Blue Moon on July 31, 2015
We all know the saying, “Once in a blue moon” but what does it mean? If the moon is full twice in a single month, that’s a blue moon. It happens a lot more often than the appearance of comets or eclipses but not so often that it doesn’t cause a stir among the stargazing and superstitions communities. The photo you see above was the blue moon that appeared over Denver on July 31, 2015. Of course, the color wasn’t blue on that night; I adjusted the white balance just so the photo of the blue moon would be, well, blue.
I’ve been blogging for over six years now and the frequency of my posting has been decreasing for the last one or two of those years. You could almost say that I have been posting once in a blue moon. I don’t like that so I am going to start posting more often. My lack of posting is directly related to me not taking as many photos as I used to as well as traveling a lot less. I haven’t been on a plane since 2013 and I rarely carry my camera around with me anymore. That has got to change so the way I figure it, taking more photos will lead to more posts which will lead more travel which will lead to more posts, just like I was doing back in the day. By publicly declaring this I’m hoping that you, my loyal readers will hold me to it. I give all of you permission to hold my feet to the fire and hassle me in a relentless fashion to POST MORE OFTEN! Cheers!
Blood Red Moon And Spica
Early this morning I was able to see my first full lunar eclipse. The weather in Denver cooperated by allowing crystal clear skies during the entire event. As for me, I cooperated by showing up in the cold in the middle of the night but I didn’t bring a tripod or a very long lens so it was less of a photo trip than I would have hoped for. Not turning the eclipse into a photo shoot had the remarkable effect of forcing me to just look at and appreciate the moon and stars for a few hours. The moon was in the company of the star Spica and the planet Mars. In the photo above, Spica is the bright blue point of light below and to the right of the blood red moon. Mars was just out of frame on the right. Anyway, I hope all of you lovely Colorado people got to see it because even though it’s going to happen a few more times this year, there are periods of hundreds of years when it doesn’t happen at all. Cheers!
Rob Hurlbut In Dutch Harbor, Alaska
After spending three months in Dutch Harbor Alaska working for Westward Seafoods, I have a lot to say and I have many photos to show. Depending on what mood I’m in, what I have to say will either be about the terrible time I had working at Westward Seafoods or about the great time I had exploring Dutch Harbor. I’m in a great mood right now, so aside from saying that you should not work for Westward Seafoods at their racist, unsafe plant I’ll leave the issue for other posts. THIS post will be about the photographic opportunities that Dutch Harbor has to offer. The photo above is a 10 second exposure with me flashing a light on my face three times at three slightly different positions, that’s why you see my pretty face in the middle of Dutch Harbor.
Rob Hurlbut Uncropped In Dutch Harbor, Alaska
Above is the uncropped version of the first photo in the post. Dutch Harbor has no trees so it looks like someone shaved off the portion of the Rocky Mountains that is above the tree line & dropped it in the Bering Sea. There is some wildlife on the island in the form of waterfowl, foxes and especially bald eagles. The rest of the wildlife wonders are found under the sea just as the fauna are found under the snow.
Unalaska at Night
As evidenced by the constellations in the photo above, this is the north side of Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Alaska. Even after spending three months there I still don’t know what or where Dutch Harbor is, relative to Unalaska. I think Unalaska is the name of the town, while Dutch Harbor is a geographic feature of the island on which the town is located but I really don’t know for sure. Anyway, from the Westward Seafoods plant where I was working, the area below is where people went when they “went into town.” This area has a library pool, recreation center and a very old Russian Orthodox church, visible in the lower center of the frame. To the south, on the other side of the mountain I was standing on when I took this photo is the airport, a grocery store, a bar and a liquor store. Guess which side of the island was more popular?
Russian Orthodox Church In Dutch Harbor, Alaska
Above we see the Russian Orthodox Church that is visible in the previous photo as well as the mountain I was standing on for that particular night shot. The far right of the photo was my perch for the previous shot and the left of the photo, obviously out of frame is the harbor.
