:: An Off-Roading Weekend

{Nov.11.13 | 3:16pm} My buddy ‘Mander’ was convinced we got hit by the same storm that swept through L.A. this week. In my excitement of going off-roading in his ‘Baby Bronco’ for a second time, I failed to mention Palmdale wasn’t hit by the storm. He wanted to take Baby Bronco through mud puddles, shallow rivers all while coating Baby Bronco with multiple layers of mud.

By the time we made the trip out to the desert, disappointment struck from the lack of mud. I suggested we head out to El Mirage OHV Area ten minutes away. Upon arriving at the entrance gate we find a twenty-dollar charge is collected upon entering the park. Being the cheapos that we are, we took Baby Bronco down the road and drove it around for an hour before heading back home. On a side note, who posts a computer repair Ad in the middle of nowhere?

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

Summer Imperfect David Cruz El Mirage Dry Lake

:: Solvang I Love You

{Nov.11.13 | 7:12pm} As you drive north bound on the 154hwy toward Solvang, a lookout point sits on the east side of the highway. My friend and I decided to take one good panoramic look at the Santa Ynez Valley on our way home after a fun filled day in Solvang. Driving uphill is not my ideal driving condition, I can never accelerate fast enough to gain momentum and prevent the car from struggling during the climb.

On our creeping uphill climb, I noticed a sign pointing left toward the lookout point. Made a sharp turn and drove into a dirt parking lot. We followed a trail on foot that eventually lead us to the lookout point. What a waste of time! The little area designated as the lookout point was covered with brush, trees and poop up the yin yang, along with empty bottles and cans. I was able to take these two beautiful photographs of the Santa Ynez Valley with the help of a boulder I climbed onto. Putting up with the smell was well worth it.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Solvang

:: Santa Ynez Mission

{Nov.11.13 | 12:11am} Photographing Mission Santa Inés was the main reason I took the trip toward Solvang. Having set foot on the Santa Barbara Mission a few years ago, I sought after photographing all the missions on the California coast. Unfortunately I’ve only photographed two. Looks like I gotta get off my tukis and head on out there.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Inés Mission Solvang

:: Sweet Solvang

{Nov.11.13 | 10:15am} After years of wanting to head out toward Solvang, California, I finally got off my tukis and dragged a buddy of mine with me. As any hi-tech modern traveler would do, I did a bit of online research and maps views to give me an idea on what to expect and eat. From what I got, everyone raved about Solvang’s bakeries. I love sweets, especially the bread variety, so this made me eager to try as many bakeries as possible.

The sights were wonderful, plenty of photo ops, friendly shopkeepers who gratefully offered tips and directions if asked. However, I’m sad to report the treats we picked up, weren’t out of this world tasty as many suggested. Perhaps we picked up bad pastries or hit the wrong bakeries all together. I’ll hit the ‘higher end’ places next time and see how it goes.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Santa Ynez Solvang

:: A Tanja Lippert Workshop

{Oct.13.13 | 2:37pm} I’ve been following Tanja Lippert since I caught her on the [F]Network three months ago. By the fifth episode, I desperately wanted to learn more on her unique way of directing. To my surprise, Tanja announced a one-day Art of Directing workshop up on San Fran a week after I added her Spacebook. Giving me the excuse to finally visit San Francisco after years of whining about it.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Tanja Lippert

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Tanja Lippert

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Tanja Lippert

:: I Left My Love In San Francisco

{Oct.12.13 | 10:05am} We’ve all heard the cliché phrase, ‘pictures don’t do it justice.’ Couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to San Francisco, California. The second I found myself driving on the Bay Bridge over looking the city, I felt I was driving toward a completely different country. Probably due to our six-hour drive along the 5fwy with its views of plains (nothing) and abundance of happy cows.

