Postcard: Old Spanish Days, Santa Barbara

Mariachis in the Fiesta Santa Barbara, parade, @PennySadler 2013

Old Spanish Days, Santa Barbara, also known simply as Fiesta, is a week long celebration of the Spanish and Mexican cultural heritage of Santa Barbara, California.

Everyone loves a good parade and I am no exception. I return to Santa Barbara year after year for the Fiesta Historical Parade, one of the largest equestrian parades in the country.

There are rodeos, mercados, folklorico dance,traditional music, and of course, food, wine, and fun for the whole family.

If you happen to be in Santa Barbara before the official week begins, check out the website for pre Fiesta events.

For some more ideas on what to do in the area, read Explore Santa Barbara.

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.


Historic Los Angeles: An Architecture Walk

The Million Dollar Theater, Broadway St. Los Angeles, Ca. @PennySadler 2013

The Million Dollar Theater

On my recent trip to Los Angeles I walked the historic downtown area – a fascinating neighborhood packed with interesting old buildings that tell the history of Los Angeles from 1890’s to the present.

I was surprised to learn that there is a huge theater district built mostly in the 1920s and 30s and it contains the largest concentration of theaters located within on city block in the nation. Take a walk down Broadway St. – from beaux arts to art deco, it’s an architects dream come true.

The whole area was once the center of art and culture in Los Angeles, but was mostly abandoned by the 1990’s. However there is a movement to revitalize the area, and funding has been approved to install a downtown streetcar. There are rumours of big name retailers like Urban Outfitters moving into the area as well. Many of the buildings are already being converted into lofts, however there are still a lot of buildings that look only partially refurbished – it looks like a very long term project.

@PennySadler 2013 Detail of the facade on the Million Dollar Theater

Detail, Million Dollar Theater

A great place to start your walk is at the corner of Broadway and 3rd. On one side is the Million Dollar Theater and the Grand Central Market, and across the street is the famous Bradbury Building. The Bradbury is the oldest commercial building in Los Angeles, and it is working building so you can only visit the first floor. The beautiful French wrought iron, five story atrium, and wood and terra cotta details of the interior, were inspired by a futuristic novel from 1887 called, “Looking Backward,” by Edward Bellamy. Interesting anecdote, parts of the building were used in the science fiction film, Blade Runner.

The Bradbury Building, Los Angeles, @PennySadler 2013

Interior: The Bradbury Building

Adjacent to the Million Dollar Theater is Grand Central Market, the oldest open air market in Los Angeles and it’s still a hopping place. You can find everything from tacos to fresh fruit smoothies here.

Grand Central Market, Broadway, St. Los Angeles CA @PennySadler 2013

Grand Central Market

Walk through Grand Central Market to the other side and across the street you will see the world’s shortest railroad, the Angel’s Flight funicular built in 1901. Ride it to the top for just 50 cents and experience a bit of L.A. history.

Angels Flight @PennySadler 2013

Angels Flight

Go back to Broadway to continue your tour of the amazing theater district.

The Los Angeles Theater, LA. California @PennySadler 2013

The Los Angeles Theater was built in 1931 at a cost of 2,000,000 dollars! The owner went in the hole pretty quickly and Fox took over the theater until the 1980’s. Check out this link for photographs of the interior which is magnificent!

The Tower Theater, Los Angeles @PennySadler 2013

The Tower Theater

exterior the Palace Theater, LA. Cal. @PennySadler 2013

The Palace Theater

The Palace Theater was built in 1911 and was one of the first of the Orpheum Vaudeville Theaters.

There are many other buildings of historical significance aside from the theaters. If you can plan in advance (I did not), the Los Angeles Conservancy offers tours of the various neighborhoods and styles of architecture for only $10.00. Some include the interiors which I’d love to see!

The Chester Williams Building @PennySadler 2013

The Chester Williams Building

For more information on theater district visit Bringing Back Broadway

Farmers Merchant National Bank @PennySadler 2013
theater Broadway St. Los Angeles, CA. @PennySadler 2013

All materials ©PennySadler 2013

Postcard – Downtown Los Angeles

Main St. downtown, Los Angeles, CA. ©pennysadler 2012- 2013

Downtown Los Angeles, California

If you are in Los Angeles, don’t miss the historic downtown area. It’s a wonderful mix of modern and historic buildings dating from the 1800’s to present day. I like this photograph for the color and variety of textures and architecture. The streetlamp you see in the left side of the photograph is a style from the early 1900’s and were placed throughout the neighborhood in the 1920’s. I think they add a lot of charm and character. This photograph was taken on Main Street, across from the Cathedral of St. Vibiana another historic landmark of downtown Los Angeles.

For more information such as walking tours and events in historical Los Angeles, I like this website:

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012 – 2013.

Where Are You? January 2013


For the first Where Are You photo of 2013, I thought it would be appropriate to post a photograph of a train station.

I love everything about trains and train stations. I love the feeling of adventure and endless possibilities that comes over me in a train station. I guess I’m a bit of a romantic. In a train station I can fulfill my wanderlust, or indulge in some nostalgia for days gone by.

Many train stations, like this one, are also architecturally interesting and beautiful. (You may have noticed from some of my photographs that my blog has a strong architectural element.) This train station has it all in my opinion, it provides a bit history, nostalgia, and a means of fulfilling the need for change, travel and adventure.

