The Devil's Playground

Since the store has been open we keep hearing about this place behind Bayshore Mall called (dum dum dum) "THE DEVILS PLAYGROUND". Apparently this is where quite a few things happen:

1) where alot of the houseless people have set up their own group 'house'
2) where the good graf artists in this county put up their handiwork
3) where alot of the houseless people dump any and all trash (mattresses, food, needles, you name it, Devils Playground has it!)

So we HAD to go check it out. I couldn't believe that someplace like this was right down the street from me- I could walk there if I wanted to! Packed up the dog and the camera and less than 5 min later we are driving around the parking lot behind the mall looking for a trail.... POOF there it was!  A little hobo trail through the bushes to some forbidden location.... We walked through some bushes and trees and came out to quite a view:

My first reaction was "WHAT THE HELL- HOW DID WE NEVER SEE THIS BEFORE NOW!!! IT'S HUGE!!" Apparently this used to be a mill of some sort, according to local hearsay... We started walking around & finally found a way over the marshy creek over some old mattresses. 

And this was what we found inside the mill- this huge open space totally COVERED in graffiti... I especially love the Virgin Mary on the right and the Gas Mask guy on the left. How odd that they are on the same wall!

Then we saw these compartments off to the side of the larger open space... I am still working on product placement but this shot was a good one with the skulls & the RS Mean Streets Hoddie in the background....

The compartments I was talking about- we had to be careful where we stepped- underneath these walkways was nothing but trash & old scumy water...

And this is probably why ppl told us not to go beyond the "third compartment".... We could hear a few ppl behind the gate pushing buggies and doing God only knows what else... However, they made a pretty nice gate!

And this is the namesake- The Devils Playground....

It was lots of fun to explore this new place & I will definetly be going back for some RS/DTA photo shoot when we get some girls stuff in... Of course, with a man, a dog, a 4Runner, and some mace! =)

Location: Eureka, CA - behind bayshore mall
Date/Time: 8/15/10 @ 11am
Subject(s): urban decay, architecture, graffiti, trash
Notes: most of the images were taken with my polarizing filter on the lens as it was early morning and pretty bright out.

Ferndale Cemetery

Hooray for my first ever visit to the Ferndale Cemetery! Kinda morbid & creepy I know, but I just couldn't pass up seeing such an old cemetery- some graves date back to the early 1800's! We had to go to the fairgrounds to pickup my entries and arrived a little early so I thought the cemetery would be cool to stroll through (of course with my camera in tow!).

The entrance was pretty non-descript just a simple wrought iron archway behind a newer looking church.

I took this image on our way out rather than on the way in so it would be a little darker. I also added a warming tone over the image to make it appear more antique as well as film grain to help add to the antique feeling. 


This was the first mausoleum we saw as we came up over the top of the hill. I had to sneak a peak inside at that gorgeous stained glass window & boy am I glad I did as I really like the picture on the right of the inside with the light reflecting off the walls. 

As we neared the top of the cemetery I noticed this tiny angel statue in front of Mother Rainbow's grave (no joke!). It took some angling but I finally got the angel and the city in the same frame. I added a slight brown tint in post processing to get the antique-y apocalyptic feel... 

I saw these little round wall toppers as we were getting ready to leave. I really loved the shapes and textures of the balls- they looked like they had been there since the beginning. I'm sure they were gorgeous when they were new with that pretty pattern on the front. I really liked the way the balls lined up and the orange poppies and blue skies behind them also.... I played around with the focus on this set of images- focusing on the front for one image, then the second for another, and the last, etc... But this image with the shallow DOF (Depth of Field) came out the best. 

There were way to many unnamed headstones in the cemetery. There were also quite a few headstones that were anonymous to me- like these Mother and Daddy ones that were in a family plot. At first I didn't realize they were in a family plot & thought how sad it was that someone's mom & dad were buried so non-descriptly.... I thought it would make a good triptych (3 image set) so I compiled them together & got this...

The cemetery was great and it was nice to walk around outside on such a gorgeous day. I will have to go back & visit for each season to get some repetitive shots... =)

Location: Ferndale, CA Cemetery
Date/Time: 8/22/10 5-7pm
Subject(s): Flowers, landscapes, graves, statues
Notes: I took most of the images with my polarizing filter on the lens because even though it was 6ish in the afternoon it was still pretty darn bright out.

Humboldt County Fair

Whooo have I been busy! I finally made it to the fair this past weekend to see if I won any ribbons for my photography entries. Sadly, no ribbons for me this year =( but they did hang every one of my entries which is awesome considering they only have to hang 2!! So at least I am still moving in the right direction!