I quickly realized two things. One, people in San Fran are much friendlier compared to the L.A. counterparts. Two, the city is well kept, clean, hardly any potholes and even though it suffers from traffic congestion, we got around with ease. I’m not surprised why some are pushing on splitting California in half. Unfortunately, we weren’t able explore the town as much as we wanted to, due to time constrains and my workshop with Tanja Lippert the following day. Perfect excuse to go back.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

Summer Imperfect David Cruz San Francisco

:: Santa Anita Park, Opening Day

{Oct.06.13 | 3:16pm} One of the many perks of working in photo labs is getting a peek into places around the world other wise completely unknown to the average Joe. One of these places is Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. Growing up in South Central, the only racetrack I’ve been familiar with was Hollywood Park, which aaahhh…. is nowhere near Hollywood. Come to think of it, I always thought the place was abandoned, because I would never see it open when I’d drive by on my way to Otis to visit a friend. Could have been because I’d drive by on a weekday afternoon.

A handful of my clients at my current photo lab happen to own horses that race at Santa Anita. Not much of a gambler so, the though of spending a day at Santa Anita never crossed my mind, until Tim Conway Jr. of KFI AM640, held a sweepstake for tickets to opening day at the track. I put no stock into the sweepstake at first, but figured, ‘what the hell? why not?’ Entered my name and lo and behold, tickets in my mailbox three weeks later. Ding-Dong!

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color Santa Anita Racetrack

:: East West Fish Market

{Sep.01.13 | 11:30am} I met Gerald in 8th grade over at John Muir, a notorious middle school in South Central. At the time, my family didn’t own both a washer and dryer machine, which meant throwing our clothes into shopping carts and dragging ‘em to the Laundromat on 60th and Normandie. The Laundromat sits across the street from Gerald’s house, which stood out for its quirky alligator mailbox. For reasons unknown however, the mailbox has since disappeared.

East West Fish Market has changed ownership once since I’ve know of this place along with its recipe and sits on the east side of Normandie, across the street from the Laundromat. We’d always buy both shrimp dinners and shrimp lunches while we waited for our laundry to dry. I’ve since moved from South Central and no longer have local access to this great fish & chips place. Whenever in the area though, I make sure to stop by, pick up a shrimp dinner for myself and Gerald, sit in the front yard all while sipping homemade lemonade.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color East West Fish Market

:: Downtown Glendale

{Aug.15.13 | 6:38pm} During the summer, I make a bi weekly runs down to Porto’s Bakery, because of the extra summer afternoon light. During the winter I don’t have to the time to make there before closing and feel bad for keeping them open after 7p. Even though the place is always busy, I feel personally responsible for it. I’ve worked retail my entire working life, so I know first hand how it feels to be on the other side of the counter. However, I feel they don’t mind staying open during the summer because of the amount of people that are likely to be hanging out after closing.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

DSummer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Synthetic Color Glendale

:: South Pass

{Jul.21.13 | 6:45pm} Back in 2007 I took a pilgrimage to find the Myers house after watching Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. I’ve been a fan of the Halloween franchise as of age of seven. I grew up with horror movies, not Disney or children movies, never saw the point to them, especially now with subliminal messages in children movies. At least with horror movies, they make no effort to conceal messages, it’s all there, full frontal! Even though I’m no longer seven my ideal Saturday night is spent watching 80’s B horror movies. Anyway, I found the Myers house in a gorgeous little shopping area in South Pas and have been coming back ever since.

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

Summer Imperfect Synthetic Color David Cruz South Pasadena

:: Why I Love Downtown L.A.

{Jul.04.13 | 8:20pm} With some Fuji 800Z loaded in my Nikon F3, Joe and I trekked through Plazita Olvera and Union Station at a time some only dare photograph it. I think these images leave the ones I took during National Train Day in the dust. Haven’t photograph anything for my side project Semiotic Nights in cool minute so, thanks to this little photo safari, I felt the rush of photographing buildings in the middle of the night with bums left and right.

