Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks Coffee

January 31, 2010 by ·  

Dunkin Donuts vs Starbucks Coffee

A World Heavyweight Coffee Title

        I don’t drink coffee, but my co-workers do, so my present to them for the week will be two bags of coffee grounds from two corporate mainstays in the morning coffee empire; Starbucks & Dunkin’ Donuts. I will listen to comments about the coffee and whichever is better received will be purchased next week, along with a new challenger.

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Compass Cards Reloaded

January 31, 2010 by ·  

San Diego Trolley

Compass Cards Are Not Clear Yet

        I’m trying to like my month old Compass Card. I really am. In theory, there are a handful of convenient ways to purchase and reload a Compass Card, so I chose to reload mine at a ticket vending machine at my local trolley station. I walked away empty handed because the only monthly pass reload option I was given was for a $100 pass. My usual $72 pass was not available as an option to purchase. This had me going to plan B which was to reload it at Vons which was done in a few minutes. So even though I’m good for February 2010 on all San Diego Trolleys now… What the Hell?

San Diego Trolley

Compass Cards Do Not Yet Have My Support

        I had these plans for making a video showing how easy it is to reload your Compass Card with cash at a ticket vending machine, but there was no $72 pass option available. There was a technician working on the machine next to me, so I’m all feeling like a character from the movie Amelie’ but all I really wanted was to buy a monthly pass. I was so put out that I couldn’t even snap a photo of the offending machine, or the technician… I just went to Vons.

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Blue Hour Photography

January 28, 2010 by ·  

Bridge To Nowhere Sunset In San Diego

Just Before Blue Hour In San Diego

        Very recently I found out about the blue hour and blue hour photography in general. Blue hour happens twice a day just after sunset and just before sunrise. About ten minutes after I took this shot, the entire sky was a darker blue than the top of the photo above, and that is when the blue hour occurs. I wasn’t actually trying to capture a blue hour shot, I just thought this sunset had a chalk drawing look to it. The purples seemed to me to be hanging artificially in the sky alongside the clouds, and to me they looked like marks from a giant purple stick of chalk.

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6400 ISO & 1/4000th Shutter

January 27, 2010 by ·  

Globe 6400 ISO

The World From 6400 ISO

        My Nikon D5000 has two things that have become important to me. High ISO with little noise and a quiet, FAST shutter. 6400 ISO to 1 four thousandths of a second. The photo above was taken at 6400 ISO! The clarity and lack of general noise is astonishing to me. The photo below was cracked at 1/4000th of a second at 200 ISO.

Helicopter Belly

One Hidden Propeller Blade

        My portfolio lacks anything fast. This new shutter speed is going to change all that. Oh yes it will. The Marine helicopter above flew right over me, allowing me to freeze it for 1/4000th of a second, and then headed toward downtown San Diego to fight Godzilla or something. The scene of the miniature carousel below was shot at 6400 ISO, and again, with very little noise.

Carousel 6400 ISO

Year Of The Tiger 2010

        It was Ni that first explained to me what the right camera can do, with or without Photoshop. Bi first loaned me a proper camera for a tricky photo-op at Technomania Circus. That was what brought me over. I had to enter into DSLRS’s and I have the beginning and end of Nirobi to thank for it! Thanks guys!

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Compass Cards And The San Diego Trolley

January 23, 2010 by ·  

Compass Card Validator

Compass Card Revenue Scam Validator

        The new Compass Card that San Diego’s SANDAG/MTS has rolled out is nothing more than a way to generate revenue, via citations for the city, and I’ll explain to you why. Prior to these reusable, reloadable plastic cards, monthly pass purchasers were issued beautiful, colorful, local artist produced paper passes. We could buy them starting on the 20th of the previous month and once purchased merely needed to be kept on your person to make us good to go. For the next 30 days, we merely had to show it to bus drivers when boarding buses and trolley guards while riding the trolley. That was it… Simple & seamless. One monthly purchase meant that we were golden for a month, as long as we kept our pass in our purse, bag, wallet or lanyard.

        These new Compass Cards have taken away simplicity and one time remembrance and substituted an avenue for monthly pass holders to be issued citations on a daily basis. My explanation will start with the photo below.

Compass Card Regulations

6 New Ways For San Diego Trolley Guards To Issue Citations

        What you see above are the new rules for those of us that fork out $72 for a monthly transit pass in San Diego, handed to me by a trolley security guard. Typos aside, let me just type this all out so that we can be clear; If you do not tap your $72 Compass Card when you get off a trolley to board a bus, get off a bus to board a trolley, board a trolley at any station, get off of a trolley and board another trolley, get off The Coaster and board a trolley, get off a trolley and board The Coaster, get off a bus and board The Coaster or board a bus, you will be issued a citation. On the OTHER hand, if you buy a $5 daily paper pass, you can do/board any of the above WITHOUT tapping anything and without being issued a citation. This is wrong on so many levels that it almost makes me want to go out and buy a car.

