Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Autumn in the Indian Canyons

Autumn in the Indian Canyons, Palm Springs
Who says Palm Springs doesn't have seasons? On the valley floor oasis in Indian Canyons autumn occurs from mid-late December, a time when the leaves on deciduous trees turn bright yellow.

The sight of the leaves changing from the mountain above is stunning--an escape from the hum-drum desert landscape.

The Indian Canyons is located at the end of South Palm Canyon. The land is run by the Agua Caliente tribe. The charge to get is is $9 for an adult.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Truck with Bumper Stickers in Palm Springs

Tuck with bumper stickers and Colorado license plate  in Palm Springs.

This is the time of year you see the snowbird's vehicles. This truck--a truck with bumper stickers--gives us a narrative of the snowbird who owns it.

Consider the slogans printed boldly on the bumper stickers on this truck parked in the parking lot across the street from Liberace's former Palm Springs residence.


Well this a win for personal expression?  Who knows? But it sure is good blogging material. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What's Up with the Welwood Library Downtown?

There used to be a librarian sitting inside the entrance to the Welwood Library at the corner of Tahquitz and Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs

The Wellwood Library sounds like a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Palm Springs, but it's never open. What's up with that?

The only news you can find about the opening of the Wellwood Library is vague, to say the least. The only other information we get about the library is on a nearby plaque:

By 1938 the City's incorporation issue was ready for a community referendum and residents voted in favor of incorporation. Just prior to the election the Library Board again contacted George Welwood Murray seeking to persuade him to donate the Tahquitz/Palm Canyon corner as a permanent public library site and memorial to his father. Community leaders Francis Crocker and Nellie Coffman were both in favor of theis gift and tried to sway Mr. Murray in his decision. Murray told Crocker that if incorporation passed and the City agreed to take permanent control of the Library's operations, and if the site would remain as a memorial to his father, he might be persuaded to donate the desire corner to the new City...

Wait...there is some information about a Save the Welwood Library at a website that details a 1980s lawsuit regarding the library. It's fairly convoluted and you'd need a lawyer sitting next to you to understand it.

Wouldn't it behoove the city to reopen the library. Now that the downtown plan regarding the property caddy corner to the library has been solved, the Welwood Murray Library reopening issue, if addressed, would get one more building occupied and filled with people.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Decorate a Bicycle for Christmas and More

Man who decorates his bicycle and rides around Palm Springs with his dog hitched to the back.
 Only in Palm Springs would someone decorate his bicycle for Christmas, attach a "sleigh" on wheels to it, have his dog hop on wearing a pair of antlers, and ride around Palm Springs neighborhoods.

You may have spotted this guy before, either on the road or at the Palm Springs Festival of Lights Christmas parade. He's never without his dog and always full of holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Panning the Camera in Palm Springs

Panning a shot of a bicyclist

If you ever want a good shot of passersby on bicycles or any other quick-moving vehicles, set your shutter to about 1/30 seconds and follow the subject while the shutter is open. Panning the camera in Palm Springs is a great way to isolate moving objects so that you can create movement blur in the background, causing the subject to pop out at you.

Bike riding is slowly outstripping playing golf as the recreational activity in Palm Springs.
The number of people who play golf is slowly dwindling as Palm Springs becomes better known for other outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and playing soccer, the later increasing in popularity both because more young people are participating in the sport instead of baseball and football and the growing Mexican population who play the sport at parks throughout the city.

As the golf courses starve for customers, what will become of them if they go out of business years into the future?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Looking West on Palm Canyon

If you are looking west on Palm Canyon , you'll find the exit to the city of Palm Springs. Go all the way west and you'll run into Highway 10.

This shot is near Ramon. West of here is downtown, where the 26-foot statue of Marylin rises.

The palm trees lining Palm Canyon looking west were planted almost a century ago. Many of the mid-century modern buildings on Palm Canyon Drive, built in the 1950s and 1960s, are mixed with Spanish style edifices with red tile roofs, an architectural marvel to some, not much of anything to others.

Palm Springs is a small town of around 50,000 people, yet the area has all the amenities of a city that is much larger. The locals love tourists so come on'll find plenty to do from hiking the Indian Canyons to climbing to 8000 feet on the tram--an outdoors man's paradise.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Playing Monopoly Las Vegas in Palm Springs

People playing Monopoly Las Vegas in Palm Springs
Monopoly Las Vegas made its way to the back of the vendor booths at the Thursday night street fare in Palm Springs recently.

Playing that game looks as good as going to the street fair itself. Okay, some people would rather watch paint dry. In order to play Monopoly you've got to love Monopoly. 

Were you aware there are also Monopoly games based on New York City, Boston and Brooklyn? Why not Palm Springs? Surely Hasbro can conjure up something after the execs of the company see this image taken in Palm Springs.

Just in case if you didn't know the original Monopoly game is based on Atlantic City. Hurricane Sandy blew the huge replica of the Atlantic City Monopoly board out to sea.