Imperial Beach At Night
One of the best things about photography is the way night affects photons as they crash into our film and sensors. I like what night does to me as I think about my shots and how light is scrounged from every available source. In the same way that our eyes take a second or two to adjust to a low light situation, our cameras need extra time as well, in the form of long shutter speed, forcing our hands to remain extra steady to preserve the focus of the nighttime realm.
Last night a friend and I went on a midnight stroll. Food was what we were actually strolling for but it was the outright beauty of the night that turned out to be some rather delicious gravy. The moon was damn near full, the temperature was in the low 70’s and there was zero humidity. I live in San Diego, Cali-fuckin-fornia! The scattered midnight clouds you see above had probably been there since noon, doing there their god given jobs well; look pretty and keep San Diego cool.
Imperial Beach is my actual town. It’s the most southwestern city in the continental United States. It’s a great place to live and the weather here is the best in all of San Diego. It is quintessentially awesome and it is basically the edge of the American dream. Just felt like sharing that. Cheers!
MGM Grand Lion Glares At New York Across Las Vegas Blvd
Less than a year after attending the Nightclub & Bar Convention I found myself in Las Vegas again, this time to cover CES 2012. This was my first time at the show so suffice to say it was a lot of fun and just about as close to overwhelming as you can possibly get. Now that I’ve had a week to think about the show and edit some photos I do have a prediction that will merge some of the most impressive things I saw at CES:
Waterproof 3D Eye Controlled Touch Screen Technology will be huge.
I’ll elaborate on that in future posts. For now, it will be all about photography and the 8mm fish-eye lens that was my solo companion as I walked through CES and the Las Vegas Strip for 4 days and nights.
In Front Of Luxor Hotel Pyramid, Sphinx & Obelisk
For me the Las Vegas Strip ends at Tropicana Blvd. so I never make it to Luxor or Mandalay Bay unless I make a specific trip just for those two places, which is exactly what I did for this trip. I hadn’t been to the Shark Reef aquarium in Mandalay Bay for almost 10 years and I had never set foot inside Luxor so this was practically a new adventure for me.
Inside Luxor Pyramid, Looking Straight Up
Luxor is has more curb appeal than anything else, so I just did a quick run through the place. A pyramid has a lot of attic space that you just can’t do much with other than stare at so I was not impressed and due to its location on the strip, I recommend you stay somewhere else, farther north on Las Vegas Blvd.
Jellyfish at Shark Reef Predator Aquarium In Mandalay Bay
On the other hand, Mandalay Bay was an incredibly vast and visually appealing place to spend a few hours. My reason for going there was their Shark Reef exhibit, which I finally managed to see on my last day in Las Vegas. It is to aquariums what San Diego Safari Park is to zoos. The place is dim but not dark so set your ISO at 1600 or higher, aperture at f/3.5 or larger and shutter at 1/60th or slower for some amazing results. You don’t need a tripod for this but you will want to hold your breath and remain still while releasing the shutter. If you take a knee or lean against something while taking your photos, it will help out a lot.
Shark Reef At Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas really is a street photographers dream because there are so many people and you have to walk for miles, even after you exit the taxi or monorail. Seriously, don’t bother with a tripod, just crank up the ISO and have some fun. There are plenty of inside things to photograph, so don’t be afraid to practice some low light photography indoors before you start roaming around The Las Vegas Strip, or your own hometown at night.
Prada, In Crystals On Las Vegas Blvd
Here are two things you might not know about Las Vegas; you can take your alcoholic beverages everywhere and gambling is not the only thing to do on The Strip. Shop until you drop if you so desire or eat your heart out. The retail stores and the restaurants are second to none and just as willing as a casino to take your money in exchange for goods and services.
Fountains Of Bellagio and Las Vegas Blvd
As I mentioned earlier, I had a single lens with me for this trip and that was a newly acquired 8mm fish-eye which gave me a full 180 degree field of view. As a photographer, it’s really cool to have EVERYTHING in front of me show up in the viewfinder; it really is amazing how a new lens at Christmas can turn me into a kid with a camera. Thanks Santa!
