History At Your Feet Part I…Petaluma’s Downtown

The buildings on Kentucky St. and Petaluma Blvd. are home to an active business and retail district but they also represent and reflect Petaluma’s past…

Kentucky & E. Washington

Kentucky & E. Washington

From my perspective, this area is also a terrific location for photography and I concentrated my efforts there from February to July in 2012.  See Downtown…Photo Grid

I thought I had thoroughly “absorbed” the area during my photo grid project. However, on a recent visit, I happened to look down.

Herold's

Herold’s

Granted I had noticed (but did not note) this marble and tile work from my past walks but I now wondered about the thresholds and entry ways of other buildings. So I decided to attempt a photo survey of sorts. I mainly confined my efforts to Kentucky St. and Petaluma Blvd. bordered by East Washington and Western Avenue…

FINDINGS

  • Not every building has a marble, granite, or tile threshold or entryway.  Many are simply standard sidewalk concrete presentations.
  • On the other hand, I did find many intricate mosaic tile displays, some mixed with marble or granite.  Some contain the street address or the names of previous businesses from the distant past. For example, Daunt’s, Nielsen’s, S & G, L & M Drug Co.
  • Other locations did have tiled entrances but they were, shall we say, in various stages of deterioration.
  • Some locations reflect modern tile work which is quite colorful.

According to local historian, Katherine J Rinehart, much of the older work was by  E.W.M. Evans: “Evans and his sons are responsible for much of the tile and marble work you see in downtown building entrances. He died in 1942 and according to one obituary, ‘…he took pride in the work of installing monuments, vaults and granite curbing. He also installed many store fronts, tiled floorings and marble work.’”

Over time, more and more of the tile and marble work may disappear as remodeling takes place. In fact, I observed tile being removed and replaced with concrete last week in one location. 

My goal for this project was to try and document some of  what remains. 

For example, this elaborate mosaic tile apron on Kentucky & Western…

Kentucky DSCF1168RAW

…and the scenes in this gallery.

Click on any photo to open the collage to see full sized photos.

  • Navigate between photos using the left and right arrow keys, or by clicking or tapping the arrows on the left and right.
  • Click “view full size” below any image to see the photo directly outside the gallery.

In Part II I will take you to the doorway of a famous Petaluma building>> (CLICK HERE)

Photo Gallery for 2013 Now Available!

I have finally assembled, edited, processed, and posted a random selection of photos on the 2013 Gallery Page…a photo collection, if you will, documenting scenes I’ve encountered this year in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa Counties.

This year the Gallery Page is in three parts–a main gallery, plus two slideshows.

  • “Sights & Scenes…Marin Napa & Sonoma” (Main Gallery)
  • “Walking the…Dog…Horse…Cat” (Slideshow)
  • “Signs” (Slideshow)

To view all three, go to Sights & Scenes Gallery 2013

On the other hand, you can simply click on the tab at the top of the page!

As a tease, I offer these…

Signs & Scenes…2012

Well here it is, December 1. 2012, and another year has almost  come and gone. To wrap up 2012, I offer over seventy new photos from the year in Signs & Scenes Gallery 2012 

Thanks to the editing assistance of a few readers in putting it all together. I did add a few photos since our last review.

Wednesdays With Murray…

While not planned, this was the year for updating my “skills” with the camera.  Thanks to the gentle nudgings of Nina ZhitoI completed three weeks of classes with Frederic Larson and seven with Murray Rockowitz (Wednesdays with Murray, as I thought of the experience). 

While Larson and Rockowitz are from different photographic traditions, they conveyed common themes in their classes–at least that is how I perceived them:

1. It does not matter what kind of camera you have as long as you learn to use it within its limitations.  Move up later, if you care to do so.

2. Take the time to read the manual and practice using the various features.

3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting–Learn how to use it and how to manipulate it.

4. B&W photography–According to Larson, the true test of the quality of a photograph is whether it also holds up in B&W as well as color. Rockowitz recognizes color, but his forte is B&W portrait photography and handcrafted prints. Trust me, you have to see them to believe them. 

The courses also altered my vocabulary to a certain extent.  The common phrase of “taking photos” is slowly being replaced by “making photos” as I wander about with my cameras.  At first it seemed to be an “affectation” but I came to realize that it is true.  From the moment you frame or set up a photo in the viewfinder to the final editing in a dark room or editing on a computer, you are making decisions about what to present in the final picture. 

Before closing, a few words about the Petaluma Arts Center are in order…

Until I took the photo classes, I never gave any thought as to the Petaluma Arts Center.  It was just another building…another one of those hidden assets one is not aware of until opportunity puts it in your field of vision. As for me, I will be back for the photography classes planned for next year. As a Camera Apprentice, I look forward to them…

For I am not comfortable with describing myself as a Photographer. Camera

But I was never comfortable with being called a lawyer, or an executive either…Rolling on the floor laughing