        There are a couple news stories out already that discuss just how flawed Compass Cards are. Way back in August off 2009, Sign On San Diego reported just how buggy the software that controls/monitors Compass Cards is. On January 10, 2010, San Diego’s 10News reported that visually impaired (blind) trolley riders are having trouble with Compass Cards because the the Compass Card validators are not in uniform locations. Sign On San Diego then reported again on January 17th, 2010 that regardless of the buggy software being fixed, San Diego trolley riders were still questioning the need to tap their prepaid $72 cards at EVERY SINGLE leg of their commute. Click on any of the underlined text above to read the stories.

San Diego Monthly Transit Pass

Public Transportation In San Diego Used To Be Art

        There is just one final thing I would like to talk about regarding San Diego’s new Compass Card system, and that is how they are cloaking an invasion of every Compass Card holder’s privacy by claiming the new Compass Cards will, “…streamline and expedite fare collection.” What users of the Compass Card may not know is that every time you tap your card, your riding activity is logged & stored on a Compass Card server. What that means is that if you register your Compass Card with SANDAG/MTS, not only will your riding activity be logged, but the name, address and credit card info will also be attached to your card. The Compass Card Website states that a benefit of owning a Compass Card is that it is secure against loss or theft, but only if you register your card with your name and other personal information.

        So take your pick people… Pay $72 and risk a citation at every leg of your commute for the following 30 days on the San Diego Trolley, or $5 for a day pass the with absolute guarantee that you will not receive a citation until midnight that night. Compass Cards are a scam and should be discontinued or at least only provided as as OPTION for the old paper monthly pass.

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The Gray Before The Storm

January 17, 2010 by ·  

Grossmont Palm Trees

Palm Trees Placed Under Arrest For Unknown Reasons

        My last post ended with this quote, from Albert Swearengen; “Announcing your plans is a great way to hear God laugh.” So true. You, as the reader can interpret the word “God” however you like, but for the purposes of this post, I will interpret it as the being that controls the strings of humans on planet Earth. The only thing the San Diego Chargers had to do today, January 17, 2010 was win. Since they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I had to nullify a contract that would have put me on Easy Street for at least 30 calender days. I really hate professional sports. Not a single one of those bitchy millionaire athletes has given up anything during this recession, but the fans, the people that pay to make them rich have lost more than any other single group in history. This, coupled with the immanent arrival of a storm that will bring Southern California 6 inches of rain over the next five days equals a very, very gray Sunday in San Diego. Rather than make money by photographing the inebriated smiles of 75,000 Charger fans, I have been reduced to posting some lame, boring photos taken in the wake of the Chargers loss.

Qualcomm Stadium, January 2010

Qualcomm Stadium In Vibrant Gray

        This has nothing to do with the San Diego Chargers pissing away a 7 point lead or me having to cancel a celebratory photo shoot due to the loss, but Qualcomm Stadium is a dump. Maybe I’m spoiled because I was in on the ground floor when the Denver Broncos christened their new stadium around the turn of the century, but my God… Qualcomm Stadium is a depressing place to be around, victorious or not. Concrete and gray would best describe it. I’m not kidding when I say that ANY college stadium in the country would be a better venue to host a football game.

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

        Since it was a gray day in just about every capacity, I figured some shots of the La Mesa police station, currently under construction would fit in well.

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

        This is the entrance to the underground parking area for the new La Mesa police station. Even though it is still under construction, there is an ominous feel to it. Why, one is disposed to ask, do La Mesa police have to unload prisoners underground, out of view from the public?

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La Mesa Police Station Arises

January 16, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa Police Station Construction

Labor For La Mesa’s New Police Station

        When a new police station is being built, right around from your house, and you are a photographer, you make plans to take pictures of the construction progress on an almost daily basis, right? Right. After over a year of construction, I have visited the construction site a a total of 6 times, and didn’t even take photos on each trip. As a 19th century saloon owner once said, “Announcing your plans is a great way to hear God laugh.”

La Mesa Police Station

La Mesa Police Station – July 2009

La Mesa Police Station

La Mesa Police Station – October 2009

La Mesa Police Station In January 2010

La Mesa Police Station – January 2010

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Subatomic Energy

January 16, 2010 by ·  

Sub-Atomic Energy

Sub-Atomic Energy

Sub-Atomic Energy

Sub-Atomic Energy

Sub-Atomic Energy

Sub-Atomic Energy

        Explosions at the sub-atomic level are once again captured on film. Brilliant streaks of light, released from particles many times smaller than individual atoms streak into our universe while lighting up sub-atomic space. As scientists struggle to harness this particular form of energy creation for use in our world, they produce events that make for some very beautiful photography, as seen below. I have been fortunate enough to be present for three instances of these sci-fi subatomic photographic events. The first was back in July of 2009, and can be seen here. The second, which was only a couple months ago, in November of 2009 can be seen here.