The Moon Sets Over Coronado’s Dinosaur Cage
Coronado is a border town for me because I live right on the border between Coronado and Imperial Beach. It really is an ideal location for me because I can grab my bike, be on Bayshore Bikeway in seconds flat and then head to anywhere In South Bay San Diego, all while basking in the warm California sun. Today was a beautiful San Diego day and I took full advantage of it by riding to Border Field State Park, Silver Strand State Beach and Imperial Beach pier. After pedaling almost 30 miles, I was beat by the time I got back home so whatever San Diego had planned for this evening would have to happen without me. I was in for the night.
How lucky for me that around 9:30pm I looked out my window in response to hearing someone screaming out in pain. Some dude managed to crash himself and his bike into the metal bench that sits at the southern edge of San Diego Bay. He was fine and once I stopped laughing at him I noticed the background of the scene, and it was awesome! I tiny sliver, just a thin fingernail of a moon was setting right next to the Dinosaur Cage on Coronado. Of course I grabbed my Nikon camera and ran to the very bench that had been crashed into to take some long exposure, high ISO photos. I shot the scene above for 8 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 3200 which allowed me to pull some much needed detail from the shadows without blowing the moon’s highlights to kingdom come. It was a great way to wrap up a day that saw me riding all over Coronado and Imperial Beach. I’ve been ignoring night photography for a few months so a small event like this that has me leaping out the door to engage in a little night photography is a welcome catalyst for me because it simply reminded me how much fun night photography is. Cheers!
San Diego Sheriff At DUI Checkpoint In Imperial Beach
In the continuing effort to keep the streets of Imperial Beach safe and free of drunk drivers, the San Diego Sheriff had a sobriety checkpoint set up at 7th St & Palm Ave last night. I suppose you can say that Memorial Day weekend officially kicks of Friday night, so this checkpoint was well timed and positioned to remind motorists not to get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been drinking. Try to remember that these peace officers operate these checkpoints not only to nail intoxicated drivers, but to nail people driving without or under a suspended license. Think of it as a way of keeping honest people honest. If you don’t drink & drive and your license is valid then you have nothing to worry about.
Vehicle Passes Through IB Sobriety Checkpoint
According to the news release posted on the San Diego Sheriff’s website, 692 vehicles went through the checkpoint, 35 vehicles were sent through secondary screening, 11 field sobriety tests were given, 7 vehicles were impounded and 4 people were arrested for DUI. The checkpoint began actual operation at 8:15pm, not at 7:30pm as stated in the press release.
Sobriety (DUI) Checkpoint On Palm Ave In Imperial Beach
The checkpoint seemed to be a well oiled machine and all the law enforcement personnel were in a good mood. The methodology for the checkpoint was very similar to the way rides at amusement parks are loaded up. Cars were waved forward, twelve at a time to a waiting line of twelve officers, so all cars in the line get checked for compliance simultaneously. Once all the officers were done, the cars get waved through and another twelve cars took their place. Since the checkpoint was stationed on Palm Ave. between the stoplights at 9th St. and 13th St. the flow of traffic was very well regulated and caused delays no worse than having to endure an extra stoplight. Kudos to the San Diego Sheriff!
Navy Gunfire Behind The Dinosaur Cage
I was treated to a distant yet colorful photographic treat when the navy had a training exercise that involved exploding a lot of ordinance and shooting a lot of bullets. I was a least a half mile away but it was still neat to see and pretty loud. The fireworks suddenly started at 10:35pm in the pitch black so this was a 6400 ISO mission for me… I just wish I had been closer.
South Bay, Dinosaur Cage, Coronado And The Navy
It lasted less than 15 minutes so I was fortunate to be around. Cars were stopping on Hwy 75 and people were piling to the north end of 7th St. to get a look at the action. Below is a video with the audio from the event as the soundtrack. Cheers!
San Diego’s South Bay At Night
It seems to me that I’ve been ignoring the night lately, so I’m going to change that, slowly but surely. For my fellow photographers, both photos in this post are 30 second exposures at f/8, ISO 200.