As a kid I didn't want Boardwalk and Park Place; I wanted Baltic Avenue and, yeah, Mediterranean Avenue. Hmm, living in the Demuth Park neighborhood, I might just have it in the Palm Springs Monopoly: Sunny Dunes, Avenida Evelita, El Placer, or Mesquite. Homes are cheap and the houses, well..just aren't the same as those in Las Palmas or Movie Colony.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Do Gold's Gym and Chick-fil-A Have Something in Common?

Gold's Gym jumps on the anti-gay-marriage bandwagon.
Do Gold's Gym and Chick-fil-A have something in common? Are the two business conglomerates  on the same anti-gay-marriage path, their CEOs giving millions to organizations and candidates that support the idea of marriage being solely between a man and a woman? It's looking that way.

Robert Rowling, the Texan CEO of Gold's Gym apparently hit a foul ball for the home team, which is the GLBT community, one of the largest customer bases of his popular business. Smoozing up to Karl Rove, Rowling whipped up $2 million for Rove's American Crossroads organization, which works darn hard to get the no-marriage-for-gays repealed in every state it can.

Gold's Gyms in the Bay Area have removed themselves of the name, opting for SF Fitness, which leaves the Gold's Gym enterprise absent from the City by the Bay.

Spokespeople for Gold's gym have said (according to the Huff Post) that they "in no way do they support anti-gay causes."

The fragile situation seems to be confined to the Bay Area gyms. Will the storm come to Palm Springs? The future is ours to see.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A New Business in Town--Criag 4G

New Craig 4G store on Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs
It seems as if every time you turn around another new business has opened in downtown Palm Springs. This place is Craig 4G, right in the heart of the city. Now you must be thinking...what in the world is Craig 4G?

Evidently, the store sells boxes that access the Internet at high speeds--broadband speeds. Speedy, indeed.

The device is kind of like a cell phone without the phone part, giving you access to the new 4G Internet service. 

You buy the box for about $100 and then pay $30 for the speedy Internet service that's given to you via cell phone towers. You can get the speediest Internet connection if you sign up for their premium service for about $45 a month.

Hmmm. Why would you want a box instead of a cell phone with a camera that takes great pictures too? How long do you think this business will last? Hope it's a long time as Palm Canyon needs as many stable businesses as it can get for the long-term.

You think it will be there next year?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Washingtonias in Love

Bent Washingtonia Robusta palm

Technically this type of palm is a Washingtonia Robusta. Indeed it is robust. Moreover, these Washingtonias appear to be in love--Washingtonias in love. As the hefty mid-century man Jackie Gleason himself said "how sweet it is."

Gleason was a regular on the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament, which takes place near Palm Springs.
So much for that off-the-subject diversion.

We were talking about Washingtonia Robustas, right? Well, those trees can grow in awkward ways. When they like each other they lean toward one-another. When they don't like each other, the Washingtonia Roustas curve apart. Okay, so this assumption may or may not be true, but the images sure seem to indicate it.

Now, I've researched the Internet to come up with an the answer to: Why do a few Washingtonia Robostas curve when they grow?

Anyone got any answers or speculations?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Is Lulu's Taking Customers Away from Other Restaurants?

Inside Lulu's restaurant in Palm Springs, California.
Just about everyone is glad that Lulu's is doing well, except, possibly, the restaurants around it. It's the first time in nearly a decade that the tenant of the building in which it resides has been able to get a consistent crowd.

The all-day happy hours don't hurt, either. You can eat at the bar and get in and out for less than $12 a person with tax and tip.  But is that business coming from somewhere else? The crowds in the uptown restaurants have thinned out. Azul and others have lost some of their bustle.

Is there a take-business-away from-Peter-to-pay-Paul syndrome going on?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Downtown Palm Springs During the Twilight Hour Just Before Nightfall

 Palm Springs during the twilight hour just before nightfall is a beautiful site.

It's been over three weeks since I've posted on this blog, and I'm glad to be back. I just got back from a trip to China, one of the most memorable experiences in my life. The photo ops were endless.

Back to Palm Springs. Today's photo is a night shot of the main intersection--Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Canyon in downtown Palm Springs. Great place to people watch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

House Decorated for Halloween

Palm Springs is a rather festive place. Most holidays are celebrated with parades, performances and carnivals. Halloween is no exception. Some residents decorate their houses for the spooky night.
There is one house decorated for Halloween that is worth noting.

Sitting by the Mount San Jacinto is a house decorated for Halloween with big black spiders, spooky ghosts and a black cat whose back is arched in freight on top of the mailbox.

The house is no shack either with it's modern exterior, minimalist design. Swinging by this house by driving along side the back streets lining the mountain behind Palm Canyon is worth the trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Biker Weekend 2012 Palm Springs

Biker Weekend 2012 Palm Springs
It's that time of year again, Biker Weekend 2012 Palm Springs, or shall I say Biker Weekend West, as there's also a Biker Weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The guys and gals are all gussied up in their leather and jeans filled with sewed on patches of the Harley Davidson trademark, the king of all bike brands.

