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?