Front Porch With A View Of Downtown & San Diego Bay
Both photos above are from the front porch of a lucky person that lives, literally at the very edge of San Diego bay. The view is looking north, with downtown San Diego glowing in the background.
The Griswolds In La Mesa
If you don’t know who the Griswolds are then you should just turn around and walk away from my blog. Seriously, get your ass out of here until you can appreciate what I’m saying… Go watch the “Vacation” movies!
Christmas Eve Mass At La Mesa Christ Lutheran Church
Christ Lutheran Church of La Mesa held a Christmas Eve mass, as all Christians do, but this particular mass spilled out to the front of the church. With candles in hand, these worshipers sang songs and then enjoyed hot chocolate and cider.
It’s hard to say why these parishioners lit candles and sang songs out in front of their church instead of inside their church. Some sort of projection of faith would be my best guess, while acting on an impulse to play with fire is a distant second best guess.
And The Choir Says Amen
For all you photographers out there, this paragraph is for you. I used a Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO for all the shots in this post. Cranking up the ISO allowed me to keep the shutter speed at 1/30th the entire time. This is a shutter speed right on the cusp of being able to use without a tripod so I made sure to hold my breath and take my time every time I made a photo.
Let me just come right out and say that I am so glad the large sensors on actual DSLR’s enable me to leave my tripod at home. Those of you that have read my ABOUT ME page know that I hate carrying gear around, so being able to leave the BIGGEST piece of gear (my tripod) at home means I get to do the happy dance.
Low light photography tends to be lumped into the slow shutter speed box, so I’m here to say , “Ney!” Don’t be scared to up your ISO. I know there’s noise in these photos, but so what? Did you become a photographer to fight the noise of the world or to make great photography? For me, being a photographer is all about telling a story in spite of bad lighting, noise, motion or anything else. Great photographs transcend the digital pixels they are imprinted on.
Wait A Minute, He Kinda Looks Like A Baby
And so ends this very random collection of photos taken during the Christmas Eve mass at Christ Lutheran Church. Merry Christmas!
Angelique – The Living Music Box At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa
I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across “Christmas in the Village” on La Mesa Blvd. last night. Tonight (December 11, 2010) is the final night of this 2 day, free event so grab your kids and bring your appetites on down to La Mesa tonight for some Victorian Era decor, fun and food. The photo above shows Zoe Tantrum performing as Angelique: The Living Music Box. This was something I’ve never seen before and was the highlight of the time I spent spent wandering around.
Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa
I’ve lived 5 minutes away from the pizza joint above, but I’ve never eaten there, which is amazing considering the amount of pizza I’ve eaten since moving to La Mesa. During the Christmas festivities however, San Filippo’s Pizza is serving pizza by the slice for $2. I practically dove through the door when I saw that sign because I was very cold, I had been craving a slice of pepperoni pizza and I wanted to try out the place. They had run out of pepperoni slices when I entered though, and there was a several minute wait that I just didn’t want to hang around for, so I have a reason to return tonight so I can FINALLY sample San Filippo’s Pizza.
Dancing In The Village
The troupe above were dancing and performing to Christian songs and I would say they seemed to be having the most fun of anyone else there.
Entertaining The Children
There are about a half dozen “sit-down” things to watch like musical bands, puppet shows, buskers, etc. All of it is free and it’s fun for the whole family. Bring your appetites as well because all the restaurants are open late.
Zoe Tantrum As Angelique – The Living Music Box
Watching this performer was memorizing, like watching a whirling dervish. Oddly simple, totally original, yet requiring years of patient practice to look beautiful and graceful.
Bucket Brothers At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa
The Bucket Brothers are a comedy drumming sensation that will make you laugh and will probably have you singing along before you leave. So come down the Christmas in the Village in La Mesa tonight for all the Christmas cheer yo want and all the food you can eat. Below is a video of Angelique – The Living Music Box. Cheers!
