Thirty Years of Photography (Part II 2001-2009)

Nikon Coolpix E775 Digital Camera

Be sure to read Part I of my Thirty Years of Photography series covering 1989 – 2000.

In 2000 all of my film photo gear was was stolen from the back of my computer store. This was a tragedy for me photographically and I didn’t get a new camera for months. The plus side was that it made me learn an important lesson: Don’t look at the world through a viewfinder all the time, if you do you’ll miss all of the spectacular if not photogenic scenes around you. You need to put the camera down and just take in the vistas from time to time. I did get a new camera eventually, and when I was looking through the viewfinder I came up with the photos below.

The Year Two Thousand and One

We weren’t on the way to Jupiter, but we did have digital cameras and I got my first in 2001.

Rinconada Abandoned Mercury Mine - Santa Margarita, California - 2001

This is the Rinconada mercury mine on the road from Santa Margarita to Pozo.

Rinconada Abandoned Mercury Mine - Santa Margarita, California - 2001
Rinconada Abandoned Mercury Mine - Santa Margarita, California - 2001

One of my more dangerous, yet most awesome, adventures, crawling through the abandoned mercury mine. This mine has since been plugged to prevent any further spelunking.

Yugo - 2001

There are a few cars on the roads built by companies that no longer exist, but here’s a car built in a country that no longer exists.

Pismo Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area - 2001

Ok, so I’m a bit warped, but a “No P” sign on an outhouse made me giggle.

Two Thousand and Two

Black Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo County - 2001

This is an FAA radar installation atop the mountains east of Pozo.

California Coast - 2001

The California coast from Highway 1.

My 1991 Jeep Wrangler in 2001

This is just a cool photo of my Jeep.

Dinky Lakes Jeep Trail near Huntington Lake, California - 2001

And another in the mountains near Shaver Lake, California.

Two Thousand and Three

Star Trek Compaq Motherboard

Above: In 2003 I opened up a Compaq laptop and found proof that computer technology was brought to us by Captain Kirk from the 23rd century.

Right: The Trans-America building in San Francisco from a parking garage.

Transamerica Building from Parking Garage

Two Thousand and Four

2004 was uneventful photographically so there isn’t anything here.. I still didn’t have a really nice camera and almost all of the photos were of family gatherings.

Two Thousand and Five

2005 was the year of my first solo train trip. I wanted to see what it would be like to go to Montana in December. Here are a few of photos from that trip.

Rails in the Snow - Dunsmuir, California - 2005

This is at the Dunsmuir, California, railroad station. It was shot from the window at the back of the train.

Mount Shasta - 2005

And another photo from the back of the train, Mount Shasta in the background.

Looking out a tunnel from the Coast Starlight - 2005

This is one of my favorite photos, I just wish it was shot with a better camera and not through a tinted window on the train.

Me on the Empire Builder -2005

Lounging in the lounge car.

-16 Degrees in Glasgow, Montana - 2005

Me In My Motel, Glasgow, Montana - 2005

Far left: Glasgow, Montana, -16 degrees F. Interesting sensation to have your nose hairs freeze as you take a walk through town.

Left: Me getting ready to leave my motel. I had more layers on than Kenny in Southpark.

Amtrak Station - Glasgow, Montana - 2005
Amtrak Station - Portland Oregon - 2005

Far left: The Empire Builder approaching the station in Glasgow, Montana.

Left: Union Station in Portland, Oregon.

Two Thousand and Six

2006 was when I really returned to photography. I got my nice Canon S2IS advanced point and shoot and got creative control of my pictures again. It’s also when I started getting enlargement quality photos.

Sea Lions in San Francisco, CA - 2006

A pile of sea lions in San Francisco, California

"Million Dollar View" [Coit Tower Through Skygate Sculpture in San Francisco, California]

Coit Tower through Skygate sculputre in San Francisco, CA

"Mossy Oak" [Oak Tree On Mt. Hamilton Road, Santa Clara County, California]

A tree on Mt. Hamilton, Santa Clara Country, CA.

"The Mist" [Oak Tree Behind Barbed Wire On Mt. Hamilton, California]

A spooky tree on Mt. Hamilton, California near San Jose.

"Wha'chu Lookin' At?" [Cattle In Northern California]

Just some cows near Mt. Hamilton.

"I'm An Eagle, Dammit!" [Western Gull And American Flag]


This is a composite of a flag flying over a farmhouse in San Luis Obispo and a Western Gull in San Francisco.

In 2006 I went on my third long-distance train trip. The three principle destinations were Chicago, Essex (Montana,) and Denver. It was a twelve day epic adventure. I’m not going to include too many photos from that trip here. I hope to someday transfer my tale and photos to this blog, but if you’re willing to experience a website from 2006 you can see it all at my old website, Trainwacko.com.

"Broken Blind" [Los Angeles Hall Of Justice, California]

This is the Los Angeles Hall of Justice, a building that went from being condemned after the Northridge earthquake, to being revived 20 years later. Click the “Buy” link to read the full story.

"Singin' in the Train" [Guitar Player on Amtrak Southwest Chief, United States]

Gilbert Chaves, of Trio Amor y Paz, entertained us through Arizona.