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Technomania Circus Presents The Parody Show

January 10, 2010 by ·  

Burning Man At Technomania Circus Parody Night

Burning Man at Technomania Circus

DJ At Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

The DJ Spins @ Technomania Circus

Burning Man At Technomania Circus Parody Night

Burning Man Parody Up Close

        Before the show even began, the DJ entertained the crowd with music from the late 20th century, warming us up and setting the mood for “The Parody Show” at Technomania Circus. This was the first show for 2010, and The Technomaniacs pulled out all the stops, including fire, burlesque, juggling, Elvis Presley, blacklight theater and Lady Gaga even made an appearance, as did Martha Stewart. For The Parody Show, the cast of Technomania Circus made fun of just about everyone, including the audience, themselves and Tiger Woods. This was three hours of fun and satire and it closed with a fast moving awards ceremony honoring many of the most talented performers in San Diego. The show is so easy to get to, especially on the orange line trolley. Technomania Circus is located at 2438 Commercial St. San Diego, in Logan Heights, right across from the 25th & Commercial Orange Line trolley stop. Trolleys come by every half hour, and the schedule can be seen here. I was fortunate enough to be using a borrowed Canon T1i for the evening, so I shot every frame at 3200 ISO and a shutter speed of 1/15th for almost every frame as well.

Dr. Techno From Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

Dr. Techno

Cooking With Martha Stewart & Lady Gaga At Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

Martha Stewart & Lady Gaga

        Dr. Techno started things off with his guitar playing balancing act and was also our host for the awards show that followed the performance. The cast were all presented with trophies that varied from a small statue of a three headed dog to a diorama that contained a hula dancer and shrunken skull. You just never know what will happen at a Technomania Circus show.

Sarah Palin Booksigning AT Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

Sarah Palin Going Rogue

        Lady Gaga took cooking instruction from Martha Stewart, and one of the rhyming orders by Martha was something like: “Lady Gaga take this please and bake that bitch at three fifty degrees.”

Technomania Circus Cast & Crew On Parody Night

The Cast Of Technomania Circus

        The entire cast was all smiles for this show, and rightly so because most of what they did was very funny, with several moments of outright hilarity. Their awards ceremony, which wrapped up the evening was just as funny as the show itself and even a lucky audience member won an award.

Fire At Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

Fire At Technomania Circus

Juggler At Technomania Circus During The Parody Show

        Fire is my favorite part of these shows, and the cast always makes sure to add extra elements of danger. You’ll want to take note of a few things in the photo on the left, including the spaceship in the background, the fact that the left performer is balancing on a two point ladder, the juggling pins on the stage and the woman in the center wearing a bathrobe with possibly nothing else underneath. Saturday nights that hold a performance from Technomania Circus are just so easy to attend and are so much fun to watch. They are full of energy and engaging for the audience so the more you cheer the better and funnier the show is. Next time I will bring a tasty beverage because after three hours of cheering, I was feeling a little parched. Their next shows will be on February 13th & 23rd, with the doors opening at 7pm, pre-show at 7:30pm and the show starting at eight. The show is entitled “A Mob Show: Happiness Is A Warm Tommy Gun.” See pics from previous shows: The Fire & Blacklight Show, and The Wild Wild West Show .

Technomania Circus Cast & Crew On Parody Night

San Diego’s Technomania Circus Cast & Crew, January 9, 2010

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Petco Park & The Bridge To Nowhere

January 4, 2010 by ·  

Petco Park & Bridge To Nowhere

San Diego’s PETCO Park & Bridge To Nowhere

        I have grown in these first few days of 2010. Apparently, my personal possessions have grown with me. My camera has grown so large that recent digital images (pictures) taken make the world seem very small… Relatively speaking.

        Tilt-shift lenses have created a renaissance, or perhaps the actual creation of faux miniature photography. It is a neat effect, and if it is a genre of photography that existed before digital, I am not aware of any examples. I do not own a tilt-shift lens, but I do happen to own Photoshop CS4, so I can fake it like a pro.

Imperial Beach Dinosaur Cage

Imperial Beach Dinosaur Cage

        The above photo is a repeat. Sorry. It was featured in a blog post I wrote up back in June 2009, and I really like this shot. Miniature photography seems to me to be a uniquely digital photographic genre.

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