My Secret Library in Santa Cruz

Live Oak Library - Santa Cruz, California

Yesterday I was wandering around Santa Cruz and need to “kill” a couple of hours.

After dropping some friends off at Twin Lakes State Beach, I was driving down E. Cliff Drive and came across Live Oak Library, a beautifully remodeled Craftsman style building.

Turns out I’m a bit of a library nut. Somehow they’re therapeutic for me – I can be totally blocked on writing while sitting in my office – but things just seem to open up with a change of scenery into the right library environment. No phones, peace and quiet, but a sense of space and wonder. The best libraries open so many new doors for me within the cocoon of their physical space.

Back to Santa Cruz. I was an accidental tourist there yesterday – and stumbled across Live Oak literally while driving by. Where else can you find a library like this sitting on a lagoon across from the Pacific Ocean? Constructed in such a beautiful and careful style. With a very friendly and helpful staff that took great care of me – I passed the time in sheer delight. This is what libraries are for.

I took a few photos of the library (still kicking myself for not having taken the camera inside!) – and of neighbor KSCO AM 1080‘s Art Deco studio and graffiti laden towers out in the lagoon.

Next time you’re in Santa Cruz and need a place to chill, check out the Live Oak Library – it’s a real treat! But don’t tell too many folks about it!

PS: Santa Cruz is also now very high on my list for one of my next photowalking episodes. The streets and bluffs along the ocean between Twin Lakes and Pleasure Point as really interesting and worth some deeper photographic explorations. Much of my earlier interest in Santa Cruz was around the Boardwalk – but there’s a whole lot more to explore.

Chris Honeysett

One of my favorite photographers, San Francisco-based Chris Honeysett, is having his annual holiday showing this weekend at the Gatehouse at Fort Mason in San Francisco. We went last night – a blustery and windy evening along the Marina Green – and couldn’t resist adding to our collection!

Pix – Using the Canon Powershot S500 in Manual Mode

I decided for several reasons to leave the “big” camera (a new Canon 30D) behind on the recent trip to France – and shot the whole trip using my trusty Canon Powershot S500.

A day or two into the trip, I decided I wanted to get acquainted with the manual mode capabilities of the S500 – I’d never paid any attention to manual mode before. I’d brought along one of my PowerBooks to be able to offload images to – and also brought the PDF of the S500 manual. As a result most of the Flickr sets have pictures taken in the S500’s manual mode – which I learned to really enjoy!

There’s a whole book yet to be written about using these little Canon beauties in their manual modes!

Out Exploring With A New Canon 30D


Sunflower – Palo Alto
Originally uploaded by SJL.

I’m a new Canon 30D owner – my first digital SLR – and have been having a great deal of fun exploring with this camera. I was out exploring this morning with my new Canon 30D and came across this beautiful sunflower in the Palo Alto Community Garden.

The beauty of the colors and the simplicity of its basic operation are the two big advantages of the 30D for me.

My everyday 30D lens has turned out to be the 18-200 mm Tamron zoom. It’s just great outdoors with its wide range of focal length.

I’ve also had a lot of fun (especially as a new grandpa) shooting with a Canon 50mm/1.8 lens as well – indoors without flash. For more of that kind of shooting, I’m now lusting after the Sigma 30mm/1.4 lens that Phil Greenspun writes about.

I’ve had one problem with my 30D – a tiny hair in the viewfinder (inside the camera body) which I was able to resolve myself (fortunately).

Otherwise, the 30D has just been a delight for me to use. It’s so rock solid in its feel yet such an easy shoot for an amateur like me!