This weekend formally opens the snowbird season. The weather's cooled down (if 88 degrees is cool), the traffic is heavy and the restaurants all have a wait for breakfast. Locals are off to Cathedral City and beyond to flee the crowds.

The a Palm Springs law office warns bikers to beware of the casually suspicious who seemingly fit in, but are ready with handcuffs if bikers are caught drinking while driving, not to mention using and selling foreign substances.

However, most of the time the weekend runs smoothly without any incidents.

The last time there was a brawl and some shooting was in 2004. Bikers nowadays are a bit more sedate, concentrating on showing off their heavy metal and leather.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wellwood Family

Wellwood family in Palm Springs.

The Wellwood family are some of the first white settlers in the Palm Springs area. Native Americans had (more specifically the Cahullia people) had been here for thousands of years before any member of the Wellwood family was here.

It was George Wellwood Murray's father who came here in 1886, one of three people to live and build in the desert city after the installation of the railroad reached the desert from the coast.

Sometime near the turn of the century, Murray built the first hotel in the city -- The Palm Springs Hotel -- across from what is now the Spa Casino, which used to be bathhouse with a natural spring.

The library at the downtown crossroads of Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Canyon is named after Murray. It's currently closed and has been for years. I can remember going inside years ago. It was a pleasant place where locals hung out reading the newspaper and/or browsing for books to check out. I can remember that there used to be book sale every so often, which I has often frequented, browsing for a good buy.

According to the Palm Springs city website, the library will be open in the future, though no one knows when. Now it's just another of the dozen or so empty buildings in the downtown area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

See Tahquitz Canyon Way

Tahquitz Canyon Way at night

After Palm Canyon Way, the most important street in Palm Springs is Tahquitz Canyon Way.

Both streets are the crossroads of Palm Springs. For coffee drinkers, that means the choice for coffee from Starbucks and Coffee Bean is simply a matter of crossing the street diagonally to get from one to the other.

The center of Palm Springs also hosts the huge statue of Marilyn Monroe, certainly the city's most important monument.

Taking a walk from the Marilyn statue eastward on Tahquitz Canyon, you'll find that the road ends at the Palm Springs Airport.

In between is a large array of attractions that include a movie theater complex, The Spa Hotel and Casino, the Agua Caliente graveyard,  a Fresh and Easy Market, an empty Palm Springs Mall, and, at the very end at the airport entrance, another statue--this one the bust of JFK in bronze.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Estelle in the Palm Springs Plane Parade

Photo of "Estelle" at the Palm Springs Plane Parade
A parade from Palm Springs International Airport to the Palm Springs Convention Center included about 80 planes here for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Summit. One plane named Estelle in the Palm Springs plane parade strutted along with many other colorful and unusual planes strutted down Palm Springs' main drag.

I had to love this plane because my mother's name was Estelle.  The colors--bright blue and red--pop out of the webpage.

For a town of about 50,000 people, there sure are a lot of parades in Palm Springs--one for Gay Pride, another for Veterans Day, then there's the Festival of Lights parade a couple of weeks before Christmas.

This city seems to have an obsession with small planes--there's a museum full of them on Gene Autry and one comes carrying Santa Claus during the holidays, landing at the museum airstrip.

All of this comes at the beginning of our season, the time of year when those from the far north come to spend a few months.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Palm Springs Gold

Rock wall made from Palm Springs gold
I'll never forget the time when one of the editors at Palm Springs Life asked to write an article about rocks. At the time, the magazine had a home and design section inserted in the middle.

My first thought was "rocks?" What am I going to write about rocks. Yes, they're hard, found in the nearby desert and sometimes kids throw them at each other.

When I investigated the story by calling Whitewater Rock Company, I found out that not only is there a wide selection of rocks in Palm Springs, but there is also Palm Springs gold.

Yet, another puzzling desert term. Of course, when the man at the rock company said Palm Springs gold, the first question that came to mind was do some of the rocks in Palm Springs contain gold.

No, that wasn't the case. The man at the rock company let me know that Palm Springs gold is the city's most common rock used for building. You can't miss it when you're out and about. It covers walls and used in flower beds. The stuff isn't gold, though, it's more of a copper color.

While Palm Springs has no official city bird or city flower, but it does have a rock.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Geese are Coming

Geese fly from Canada to Palm Springs during October.
Hwonk,hrink, so say the geese as they fly south from Canada, many to Palm Springs-area golf courses.

In some areas of North America, the geese are considered pesky big birds that litter areas with their pooh--cryptosporidium-filled droppings that can foul a city's water, making residents sick with dysentery.

Just about all of the geese that arrive in Palm Springs later this month are of the migratory variety, lounging around any bodies of water they can find.