I was very surprised by the Judges picks this year. Last year I was able to locate tons of information on the Judges themselves which helped me tailor my entries to something more their 'style'. This year I couldn't even find out who the Judges were! Alot of the first and second place photos looked like snapshots to me, and there were quite a few photos that didn't place that I thought were better than the first place winner.

After my disappointment we went to check out the livestock and bird exhibits since we skipped those last year. I was really surprised at how large this part of the fair was & have decided that next year we will have to go for the judging....

This bird is absolutley crazy looking. I have no idea how he even flies with all those curly feathers... It was difficult to get an image of these birds without the bars from the cage getting in the way. But in the end I just changed my angle & voila! 

And this little chicken was so stunning- it looked as if someone had painted the edges of every single feather with black paint.... 

Then we took on the horse races for a few. We went up into the stands this year instead of bringing our own chairs & sitting next to the track. I was impressed by the view from the stands both of the track and the city. We bet on a few races & my picks won a whole $4 on my box trifecta bet.... YEAH! That paid for the beer I would have bought had we not snuck in a flask of good-ol Jack! =)

GET IT!!! Thats my horses- #5 & #4!! Pulling through for the win!

I had a great time at the fair this year but next year I am all about the rides & livestock shows!!! 

Location: Ferndale, CA Fairgrounds
Date/Time: 8/22/10 2-4pm
Subject(s): Fair, Carnivals, Racing, Exhibits, Animals

DPS Assignment: Water in Motion

Yay for working toward my yearly goals! My first DPS Assignment for Aug. was a ton of fun- & VERY last minute! The assignment was "Water in Motion" and the idea was to capture water moving either through motion blur or through freezing the motion, although from my interpretation it seemed there was more emphasis on the motion blur aspect.

This assignment was perfectly in line with my yearly goals also of using and becoming familiar/comfy with long exposure images. In order to be able to get a long exposure without over-exposing I needed to get a filter that  darkened everything so I could take pics during the day (I'm busy as hell & need to be able to take the pics when I have time, not in that 2 hour golden window!). So I went out to Swanlund's Camera & picked up my first Neutral Density (or ND if your'e cool enough to know what that means) filter.

I did some research before I picked up the filter & found out all kinds of interesting things about these filters. First off, there are multiple purposes for a ND filter such as: smoothing out water, darkening a scene, smoothing out clouds, darkening skies, & general darkening so that longer exposures can be used. & there are a few different types of ND filters:
1) Graduated ND Filters (also called Cokin filters): these are rectangular glass filters that are clear on the bottom & gradually get darker & darker starting in the middle. These filters are attached to a round filter attachment which has multiple square slots for the filters & fits onto any size lens. The Graduated ND Cokin type filter system actually allows you to adjust the position of the filter, so you can create your own horizon line....
2) Screw-On ND Filters (Tiffen, or in my case Promaster): these are like normal filters, they are circular & screw onto your lens. The screw on ND filters come in two varieties, graduated (works similar to a circular polarizer so you can adjust your top/bottom but not your horizon line), and full (what I purchased, all one even gray tone).

Surprisingly I couldn't find any info. on my Promaster filter except that it may be an off-brand of Tiffen. Unfortunatley for me the local camera store only carries promaster!!

So I got the filter & set out for a waterfall to both use my new toy & get an image to enter in the weekly assignment. First thing I realized is that my 2x filter is not even close to what I need to take pics around the middle of the day. It works great in the forest around late afternoon & I got up to 6sec. exposures before my images became too bright (that's stacking my ND2x with my Polarizer, both of which block the same amount of light). But in full sun & even overcast conditions I would need to stack with another stronger ND filter. Oh, well, Live & Learn!!!

I had a great time shooting this waterfall & have been wanting some decent pics of it for quite a while....

First, my ENTRY for the DPS Weekly Assignment:

I took this pic as an after thought. I was getting ready to leave when I thought I should climb up a stump & try to get a pic of this spout. It was pretty scary though b/c I had to setup my tripod in a few inches of water.... EEEKK!!! 

Now, all the other good pics:

This picture was okay but really pop'd out at me after I boosted the color & gave it a yellow tint....

Water in Motion 11

I love this image, from the dark shadows around the edges of the pool to the pure milky white of the waterfall,  & the little swirling action on the left is really nice.

I had to climb under the waterfall/table fixture to get this image. I forgot I was wearing khaki's & got pretty dirty (it was the khaki's or the camera, I think I choose well!). But, I ended up with a pretty neat almost abstract looking picture. I boosted the color & made it B&W b/c color was really distracting with all the trees & leaves in the background. 

Location: Sequoia Park -- Eureka, CA
Date/Time: Tues. 8/3/10 @ 6pm
Subject(s): Water, motion blur
Notes: Filters Used: stacking ND2x & Circular Polarizer; minimal editing, mostly saturation, curves, & exposures...