15 Seconds Near La Mesa Blvd Trolley Station
We have our first update for trolley closures that will accommodate construction for the trolley renewal project. In a nutshell, blue line southbound service will terminate at Palm Ave. on the weekends between now and the end of 2010. Shuttles will run in lieu of the trolleys between Palm Ave. and the border. There will also be an express shuttle running directly from San Ysidro to Palomar station. During the holiday weekends of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years there will be no construction so the blue line trolley will be running regular weekend service all the way to the border. This seems very straightforward to me: From now until the end of the year, there will be trolley service disruptions on non-holiday weekends between the Palm Avenue station and the San Ysidro/International Border station.
My introduction to Technomania Circus was less than a year ago, and I will say now in plain sight of God and man that it has been an amazing and colorful year. Right here, in San Diego is a performing troupe of circus players that make their living as actors while providing entertainment on a monthly basis to the citizens of San Diego.
The show they performed on May 1, 2010 was aptly titled, “Variety And Blacklight Show” and it was a stellar, hilarious, fiery and musical ordeal. There was just so much happening during this show… There was an incredible amount of variety (go figure) but there was also a healthy dose of fire, that I don’t think the audience expecting, yet immediately embraced.
The technomaniacs have been busy since I attended their last show, “Invasion of the Oojaians: A Blacklight and Fire Intergalactic Adventure.” They have a newly constructed and much larger stage, what seemed to me to be better lighting (regular & blacklight), and a great audio system that does double duty by playing show music as well as serving as a P.A. for the actors.
Of course, before the show started, I had to make my way through the entrance to the ticket desk. It was while I was at the desk that I saw Paul Moeller, one of the resident technomaniacs getting ready for the show. He came right up to me and informed me that not only was I “on the list” for entry into the show, but I have also been given the title, “Official Photographer” for Technomania Circus, and he produced an official badge for me to wear! How cool is that? These guys are just so gracious and welcoming no matter who walks into their yard, but this gesture really is more than going the extra mile for a fan of the show. Thanks guys!
Technomania Circus Is Where We Dance
This show was all over the map, all over the stage and even off the stage into the audience. What makes Technomania Circus better than a movie or other live theater venues is that they bring their energy right into your lap, and you as the audience are able to throw your energy right onto the stage. There is a perfect harmony between the performers and the audience that you won’t find anywhere else.
Every time you go to a Technomania Circus show, you will see something you have never seen before. I have personally been around the world and back again, and I used to say I’d seen everything, but then I started going to these shows. The Devil himself walked out on stage, acknowledged us mere mortals, announced that he’s a drinker and a smoker, had one of his underworld minions give him a light, and then held a Q&A with the audience. After that, the Pope, God’s human representative on Earth joined the fallen angel on stage, answered a few questions and then broke out into song. Yep, that is just a small portion of my Saturday night, spending time watching things I have never seen before. Now, let me just say now that I am a photographer, so video and video editing are pretty much a foreign languages to me. So, with that in mind, the two video clips I’m including with this post are short & sweet… Because, uh… I don’t know how to mix and edit video yet. I’m learning, but until I’m ready to go prime-time with all of it, you will have to settle for erratic clips and shoddy editing. Please don’t blame my D5000 or Technomania Circus, just blame me! At least we can now say with certainty that the Pope does indeed wear a funny hat.
Paul and Mary Moeller, pictured above are two of the best reasons to embrace music, performing arts, and Technomania Circus. They are two of the coolest cats I have ever met. They create and perform music, they dance, sing and entertain. On this particular night, they performed the “Masochist Tango” which had some hilarious lyrics, but I just don’t remember any of those lyrics now. The premise was eloquently simple and familiar: A woman sits inside a Starbucks, writing (a screenplay) on her Mac, when a man enters and lures her into an amazingly choreographed tango. It was a sexy and provocative dance, and we audience members were enthralled. What made this situation uniquely Technomania was that they both held their coffees while dancing with each other. It was hilarious because they both danced the tango while spilling coffee all over themselves, but remained oblivious to it the entire time. Looks of passion, wanting and desire were subverted by the roaring laughter of the audience.