You might wonder if they breed here. I can tell you from personal experience that I've seen the cute little goslings following ma at Mesquite Golf Course on several occasions in spring. My guess is that as soon as those little birds learn to fly, they're off, traveling back to Canada.

Last, but not least, is the beauty of seeing the geese fly, hwonking and hrinking in the sky not too far about the ground in neat little rows.

Fill us in Palm Springers--geese are indeed snowbirds, joining the several hundred thousand that come to Coachella Valley every year at this time. Welcome all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DHS T-Bird and Trailer

Desert T-bird and trailer

Film images offer a different texture to a photo. In this retro T-bird photo, I've taken a film image, scanned it, processed it in Photoshop, created two more different digital manipulated exposures (one underexposed and one overexposed) of the photo from the scanned image, and merging those three images into an HDR-like photograph using Photomatix. Finally, I used the tone mapping tools of that program to make final tweaks on it.

Sound a bit technical? It's really not that hard. As a Palm Springs based photographer and author, this is one of the many HDR photos I've created of the Coachella Valley.

This photo has an interesting history in that I took it while touring Desert Hot Springs for some retro photo ops. It was late in 2003--a cool day with high clouds--when I used my Canon Rebel XT film camera to snap the picture.

Every couple of years, as technology becomes more sophisticated, I pull out my negatives and retweak them with the latest options.

The Coachella Valley is a great setting for HDR photography--the mountains, streams, snow, rocks and sand that make up the area's geography. What's more is that there is a film that covers all of the mountains that is a unique shade of red-brown that you can't find in many other places in the world.

Anyone recall the name of this?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blonde Dates

How many blonde dates have you had?
It's the most wonderful time of the the desert. It's date harvest time! Go up and down Highway 111 in Indio and you'll find the chewest dates you've ever had. Succulant and delicious.

After a long hot summer when temperatures soared to 110 degrees every day, nascent dates--hard and light green--adorned the date palms all over the valley.

Now these dates are brown and squishy-sweet. Great food with great nutrition. Just don't swallow the pits.

halloween art

Monday, September 24, 2012

Calinente Tropics Revisited

Looking through the "A" frame of the Caliente Tropics Hotel in Palm Springs.

This isn't the first time I've written about this mid-century modern Tiki masterpiece. In early 2007, I photographed the Caliente Tropics just before Anna Nicole Smith died, she partied here while filming her reality show. The episode had her judging a male beauty contest.

Prior to that, I wrote an article for the Desert Sun about the hotel's reopening in 2002. At the time, the new owners who came from San Francisco bought the property, putting millions of dollars into it.

Built in the mid-1960s, the Caliente Tropics was the brainchild of Ken Kimes, husband of the notorious murderess Sante. The troubled Sante took in homeless people and tortured them, not to mention burning houses for the sake of watching the embers flicker.

The Caliente Tropics, part of a chain with the Tropics name, has a sister hotel, The Topics in Indio.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Palm Springs Destroyed by Wind Farms

Donald Trump doesn't like the Palm Spring wind farms.
Donald Trump is an interesting man whose bonded with the rightward-tilting pundits, even becoming one himself. Soon he'll have his own show on the Fox News network.

His tweets are incensing Valley residents who take pride on the beautiful windmills that cover the barren mountains on Interstate 10 and Highway 111. Trump believes that the turbines are destroying the scenery around Palm Springs, not to mention the birds flying around them.

Bird killers the wind turbines are not, well, not as much as the loveable domestic cats. Nor as much as the glass on high-rises. Yes, and even less than the automobile. Come to think of it, how many birds have you killed with your car in your lifetime. How many has your cat killed?

So much for bird-killing. To be sure, there are more turbines than ever, and they're still putting them up. The new ones with crane-like bodies are cheaper and less aesthetic  than the older all-white, body-and-fan models.

Today's question is...should more wind turbines be installed on our turbine-infested mountains or should their be a moratorium on building new ones? Better yet, should some of them be taken down.

You with Trump or not? 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dreaming of This

Palm Springs in winter

Aright, already, it's the middle and humid. Did you hear that? Hot and humid.

Winter in Palm Springs is a see-but-don't-touch affair. You see the snow, but you can't touch it.
Lots of people like that. That's why this city--all of the desert cities, actually--are so well-groomed, immaculate, really, compared to most other Southern California tourist destinations.

Looking at this picture now, I know that we who live here don't have much longer to wait until it cools down.

Late September in Palm Springs is like late March in Minneapolis--everybody's waiting to be able to spend some time outside.

Image is of Mesquite Golf Course in HDR.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Palm Springs Neighbohoods--Movie Colony

Anyone remember Cary Grant or Tony Curtis? If you're under 40, you might not have. Tony is Jamie Lee's father (the Activa yogurt lady). Heard of Janet Leigh? She's Jamie's mom. She lived with dad in Palm Springs and Jamie lived there too.

