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John's blog

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, North Parking Lot - Video

I had an engagement photography session at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden.  North side parking lot was very quiet. I shot a quick 360 degree shot. 

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

Thousand Oaks Park

Carl's Jr in Camarillo - RIP Carl Karcher

Carl Karcher, the founder of Carl's Jr passed away on January 11, 2008. 

I haven't gone to Carl's Jr for a year or so. Today, as soon as I heard the new on Carl's passing, I went to Carl's Jr for dinner.  I thought I should pay proper respect. The man knew burgers.  God bless Carl Karcher.

I have a lot of high school memories at Carl's Jr.  Back then going to Carl's Jr was a big treat.  I only went to Carl's Jr. during the weekend with my girlfrien as a big treat.

Oxnard, 101 & Santa Clara / Rice Avenue - 1 year ago


This photograph was taken April 1, 2006.  I often take snap shots like this as I drive around Ventura county.   I don't normally trash boring images, because they may become valuable material later on.  Below picture of old Oxnard strreet seems boring but there are interesting stories.

Oxnard 101 santa clara

This intersection is located 101 freeway (North Bound) off ramp at Santa Clara/Rice Avenue.  I get off freeway here to go to Costco & Fry's.

As of December 2007, this entire area is being cleared off so they can start building a brand new freeway interchange.  Soon, this area will go through a major makeover that we will not remember how it was before.

Le Town Market / Oxnard mini market is now demolished.  The market was fenced off for several months.  Then it was taken down.

Rice Avenue Oxnard

Next, about these palm trees.
These are historic markers.  These trees mark the spots where big houses were located.  If you drive through farmland between Oxnard and Saticoy, you will see palm trees standing in this pattern.  In fact there are number of places like this.  These trees outline driveway to a big antique house.  It doesn't show on below picture, but in most cases, there are big pine trees in front of those houses just like the one in front of the Camarillo Ranch House.

I know for fact that there was an old house at the end of these palm trees.  The house is not there anymore.

I think the City of Oxnard will cut down these threes.  The trees look very old and tired.  If these trees can talk...

Oxnard Freeway Interchange

Oxnard in Christmas Season - 2007

Oxnard Plaza Park: 5th Street and B Street Oxnard, California

Click here for photo-gallery

Ventura County's tallest Christmas Tree is located here in Oxnard Plaza Park.

This is Fifty-Seventh year to light Christmas Tree at Oxnard Plaza Park. 

Back by popular demand, the City of Oxnard presents "Winter Fantasy Music & Light Show".  The Plaza Park Pagoda is decorated with beautiful lights and decoration.  Every 15 minutes they display Christmas music and light show from the Pagoda.  This is their second annual event. 

Oxnard Christmas

Besides the Plaza Park, City of Oxnard has more Christmas events you might want to check out.

  • Oxnard Heritage Square Holiday Open House
    Sat. Dec 8, 15, 22; Sun. Dec. 9. 10am-2pm  7th & A st.
    Select houses will be open for viewing on tours led by costumed docents. Free Admission.  Light refreshments (805) 483-7960
  • Oxnard Tree Lane
    Sun. Dec. 9 - Wed. Dec. 26. 6-10pm
    Walk or drive "F" & "G" Streets between 5th & Palm in downtown Oxnard
  • Oxnard Holly Trolley
    Dec 12 & 19. Departs from Centennial Plaza hourly starting at 6pm. This 45 minutes tour includes a stop at Heritage Square plus a drive through Christmas Tree Lane and more.  Cost $10 or unwrapped toy ($10 value). Proceeds go to Gull Wings Children's Museum and Toys for Tots.  Call 385-2705 for reservation.
  • Oxnard Christmas Parade (past event)
    Saturday Dec 1, 10am

Oxnard Christmas Tree
The tallest Christmas tree in Ventura County is in Oxnard

Oxnard Pagoda Badstand Decoration
Oxnard Plaza Park Pagoda (AKA Bandstand)
Click here for History of Plaza Pagoda

Oxnard Plaza Cinema Christmas

Plaza Cinemas Oxnard

Camarillo Christmas Parade 2007

46th annual Camarillo Christmas Parade 2007 (Dec 8)

There is what appears to be an official Camarillo Christmas Parade website but that website is totally not updated. It's still accepting application for 2006 parade (  If you have any old and new pictures of Camarillo Christmas Parade please let me know. 