"Two Naps At Union Station" [Chicago, Illinois]

I think this was my first attempt ever at “street photography,” outside Union Station in Chicago.

"Take The 'l' Train" [Elevated Train In Chicago Illinois]

Chicago’s famous “L train.”

The Izzak Walton Inn, Essex, Montana.

The Izaak Walton Inn, in Essex, Montana.

"Tickets Please" [Railroad Conductor in Portland, Oregon]

An Amtrak conductor collects tickets at Union Station in Portland, Oregon.

"Travelers" [Railway Passengers in Union Station, Denver, Colorado]

Denver, Colorado, Union Station.

"Home from the Pharmacy" [Traveler at a Train Station in Reno, Nevada]

Reno, Nevada – 2006

Back home to Atascadero and a few more local photographs. These two are from the Paso Robles car show.

2006 [S2IS_02940] Paso Robles Hot Rod Show (5-27-06)_DXO facebook
"Doggie in the Window"

And these two are from the fields around my house in Atascadero, California. I’d always wanted a photo of the brown grasses, and the barbed wire picture was one attempt. It turned out boring as Hell, so I messed with the saturation and came up with the photo as you see it here.

"End Of The Road" [Atascadero, California]

"Devil's Rope" [Barbed Wire Fence In Atascadero, Califorinia]

Two Thousand and Seven

Another year, another train ride. This time to New York City. Many more photos and videos are at Trainwacko.com.

"To Station" [Burlington Train Station In Omaha, Nebraska]

Like the LA Hall of Justice, this train station in Omaha, Nebraska has risen from the dead, this one thanks to the local TV station that decided to make the abandoned station it’s home.

Ellis Island, 2007


Ellis Island – 2007

"An Endless Supply Of Cabs" [Taxis In New York City]

New York City taxicabs in Manhattan.

"Street Orchard" [Street Vendor In New York City, New York]

Street fruit vendor in New York City.

Home from my New York train trip, it was time to photograph California again. The next set of photos are from all around the state.

"The Comedy Troupe" [Pelican Rock At Pismo Beach, California]

Shell Beach, California.

Ranger at Yosemite National Park

Park ranger at Yosemite National Park.

"Brush Strokes" [Abandoned Shed In Mojave Desert, California][S5IS_00471] cropped enlarged copy

An abandoned workshop in the Mojave Desert.

"Sunlight" [Wildflowers At Death Valley National Park, California]

Death Valley National Park.

"Blue Lantern" [Bodie State Historic Park]

Bodie State Historic Park. The rest of the lanterns were dull red and the picture fell flat. I got this by desaturating the red and green, leaving just the blue channel alone.

Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California, photographed from the deck of the R.M.S. Queen Mary. This is one of my favorite photos, but it gets killed by the plastic wrapping the turret and entire wall of the beautiful building in the foreground.

Two Thousand and Eight

Another year, another train trip. This time to Denver. I shot mostly video on this trip, not a lot of stills. This tale is also available at Trainwacko.com.

"From Chicago To San Francisco" [Amtrak's California Zephyr Lounge Car]

Inside the lounge car of the California Zephyr.

"Winter In The Rockies" [Western Colorado]

Watching the snow fall while stopped in the mountains of Colorado.

2008 also had me on my first good road trip in a long time. I started off at home in California and visited Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and Hoover Dam.

"Frosted Gingerbread" [Bryce Canyon National Park]

Bryce Canyon National park, Utah.

"Ancient Aliens" [Petroglyphs in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah]

Petroglyphs at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.

Hoover Dam, Nevada side powerhouse

The powerhouse on the Nevada side of Hoover Dam.

As usual, not being on a road trip doesn’t mean I’m close to home. These two were taken in northern California on the back roads between San Jose and Livermore.

"Pop Goes The Teasel" [Santa Clara County, California]
"Bug-Eyed" [Abandoned Tractor in Alameda County, California]

Back on the road – this time I’m getting my kicks on Route 66.

"Get Your Kicks" [Graffiti On An Abandoned Building, Route 66, California]

An abandoned building near Amboy, California.

Grand Canyon Caverns, Arizona

Grand Canyon Caverns, Arizona.

Golf Course in Arizona

This is a golf course that butts up against a red cliff. Look further down the page for a view from the sky.

Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, Helendale, California.

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch in Helendale, California.

Back on yet another train – to Vermont to visit a friend I met on the train to Denver.

"The Golden Age Of Travel" [Union Station In Los Angeles, California]

Union Station in Los Angeles, California.

Smithsonian Institute's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport

The lesser known part of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, this is the 346,774 square foot hanger of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles Airport in nearby Virginia.

"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" [The White House in , Washington D.C.]

The White House, Washington DC.

"Watching The Night Train" [Montpelier Junction Vermont]

The Amtrak station serving Vermont’s capitol city of Montpellier and the nearby town of Barre.

"Vermont Sky"

Looking straight up from a beautiful path in Vermont.

Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River.

Remember the golf course above? On the trip back from Vermont we just happened to fly over the same golf course near Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona.

And that’s the end of Part II. Next month, the final chapter in my 30 Years of Photography series.

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