Wanna know more about Jamie and Palm Springs? She's a psuedo-mom to Lindsey Lohan helping to keep up her sobriety. Nice job, Jamie.

Jamie is a Betty Ford Center cheerleader, grateful to such organizations because of what she went through years ago. Grab the October 2012 Good Housekeeping to catch up on that.

Blog's just a bit tongue-and-cheeky today, not to mention gossipy. Hey--what do you want? This is Palm Springs. We have celebrity ghosts here. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What's that Smell Follow-up

Are these dead Talapias causing the foul odor in Palm Springs?
Oh my gosh! The smell is back--big time! Walk outside and the smell of dead fish inundates the air going inside your lungs. Is it harmful? Is it really the smell of dead fish in and around the Salton Sea?

I speculated, as many have, that it's from the annual fish kill that happens in the Salton Sea during the summer when grueling desert temperatures can fry an egg on a sidewalk.

An anonymous visitor commented that the smell might be due to the a once-40-foot high toxic compost pile in Mecca. The EPA was supposed to take care of it, but evidently the smelly mountain has only been cut in half.

Chatter has it that it's a big challenge to close down toxic dump areas in poor communities, hence the delay.

The big question is if the smell we are now experiencing has drifted (along with the dead fish odor) into Palm Springs via a southeasterly  monsoonal wind.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Great Palm Springs Hike

Palm Springs golf course behind Dumuth Park

The best time to go out and photograph the Palm Springs golf courses is early in the morning just when the sun peeks above the horizon.

This golf course--the Mesquite Country Club--is on El Cielo and Mesquite. The course has a great bike and jogging trail running along the side of it. To get to this trail, go to Dumuth Park and park in one of the many parking lots there. Then walk to the southeast end of the park. You'll see an entry way into the golf course. The trail is to your left.

The trail adjacent to the golf course runs under Gene Autry Trail so you don't have to worry about crossing the street. It also goes through part of the country club land (Mesquite Golf Course), but don't let that deter you; it's a public trail. Continue until you reach the end of the golf course and then turn right (south) for about one-quarter block. You'll see a paved road, which is a continuation of the trail. It runs alongside Soak City Water Park.

Walk to the end of that road (you'll see dozens of bunnies at dusk, an occasional road runner and once in a great while, a coyote) and turn left. You'll now be walking along the edge of the driving range (golf). Continue on until the trail turns abruptly right alongside the far end of the driving range.

The trail then ends at Golf Club Drive. The trail continues on, but by that time you've walked a mile-and-a-half so if you turn around and walk back, you'll have walked a total of about three miles.
It's my favorite walk in Palm Springs.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weird Weather August

Weird August days in Palm Springs, 2012
If you came to Palm Springs this month, you could have thought you were in Miami (if it wasn't for the mountains).

Most days have been humid, sultry, sticky and most recently smelly (the sad Salton Sea). I can't remember an August being this humid and rainy, and I've lived here 12 years.

Today it rained a lot. Most people think that August rain is rare in the desert. To be sure, it is, but not that rare. August is the wettest of the summer months because of the monsoon moisture pushed up from the Gulf of California, that body of water that separates Baja California from the rest of Mexico. Average rainfall for August is .29 inches.

It rained .21 inches in Palm Springs according to Cathedral City got .71 inches of rain, that folks is a lot of rain for this area.

You can see how much variation that is. The rainfall amounts in a thunderstorm from one place to another can be significant. One mile can make a lot of difference.

We don't sing "Rain, rain go away. Come again some other day." We're glad to have it. The vegetation's beginning to look very perky--stiff, clean leaves, dark bark and even some blossoms.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Palm Springs Neighborhoods--Old Las Palmas

If you want a celebrity lifestyle, the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs is probably the neighborhood for you. Pricy it is, but well worth the charms of living in a Spanish or mid-century pseudo-mansion butt against the 8000-foot peak of Mt. San Jacinto.  You're also within a stone's throw of the downtown shops, bars and cafes and not very far from the Design district. 

If you end up living or visiting there, you'll be walking, driving or riding your bike in some of the same places Elizabeth Taylor and Dinah Shore did decades ago. What could be more glamorous than that?

Aside from being a celebrity haven, Old Las Palmas, was the very first established neighborhood in Palm Springs. What's more? Old Las Palmas housed the first commercial meteorologist in the country--Irving P. Krick, a man who took the weather very seriously and who had been snubbed by the U.S. Weather Bureau as somewhat of a quack. He went on the head the Department of Meteorology at the California Institute of Technology. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photography Class at UCR--Palm Desert

A new photography class is being offered at UCR--Palm Desert beginning Sept. 18, 2012.
Matthew Bamberg, author of ten books about photography, is teaching a photography class at the UCR Palm Desert campus beginning on Sept. 18.

Matthew's experience as a photographer ranges from shooting at local events in Palm Springs to writing articles for Shutterbug and Professional Photographer.

