Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Last of Bungalow News

If I hadn't been driving today with the radio tuned to (what else?) KPCC, our local NPR station, I wouldn't have heard the story of Bungalow News. It's closing tomorrow after nearly 50 years of business in Pasadena. Mentioned as reasons were rent increases, an impossible parking situation and competition from the internet.

Chuck Alessi says working at Bungalow News is the only job he's ever had. He's been there 14 years, since he was 18 years old. Chuck is about to have some adventures, I'll bet. But he seemed sad to see the place close. So were the customers buying the last few things on the racks.

Bungalow News used to have every kind of magazine you could think of, from all over the world. There's not much left, but you can still pay your respects Sunday—if you can find an affordable place to park.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Foothill Vet

One fur person at the Foothill Veterinary Hospital wasn't the least bit happy today. Everyone else seemed fine.

Foothill's been in business a long time, (some websites say since the 1950s). I don't know if they've always been in the same building. The waiting room is cozy, with a window seat, big chairs and a fireplace. I've never seen a fire lit there. Dogs and cats get nervous enough without having to contend with flames.

It's always clean at Foothill. I wonder how they manage that, considering the clientele.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Baranger Studios

Baranger Studios in South Pasadena reminds me of an old church in an English village, put to reuse in modern times. There's nice detailing around the doors and windows, and a pretty courtyard you can begin to see on the right.

My impression isn't far from wrong. Baranger Studios is an old building by California standards. The plaque to the left of the front door says "Architect - G. A. Howard, Jr. Built in 1925 to serve the Jewelry Display Industry. Dedicated historical landmark No. 27 by the City of South Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission June 6, 1982." Currently, the Baranger Studios building houses a law office, an accountant and an optometrist.

But what exactly is (or was) the "jewelry display industry"? All I know about are the velvet-covered pedestals in the windows at Tiffany.

From 1925 to 1959, Baranger Studios created colorful, mechanical displays that they rented to jewelry dealers for their shop windows. Before today I never knew such things existed, but that's not surprising. They were unusual in their own time, and even had a book written about them.

You just never know what you're going to find out there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kaldi Window

I haven't posted many interior photos, and even this barely counts as one. I confess this is due to shyness on my part. I'm not always sure if I'm allowed to take pictures inside a business. A couple of times when I've asked, the management has turned me down. (A couple of times they've said yes, but the pictures didn't turn out well enough.)

Today I stopped in South Pasadena for a cup of coffee at Kaldi. It's a cozy little shop in an old brick bank building (looks like late 19th century to me). This time I didn't ask if I could take pictures. Nobody seemed to mind.

Through the window you see the side and part of the rear of the South Pasadena Public Library. The rear entrance is grander than the front, I think. South Pasadena's loaded with charm, so I'll get back soon and take more pictures. (I figure Pasadena-adjacent communities are fair game, as long as I don't get too far from the border.)

I enjoyed my coffee at Kaldi. There's artwork hanging on the walls, and no loud music playing (a big plus). As long as the weather stays cool, I have a good excuse to take indoor pictures more often.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Color for a Gray Day

Today the sky was pale gray all day. It rained a little. Nothing much happened.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when the sky was more dramatic. Sun, dark clouds and wind made this building at Walnut and San Gabriel look like endangered candy. Either that, or welcome to Miami!

Monday, February 18, 2008

There Is No Whining in Baseball

Boz is a trustworthy dog. I can let him off his leash in the early hours, when no one's around. He doesn't bother folks (unless they want him to). He avoids fights and rarely barks. In fact he doesn't make much noise at all.

Except the occasional whine.

When I stopped to take a picture of the baseball diamond at Washington Park, he waited patiently. For about a minute. Then he let me know it was time to move on.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photography Lesson

Have you been to Izmir? You must go.

Izmir Daily Photo is one of my favorite photo blogs. Monoblog posts a work of art every day. I've given him so many compliments that he's seen fit to stop by here from time to time. When he saw my February 12th post, he sent this very kind email:

"I really like the photo of palm trees in your latest blog. But I can't help myself to give you a piece of advice. Sometimes cropping a photo is the simplest way to improve the composition of your photograph. So, the viewer will focus on the main image. I've cropped your image and I think cropped image has a different feel and focus. All the best...Monoblog."

"Well, of all the nerve," you might think, if you'd never seen Monoblog's photos. But my first thought was, "He likes my photo!"

Monoblog's crop shows a subtle difference, but a clear one. By cropping the excess sky and clouds and some unnecessary pieces of building, he allows the palm trees to take center stage. They are, after all, the subject of the photo.

In a further example of Monoblog's teaching, see how his simple crop brings the subject of my February 13th post more directly to your attention.

Now, if you haven't done so already, go look at Izmir Daily Photo. One look and you'll know why I'm so pleased to accept all the tips I can get from such a fine photographer as Monoblog.