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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Hometown Blues

You know the old saying that the "Cobbler's son always goes barefoot"? Or maybe you have heard it as "The shoemaker's kids have no shoes". Or something to that effect. (I tried finding the original phrase on the internet, which only confused the issues further. )

Regardless, the meaning behind the sentiment is that the person in question -- the cobbler -- is so wrapped up in making shoes for other people that he neglects his own kids. And I have to admit that I have been remiss in mentioning one of my very favorite places in the world: Long Beach. My hometown.

Land's End
Two things this last weekend rammed this message home. First, on Saturday I was fortunate to take a full day photographer's bootcamp with Ralph Velasco, one of the top travel photographers in the country. If you're unfamiliar with his work I'll add a link below*. Truly terrific stuff.

A fundamental part of the session involved each of the participants displaying and discussing our own work. Ralph has a great eye for overall composition as well as technical aspects, making this a valuable part of the overall camp. On one of my shots (included to the right) he asked "Rainbow Harbor?" -- from a simple photo he had the reference to catch where it was. Seeing the photo, you can tell that it's not readily identifiable as such, but if you're familiar with the area the outline of Parker's Lighthouse (the restaurant with the minaret) you can see it.

It hit home that I had never really mentioned Long Beach as a destination or over as one of my favorite places. I have not even treated it with the respect of a walkabout photo shoot -- even  though I've done plenty of shooting in and around the city for other purposes.

The second event happened on Sunday. My wife, a professional jazz singer, had a gig playing at the nearby Rancho Los Cerritos. 

(California's history is rife with references to the twelve famous missions which line the state from north to south, but less reference is made to a similar constellation of ranchos, themselves equally fundamental to the state's history.)

As we were setting up, several of the band members commented that they knew the rancho was there, but had never actually visited it. Likewise its fraternal twin across town, the Rancho Los Alamitos. We heard similar comments from guests who themselves had just discovered this little gem of a place.


Here I've been several times extolled the virtues of a localized "trip" to better learn your own community, and I've neglected it myself.

The cobbler's kids.


Bad on me. This next week I will correct this. My next blog entry will be a road trip to my own neighborhood. I've added a few of my stock shots to wet your whistle. As I've noted, it's not that I've never shot here, I've just never treated it with a sense of destination.

See you next week, when the cobbler's kids get shod.

My Hometown, Long Beach 

* To see Ralph's work, please go to:  http://www.ralphvelasco.com

1 comment:

  1. I have always enjoyed Long Beach; from the classy oil islands to the (late) Acres of Book, to some of the earliest bike stations in Southern California....