Matthew Bamberg's photography spans themes from nostalgia to landscapes. His hands-on, casual teaching style makes learning the craft of photography lively and entertaining.

Matthew will guide you to use the right side of your brain (the creative end) along instructing in the latest camera setting to help you craft stunning images for your websites, social network pages, fine art photography selling websites and more.

If you have any questions about the class, you can reach him at

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Partying Like it's 1963 in Palm Springs
What does Bing Crosby, JFK, a young White House intern, and  amyl nitrate have in common?

Party time at Thunderbird Estates in 1963!

Locals all know that second to Palm Springs in Rat Pack era celebrity gossip is the city of Rancho Mirage. Many also know that the Bing Crosby Estate was put on the market in 2010.

What you might not know is that former JFK intern Mimi Alford revealed earlier this year in her book, "Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath " that she partied at Bing's estate in Rancho Mirage's Thunderbird Estates, being offered what today is known as "poppers."

Now we all know that not only did JFK take amphetamines, have extramarital affairs and partied like it was 1999 with amyl nitrate, we can rest easy to know that Bing (if you're young, Google him) wasn't so wholesome after all.

What a revelation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Phyllis Diller Book Signing--Palm Springs 2005

Phyllis Diller at a 2005 Palm Springs book signing. 
At 90 years old, Phyllis Diller had her her autobiography published. Phyllis Diller's autobiography, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse reveals a woman who had overcome a sl

Diller rose from the shadow of red hot mama, Sophie Tucker, one of a few woman to made it to the top, kicking the funny bone of through the 20th century. Diller picked up the bone and lived seemingly forever, taking comedy from the female perspective by making fun of housewifery, herself and her cosmetic surgery. She revealed the name of the doctors in a list that summed up her facelift history.

Just as the other hoots of show business came to Palm Springs, so did Diller, defining the desert as a Shangri La, a place to kick back atop a Palm Springs hilltop with her friend Bob Hope.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Phyllis Diller Reflects on Bob Hope

Phyllis Diller visited Bob Hope in his Palm Springs home for a week in 2000.
RIP--In honor of one of the greatest comedians of all time.

What did Phyllis Diller do when she came to Palm Springs?

Here's what inquiring minds want to know. Phyllis Diller today at 95.

The following is from

"Bob is a gentleman, schalor, genius, same spiritual beliefs as mine, absolute end when it comes to comedy.  He's my guru.  Again, mental equivalent."  Her feline, Mister Cat, brushes against her leg.

"I just spent a week with Bob in that 37,000-square-foot Palm Springs mountaintop home."

"It's like a postcard, the mountains, the clouds, the valley, and the airport.  You're even above the airplanes!  Shangri-La!  When you come down out of there you think, 'Oh, my face is going to fall!'"

Palm Springs Neighbohoods--Indian Canyons

Not many people realize that Palm Springs has a number of neighborhoods, each with a character of its own.

The video above gives you a tour of the Indian Canyons, my favorite neighborhood, but only because thats the route I take on my daily ten-mile bike ride.

There are lots of mid-century homes, you know the ones--made of steel, butterfly and/or cantilevered roofs, indoor-outdoor access, desert landscaping and so on.

What's great about this neighborhood is that it ends at the Indian Canyons, one of the most beautiful places in the Coachella Valley.

To be sure, the Indians own the land and they charge you to get in; however, the price is well worth it.

The area contains a cool oasis and hilltop views of Palm Springs. There are also hiking trails.

Indian Canyons is a good place to bring a picnic on a nice day. Sheltered picnic areas in the canyons offer an escape from the daytime heat.

Come on and take the tour by watching the video above.

Video courtesy of Dave Stukas Real Estate

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's that Smell?

In 1999 7.6 million fish (out of about 200 million in the sea) died in the annual summer kill-off. Every year at this time, you notice a funny smell all over the Coachella Valley. It's the monsoon season now, a time when southeasterly winds can carry the smell of millions of dead Tilapia, the most common fish in the sea, all over the entire valley, including Palm Springs.

The kill occurs during the summer when temperatures soar, causing the algae in the sea to die, which uses up the oxygen in the water, leaving the fish, shall we say, "breathless."  This year hasn't been so bad. The worst of the foul odors occurred about two weeks ago and has since abated.

At 200 feet below sea level, the Salton Sea is very salty because there is little inflow and outflow of water. Talipia is a kind of fish that can tolerate high-salinity water, most other kinds of fish can't.

All of this doesn't mean that the sea is unimportant. Contrary to what many believe the sea hosts a variety of wildlife including 400 species of birds. During the cooler times of the year, you can see hundreds of huge white pelicans milling around the shoreline. It's an incredible site. It is also an important wetland, one of the few left in the inland section of Southern California. Geese and other migratory birds find a home near the sea on their journeys south for the winter and north for the summer.

