I hadn’t been to Catalina Island in a long time and decided it was time to take a trip to get in some photos. Catalina Island is a really popular day trip destination for the Southern California crowd. It’s like a mini tropical island but just off the coast of Southern California and one of my favorite places.
Catalina Island is definitely a unique place. It changed hands a bunch of times until the Wrigley chewing gum family took over in the early 1900’s and shaped it into what it is today. If you want to go there the most popular way is on a ferry like the Catalina Flyer in Newport Beach or Catalina Express which has service from Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. You can also get there by helicopter, boat, and plans charters. There are very few cars on the island and there aren’t any available to rent. A lot of the cars are odd little mini-trucks I’ve never seen anywhere else. To get around you can rent golf carts, bicycles, or go on a vehicle tour.
One of my Huntington Beach California pier photos was licensed by Travel Channel for an article titled “Best Budget Beaches”. Good stuff. Southern California can be ultra expensive but there are also some reasonable options.
Huntington Beach pier is awesome and, well, free. Get there early enough and catch the sunrise over Orange County. During the day it’s crowded so it’s a great time for people watching and especially checking out the surfers by the pier. Head to the end of the pier and grab some food at Ruby’s Diner. Ruby’s is a 1940’s style diner with some good classic burger and shake grub. At night there is almost always an amazing beach sunset. Head down the road to one of my favorite places, El Ranchito Mexican restaurant, and get some great fish tacos and Cadillac margaritas. Wander South on Pacific Coast Highway and check out Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and some of the other great oceanfront beach cities.
Yep, it’s that time again. The switch of camera brands. This time I’m moving from Canon to Nikon. Happens every few years. Just picked up a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 28-300mm to get started. Well, maybe “switching” isn’t the right word. Camera equipment makers leapfrog each other every few years. I’ve moved back and forth between Nikon and Canon a few times so I may end up holding onto some of my Canon stuff for the next switch in a few years. I’m not brand loyal. I go with whatever brand that meets my needs and my client’s needs.
One thing is different for me this time. I want to simplify. I’ve been picking up more and more equipment over the years and I’ve realized that for the type of subjects I shoot I don’t really need a lot of it. Do I love my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II? You bet. Do I really really need it? Probably not. I’ve realized the more equipment I have the more locked down to a brand I become. And I don’t want to be locked down anymore. Things are changing quickly in the camera industry. My Canon S100 compact is collecting dust now that I have an Iphone 5. And I credit the Sony NEX-7 with taking off my blinders to what’s possible with a mirrorless camera. The NEX-7 has changed my shooting and mindset. A lot. I shoot a lot of city skylines and travel subjects. Lugging around 50+ pounds of pro lenses and other equipment for days gets old. With the NEX-7 I can carry a small bag with a Sony 18-200mm and 35mm f/1.8. And to my surprise the image quality has been on-par with the 5D Mark II. Seriously, it’s that good. I’ve found this Sony two lens combo covers 99% of my shooting. So why do I need even a DSLR? Well, uh, hmmm, good question. For now, I need the D800’s higher resolution. And in the studio people are expecting a “pro” DSLR camera. But I don’t think it will be long before mirrorless cameras become recognized as pro equipment. So for me it’s not really Nikon vs Canon anymore. I need multiple brands. Sony is innovating. It’ll be interesting to see what they have coming next. Maybe a 36MP full frame mirrorless?
So, I have a clean slate. Switching brands gives me an opportunity to start fresh. Maybe you should too. It’s probably less difficult than you think. What’s stopping you? I have no regrets so far.
Here’s one of my first images created with the Nikon D800.
Photo of the Sugar Shack in Deep River County Park in Hobart Indiana. In the Sugar Shack, tree sap is turned into syrup using a wood burning evaporator. (Paul Velgos)
New Buffalo is a great place. It’s a short drive from Chicago so it’s great for a day trip or a weekend getaway. It’s a small beach town at the Southwest corner of Michigan with some nice little shops and restaurants. One of my favorite places there was the Stray Dog Restaurant. It caught fire in the summer of 2012 and was torn down. Good news is it’s being rebuilt so hopefully they keep some of the atmosphere that made it great.
One of the more familiar sights is the lighthouse. It sits at the entrance to the beach among the rolling dunes and beach grass. Because the lighthouse is on land instead of a Jetty it makes for some unique pictures.
Photo of New Buffalo Michigan lighthouse and beach grass. (Paul Velgos)
Cincinnati Glencoe-Auburn Place Hotel and Row Houses
Glencoe-Auburn Place in Cincinnati is unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s almost like a different world. And if you weren’t looking for it you’d never know it was there. You’re driving through comfy Cincinnati Mount Auburn suburbia and take a turn down a rather normal looking street. Within a block you think you’ve run into a movie set for an end-of-the-world apocalypse movie. Abandoned boarded up buildings, graffiti, weeds taller than people, and broken windows. The Glencoe-Auburn complex was built in the late 1800’s and consists of row house apartment buildings and the Glencoe-Auburn Hotel. Originally designed for the wealthy, by the mid-1900’s it was mainly inhabited by low income tenants and had fallen into disrepair and was later abandoned. In the early 2000’s it was recognized as a historic district. These are part of my Cincinnati photo gallery.