"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know whats more than enough."
2013 has brought me some renewed interest in checking out places of historic interest around the Bay Area. I haven't been able to get out and about as much as I have wanted to the last couple weeks, but with the ant invasion fully solved, I now have some free time to put together at least a loose itinerary of places to visit. I enjoy old buildings and historic properties. I like imagining the ghosts that might still roam the grounds. Ghosts aren't always scary, sometimes they are quite charming and helpful. Sometimes they merely encourage one to venture out beyond one's own limits. That is a very good thing, when one is a shutterbug. When I hosted the Monday Photo Shoot, I always tried to encourage participants to go beyond the obvious. I tried to ask my friends to think of every possible angle and interpretation.
I did that to challenge my thinking as well, but I took almost a year off from regular photography and I find that now I need that extra bit of challenge that comes from giving myself structured assignments, rather than simply grabbing the camera, heading out, and hopefully finding something visually interesting. Not that there is anything wrong about that approach, in fact, sometimes when I assign a subject to myself, I find wonderful things along the way. I have to admit that the picture above was done last evening in one of those "on the fly" photo jaunts. The California Hotel always catches my eye when I past it, because of the song "Hotel California" by the Eagles. I love that song, and while this hotel isn't the real Hotel California, I always found the name somewhat amusing.
After doing a bit of research, however, I found out that the California Hotel actually has it's own unique musical past. At one time this was a hot spot for celebrities and Blues and Jazz enthusiasts. Built in the 1920's it was one of a few hotels in the Bay Area that allowed African Americans to stay, and featured many African American performers. Billie Holiday once sang in the lobby of the hotel, as well as headliners Fats Domino and in later decades, Ike and Tina Turner played there. I wish I had a better photo to show you, unfortunately I was losing the light fast, but no worries, I will be back soon. It is a grand place that has gone through many changes, especially in recent years. It went through major renovations in 2011, and was converted to lower income apartments. It lives on in the community that embraced it. I love the architecture, and I love the history. So, for now I show you a kind of sneak peek, but like I said, I will be back soon!