Monthly Archives: December 2016


I have a love/hate relationship with San Pablo Avenue, a major road here in the East Bay.

123 sign

For more than 25 years, I have been on it almost every single day. My home is a block off of it, and for most of the last decade of the 20th Century, I had a retail business on San Pablo Avenue  in Berkeley.

It is crowded, hectic, and it stinks of diesel fumes, but I know I can’t escape it, so I have come to grips with it.


Wikipedia starts its San Pablo Avenue entry with-

State Route 123 (SR 123) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California in the San Francisco Bay Area. Named San Pablo Avenue for virtually its entire length, SR 123 is a major north–south state highway along the flats of the urban East Bay in the U.S. state of California.


That entire article is here-



A few years ago, I had the opportunity to use some of my own photos on a desk calendar that was mailed out to my real estate clientele. There was a press deadline, so for two weeks, I drove around and shot photos of what I thought was significant or interesting in “Jimmy’s World”.

Orthodontist Sign

Dogs on Board

Cerrito Theater

When I realized that 3 out of the 13 calendar images were taken on San Pablo Avenue, it occurred to me that it might be a worthwhile project to do a San Pablo Avenue photographic road trip.

I presented a version of this series as my Final Project in my Special Projects in Photography class, and a revised version was incorporated into my website-

The photos are arranged geographically, where Frank Ogawa Plaza Anchors San Pablo in Oakland at the South end, to where it ends at The Carquinez Bridge in Crockett.


I have been asked about the situation or “backstory” behind a few of these photos, and will tell a few of those stories in the days to come.



Soul Food




If I don’t eat Pasta every three or four days, I get crabby.

When I was a kid, my Grandfather lived downstairs. He was a two burner stove guy, one for boiling water, and one to cook his pasta sauce. Every day we ate a plate of Pasta while watching an after school television show featuring cartoons and cowboys.

His English was terrible, but he loved it when Hopalong Cassidy shot the bad guys off their horses.

At least a couple of times a week, when my Father came home from work, my Mother made Pasta for our family dinner as well.

Although we ate mountains of Ravioli that my Grandmother made, we didn’t eat much fresh Pasta. All of the local stores sold dried Pasta that was produced in a factory just a block from our house.

However, we all learned how to make our own Pasta, and I still enjoy to do so whenever possible. I love to make it when we have friends over, and it is a great pleasure to give it as gifts.

The recipe that I use differs from the family Ravioli dough in that it uses more eggs. It has a richer taste, and in my mind, goes best with simpler sauces.

This is the recipe that I use.

Three eggs

Two cups of flour

About a teaspoon of Olive Oil.

A dash of Salt


1. Mix the ingredients together until they are all thoroughly blended.

2. Knead by hand. If the dough remains sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the ball is pretty uniform in texture.

3. Put the ball in a bowl, and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

I cut chunks off of the “mother” dough ball slightly larger than a golf ball. This size makes the sheet manageable as it comes out of the machine.

If, at any point, the dough seems sticky, dust it with flour.

 I use a pasta machine to roll out my dough into sheets. It gives me more constant results, and when set on the finest setting, it makes a delicate noodle that goes down easy.

For years, I used the pasta machine attachment that cuts very precise Fettucine and Linguine noodles, but now I just slice it with a sharp knife. I roll a dough ball through the machine using every other setting until we get to the thinnest one. Then I slice that small sheet of dough into ribbons, and hang it up to dry.

I think my Uncle Joe made that rolling pin from a mop handle.

After my grandmother made Ravioli, she would slice up the trimmings, cook them, and serve them to us for lunch. She called this noodle “Lasange”, and I was in my mid 20s before I saw the baked dish that everyone else ordered by that name.

I suspect that Hipsters would call this noodle, “Hand Cut Artisan Egg Pappardelle” but to me it will always be “Lasange”.



Composition Assignment

This term, we had a repeat of the composition assignment.

I had just replaced my dumb phone with a smarter one, and in order to challenge myself, I used it to capture these shapes.




I know publishing these may seem self indulgent, but the point isn’t about the images.

It is about working outside of one’s comfort zone, flexing the photographic muscle, and maintaining a discipline.