The Wonderful World of Santa Barbara

This picture summarizes Santa Barbara: beaches, palm trees, beautiful sunsets, and rolling hills. It's unlike any other place I've lived... and always makes me look forward to coming home after a long trip. 

Looking Up

Looking up in Los Angeles... these are some things you might see.

Shining Down

I liked the effect that the sun was having on this building... as you go higher up, it becomes brighter and brighter (until you get to the sky). 

Creepy Statue in Los Angeles

For some reason, this statue creeped me out. I didn't like the look on the guy's face... and it kind of looks like he's growing a third leg in the mid-section. 

The Urban Landscape

Looking up in downtown Los Angeles. I thought the shiny metal cylinders in the foreground were interesting. 

Light and Shadows

I enjoy walking around cities late in the afternoon or early in the morning. When the sun is at low angles, it creates unique lighting opportunities. You can play around with the shadows or reflections in the building's window (in this case, I did both). 

Escape Pods

I'm not sure why, but looking closely at this photo makes me a bit dizzy.
What you're looking at is the side of a hotel building in downtown Los Angeles. The windows remind me of mini-escape pods. I guess this is where you would want to be if the world was coming to an end. 

LA Sky

Looking up at the US Bank building with a crisp sky in the background. I will always remember this building as being one of the first to get blown up in the "Independence Day" movie (am I showing my age by remembering that?).

Los Angeles - "The City of Angels"

A few weekends ago, I met friends for some pre - New Year's Eve festivities in the City of Angels (Los Angeles). I went to school in LA, but never ventured too far east of the 405... tended to stay in the beach towns. Therefore, I'm not familiar with the downtown area (was warned to stay away).

However, on this specific weekend, we decided to see a show in downtown LA and stay overnight. Los Angeles is actually a pretty cool city (just be careful not too wander too close to skid row at night). There is good food, fun bars, nice museums, and the architecture in the city is very unique... it's a mixture of old, modern, and has some art deco thrown in.

The morning after the show I walked around the city in search of a Starbucks that didn't exist (wouldn't you think it would be easy to find a Starbucks in LA?!?)... and decided to take some photos along the way. I wish I had a bit more time to wander around this day. The sun was just starting to come up and was creating some cool shadows on the buildings. I will have to go back again soon. 

A Walk in the City

Here are the last few images I took while strolling around Chicago with my parents on a cold/windy December evening... didn't want to spend much time out of the car this evening, but still managed to take some photos.

Star Gazing at the Planetarium

When I was young, I went on many field trips to the Planetarium in Chicago. I remember enjoying the trips and being excited about them... but don't remember too much from inside the building. Therefore, I'm not quite sure if I was actually interested in the Planetarium... or if I liked just not being in school? 

Swimming With the Fishes

Looking towards the aquarium in Chicago. Apparently, it's one of the better aquariums in the world. However, I wouldn't know... I was never a big fan of aquariums (or zoos). Although, I went through a bit of a "zoo phase" when I was younger. Going inside places like that always seemed a bit depressing to me... especially if you've been around the same animals in the wild. Being a surfer, I see dolphins, seals, whales, and all sorts of sea life (hopefully not sharks) swimming freely in the ocean. It's difficult for me to imagine what their life is like locked up in a small pool or cage. Anyways, it still makes for a pretty picture at night! 

Chicago Panorama

I recommend clicking on the image to expand it. One thing that I think is really interesting about this photo is that you can see a striking contrast between the old and new buildings. The old buildings are out in front (along Michigan Avenue) and have a brownish/yellow tint to them... the new buildings tower in the background and have a greyish/black tint. The older buildings almost look like they are fortress walls protecting the city behind it.

It's really interesting to look back at old photos of the Chicago skyline and see how much it has changed over the years. 

An "Eery" Skyline

I like how this photo of the Chicago skyline came out... makes it feel dark and mysterious where I'm standing... while the safety and bright lights of the city shine in the background. The wind was blowing hard this night... and the moving branches created a "blurred" effect as I took the photo. 

Rivers and Cities

Some of the most stunning architecture in Chicago is located along the river (excluding the Trump Tower which I do not like). Marina City is probably my favorite. I recommend going for a walk along the Chicago River (or boat cruise) if you have some free time in the city.

Cutting Open a City

One of the things that amazes me about Chicago is all the different levels of the city. There is a whole underground section that you don't normally think of (out off sight, out of mind)... however, the locals utilize the underground areas to avoid traffic (Lower Wacker Drive is a modern architecture marvel in my opinion) and stay out of the elements.

In this particular photo (taken along the Chicago River), it looks as if someone has cut a line through the center of the city and opened it up. You can see 4 different levels. 

Chicago Dreaming

The city of Chicago has one of the best skylines in the world... and there is no better place to enjoy it than from the park in front of the Planetarium. When I was young, my parents used to take me and my brother for picnics here and we would watch planes fly overhead. The park is still there (as is the beautiful view of the city), but Meigs Field has been gone for a long time.

This photo is a self portrait of me enjoying the view (it was a bit chilly that night). 

The Holiday Blur

In my mind, the holidays always have a slow start... there's a lot of anticipation and planning involved (especially if you're hosting an event or traveling somewhere). However, once they get started, they go by rather quickly and can be a bit of a blur. These are a few photos representing that "Holiday Blur".

Miniature Christmas

Each year, my brother, father, and myself would purchase miniature North Pole figurines and buildings for my mom. My brother and I would be responsible for building the village... and each year it kept growing (to the point where we had to add an extra table). My mom still keeps the tradition alive, but to a much smaller extent.