Below images are courtesy of where you can find travel pictures & tips. Thank you very much. Smile

Camarillo Christmas Parade
Mayor of Camarillo, Charlotte Craven


Parade, Camarillo

Christmas Parade 2007

Christmas Camarillo 2007

2007 Christmas Parade

2007 Parade Camarillo

Nutcracker Flyer - Oxnard Performing Arts Center, flyer, postcard

Oxnard Performance

Click below for backside of postcard

Old Town Camarillo Holiday Celebration 2007

Old Town Camarillo kick started Christmas Season on the last day of November with carriage ride, appearance of Santa Claus, free hot Chocolate, tree lighting ceremony, and more.

The event was organized by Camarillo Chamber of Commerce and Dynamite Booster club ( 

It was a heaven for the little ones and entertaining for the grown ups as well.  Mr. Santa Claus himself was here.  He took pictures with the kids at Camarillo Chamber of Commerce.

Old Town Camarillo Christmas

Hot chocolate Palermo coffee  Palermo Coffee Camarillo
Palermo Coffee provided free hot chocolate.

Old town Camarillo Carriage Ride

Christmas Camarillo Celebration

Tonight's event was scheduled for 5pm - 9pm

The carriages and horses in Old Town Camarillo looked amazing.  These white horses were unusually big and they made a lot of clip clop sounds.  Kids loved it. 

I was too cold and tired to stick around and document the whole event.  I missed out on Santa Claus and tree lighting ceremony. Frown

Santa has a lot more places to visit just in Camarillo alone; such as Fast Foto and Camarillo Community Center.  Camarillo is a lucky city.

You can click below thumbnails to view the flier for today's Camarillo Holiday Celebration.

Flier Camarillo Holiday Celebration    Camarillo Christmas flier
Camarillo Holiday Celebration Flier

Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 Pt 2.

Related story: Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 Part 1

Location: Kohl's in Ventura

Opening Time: 4 AM

Ventura Kohls

I arrived at Ventura Kohl's 3:50am.  Kohl's was scheduled to open at 4am.  Kohl's was one of very few department stores in Ventura County opened so early.  There was a long line reaching Barns and Noble.  There were easily over a thousand people in the line.  The line was long.  The first person in the line must have waited for hours.

At 3:59AM I saw some people coming out from their cars and headed straight to the door (instead of going back of the line).  One lady standing in the line shouted to them "The line starts back there.  Don't think about cutting line!"

The door opened on time and the line started to move.  Two gentlemen from Kohl's held the door open for them and gave greetings.

Kohl's Ventura County

As soon as the line started to move more people came out from the cars and approached to the door.  (below) One guy managed to blend in at 4:01am.Kohl's Ventura County

At 4:02am there was a huge group of people trying to cut in line.  It was a scary scene.  They took little baby steps toward the door... Inch by Inch.  A few people started to cut in line by this time.

ventura county kohl's

Below image was taken 4:05AM.  It's a big mess.   They were all pushing their way to the door. 

department store venrtura

You cannot see from this picture, but there were hundreds of people still in the line, behind the view.

It took about 7 minutes to have everyone in the line to get inside. All the line cutters made to the store before the last person in the line got in.


  • It took about 7 minutes for everyone in the line to get in the department store. 
  • (In other words) The first person in the line has 7 minutes advantage compared to the last person in the line.
  • If you fail to locate your products fast enough, your 5 hours of waiting in the line will not mean anything.
  • Most department stores do not have thousand shopping carts.  So, if you are in the back of the line, you will not get a shopping cart.  You better not planning to buy a lot of products.
  • If you are in the back of the line, expect there will be a lot of people cutting in line before you.  Those people never have to wait in line.  They will think you guys are "Suckers".  It's not fair, but that's how it is.  But trust Karma.  Those follow the rules are generally high class.  Those break rules are generally poor people.  Let them have their moment.
  • As long as your goal is to enjoy the experience (and don't get too uptight about saving money) things will be fun.

