I love Oakland, CA and I have always enjoyed taking random pictures around and about "the Town," as it is fondly known by locals. These photos, the first in a two-part series (shot over the past few months), were all taken within about a mile radius of downtown Oakland. Thematically disconnected, they are merely various images that appealed to my personal sensibilities, such as the above shot in Chinatown Oakland one Sunday morning when it is a-bustle with folks grabbing dim sum from the numerous eateries dotted throughout the area (Well worth a visit if you've never been. Meanwhile, just down the street on Broadway, at Jack London Sq, is the farmer's market, although the Saturday-only farmers market over near Grand Lake Theater is a much more fun market, in my opinion). The above shot is about the only one of a person I took, as I gravitate more towards inanimate objects. Plus, I don't like to invade peoples' personal space. And if I ever do take pics of people, I always ask their permission first -- as with the gentleman above.
The shot below is by Lake Merritt, and while art-cars might be a common sight around the Bay Area, it is only when you travel outside to other states/places you realize that it is not quite so commonplace to see such intricately decorated vehicles. I have spent many hours just stopping to admire and study the countless art-cars I have seen around Oakland and Berkeley. They're amazing. I love the detail and the creative use of various found and recycled objects (including lots of toys) that people put into decorating these cars and I admire their makers for not wanting to adhere to the strict, bland uniformity of merely leaving their cars exactly as they rolled off the assembly line. These are truly unique vehicles. The picture below with the koala bear is the roof of this particular art car while the second last picture is of the hood of this same auto, which is just so creatively and lovingly decorated with keys, beads, and cocktail drink stirrers -- all cemented into a perfect form and design.