Union Station, Plazita Olvera, Chinatown and the Central Library hold a special place in my heart. Always end up find myself here and have the tendency of bringing my friends here as well. I think it might be due to the fact that, my first field trip in grade school was a combo one-day trip to these places. I mean, we didn’t really do anything, just sorta walked around. But that alone was enough for me to fall in love with these beautiful Los Angeles landmarks.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Union Station Olvera Street

:: Chinatown, Happiest Place on Earth

{Jan.12.13 | 6:40am} Having spent a couple bucks on some expired NPH rolls on eBay, I wanted to test them on the most photogenic area in Downtown Los Angeles. I asked Joe to meet on this photo safari however, I failed to realize a game was being played at Dodger Stadium. Clogging all my routes toward Chinatown from Glendale. ARGH! I was an hour late and felt bad for making Joe wait that long. Which brings me to a story from my King Photo days.

King Photo Supply was a camera store in Lancaster where I spent two wonderful years in. And whenever our boss was late to open the door, Granny, who supervised the hair salon next door, would say to us in a southern accent…. “My Daddy had 10 children and you know what he’d say to us growing up? He’d say to us, ‘if you can’t be on time…. Be early!’ That’s what our Daddy would tell us everyday.” I think she’d forget about telling us this story, because we’d hear it every other week.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chinatown Los Angeles

:: National Train Day

{May.24.13 | 11:27am} With Jonathan’s words still fresh in my mind and with a new subscription to Los Angeles Magazine, I found Union Station plays host to National Train Day every summer. And thanks to Irv (a customer at the photo lab), I’ve grown to appreciate trains even more. He happens to work for AmTrak and tends to talk about the good o’ days of the Pacific Electric that once roamed Los Angeles. In the mean time, I re-connected with my old high school pal Joe, and asked him if he wanted to meet up in Chinatown and head out to Union Station for National Train Day and explore the town as a tourist. On a geeky note, I couldn’t justify using pro stock to photograph buildings so, I’ve spent hours online looking for a suitable replacement for 400H and found Fuji ProPlus 200 over at Mel Pierce in Hollywood.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

Summer Imperfect David Cruz National Train Day Union Station

:: Chipotle The Burrito King

{Jan.02.13 | 12:15am} The year, 2003. My second year of high school, 911 still fresh in everyone’s mind. A handful of reality shows scattered about but weren’t the mainstay of mainstream television they are now (unfortunately). The punk/ska scene making a come back in the South Central backyard gigs. Get to the dang point! What the H does any of this have to do with Chipotle!?

I was getting to it…. iiish! My buddy and I followed the The Osbournes religiously on DVD and on a particular episode, we caught Ozzy making runs to Chipotle and got hooked up with two burritos, one for later. He’d rave about these burritos so much, I wanted to try out them out for myself! I looked ‘em up and found the nearest one in Sierra Madre, California, a long way from The Hood. Wanting an excuse to hop on the newly commissioned Metro Gold Line, we took the three-hour trip to Sierra Madre. Years later working at the Beverly Center a Chipotle opened up on the ground level…. wait a min…. now I know why I gained so much weight during that time, oh dear. Anyway, I took these images after our Pio Pico trip in Sierra Madre. Felt a sense of nostalgia coming back to my first Chipotle location after so many years.

I’m Mexican and have access to home cooked meals everyday, so I know what fake Mexican food looks and tastes like. Rarely do westauwants offer ‘authentic’ Mexican food. Chipotle is not one of them; their food is as fake as it gets. However, they make up for it with delicious Americanized Mexican food and a welcoming friendly staff. And for the record, my burrito always consists of carnitas, lime rice, frijoles negros, fajitas, pico the gallo, ‘hot’ sauce, cheese, lettuce and guacamole with a side (sometimes two) of ‘hot’ sauce.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chipotle Mexican Grill

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Chipotle Mexican Grill

:: Civil War At Calico

{Feb.16.13 | 12:16:pm} On my drive toward Vegas a couple years ago, I spotted billboards for Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California along the 15fwy. Since I wasn’t the trip planner or the driver, a pit stop in Calico was out of the question. Realizing I knew almost nothing about the Civil War, I spent days catching up, after spotting a Confederate battle flag in a recent Honey Boo Boo episode last week. Up until then, I’ve been under the impression Civil War reenactments were held in the south. After a bit of online research, I learned Calico hosts the Civil War reenactment and a Halloween Haunt every year.

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War

Summer Imperfect David Cruz Calico Ghost Town Civil War