Struck by Lightning

The pictures this week have been scary, but amazing

It rained in Southern California this week.

To those of you in other states, that may not seem like much, but trust me, it was a big, huge deal. We got thunder. And lightning. And we rarely see either of those.

The racket was so loud in my garage, I refused to budge. I was too scared about being stuck by lighting on the open beach.

That didn’t stop my friends Pete Halvorsen and Richard Podgurski Jr who gleefully braved mother nature and in return got once in a lifetime photos for their efforts. I’ve sat here for days cursing at myself for not braving the elements. So the best I can do is share some of the bravery on display.

A post shared by Pete Halvorsen (@petehalvorsen)

Below, I can’t imagine how one could get this shot of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles safely, but I can love looking at it. The shot below of San Diego is a little less scary.

A post shared by Wild California (@wildcalifornia_)

I wrote a piece for the Easy Reader, interviewing Halvorsen and Podgurski Jr. about how they captured their images without getting hurt. In a few words: they saw that the bolts were over the water, so they figured they were far enough way and were safe. Wish I’d have thought of that! (Tech notes: Podgurski had his camera mounted to a tripod, where he shot 10 second exposures, at F16 and 50 ISO. He said he needed the long exposure to light the lightning correctly.)

And speaking of Manhattan Beach

This week’s Photowalks installment (season 2, episode 2) brings us to my hometown of Manhattan Beach. While I’m usually searching for the best photo spots with a local photographer somewhere I don’t live (next week in Las Vegas with Homer Liwag), this week I’m showing a Central California photographer where the spots are, and we both in turn offer photo tips from under the pier.

Charlotte “Ginger” DiNunzio, whose new book of photography, Ginger Snaps, will be out next month, joins me for part 1 of the episode. Stay tuned through part 2 and you’ll also meet my mom Judy in Redondo Beach.

Tech news wrap

Facebook went down on Monday, people realized they couldn’t live without it, and meanwhile a whistleblower revealed things we all suspected. The social network profits on rage. It’s bad news. And people are upset. So what’s going to change? I’ve seen this movie before. People scream and yell, and in turn Facebook memberships and profits increase. A year from now, we’ll still say we hate Facebook, but can’t live without it. Nothing will be different.

In a blow to California, and a boost for a dangerous governor who is making it harder for people to vote and women to be in control of their bodies, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was moving his headquarters to Texas. Simply put, this is really bad news for freedom loving people.

In positive, pro-social news, Google is adding adding a free guitar tuner to its search tools. Just type “Guitar Tuner,” into Google and you’ll be able to get a computerized E, A, D, G, B and high E. And if you can’t find it, Fender has a great free one too.

Amazon is working on building a refrigerator with cameras to monitor what comes in and out. So when you run out of milk, juice and other favorites, no problem—the Amazon spies will instantly re-order them and stock you back up. Creepy? Generally, I’d say yes, but I really don’t mind if Amazon knows I love succotash. That’s okay. And I hate shopping anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the Beach

The aforementioned Easy Reader, the community paper that began in 1970, moved into its 4th offices this week and I was there to document it with a walking tour, led by the never-say-quit publisher Kevin Cody.

In putting this together, I searched for a photo of Cody holding his newspaper proudly in his hand, or standing in front of one of his old buildings, and was surprised that I couldn’t find one. I told him to either produce it, or I’d be right over there to get it myself. The portrait is in the thumbnail below, and I’m thrilled that I was able to finally grab this iconic shot.

Kevin is a really interesting, dedicated guy who rarely gets up from his desk. That’s because he’s usually parched over his Dell monitor, editing. Seven days a week. Or running around town to grab photos for the paper. He does take a morning break every day to surf, and while he drives, he prefers going around town on his (analog) bicycle.

I did a little article about the move. Why did he pack up? The old digs were too far away from the beach. That simple. Now he’s less than a block away.


As I’ve been saying here, there’s no better time for photography than right after a rain. And if you’re too timid to get lightning shots, well, clouds won’t kill you. Because we so rarely see them, they really blew me away on Friday.

This edition is dedicated to Jinx/Jackie

Our beloved cat went exploring the neighborhood the other day and strayed too far, onto a busy street. I’m sad to report that the cat I called Jinx (and to Ruth, Jackie) got hit, and is gone. We only had him for a little over a year, but loved every minute.

He had big wide eyes and loved to talk. He would Meow endlessly around us, even if he wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to eat. He would find new, unusual resting places every day, from the La-Z-Boy to being sprawled out atop the couch. And he loved the outdoors. Once he started going out, he would spend the evenings outside, and the days in. Go figure.

The house (and the neighborhood) isn’t the same without him.

On that note, hug your pet today!

Thanks, as always, for reading, watching and listening, please, please, please take a look at the latest Photowalks episode from Manhattan Beach and let me know what you think!