I had a lot of fun this morning.  I spent many hours tonight, and I didn't buy anything. 

See you next year... Christmas here we come!

Related story: Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 Part 1

Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 - Part 1

Photography by:  Please do not copy anything from this page.  Feel free to link to this page.

Related Story: Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 Part 2

Black Friday in Ventura County 2007, Pt 1

Ventura County NewspaperThe Black Friday starts early Thanksgiving Day morning with a delivery of your newspaper.

This paper contains a lot of fliers and coupons from local businesses. 

If you are planning for Black Friday bargain hunting, Thanksgiving Day's newspaper is a must.  Since my last episode with LA Times, I subscribe Ventura County Star now. (LA Times still owes me $25.00)

Ventura County business opening hours

Staples - 6am          Circuit City - 5am
Michaels - 6am         Office Max - 7am
Radio Shack - 6am    Walmart - 5am
Office Depot - 6am    Kohl's - 4am
Sears - 5am             K-mart - 6am
Best Buy - 5am         Sports Authority - 5:30am
Toys R Us - 5am       Mervins - 4am
Target 6am              Linens'n Things - 5am

First stop - Moorpark Market Place (12:00AM)

At 12:08am, Kohl's and Linens'n Things at Moorpark were totally empty.  There was absolutely no car in the parking lot, and there was nobody in front of the door.  I was a little disappointed to see virtually no action considering Kohl's would open in 4 hours.

Moorpark Kohl's Market Place
Kohl's & Linens'n Things Parking Lot - Moorpark Market Place

At Target, on the other side of the Market Place, there were about 10 people sitting in the line.  Three people were playing football. 

Target Moorpark Marget Place
Target 12:08am - Moorpark Market Place

I was out for less than one hour but I was already getting sleepy.  It was also very cold.  So we picked up some donuts and went back home for a retreat. 

Donut Queen Camarillo
Donut Queen, Camarillo, 12:38am

We left home for the second time at 2am.  As we drove by Camarillo Factory Outlet on 101 fwy, we saw hundreds of cars trying to get into Factory Outlet.  Traffic was so thick that entire Ventura Blvd around Camarillo Factory Outlet was a big parking space.

Next Stop Fry's at Oxnard - 2:15am
Fry's at 2:15am was unreal.  There were a lot of people waiting in line. The line was reaching outside of the parking lot.  Parking lot was busier than what you can see during the normal business hours.

Frys parking lot
Parking Lot at Fry's (Oxnard) - 2:22am

Frys Oxanrd, Black Friday
Fry's, Oxnard - 2:30am

Compared to Fry's, Office Depot was pretty slow.  There was only one person with three chairs.  I guessed some family members were resting in the car.

Office Depot, Oxnard
Office Depot, Oxnard 2:30am

Shopping at Rose, Oxnard - 2:50am
I crossed 101 Freeway to Best Buy at Shopping at Rose.  I knew this would be the highlight of the Black Friday.  Unlike any other stores, I saw a lot of tents at Best Buy, indicating that they have been there for many hours.  At 3am the line was in the backside of the store. Parking lot was full and there were people walking around everywhere.  Best Buy had a courtesy to provide a porta-potty at the side of the building.

Best Buy, Shopping at Rose
Best Buy, Oxanrd - 2:50am

Best Buy, Oxanrd
Behind Best Buy, Oxnard - 2:50am

Walmart (Oxnard) was interesting.  They had a huge police vehicle parked in front of the building. Walmart at Oxnard has two entrances.  They were two lines forming for each door.

