Never have I been more relieved to put a month behind me. I started 2011 nursing the wounds from a Christmas Day car accident where I was hit by a guy running a red light. Wear your seat belts folks. They saved my life. Despite my Subaru being totaled, a massive concussion, some stitches and some ongoing deep aches and pains, I am lucky to be relatively unscathed. I’ve lost count to how many doctors appointments I’ve been to in January. Because of my accident, I have missed quite a bit of work. But as I rounded out the last days of January, I could honestly say that I am starting to feel a lot better and I am looking forward to a new year of making photos. Here are a couple shots from the past couple of weeks that caught my eye.

Over the last two weeks I was assigned two stories about local watering holes here in Solano County. The first was a story on the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, a non for profit group who help raise money for the community. The group is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and I spent the better part of an afternoon watching them socialize over discounted beer at their meeting hall at the Marina Center in Suisun City. They are a great group of people. The second bar I documented was the historical Bird’s Landing Tavern out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a pretty incredible place. The owner Shirley Paolini, well into her 80’s, continues to run the place since the passing of her husband Mel a few years back. The place has been around since the 1930’s and was used by Clint Eastwood to film his 1982 film “Honky Tonk Man” movie. Nowadays it acts more as a museum than a working bar. Locals still come in for an occasional beer but the highlights of the place lie in the antiques and old historical photos of Bird’s Landing and Collinsville that line the walls of her bar while peanut shells pile up on the floor. It is a quiet and peaceful which is just how Paolini likes it. During out conversation during my visit she would often look up at the photos on the wall and when I asked her about them she said, “I always feel like I am around good friends when I look at them.” She’s a pretty cool lady. I love these old gems of places off the beaten path. This both of these places were a lot of fun to shoot. -M