Where is it?

Why I Love the Getty Museum

A visit to the Getty Center (not to be confused with the Getty Villa) is usually the first thing I do when I visit Los Angeles. I guess you could say, I’m a regular. As as self confessed beauty addict and an aspiring photographer, the Getty fills my need for creative and spiritual inspiration on so many levels.

For most of us, when we think of an art museum, what comes to mind is (naturally) art. The Getty Museum is home to a world-class, permanent, art collection. However, the Getty isn’t just a home for priceless works of art. The Getty IS a work of art.

There’s a feeling of space and light there that reminds me of Rome – visually worlds apart, but the feeling is the same.

Built on the top of a mountain, you have unobstructed views of Los Angeles in all directions. Everywhere you look there are white stone and glass and water, and angles, and curves, and gardens, and light. It’s the kind of place that invites contemplation and communion with nature, but in a completely joyful way.

My favorite thing to do at the Getty is take in the current photo exhibition, then to go outside with my camera and try out the ideas and concepts I just saw in the galleries. My second favorite thing to do is to hang out with a cappuccino and people watch.

I was lucky to have the chance to be there just last week. This time of year the sun is very low, very close to the earth – and the late afternoon light is amazing. I saw a great photo exhibition of images by Ray K. Metzger and his contemporaries, then went outside to play in the light. I decided not to worry too much about who or what was in my field of vision, but just to try to capture the warm, late autumn, California sun. There was also plenty of fall color. Against the various textures of white stone, the colors appeared even more vibrant.

I want to share what architect Richard Meier, says about the color white, and why he chose it as the color for the Getty (and uses it in every building he designs.)

“White is the most wonderful of colors because you can see within it, all the colors of the rainbow. The whiteness of white is never just white. it is almost always transformed by light.

“In architectural terms, white is color that most easily allows the fundamentals of building, space,volume and material to be expressed in the most direct and clear way. With the use of white the differentiation between solids and voids are most clearly articulated. The whiteness allows one to see the difference between transparent, translucent and opaque surfaces more easily. White enhances ones perception of the basic architectural elements.”

I spent my teenage years in the San Fernando Valley, and earlier this year I wrote about it in
Why I Love California. The Getty has now been consciously added to my list of reasons to love California and, Richard Meier, to my list of heros. If I could, I’d live at the Getty – when I wasn’t in Rome, of course.

This photo essay is a selection from over one hundred photographs I took in about one and half hours at the Getty Museum.

Please feel free to comment. Have you been to the Getty? What do you like about it?

Who’s your favorite photographer? Who’s your favorite architect? What inspires you?

Read more about past, present and future exhibitions on the Getty website:

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012

Postcard from The J.Paul Getty Museum

This photograph was taken at The Getty Center, on one of my many pilgrimages. I use the word pilgrimage, because I am always spiritually inspired by a visit to The Getty.

Architect Richard Meier says,
I believe architecture has the power to inspire, to elevate, the spirit, to feed both the mind and the body. It is for me the most public of the arts.

A visit to the Getty Center is all of this, and more for me. I don’t even need to see an exhibition to come away rejuvenated. A day at the Getty Museum is time well spent. Have you been there?

The Man in the Hat

You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” To me, this picture is worth much more than a thousand words. It’s a travel memory and a reminder of the many reasons I love to travel: inspiration, a change of scenery, local color and culture, sharing ideas and meeting new people. Sometimes just a smile and a friendly face can make your whole day when you are traveling.

I took this photograph at the Mercado of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mercado was part of the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Santa Barbara activities, and had a more local vibe. There were lots of food booths and games for the kids, Loteria and coin tossing and music.

I saw this man sitting with a large group of his friends and family . Honestly, I didn’t really see the people around him, he had such a strong look and spirit my eyes focused only on him.  I am a professional makeup artist and hairstylist, I notice details: colors, bone structure, hair, wardrobe; anything unique or exotic. It’s just what I do.  I wanted to take his photograph but I was a little shy to approach him as he was surrounded by so many people.

I complimented him on his hat, which I loved – not a typical sombrero, it was smaller, made of a whiter straw and had a simple but nice contrasting trim. What I really liked about him, he had  a definite ethnic look and it was genuine.  I didn’t know what else to say, so I moved on and joined my friends in sampling some traditional Mexican food.

He was sitting not far away, and I every now and again I’d look over my shoulder just to make sure he was still there. I was afraid he’d leave before I got up the courage to ask him if I could photograph him. I guess I was looking over my shoulder a lot, because it wasn’t long before one of his friends pointed at me and smiled, and the next thing I knew, he was making his way through the closely packed tables and chairs towards me.

What a relief! Even though he’s obviously a friendly guy I was glad I did not have to approach him in front of all of those other people.

He told me he’s a descendant of Emiliano Zapata, and that was the reason behind the style of his beard. I said I thought his beard was great – really an essential part of his look – and explained that I’m a professional makeup artist. I loved the contrast it created with his skin, and he said he liked that too, but his wife wasn’t fond of it. Beard or no, his personality is written all over his face and shines through his eyes.

He is a great subject for this weeks photo challenge, Free Spirit.
I hope you enjoy this portrait from my Santa Barbara vacation. Love to hear from you. Do you like to take photographs of people? How do you approach them?

All materials ©Penny Sadler 2012 please be respectful.