Walmart Oxanrd
Walmart, Oxnard. line for North side entrance - 3:02am

Shopping At Rose, Wal*Mart
Walmart, Oxnard. line for South side entrance - 3:12am

Circuit City Oxanrd
Circuit City at Oxnard Promenade - 3:37am

At 3:30am, Circuit City's line was very long

Ventura Kohls
Kohl's, Ventura 3:55am - 5 minutes before opening

Ventura Pacific View Mall
Pacific View Mall, Ventura - 4:22am

The night was cold and the Moon was bright.  I met a lot of people.  Everyone out there was happy.  People didn't just come out to save money, but they came out to have fun.

A lot of people waved at me and wanted to crack jokes with me.  Some people wanted their pictures taken.  A group of youngsters with loud music pulled up next to me and started to dance. The entire Ventura County was in the party mood. 

Some people talk about Christmas being too commercialized that we forgot about the meaning of Christmas.  As long as people can have fun and share love for the community I think it's all good.

Look at these happy people. It's beautiful. God bless them all.

Some of the folks I spoke to, Fry's & Circuit City, Oxnard (2:30am - 3:30am) 

Oxnard Moon
Moon over Oxnard

Black Friday in Ventura County Part 1 ends here

Related Story: Black Friday in Ventura County 2007 Part 2

Photography by:  Please do not copy anything from this page.  Feel free to link to this page.

Store at Ojai - Foggy Night



Pictures of Ojai

Evangelical Free Church of Camarillo

Evangelical Free Church of Camarillo
2315 Ventura Blvd Camarillo, CA 93010 (805) 482-1200

Evangelical Free Church is also a wedding spot.  They have a small courtyard for formal photography as well (see below). 

Church Building History:
The church building was constructed in 1891.  At that time it was Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. Pleasant Valley Baptist Church used to own Camarillo Cemetery also (now Dizdar Park).

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church gave away burial spots to those who made donations to construct this church building.  A huge donation came from Juan Camarillo.

Later, the building was sold to Evangelical Free Church in 1980.  Peasant Valley Baptist Church moved to a new building, still in Camarillo (corner of Ponderosa & Lantana).

During the Summer time, I see youngsters washing cars to raise money. I WILL wash my car from them next time I see them.

Evangelical Free Church Camarillo

Camarillo Church

Photography by:

Photography taken on the day of wedding.

Ventura College at night

I used to go to Ventura College.  I took some courses and transferred credit for to my AA & BS degrees at Moorpark College and Cal. Lutheral University.
I had a wedding photography gig at Ventura College (Nov 4, 2007). I took these photographs after the reception. It was very cold.

Ventura College at Night

Ventura College at night

Pictures of Ventura College

Santa Paula at night


Glen Tavern Inn
Glen Tavern Inn, Santa Paula

The historic Glen Tavern Inn is located in Old Town Santa Paula.  Glen Tavern Inn is a popular wedding location for locals. 

When I first started taking pictures of Glen Tavern Inn, someone said "Take pictures of a ghost".  I didn't think much of that remark. I just smiled.

Later, a group of family members walked by.  They were curious about what I was doing.  I said "Hi" and we talked for a while.  Again, they told me about the ghost.  According to the local stories, room 302 is haunted Surprised.  The lady pointed out the exact room that's supposed to be haunted.

Now, I was scared.

Suddenly, I heard a train coming from the other side. I ran over there with my camera & tripod.

Santa Paula Train, Night
Santa Paula Train Station. 

This classic train is being used as an Entertainment facility, not as a transportation device (I think).

Santa Paula Picture
Train & Gazebo

Westlake Village Inn at Night

Westlake Village Inn

Photographed October 14, 2007 11:30pm

Lost Canyon Golf Club, Simi Valley


I had a wedding photography job at Lost Canyon Golf Club in Simi Valley.

Simi Valley Golf Club Picture

Lost Canyons Golf Club

Simi Valley Wedding Photographer

Lost Canyon Golf Club, Simi Valley
3301 Lost Canyon Dr, Simi Valley, CA 93063  (805) 522-4653

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