Photography . . . Travel . . .

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Short Trip to the Los Angeles Area

Heather and I took a quick trip up to the northeast part of Los Angeles this weekend, to attend the baptism of a friend's baby in Eagle Rock.

After the ceremony we stopped off at the Eagle Rock Italian Bakery to pick up some cookies to take with us to our friend's house later in the day. I've been going to this bakery almost my entire life. My parents used to get Sicilian rum cakes here when I was a child (we often had those for birthday cakes).

Rather than drive up and back in the same day, we spent the night at the Pasadena Hilton. It's an old building, with some interesting decor in the lobby bar. The chairs look like they're as old as I am, certainly the style is.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Horton Plaza Photo Walk and Dinner at the Studio Diner

Horton Plaza, a shopping mall in downtown San Diego with rather unique architecture, sponsored a one-hour photo walking tour tonight, led by a local professional photographer. The mall was built in 1984, and the architect's intention was to evoke the feeling of an Italian hilltown. Having wandered more than a few Italian hilltowns, I think he got it. I've always liked the architecture, but traffic and parking has gotten a lot worse lately in that part of town, so I don't get down there as often as I used to.

I shot the entire hour with only a 10-17mm fisheye zoom lens, which made for quite a challenge, but was a lot of fun at the same time.

A friend from the San Diego DSLR Photo Group was also there, and we decided to get some dinner afterwards. We drove up to the Studio Diner, in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. It was built in 2003 by the film studio that operates next door, and has apparently been used as a set. It's open 24 hours, and the food is great.

Click here for more images from Horton Plaza.

Click here for a few more images from the Studio Diner.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Balboa Park International Houses - This time it's Hungary

It was the House of Hungary's turn for the Lawn Program today. They had some interesting food - I went for the crepes, one filled with apricot jam, the other with a chocolate pudding of sorts.

These girls were making some sort of fried bread with garlic, sour cream and cheese. It looked interesting, but didn't sound all that appetizing right after the chocolate crepes. They sure seemed to be having fun though, and had plenty of people lined up.

While I was there I also stopped in to the House of Poland for a bite of polish sausage served on a piece of rye bread with a slice of pickle . . . the House of Ireland for a couple of mini-scones . . . and finally the House of the Czech and Slovak Republics for some pastry and coffee.

I didn't try them, but I had to laugh when I saw the "all-American" offerings at the House of United States. They had "mini hot dogs" too, but I was kind of afraid to see what those looked like.

The House of Denmark has some cool light fixtures and furnishings.

The Lawn Programs at the House of Pacific Relations (otherwise known as the International Houses) in Balboa Park are every Sunday from Spring through Fall. Each week a different country hosts the program on the little stage, and generally sets up a food booth on the lawn. The houses are open every Sunday all year round, from about Noon to 4PM.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Short Trip to Seattle

Heather and I spent the weekend in Seattle visiting her family and attending a wedding. We arrived mid-day on Friday and wound up back at SeaTac Airport just 48 hours later for our return flight. We did manage to get in some good food and quality time with her family, and even a bit of sightseeing along the way.

Our first stop was lunch at Chinook's, at Fisherman's Terminal. They've got a pretty large menu, but for some reason we wound up having the same things we did in June. This time I managed to get a shot of my crab and shrimp caesar salad before digging in, but Heather was too quick with her steamed clams and mussels, so no pic of that one. (You can check the blog post in mid-June if you're really curious.)

After a bit of wandering we wound up at Seattle Center, where we spent some time watching the big fountain with all the kids playing in it, before heading over to the Science Fiction Museum.

The Science Fiction Museum is along side (and part of) the Experience Music Project. It's not huge, but it does have some really fun stuff, including my favorite . . . Gort, from The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original version, from the mid-1950's).

In many ways the building was as interesting as the exhibits. I highly recommend this museum if you've got some time while in Seattle.

From Seattle Center it was off to our newest favorite hotel (in Seattle at least) the Arctic Club. The building was built as a private men's club in the early 1900's, and a few years ago was fully renovated into a boutique hotel. About a year or so ago it became the Doubletree Arctic Club. Anyone who has spent much time in downtown Seattle will know the building with the walruses. 

One of the best parts of the hotel is the Polar Bar, which is a very pleasant place to sit and relax, even when the bar itself is not open. When they are open Victor makes a pretty good Caipirhinha.

They've carried the walrus theme throughout the hotel. On Sunday morning I asked the front desk clerk if I could borrow one for some photos in the bar. (Heather stayed in the room for this one, she was convinced that the staff would think I was crazy, but I knew that they would know how to humor eccentric guest requests . . . like borrowing a walrus for half an hour.) 

They actually have these guys for sale in the guestrooms, I surprised Heather with one the last time we stayed here. 

Another thing that is quite impressive about the Arctic Club is the ballroom, the Northern Lights Dome Room. It may only be big enough for 440 people, but it certainly has the best ceiling of any hotel ballroom I've seen.

We made a brief stop at Kubota Gardens on our way to the airport, but it was over 90F so we didn't stay long.

The flights up and back were uneventful, and I even managed to get a window seat and a few pictures this time. The weather in Seattle was sunny, clear and hot, but there was a fair amount of haze in the air, making Mt. Rainier look a bit fuzzy in the distance as we were taking off.

San Diego of course still has our "June Gloom" well into August now. There was way more sunshine in Seattle this past weekend. You can see the marine layer hanging just off shore in this early evening shot.

Click here to see more shots from our weekend in Seattle, August 13-15, 2010.

Click here to see more shots from our November 2009 trip to Seattle, with more from the Arctic Club Hotel.

About Me

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.