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Since I joined the Taco team of Los Angeles reporters, I’ve gotten used to people staring at me in the streets of Los Angeles. “Why are you taking a picture of a pole? Everybody’s looking at us.” That’s my very embarrassed niece complaining on a night out in Boyle Heights. “I’m not taking the picture of a pole, I’m taking the picture of a rabbit. I think he’s a friend of ours.”

A bus driver stopped for me once then told me he wasn’t supposed to because this was a speed line. Why did he stop for me then? Because I was taking a picture of a newspaper vending machine. “No I wasn’t. I was taking the picture of a man with a party hat and one with a gun.”

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Neither my niece nor the bus driver were impressed. I wasn’t surprised when I noticed tourists staring at me while I took picture after picture at a scenic vista point off of Highway 395. I knew what they were thinking. “Why are you taking a picture of this…

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instead of THIS…

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The Mono Craters in middleground. Do you see the resemblance?

I recently spent one week in the Owens Valley, home to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I was driving North on Highway 14, nearing Highway 395, when the world became free of malls, brands, billboards, concrete. Unprepared for the sudden and radical change of scenery, I lost my mind over its maddening beauty.

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