A Walk Downtown

The photos in this post are from downtown Riverside, taken around midday on April 18, 2010. I woke that morning with the idea that I should take a camera on a trip to the large Central Library. It wouldn’t hurt to have some different books to read and I could shoot the Mission Inn across the street from the Library. By the time I put the camera in the backpack a few hours later, the idea had evolved from a trip to the library to a photo hunt with a stop at the Library at the end. I parked beside the library and walked through its grounds. The trees in the first photo were scattering cotton-like seeds in the wind when I walked around the building’s corner toward the courtyard. That’s what the airborne “snow” in the photo is.

I’ve grown to like and use the 28mm manual focus lens a great deal on the digital camera. This has had a couple of effects. I’m frequently swapping the lens between the film and digital cameras, so I’m getting more dust on the low pass filter over the sensor. I’ve grown used to cleaning the sensor using a bulb blower. I picked up some dust in the middle of the frame a week ago and used the blower. What was unexpected was that a piece of dust that had hung stubbornly on the edge of the sensor area for months was finally dislodged. I had the idea that I’d never get it off and would be editing it out of photos for the duration of the camera’s life.

The pagoda on the library grounds was built to honor the contributions of Chinese immigrants who helped build Riverside.

 I like the way the trees behind the structure largely mask the Mission Inn and other signs of the city across the street. It creates an almost separate space in the city.

The first three photos below are of the shaded walkway lining the southern flank of the inn. When I crossed the street after shooting the east face of the Mission Inn, I saw this couple walking toward me. It looked like an ad photo to me. I didn’t have time to change any settings. I looked through the viewfinder, pulled the focus back, and shot quickly. After shooting two more frames I noticed that the guy was quite aware that I was shooting them. I looked up from the viewfinder and said, “You two look good.” The following two frames caught their reactions to the statement. The forth photo is of the east side of the Mission Inn. I lived on this side of the Inn, which takes up more than a block, in 1971-1972. It was handy at the time, having the library across the street, since I had a typewriter, and a record player, but no TV. The fifth photo is of the south side of the Mission Inn.

The last photo was taken at Fox Theatre on the corner of Market Street and Mission Inn Avenue. The Fox was the site of the sneak premier of Gone With The Wind eight decades ago. It was one of three operating movie theatres within walking distance of my studio apartment at the inn in 1971.

Long neglected, the Fox Theatre reopened after a long restoration in January with pair of concerts by Sheryl Crow.