A weekend in the Valley 7/23/12-7/24/12

Despite living in the desert of Independence, CA, I have yet to get bored. There is always something to go and do. Here are a few shots I took from some of my days off. The view from behind my work at Manzanar is absolutely spectactular. The clouds hovering over the Sierra Mountains was just amazing that day. I also took some time to go up to Mammoth Lakes, CA in hopes of finding employment. That place has to be one of the most beautiful spots in California. It is always refreshing to see so much foliage and lakes all in one place. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also drove around the desert in between Mazourka Canyon in Independence.

Closer to home, I have a large herd of horses and mules living near my place. I paid them a visit as I have been missing being around horses. Last summer I spent almost 3 months in Minnesota studying and living among Ojibwe Native Americans. After my three week class with Penn State, I went back and lived with an Ojibwe native who was kind enough to take me in. He happened to live on a wild horse ranch. I loved being around these amazing creatures. The are so gentle and intelligent and definitely taught me a lot about myself. It was relaxing to head over to the field near my place after work and see all these horses and mules trying to stay cool in the shade. A handful of them came over to greet me.

I also had the pleasure of having a bat in my house on my day off. I went to bed one night and awoke to a ruckus in my house. I told myself that either I had a giant spider move in, or something was flopping around my place. As soon as I turned the light on I saw this little guy flapping around my room. I’m not sure how he got in, but he picked the right house to get trapped in, as I was not about to chase him around with a broom and kill him. Back in Pennsylvania, one of my favorite summer past times is going to watch this bat colony of 30,000 fly out of a church owned by the local State Park. I gently captured this little guy in a bowl and released him back out in the wild, which I’m sure made us both equally happy.


Los Angeles Trip 6/21/12-6/25/12

I was fortunate enough to have the following four days after my business trip off, that I decided to drive back to the L.A. the very same night that I came back to Independence from our trip. I went down and stayed with a friend and got to do some real exploring on L.A. Wow is all I can say.

Being in downtown L.A. at night is a whole trip within itself. I enjoyed the people-watching and just exploring the city. I loved going up to Griffith Park and getting to go to the observatory up there. Looking down over the city was also pretty cool. It still amazes me that it is the mecca that it is, when looking around, it appears as though there is little more than desert. The little coyote in the photos popped out of nowhere while we were driving around the Hollywood Hills. He stood in the road and stared at us for awhile before some cops on bicycles scared him away.

I especially enjoyed walking around the Santa Monica Pier at night. The ocean was beautiful and the water was relaxing. As much as I enjoy my internship, it was nice to get away from the desert for a little while. I was totally excited to see a “Zoltar” machine as well. Can you say “Big”! I must say my fortune hasn’t been too far from the truth as well.

Los Angeles Business Trip 6/19/12-6/21/12

I had the pleasure of getting to go to Los Angeles through my internship at the Manzanar National Historic Site. I went to L.A. for my first time on a business trip to do oral history interviews for our Oral History Program at Manzanar. It was amazing to finally get there! I have been wanting to see L.A. for the past six years, and I finally got to go. We went to Little Tokyo to go to the Japanese American Museum which was really fascinating. I interact with many visitors on a daily basis, quite a bit have told me about this museum. It was great to finally get to see what all of the hype was about.

I was especially excited to get to see the replica of Toyo Miyatake’s camera. Toyo Miyatake ran a photography studio in L.A. before being put in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp during WWII. Cameras were not allowed in Manzanar, but Miyatake snuck in some lenses and created a camera. A good bit of the photos of Manzanar are around because of him. Ansel Adams and Dorthea Lange also took photographs of Manzanar. I had the pleasure of meeting Miyatake’s son Archie a couple of months ago, he was also interned at Manzanar. Archie’s son, Alan Miyatake, who I also met, continues to run Toyo Miyatake Studios in Los Angeles.

Among the excitement of seeing the Hollywood sign for the first time, I also got to see the Pacific Ocean. I woke up extra early at my hotel in Ventura one morning just so that I could walk to the beach to see this. I had been wanting to see if for a very long time, so it was awesome to finally get there. I remember walking up over the sandy ridge to be greeted by the vast blue water. It seemed strikingly more or a light blue than the Atlantic Ocean.

Overall it was a really amazing trip. I got to meet some really cool internees. Their kindness and warm welcomes will always stay with me. It was really interesting to be able to hear their stories first-hand about what it was like at Manzanar. I felt really fortunate to be able to hear their stories and be apart of the oral history process as the videographer.

Owens Valley & Death Valley Photography

Here is a collection of shots I took last week in Independence, Bishop, and Death Valley.

Mammoth Lakes Area Photography 5-29-12

Here is a collection of photos I took while up in Mammoth Lakes, CA. There are also some shots of Convict Lake and the surrounding areas.