the wonderful reader, to explore and hopefully keep track of them. Here’s the short list of the websites I’m currently working on:

  • kahunna.net – my pride and joy. Created in December 2001, this site is a non-commercial site dedicated to helping budget travelers discover meaningful travel by sharing what I have learned. It mainly showcases my photography.
  • retrotravels.net – a project I’ve been trying to translate from book to web for a while now. It isn’t too easy taking marginalia and ephemera from old turn-of-the-last-century travel guidebooks and webbifying them. Stay tuned.
  • eurotrek.net – also a travel-related site. At the time I am writing this, the site is just a forum where travellers from around the world can go to share their experiences or ask for advice on budget travel. I am one of four partners working on this site.
  • soundsdowntown.com – although it is not yet available, this site will provide downloadable walking tours of my city, Los Angeles. It is a partnership with Melanie Orndorff, a fellow Angelino who shares my passion for the exotic history of the Los Angeles area. This site will be used with…
  • urban-explorers.com – one of my long-term goals is to create a guided tour company concentrating in the downtown Los Angeles area. This goal is still on the horizon, but when it is ready, you now know where to find it!

All progress on these websites will be featured here on this site.