To (not Live and) Die in L.A.

(with my apologies to Wang Chung)

In my brief trip to Los Angeles, I did manage to find time to visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I’d visited with my old friends long ago back in the stock photo days of slide film.

27feb2003015_15

27feb2003014_15Do those photos look dated or what?! That’s what plain old slide film taken in the middle of the day looked like back in the 1990’s.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Well this time I brought my digital camera. First thing I noticed that there was some sort of filming going on in front of the mosoleum. They would take and retake a scene with an old Rolls Royce hearse pulling up along side a beautiful actress and handsome man. There was some sort of signage marking the 74th anniversary of Valentino- some actor I’d never heard of ….

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

My main goal at the cemetery was to try and do some slightly different shots- of an aerial sort.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Where possible I tried to get something interesting in the foreground.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery

But I had limited time. Like so many of these excursions, I hope to return and finish what I started sometime soon.

Welcome to our Museum, Comrades

The World Clock in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Capital of the GDR 1987
The World Clock in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Capital of the GDR 1989

Visiting a friend down in the Los Angeles area, Culver City to be exact I had another opportunity to visit the Wende Museum. The Wende Museum is focused on the Cold War, a particular interest to me.

Barren Avenue in Berlin, Capital of the German Democratic Republic, 1989
Barren Avenue in Berlin, Capital of the German Democratic Republic, 1989

Back in 1986/87 I was an exchange student in Southwestern Germany (technically the Federal Republic of Germany or as most English speakers referred to it “West Germany”.) It seems like ancient history now, but in the wake of WWII, Germany was occupied by the major victors divided into zones amongst them.

Intra-German frontier, Berlin 1987
Intra-German frontier, Berlin 1987

Where I lived in Immenstaad, and went to school, (now Bad) Saulgau was in the French occupied zone. I have no idea if the French really “occupied” this area though they did have a Garrison in nearby Friedrichshafen where you’d occasionally see French soldiers and military equipment.

Portrait of Michael Halberstadt on the Spree River, Berlin, 1987
Portrait of Michael Halberstadt on the Spree River, Berlin, 1987

In any case the “democratic” powers of France, United Kingdom, and United States got on pretty well. However the USSR…. not so much. The Soviet occupied Eastern portion of Germany became its own country in 1948. Except the western portion of Berlin and some other quirks, like a few spots in West Berlin that were run by the USSR (like the Soviet Memorials at Treptow and at Tiergarten.)

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

So, my first visit to the GDR was with a friend and classmate from the Gewerbliche Berufsschule Saulgau who had a sister who lived and worked in West Berlin.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

Whew, this is getting longer than I planned. Short story, I visited Berlin, Hauptstadt der DDR in the summer of 1987 and was fascinated.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

So just a couple blocks from my friends house lies the new location for a museum dedicated to my interest.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Vintage Wartburg, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

There were a bunch of busts of Lenin. I had a good time framing them with my new camera setup, I thought it worked well using the new Sigma Art 18-35mm f1.8 (hey, that’s sounding rather capitalistic- a product placement?) I liked the ability to get a shallow DOF with one little Lenin in front of a big Lenin.

Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Busts of Lenin, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA
Busts of Lenin, Wende Museum of the Cold War, Culver City, CA

I’m kinda bummed my friend is moving. I’d love to go back and spend some more time exploring Ostalgie.

I Promise You a Rose Garden

I don’t know how I get away with such dumb jokes. But alas, here’s a few photos of the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland. It really exudes that WPA feeling – a public space with a late 1930’s feel to it. Not forgetting the all too common Mission Style architecture of the cluster of buildings on the site.

Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California
Morcom Municipal Rose Garden, Oakland, California

Catching up with Copenhagen p1

Last summer my family and I flew into Copenhagen Denmark, traveled through Germany and flew out of Berlin.

Bike Friendly Copenhagen
Bike Friendly Copenhagen

Copenhagen was rich in urban texture. Bikes and bricks were everywhere.

Bike Friendly Copenhagen
Bike Friendly Copenhagen

Since there was a substantial time shift- I woke up very early one morning and opted to go photograph.

CopenhagenThe wet streets and gray skies lent themselves to the colorful lights of a closed Tivoli amusement park.

Copenhagen

The Architecture of Death: Mountain View Cemetery (Pt 2)

After a rare spell of puffy clouds here in the bay area I was trying to figure out where to shoot some long daylight exposures. This has turned out to be a longer series of visits.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California
Tulips and Mausoleum, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

The tulip events have begun recently, and there are a number of beautiful flower displays around the cemetery.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California
Broken monument parts, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

I’ve been experimenting with many different techniques and lots of my equipment.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

I have several really fancy long lenses I seldom have the opportunity to utilize. So I’ve been having fun with the 120-300mm f2.8 Sigma and the 150-600mm f5-6.3 Contemporary pulling in distant results and blurring backgrounds.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California
Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

This project has also given me the chance to test my newish Sigma Art 24-70mm f2.8. Frankly it hasn’t been too great for the event work as I had hoped. It’s a bit slow with the MC-11 converter on Sony. But nothing is moving here!

Stay tuned for the next entry, I just don’t have time but hope to continue soon.

Robotic Sightings in Silicon Valley

I went down to my home town of San Jose after reading about Intel’s new “Garage” for their aspiring self driving car chip business.

Intel Campus San Jose
Intel Campus San Jose

In any case after some unpleasantries from the security guard, I managed to get some good shots from outside.

Self Driving Car
Delphi Self Driving Car
Self Driving Car
Delphi Self Driving Car

From there I headed to Mountain View and ran into the new Self Driving Fiat-Chrysler Self Driving Pacifica Minivan I’d been on the lookout for for a while.

Waymo's Autonomous Chrysler minivan on the Streets of Silicon Valley
Waymo’s Autonomous Chrysler minivan on the Streets of Silicon Valley

And if that’s not enough robotic action for ya, I managed to come “face to face” with a robotic security guard at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus.

Autonomous Campus Patrol, Microsoft Campus, Silicon Valley
Autonomous Campus Patrol, Microsoft Campus, Silicon Valley

Mapping Silicon Valley

Do you know the way to San Jose was a song made popular by Dionne Warwick back in the 1960’s.  Well I might as well write a song “Do you know the way to Silicon Valley.”

Of course that doesn’t have the same ring to it. But it does describe my recent little stock photo project.

Campbell, Silicon Valley ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Campbell, Silicon Valley ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
San Jose, Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
San Jose, Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)
Silicon Valley Map ( copyright Michael Halberstadt/SiliconValleyStock.com)

 

Salesforce Tower Transforming the San Francisco Skyline

San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline

Well, it’s almost completed. The Salesforce Tower is supposedly the tallest building on the West Coast (or so I have read.)

San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline

It was just luck that while testing a new lens I drove around the corner and noticed the sun was setting practically right behind the new skyscraper.

Salesforce Tower -San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline featuring the new Salesforce Tower under construction (stock photo with room for type)
Salesforce Tower -San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline featuring the new Salesforce Tower under construction (stock photo with room for type)

Michael Halberstadt's Photography