During the 1950s, the shoreline around the Salton Sea was a hot spot for travelers. During these glory days, the Salton Sea attracted snowbirds from all over the country. They stayed at swank motels and traveled in huge campers, making the sea a temporary home away from home.

Not far from the Salton Sea is another must-see destination--Slab City. This community is one-of-a-kind, a place where people can settle on the land for no cost. Stake it out and it's yours. If you want an end-of-the-world sensation, this is the place to go. Part of the movie Into the Wild was filmed there.

Wait...there's one gotta-go place--Salvation Mountain. It's right next to Slab City, a place to climb around a small artificial mountain that has been hand-painted by a guy who's been living there for years. The theme of the painted text and images is probably just what you expected for a place called Salvation Mountain. It's the Bible, making this the center Southern California Bible Belt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Desert Holly

Desert Holly Condo Complex, Palm Springs

It was the summer 1999. I had to get a place fast in Palm Springs. I lived in the Bay Area and the constant dreary weather had got me down, not to mention the hustle and bustle of the big cities I had lived in...Miami, San Francisco and San Diego.

Drove around Palm Springs and found this place, a desert retro oasis. Loved it. At the time there was a Vons across the street in a big mall filled with stores. Grant it, it wasn't a pretty mall, but they had a food court with a McDonalds and a good restaurant--Carla's--a place where the chef was renegade from Billy Reed's and who made the same exact food as you could get there at nearly half the price.

When I drove up to Desert Holly, it was vacant with only the name of a realtor and a phone number posted on the sliding glass door.

The rest was history for $50,000, I got a two bedroom, one bath condo that looked like it came out of an advertisement of a 1955, $.25 Look magazine. Everything was original--the dishwasher, stove, lighting fixtures, carpet. The kitchen was divided from the living room by a long bar with a space-ship pattern formica top. Outside was a garden and kidney-shaped swimming pool. "Heaven on earth," I thought.

Today, I miss the place, though the Palm Springs Mall across the street is now nearly empty--the Vons long-gone and the food court shut down years ago.

Now I'm in Dumuth Park, the section of Palm Springs that took an enormous hit when the real estate market dove south. Bad as Florida was.

paris black and white art

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marilyn for Sale

Marilyn prints for sale, all sizes, framed/unframed/canvas and so on. 

Get her in all her glory--Marilyn Monroe on your wall in your home.

Image taken with a Canon 5D with Tamron 70-200 mm zoom lens at 100 ISO f/8 1/250 seconds.

Marilyn Monroe came to Palm Springs in June, and she's the most popular new attraction since the misters were back in the 1980s. Just like back then, people are swarming around her, shooting images of her from fontal shots to shots of her underwear (yes her skirt is up and you can get some shade underneath it).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Art Runs in the Wexler Family

Presenting Donald Wexler... Donald Wexler is one of the greatest architects the Palm Springs has ever known. In his mid-80s, Wexler still lives in Palm Springs, as does his son, Glen a photographer who creates risque photo compositions.

The father and son are both gifted with an eye for design and creativity. Seeing Donald talk about his architecture, flowing shapes of rocks and steel, he came to know quickly that wood wasn't for the desert.

Glen Wexler, on the other hand, photographed the Secret Life of Cows in 2007, a must for cow-lovers. His sometimes surreal work is shocking in its presentation, refocusing the eye is necessary when looking into his world of photography.

Donald, originally from South Dakota, finds the desert an a perfect setting for steel, which is what the video above is about. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Unbearable Weather--Beautiful Sunsets

Beautiful sunset in Cathedral City, temperature 108 degrees F

This is bad. Really bad. It's so hot here you can't stand outside more than a few minutes.

It's not going away, either. Forecasts call for the same for more than a week forward.

High today: 113-118 degrees F
Low tonight: 92-94 degrees F

Billowing cumulus clouds against the mountain and some much-needed cleaner air have made it a beautiful day, despite the heat. But the humidity--upwards to 40 percent--has made the outside world something to be looked at from out a window.

The inside of homes are darkened by black-out shades designed to reflect the heat away from its surface. Barely a soul goes outside after 8 a.m. or before 7 p.m.

There is something special about this time of year, though. The sunsets each of these mid-August nights shimmer, pushing light wide beams of light skyward.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Marilyn

The huge statue of Marilyn downtown is still attracting tourists. They're out in 115-degree weather shooting away.

The best time to take her picture is definitely in the morning because the sun is shining on her face, not to mention, towering into the sky. Photos of her at that time of day have her looking as if she's sunning herself.

This image was taken with a Tamron 70-200 mm lens at f/8 and a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec.
Oh...yes, I did have a circular polarizing filter on the camera, deepening the blue in the sky above.

Supplementing the blue sky are a few white cumulus clouds, which are common in the monsoon season during August.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5, 1962

Today it has been 50 years since Marilyn Monroe took her last breath. Palm Springs is abuzz with activity to remember the blonde who has captivated the world for eternity.

