Posts tagged “Catalina


Come back soon!

These two beautiful Doggies were spotted on Catalina Island which is just offshore from LA in California. We had just completed a fun Family Photo Shoot and were taking in the scenery on the way back to our Hotel. These two Cali-Dogs were so well-behaved that they just knew that Dad was going for a Dive and they could chill in the back of his truck – no leash, no barking, just waiting.

There was a large group of Divers suiting up for some clear water exploration – Catalina offers some of the best diving in Southern California. Off shore, the island descends extremely and has an abundance of Kelp Forrest, Marine Life and clear water! We have sailed many times around this Island and marvelled at its raw natural beauty. If you ever go there, ask for a drink called Buffalo Milk. After the second, let the Bar Keep tell you the story behind the drink – it is charming to say the least!

So the wonderful blurry background is achieved by using a DSLR lens which is adjusted to f2.8. This is often called shooting “Wide Open” to get a shallow depth of field or focus range (the effect is also called “Bokeh”). We were testing a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 that weekend and were so impressed with its performance we bought one and have never looked back. It is perfect for Portraits (In Studio or Outdoors), Weddings, Sports (NHL) and just an overall Go To Lens! If you would like any info on lens choices or other Digital Camera Tips, drop us a note at

Ready for a Vacation

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

This was shot on the beautiful Island of Catalina, off the shores of Los Angeles. We had the privilege of being invited to a Family Photo Shoot and after scouting the Island for a location, we found this wonderful private beach. With Grand Parents, proud Mothers and Fathers and a restless children, what better place to have everyone relax as the intrepid Photographers choreographed the day! The results were stellar.

This is also a tribute to all the hard-working Canadians and Americans looking forward to their first long weekend of the Summer. In Canada, this is celebrated on July the First, or “Canada Day”, while Americans have The Fourth of July. Both honor their countries achievements with Family get together, BBQ, Fireworks and Beer (especially in Canada, eh?). Time to kick back and have some fun!

For Whom The Bells Toll

I hate you Zane!

During a trip to Catalina island, we were struck by the precision of the chimes that sounded every fifteen minutes and with beautiful and resonating sound. We found the tower after an ascent of around 500 meters. It was located close to what was once the home of Zane Grey,  an American author best known for his popular adventure  novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the O;d West.  Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) was his bestselling book. In addition to the success of his printed works, they later had second lives and continuing influence when adapted as films and TV productions.

Grey had built a getaway home on Catalina which now serves as the Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel. And now the other part of this story:

Built in 1925, the Chimes Tower was presented as a gift to the town of Avalon by Mrs Ada Wrigley (Of the famous Wrigley Dynasty). Located up and across from Zane’s hotel, the chimes have been tolling on the quarter since 1925. It is rumored that Mr. Wrigley despised Zane Grey and built this chiming tower to specifically aggravate and annoy the writer!

Let’s Go Racin’ Boys!

Anchors Up!

This is an overview of Avalon Harbor – we were searching for the Chimes Tower and came across this stunning Vista. These moored vessels all pointing East seemed poised to race to Los Angeles, a short ~20 miles away with following seas.

One of the concoctions they sell in bars is called Buffalo Milk. After a bit of prodding, we discovered the story behind this potent elixir. The island has been home to a population of approximately 150 American Bison since 1924. Originally, fourteen bison were brought to the island for the filming of the movie The Vanishing American, though the scenes with the bison in them did not make it into the final cut of the film. Due to cost overruns, the film company decided to leave the bison on the island instead of bringing them back to the mainland.

The Club

Members Only

This is a view of the historic Catalina Yacht Club, located in Avalon Harbor, California. This is one of the oldest clubs on the west Coast, formed in 1893 by the Banning Brothers.

It has played host to such Hollywood personalities such as including Tom Mix, Jack Warner, Rudolph Valentino, King Vidor, James Cagney, Jascha Heifetz, and Darryl F. Zanuck.

Catalina is home to two yacht clubs: Catalina Island Yacht Club is headquartered in Avalon Bay and Isthmus Yacht Club is headquartered in the 1864 Union Army Barracks at Two Harbors. Many mainland yacht clubs maintain Catalina stations.

Moonstone is another private cove operated by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club of Newport Beach, California.

Just west of Moonstone Cove is Whites Landing. Whites Landing is home to two yacht club camps,  Balboa Yacht Club to the west, and San Diego yacht Club to the east. In the center of the large cove on a 14-acre parcel is a private camp and retreat center called the Catalina Experience. The Catalina Experience hosts numerous youth camps, family camps, group retreats and outdoor education programs.

The Sugarloaf Casino


Sugarloaf Casino

This is a shot of the Casino in Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island. The Casino is no longer in business, but is now a thriving Theatre and Museum. Many Hollywood luminaries used to frequent this Casino in older days as it was just a short ~20 miles from LA by boat.

The Catalina Casino was built on the site formerly known as Sugarloaf Point. This site was cleared away to allow for the construction of the Hotel St. Catherine. However, this hotel was eventually built in Descanso Canyon instead. When chewing gum magnate  William Wrigley, Jr bought the controlling stake in Catalina Island, he used this cleared spot to build the dance hall which he named Sugarloaf Casino. It served as a ballroom and Avalon’s first high-school. Its time as a casino was short, however, for it proved too small for Catalina’s growing population. In 1928, the Casino was razed to make room for a newer Casino. Sugarloaf Rock was blasted away to enhance the Casino’s ocean-view.

On May 29, 1929, the newer Casino finished construction under the direction of Mr. Wrigley and  David Renton at a cost of 2 million dollars. Its design,  is described as being  Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival, and was the first to be designed specifically for movies with sound. Steel structure of the old Sugarloaf Casino can still be found in Avalon’s abandoned bird park. The bird park was conceived by Mrs. Wrigley, and, at the time, was one of the largest aviaries in the world. The bird-park now serves as a daycare for the local residents of Avalon.

The Shack by the Sea

My Weekend Getaway

This is a shot of a classic “Cottage” overlooking the Harbor in Avalon on Catalina Island. It was recently put on the market and went quickly for a cool 6.5 million.

By the end of the 19th century, the island was almost uninhabited except for a few  cattle herders. At that time, its location just 20 miles (30 km) from  Los Angeles—a city that had reached the population of 50,000 in 1890 and was undergoing a period of enormous growth—was a major factor that contributed to the development of the island into a vacation destination.

The first owner to try to develop Avalon into a resort destination was George Shatto, a real estate speculator from  Grand Rapids, Michigan. Shatto purchased the island for $200,000 from the Lick estate at the height of the  real estate boom in  Southern California in 1887. Shatto created the settlement that would become Avalon, and can be credited with building the town’s first hotel, the original Hotel Metropole, and pier. His sister-in-law Etta Whitney came up with the name Avalon, which was taken from  Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ” Idylls of the King,” about the legend of  King Arthur. He laid out Avalon’s streets, and introduced it as a vacation destination to the general public. He did this by hosting a real estate auction in Avalon in 1887, and purchasing a steamer ship for daily access to the island. In the summer of 1888, the small pioneer village kicked off its opening season as a booming little resort town. Despite Shatto’s efforts, he defaulted on his loan after only a few years and the island went back to the Lick estate.

The Answer My Friend…

This was shot from the balcony of a very quaint hotel in Catalina, California and somewhat of an ode to Bob Dylan.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” is a song written by  Bob Dylan and released on his album  The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963. Although it has been described as a  protest song, it poses a series of questions about peace, war and freedom. The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” has been described as “impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind”