Tales of a Ghost Town: Mentryville Park

Mentryville Park

An oil drilling town in the Santa Susana Mountains in Los Angeles County, California, USA. It was started in the 1870s around the newly discovered oil reserves in the area. The first oil strike was on September 26, 1876. The town is located at the terminus of Pico Canyon Road, four miles west of the Lyons Avenue exit from I-5 in Santa Clarita.

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After writing about Llano Del Río, I decided to create a blog series dedicated to Ghost Towns in Southern California. I found a list of them on GhostTowns.com, and I decided to continue the adventure in Mentryville Park.

Mentryville is a town named after the superintendent who was in charge of the oil fields, Charles Alexander Mentry. Mentry lived in the town until his death in 1900, and built the expansive thirteen room mansion that remains in the park ’til this day.

The town was eventually abandoned, due to the oil reserves dwindling over time and advancements of the oil industry. By the late1930s, most of Mentryville’s remaining residents had gone.  Many tearing down their houses, board by board and nail by nail, and taking it all with them.

All that is left now is Mentry’s mansion, as well as a school, a barn, and newer prop house that was used for several movies.

I visited the park in the afternoon, a couple of hours before sunset. I loved the eerie, yet peaceful, feel to the park. It has been a hot summer this year, so the hills were covered in golden-brown, dry shrubbery. The sun was setting, just so that the mountains had a beautiful, warm feeling to them. I felt a tad bit of a rush – I’m not sure if it was out of excitement that I was here, in this deserted place, or if it was the lingering restlessness of a once thriving boom-town.

The first thing I spotted as I entered the park was a red farmhouse. It was an old directory called Felton School. Next to it was another storage barn, and an outhouse that matched the big red schoolhouse. High foliage almost covered the old rusted steam relics that were a couple of paces away from the school.

I continued walking up the paved road that, I later learned, was the continuation of Pico Canyon Rd. It lead me to a picnic area called Johnson’s park. There was a sink, and three different kinds of what I think might have been ovens. As I walked deeper into the picnic area, I saw a rusted out oil derrick that was moved from its original location years ago and reconstructed, to preserve it in posterity.

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On my return back to my starting point, I bumped into old Mentry’s mansion. Next to it was the yellow prop house where “The Color Purple”, “Walking Tall Pt. 2”, “The X-Files”, and other motion pictures were filmed. Across from the prop house, I saw a barn, and what looks like it could have been a social hall.

Sun was almost setting, so I decided to end my exploring there. The pleasant feeling of walking through a piece of history stayed with me until I hit the freeway again.

 

Do you have any ghost town stories? Or better yet, have you ever photographed a ghost town before? Comment below! I’d love to hear all about it  – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

 

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Meet The Artist Ep. 4: Darrin Bourgeios

Welcome to Episode 4 of Meet The Artist! On this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a truly inspiring man. Eclectic and calm, he’s is an old soul that will continuously make you laugh with his great anecdotes. You can’t help but feel engaged, with a sense of comfort when you’re around Darrin. Which is a very good thing due to the fact that he is a photographer -and a great one at that!

I’m very flattered and privileged to have been able to interview a man who is always behind the lens. The comfort zone of a photographer is not always in front of the lens, so I commend Darrin for allowing me to put him in the spot light.

In this interview, you’ll get a little glimpse of who and what Deaftone Imaging is.

Click here to view the interview on YouTube

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” – Ansel Adams

(Darrin’s favorite quote)

To see more of Darrin’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every photographer should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Travel Captures: A Weekend In Big Bear

Big Bear Lake
City in California

Big Bear Lake is a small city in Southern California. It sits on the banks of fish-filled Big Bear Lake. It’s known for Bear Mountain ski resort, with its terrain parks and learner slopes, and family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. Boutiques, gift shops and restaurants line the streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial area. (According to Google)

A couple of weekends back, I spent an awesome and relaxing weekend getaway in Big Bear – of course I had to capture some shots! You’ll have plenty of lively subjects to shoot when in Big Bear. From the beautiful coniferous trees aligned along the trails and roads, to the wood carved sculptures in front of most businesses; the mountains and lakes; you have a plethora of things to shoot when in Big Bear!
Here are a couple of my shots. I hope you enjoy them!

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”

–  Albert Einstein

Do you like taking pictures when you travel? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Meet The Artist Ep. 3: Eddie Santos

Welcome to Episode 3 of Meet the Artist! This week I am very happy to introduce to you one of the most genuine individuals that I have the privilege to know. He perfectly fits the characteristics of a good sound engineer: An overall positive person with a helpful heart. His calm, yet always happy demeanor, is infectious when you enter his studio. When you’re there, prepare yourself to receive great advice on how to better your craft.

