Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gems of the highway

While driving through Joshua Tree, on that winding two-lane road, surrounded by the desert's endless shades of beige and gray, I had a vision. A little turquoise jewel approached, and passed me heading in the opposite direction, and I was simply dazzled by the image. It was a T-Bird convertible -- probably 1957 -- with the top down. When I saw it, I took one hand off the wheel and searched the front seat for my camera, but by the time I had it in my hand, the little gem was gone

I've never been a car nut, nor will I ever be; but since seeing that T-Bird in the Park, I've begun to take notice of colorful and classic cars. I think one reason is that nowadays, so many cars look alike. Most are fairly colorless, either black or white or metallic shades of silver and gold. If it weren't for their brand logos, I'd be hard-pressed to tell them apart.

In Santa Ynez, collecting old cars appears to be a popular pastime. I saw so many antique cars there. And with a vintage car show going on at the same time, my head was spinning with sightings of surprising and stunning cars.


  1. Hi Anitra-

    Well-said, most cars these days do look alike. I used to be a car enthusiast when I was a kid, but lost interest when everything coming from Detroit, Tokyo, and Munich started looking like the designers put the blueprints on a Xerox and distributed them en masse. I am kind of nostalgic for certain cars of the late 80s and early 90s. I'm sure though you had your fill of Chevy Vegas, AMC Gremlins, etc on TPIR. It was much more fitting when you had the chance to model the occasional Cadillac or Lincoln. =)



  2. Great photos Anitra!! At first I thought you were sitting in that car, until I realized it's your reflection on the windshield!! I don't know if that was your intention, but it's great!!

    Like you, I'm really not much of car buff, but your are right, they certainly don't make them like they used to!! Cars used to have so much style, but now, it's hard to sometimes tell a Hyundai from a Mercedes!!

    Mark :-)

  3. Hello joseph,

    It sounds like you were a precocious and sharp child. Loved your quote, 'the designers put the blueprints on a xerox and distributed them en masse.'

    Those Chevy Vegas really got to you. And as far as TPIR cars went, the truth is, I don't think I made any distinction. Behind those doors, for me, a car was simply a car. My thoughts were with the contestants who might win it.

    Lovely to hear from you, Joseph, ~ Aneet

  4. Mark, hello, hello,

    I had so many photos of neat cars, couldn't post them all. Glad you noticed the reflection. You're so observant. Yes, it was intentional. At first, it was a kick to discover that kind of ghost image of myself in the windshield, and so, I aligned the reflection in the passenger seat and photographed it.

    And yes, those old 50s cars with the fins, today, look better than ever.

    Great to hear from you. Sending my regards, ~ Aneet

  5. Hi Aneet-

    Thanks for your compliment about my one observation regarding the similarity of cars. At the risk of sounding immodest, yes my thinking was a bit advanced for my age, but I think it's because that outside of school I was surrounded mostly by teenagers and adults because for most of my childhood I was one of the youngest members of my extended family, but I digress.

    Speaking of cars, I've been meaning to tell you that one day a few weeks ago when I was out running errands, I saw a Cadillac Eldorado coupe very similar to the one that was in that April Fool's showcase clip a while back. It was in excellent condition for such an old car. So I thought about you and the whole group gathered around the Cadillac at the end of that showcase. =)

    It's amazing in a way how cars have become such an important part of our culture. I think back to various TV shows and movies where cars stood out more than others. For example when I was a kid one of my favorite prime time shows was Magnum P.I. I wanted to be like Tom Selleck and drive a sportscar around Hawaii and solve crimes. A couple of years ago when I went to Kauai, the rental car I got turned out to be a convertible, so as I was driving around the verdant island of Kauai, I kept thinking back to my youth, and the Magnum P.I. theme played over and over in my mind. =)



  6. Jonathan ChesterJune 5, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Hi Aneet,

    Love those old Thunderbirds! Since turquoise is my favorite color for that model, you can imagine how I love that photo! Those old T-Birds were styled so nice that you couldn't see the end of the hood from the driver's seat.

    Interesting shot of yourself in the reflection. I can easily see the true artist in you to create such a shot!

    Hope you had a great weekend!

    Jonathan (#8)

  7. Hello Number 8,

    Hope your baseball games are going well. And so, you too appreciate the old T-Birds. It sounds like you've been onto them far longer than I. If you like the photo above, you would have been amazed by the one I saw in the desert that got away. Surprisingly, I caught the shot above last weekend on Highway 1. A very different car than the '57 covertable. And yes, I agree, turquoise IS the color.

    Glad you saw the reflection. Though, no one has mentioned the "Model A Ford" in the sidebar.

    Good to hear from you Jonathan. Have a wonderful week, ~ Aneet

  8. And, oh, Jonathan, thank you for the lovely compliment :)

  9. Aneet-

    This topic of cars has rather inspired me. I've been thinking about it today, and I think the car culture is unique to us as Americans. As a nation in general, there's always been a love for taking our cars and being out on the open road. Now granted my preferred method of travel is by air, but on certain trips I'll add a road trip in there too. I've been thinking about my little getaway next week and the excitment of driving on the roads around Lake Tahoe (once I arrive in Reno by air). For an added coincidence, I heard the song "Life Is A Highway" as I was running errands today. A bit of food for thought. =)

    Sending my best wishes and regards,


  10. Jonathan ChesterJune 7, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    You're very very welcome and my pleasure :)

  11. Anitra,

    You have an incredible eye for so many things! I hope you have thoughts of hundreds of photo books that you could (might? hopefully!) publish someday.

    Best wishes,

  12. Tom,

    It's lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your compliments. They are generous. If I recall correctly, you take photographs too.

    I really enjoy how photographs communicate. My layout options are quite restricted here. Even so, it's fascinating to see how photographs can work together to create energy and mood.

    So far, my purpose with this blog, is simply to discover and to share :)

    I'm delighted that you view my photos Tom. Sending my best wishes in return, ~ Anitra

  13. Hi Joseph,

    I like that title, "Life is a Highway." Don't know the song, but it seems a fitting title for the week.

    Have a super trip up north. My regards, ~ Aneet

  14. Re the side photos: Clever to feature a sign containing the words "Model A Ford!" Great photos, as always! Have a good weekend!


  15. Bits, hello!

    I always enjoy hearing from you. So glad you spotted the "Model A Ford." I got such a kick out of discovering that sign on the car. Also glad you liked the photos.

    Be well Lovely Lady, ~ Aneet

  16. Great photos!
    The first car is not, in fact, a '57 T-Bird.
    This, is a '57 T-Bird.
    Has a distinctive look and design.
    But, that is a T-Bird it is from the same era when the T-Bird was a roadster-and not an oversized luxury car.
    To wit, circa 1965.
    Whoever it is has done a hell of a job restoring and maintaining the car.
    My best guess at the woody is that it's a Packard, see here:
    I concur in my fellow Joseph's assessment of cars and car design.
    I'm also a consummate patriot on cars-my friend's 6-Series Convertible excepted.
    But-Great photos!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Got any vintage fire engines?

  17. Hi Joe,

    I'll keep alert for the fire engine :) Thank's so much for all of the great car info. You are obviously an aficionado. The '57 T-Bird I mentioned I never photographed. It was a jewel. But months later, I found this other model and was able to capture it. I'm so glad to know the year and the background. And yes, I talked to the driver of the Woody at the stoplight; you're absolutely on the mark, it is a Packard!

    My Regards to You Joe, ~ Anitra