This town has now claimed Marilyn as one of their own since the 26-foot statue of her with her skirt up went up in June.

The statue is a play on the skirt-up scene from Seven Year Itch, which was screened outside last night where a big part of the crowd sat under her skirt. When the scene was shown the crowd went crazy.

The statue is supposed to be here only one year, but rumor has it that the city is trying to make it a permanent part of the city's downtown. 

Recently out is a book of images about the icon, Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis by David Willis.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Issue Dear to Mary Bono Mack's Heart

Bono-Mack (R) is a congresswoman who represents the 45th Congressional District. Courtesy of
Prescription drug abuse is an issue dear to Mary Bono Mack's heart. To be sure, I don't agree with her on all the issues nor do I endorse the same politicians she does (I usually don't get political on my blogs, unless an issue address the concerns I have about the world). More about that in a future post.

Be that as it may, she does a tremendous amount of work to get people who abuse prescription drugs help. I discovered that when I read an article about Mary Bono Mack's fight to help those who are addicted to prescription drugs.

I know her pain. I have had the same issues in my own family that are closely connected to the controversy this issue has become . Tomorrow, would have been my brother's birthday (Dr. Norman Bamberg), but his life was given up. During the most recent part of his thirty-year medical doctor career he was a pain doctor.

Much has been written about the association of pain doctors and the prescriptions they write. Bono-Mack's solution doesn't deal with a throw-everybody-in-jail approach. Instead, she seeks to enact laws that make drug companies responsible for the pain relief drugs that they make.

Recently, she advocated for making it very difficult to physically change pain pills so it can they used for other purposes--mainly to get high. That certainly would help legitimize the business of pain medicine. To be sure, many people have pain that deteriorates their quality of life.

I had written Bono-Mack last May when my brother died. I was very specific about what happened, and felt a little strange telling her about it. Today, she responded with the following:

Thank you for your personal story regarding the abuse of prescription drugs. It is good to hear from you, and I appreciate your patience while awaiting a response.
As your Representative, I have been leading the fight in Congress against the fastest rising drug problem in America – the abuse of prescription drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses, including those from prescription drugs, are now the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. It is clear that Congress needs to take steps to address this critical problem that has devastated families all across America.
In an effort to raise awareness about this important issue, I serve as the co-chair of the Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, I have introduced the Stop Oxy Abuse Act of 2011, (H.R. 1316). I introduced this legislation to help stop the rising abuse and addiction of prescription drugs containing controlled-release oxycodone hydrochloride, included in the popular pain killer OxyContin. Over-prescription and drug diversion can have devastating effects on families and communities across the country, too often leading to addiction, criminal activity, and even death. Far too many young people are falling prey to the highly dangerous and addictive drug, OxyContin.
I also introduced the Ryan Creedon Act of 2011, (H.R. 2119) which would put in place new measures to ensure that prescribers of powerful pain medications receive a minimum standard of education before issuing the drugs. No such national standard currently exists. 
It is important that the citizens of our district keep me apprised of their views so that I may better represent you in Washington. Rest assured, I will keep your views in mind when this issue comes before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write. For your convenience, you can sign up to receive regular email updates from me on issues important to our district at Please feel free to contact me on other matters of mutual concern.


auto prints

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mary Bono on the Issues--What You Ought to Know

Mary Bono Mack is running for congress in our district, which is the 45th. The congresswoman has a long history in the chamber. She's been serving since 1998, when her husband who was serving in the position Sonny Bono died in a ski accident.

Her opponent is Dr. Paul Ruiz. More about his views tomorrow.

Bono Mack is considered a moderate Republican.

Here is her stand on some issues:

She's for the multistakeholder governance model for the Internet. (Did you know that there was such a thing?) Stakeholders are businesses, civil society, governments, research institutions and non-government organizations to make decisions about goals and challenges that face it.

 She voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts.

Voted not to permit the use of funds to oppose of the Defense of Marriage Act

She voted not to prohibit use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

She voted against Obama's new offshore drilling use plan.

She voted for the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

She voted for  Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

She voted for the authorization of  the federal government to share cyber threat information with private-sector entities and utilities.

She voted for passing a bill that repeals certain Department of Education regulations.

She voted against requiring public disclosure of bonuses and Golden Parachute arrangements.

She voted to suspend the cross-state air pollution rule.

She voted for monitoring the air quality impact of oil drilling.

She voted for school vouchers for Washington D.C.

She voted to repeal Don't Ask; Don't Tell.

She voted for establishing a Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area

She voted for Prohibits individual states from recognizing marital status and/or legal benefits from any other unions other than that of a man and a woman (2006; bill failed).

Guess Whose Home This Is

Palm Springs Home in the Las Palmas neighbohood.

Not another guess who this person is, but, instead, guess whose home this is.

Just to inform you that I can't recall what star lived here.

It was taken about a year ago when a friend of mine was showing me the stars' homes.

Any help is appreciated.