As you may well have noticed, I always look for artists with inspirational stories. This artist is always inspiring others by motivating them with his positive attitude. I’ve watched him work with artists in different genres, and it is obvious as he works, that he is truly passionate about music.

Without further ado, please allow me to introduce to you, Eddie Santos!

Click Here To View the Interview on YouTube

“Calm Like A Bomb” – Zach de la Rocha

(Eddie’s favorite quote)

To see more of Eddie’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every engineer should have? Comment below! We’d love to know what your thoughts.

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

trash
traSH/

noun

NORTH AMERICAN

discarded matter; refuse.

 

Back end story: I was talking to someone about the importance of content on social media when introducing a new company to your community, and as a joke, I said “You can take pictures of trash and add a Geo-tag, and it will be useful content.” So I decided to put my lens where my mouth went. (I’ve been full of idioms lately).

This advise also applies to my fellow photographers: you can take pictures of anything, as long as you just shoot. If you’re one to attach a story to everything, there is always a story behind your image. The reason why you went for the shot is your story.

Why is it important to always shoot, as a photographer? For beginners, it’s practice. You’ll learn how to define what subjects interest you the most, and practice your skill at the same time. You’ll learn how to develop new techniques and what works best for you. And best of all, your photos will be the journal of your progress. Trust me, you’re going to want to document your progress; so that as you get better, you’ll look back and appreciate where you started.

Front Story: It took me no effort what so ever to find miscellaneous trash laying on the ground in random places. I was on my way to a friend’s house, and I nonchalantly stopped a couple of times to take these images.

I can look at the positive side, and be happy that it had become so easy to find my subject. To say the least, it is disheartening, and now I feel a bit trashy. In two different cities, that are miles away from each other. Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

“To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.”

– Vladimir Nabokov

Do you like taking pictures of random objects? If so, what are they? Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Devil is in the Details

de·tail
dəˈtāl,ˈdētāl
verb
plural noun: details

describe item by item; give the full particulars of.

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For those who have not heard the phrase “The devil is in the detail”, it’s a saying that refers to an element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected

It’s necessary to remember the importance of detail when you want to tell a story through your images.

Take the picture from an art show below as an example.The focus is on the man viewing the art pieces on the wall – but the background tells the story of what is going on during the art show. Details that give sense of place, and the photo will always reveal the heart of any moment.

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Pay close attention to the image I captured in Venice Beach, CA below. You may think that what I wanted to capture was the art on the face of the building. But what really captivated me was the man on the roof.
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As for events, your clients will appreciate you capturing not only the candid moments of them and their guests, but they will definitely appreciate you taking the time to capturing things like the decorations, the desert and candy table, and anything else you notice that took time for them to create. This will ensure that you make their photos and the event memorable.

Lastly, another detail to consider would be the ones that are at far reach. Close ups are fun, but what about the distant images that require you to take out your long lens? (If your budget allows you to buy or rent different lenses, of course). You can either focus on a couple of elements, and create a soft background that doesn’t distract from the main subjects with a long lens – or you can also use a full-frame ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to help capture a crisp background and have a sharp focus on your subject in the same frame.

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Technicality should only serve you as a reference. Your viewers will be able to tell if you were trying too hard, or if you allowed the creative within to capture an image that will translate what you felt during the very moment you went for the shot.

Think about the message you would like to express, and allow your instincts to guide you.

Do you have a keen eye for details? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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(don’t forget to try to spot the details!)

Tales of a Ghost Town: Llano Del Río

Llano del Río

noun

commune (or “colony”) located in what is now Llano, California, east of Palmdale in the Antelope ValleyLos Angeles County.

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Recently, I moved to the Antelope Valley in California. Of course, the first thing I do is research the town, and it’s near by locations to find places to shoot. To my surprise, there are several great locations that yell out to be photographed. I’m inclined to capture the more eerie type of location, so the one place that I had to go first was Llano del Río.

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To sum up the town’s story, the ruins are the remnants of a failed socialist commune that was officially launched on May 1, 1914. Colony grew in great numbers and was very productive the first 3 years, but then was threatened by the Board of Directors and the General Assembly. After some water shortages, false claims to potential buyers, and failed aspirations, the  colony decided to pick up and relocate to New Llano, Louisiana. In 1918, what was left of the colony in California, filed for bankruptcy – and now all that we have left is the decay of a failed colonial experiment.

I enjoyed exploring the ruins! I found a very interesting yellow flower bush, a well, as well as two under ground platforms. Rusty cans and old beer bottles (not from 1914) adorned the walls that seemed to have once supported a now long-forgotten stairway.  Definitely felt like an old ghost town.

Do you have any ghost town stories? Or better yet, have you ever photographed a ghost town before? Comment below! I’d love to hear all about it  – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

 

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