18.4.18

La Sebastiana











If one gets to the magical city of Valparaiso one must visit the house of the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, known as La Sebastiana. This 5-story creation is one of the Neruda homes that are now museums in Chile operated by the Fundacion Pablo Neruda. And this home is truly one of a kind, one only an artist and true dreamer could create and live in. There are no photos allowed inside of the house so all the ones above are looking at the exterior and/ or the wide and all encompassing views from its many windows and viewpoints.

Neruda loved to sit in his 5th story study and watch the ships come in and out of port, and considered himself an armchair mariner, calling out the ships as they entered and exited the large bay below is hilltop home. There is a large portrait of Walt Whitman in his study too, as well as paintings of ships and maps of Chile and South America. This room is also so high up that when the wind really blows the whole room sways and it must feel similar to being in a Fire Lookout. He had 2 other homes in Chile that are now also museums, one in Santiago and the other on the coast of Algarrobo known as Isla Negra. I still have not been to the Isla Negra home, which was supposedly his favorite and also quite a treasure, but I have been to the one here in Valparaíso and the other one in Santiago known as La Chascona. I found many similarities between those two, such as, they both had there own separate eclectic bars and both were made up of a bunch of separate funky rooms and floors connected by terraced walkways or steep staircases.

We love Viña del Mar for many reasons, but also because it is so close to Valparaíso and all that goes on there. Valpo, a little rough around the edges, can seem like a city out of a post apocalyptic punk rock film, but at the same time it also attracts first class tourists from all over the world who want to clamber through the steep streets and eat on balconies overlooking its steep hillsides and funky neighborhoods. And wouldn't you know that gentrification is a problem there too??

Magdalena and I also explored the more rugged and wild side of Valpo when we were last there in January just after our wedding, and we found a Big Sur like coast hidden away from the view of the tourists. A whole new place for us to come back to again and again. Being out on the points over there it feels like your at the tip of the continent, and I wouldn't be surprised if you could spot many species of pelagic birds like Albatross from one of the lookouts there on the right day. I will go out there to find out for myself soon.

Finally, when we want a proper meal out we go to the Cap Ducal, a classy place that many people have seemed to have forgotten about, or perhaps they prefer the more modern and trendy places? We always prefer the traditional and original establishments so of course we love that old ship like structure turned hotel/ restaurant that has been serving quality food and friendly service for decades. I had a proper and delicious Pisco Sour there, and I have had a quite a few lately that did not even come close. I also think that one day there will be a proper left wave breaking right under the window table where we were seated in this photo. I hope to try and surf that wave when, and if it ever does, break. Furthermore, I look forward to having many more romantic dinners there with my new and forever wife.

27.2.18

Kodak 400 Ultracolor (no longer available)



Santa Rosa Island summer 2015.

Shot on my old Nikonos III with Kodak 400 Ultracolor, my favorite color film for 35mm. Now gone forever...

The horses are left from the old Vail and Vickers Ranch, and they are the only non-native animals allowed to stay because it was decided that the island is their home, and they would probably not handle the move off of the island well in their  mature age. Some of them are probably 40 years old. The ranching story of Santa Rosa Island as well as the many other fascinating human stories of the other islands is described elegantly in the wonderful film West of the West.


8.1.18

Pacific Standard Time LA/ LA Around LA



















I've been trying to take in as many of the Pacific Standard Time LA/ LA shows as I can before they all close. I have been able to make it to shows at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, LACMA, the Getty, and at the Huntington Library and Gardens.

I was super stoked to be able to witness Ana Serrano's Cartonlandia at CAFAM. She is one of my favorite current artists and she works with cardboard, one of my all time favorite mediums. You can turn cardboard into anything you want, and Ana creates little dioramas and cardboard hillside neighborhoods that reflect the densely populated Latino neighborhoods in LA and beyond.

Also at this show, U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility, was a display focusing on the work of an architect who works out of Baja California. I got really into Alejandro D'Acosta's sketch book illustrations, as well as his creations out in the Valle de Guadalupe area near Ensenada. The images were of some of his Baja desert Eco dwellings and winery structures.

At the Huntington my sister and I went to see Visual Voyages which took a look at how early South American naturalists documented their country and how many of them were native born people who helped to illustrate and describe these new discoveries. Imagine being the first guy to illustrate the pineapple? And it was a fitting show for me as I will soon be transitioning hemispheres. I also had just read The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf. In this book she tells the story of Alexander Von Humboldt and of his many major contributions to our understanding of the natural world and that of South America. She writes the he would inspire Simon Bolivar to liberate the continent and would inspire Muir and many others to look at the natural world as a connected living thing, the beginning of modern day ecology. Of course there was a big portrait of Humboldt in the show. As well as some wonderfully drawn botanical illustrations.

We were also very excited to see a wonderful specimen of a Cork Tree. Domineque had to touch it herself.

Finally I made it to the Getty to see a few more PST: LA/LA shows there, including the Metropolis of Latin America 1830- 1930. Another fitting show as I try to learn as much as I can about the South American city and life. This show included historical images and video of 6 major cities; Lima, Havana, Rio de Janiero, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Santiago de Chile. In the show one is able to see how all six of these cities grew along with their population and early European influence to shape the major centers of population they are today. Also at the Getty was a radical show highlighting photography in Argentina, the exhibition largely focused on the country's economic probelms and political corruption and the effect it has had on many Argentinians. The final show I saw was Kingdom of Gold, the Getty's attempt at linking gold artifacts from South America up into Central America and Mexico, showing them as one continuous trend throughout the many native cultures and times. Many of the pieces displayed were from the Moche and Chimu cultures of the northern Peruvian coast, where Magdalena and I visited in 2016. During our trip we were able to see many of these sites and the same artifacts, so seeing them here in LA wasn't nearly as unique as seeing them down in Peru. Nonetheless, it was a very well put together show and an appropriate ending to my PST  LA/ LA jaunt through the museum kingdom of Los Angeles.

Malibu Creek State Park, Fall in California, and the Backbone Trail










There were some nice fall colors this past year just before the winter solstice along Malibu Creek where Piuma road meets the canyon. This is the spot where you can find some of the best fall colors in all of the Santa Monica Mountains. The colors have mostly faded by now but the hiking weather has been ideal. The kind of weather that makes climbing hundreds of feet vertically on the backbone trail seem almost like a walk in the park, or kind of like effortlessly floating the thermals just as the Turkey Vultures do, well sort of. The views on the first day of 2018 were quite spectacular too and Malibu Canyon is still charming after all these years.

One day this year I hope to make the grand tour of Malibu Creek State Park, a roughly 17 mile loop that takes in a good chunk of the upper park, and travels along one of the most scenic sections of the backbone trail.

Fields of Cotton






Mormon Lake




A trip out to Arizona and Mormon Lake, up near Flagstaff. It was a short fishing trip with my pops before I get hitched. We lost a brake caliper out way of some dirt road, but we're able to gingerly roll back to the lodge where we got towed out to Flag the next day. The ride through that high elevation forest in the cab of the tow rig in the early morning was something unexpected but quite wonderful.

Nov. 2017