How About A Little Fire, Scarecrow?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Fire is my favorite part of Technomania Circus. I could fill an entire blog, from beginning to end with photos of the technomaniacs flinging fire around the stage. When they were kids and their folks told them not to play with matches, I wonder what their collective response was. Do you remember all those things we were forbidden to do as kids? These guys make a living by doing all of those things!
One of the regular acts at Technomania Circus is The Welderman. These are people that don fireproof clothing, throw fire around wherever and however they please while performing music for the masses. They will be competing at the 2010 World Telekinesis Competition next month. This is a competition for people that can control fire by using only the power of their minds. It’s great to know that a hometown San Diego hero will be tearing it up in a competition of people with kinetic abilities that far surpass my own.
Jon Juggles Fire
For some reason the word “fire” was not included in the title of this show’s performance. So, that meant that all of us audience members didn’t expect a lot, or ANY fire as we walked in. Ha! There was fire at this show, and we loved it!
Dr. Techno is the technomaniac that generally warms up the crowd, greets theater goers and owns a very loyal dog. Right here and now, I will give him credit for aligning the pieces that comprise the Technomania Circus… Everything from the venue, the talent, the bleacher seating and the very, very crazy bathroom. This guy actually has space pirates (and a space pirates theme song) perform at his theater! I will go out on a limb and say that NO ONE has ever been able to make that claim before.
As mentioned earlier, there will be something at EVERY Technomania Circus show that you have never seen before. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I had no idea that later that night I would see a robot, dressed in Victoria’s Secret lingerie get fondled by another (presumably male) robot. That and the earlier mentioned appearance by The Devil & pope are just two of the MANY things I had never seen before this show. Besides being a very convenient location for those of us that take the trolley, Technomania Circus is just something that you find yourself wanting to go to and looking forward to. The circus lives at 2438 Commercial St. San Diego, in Logan Heights, right across from the 25th & Commercial Orange Line trolley stop. It is literally 15 feet away from the trolley stop, so there is no reason to think you can’t take public transportation there and back. They offer drinks, snacks t-shirts and buttons for sale, and they are all reasonably priced. Feel free to bring your own snacks or drinks, but be sure to keep your drinks in a brown paper bag *wink*. Anyway, I’ll wrap up this post with one more quick (and poorly shot) video of a break dancing alien as well as with my two favorite shots of the evening. Their next show is on June 5th, 2010 and it is called, “The Wild Wild REALLY Wild Western Circus.” I’ll see everyone there. Cheers!
Jon Blows Fire At Technomania Circus
Technomania Circus Is The Greatest Show On Earth
Murrugun The Mystic Amazes The Crowd
The Spring Busker Festival rolled into San Diego’s Seaport Village this weekend, and it was quite a show. A “Busker” is a street performer of just about any sort… Jugglers, dancers, fire-breathers, comedians, etc. They perform because they love to perform. These people are the epitome of “follow your dream” because they are brave enough to take a stab at doing what they love for a living, rather than rotting under fluorescent lights for 40 hours a week.
For the photo above I had meant to focus on Murrugun The Mystic, but in my haste to capture the fireball, accidentally focused on the crowd behind him instead. I think the faces on the crowd says it all. This performance was amazing and everyone there had a great time. The vignetting on the right and left side are actually the heads of the people standing in front of me. This pic was snapped at 1/100th, f/1.8, 400 ISO.
Calypso Tumblers Warming Up The Crowd
These are just two of a troupe of about 10 or so dancers that were more flexible than any Olympic gymnast I’ve ever seen. Shot at 1/60th, f/1.8, 2000 ISO.
Project Dynamite Explodes Onto The Scene
The dynamic duo from Project Dynamite (Alex Clark & David Kaplan) pulled several people from the audience to help them out, and the two pictured above happened to be my favorite. Their immediate stage names were Berta and McLovin, and they tried their best to steal the show. Berta was kind enough to let a couple people do a motorboat between her breasts, and even helped a shy McLovin get in on that action. After being tied up in chains, Project Dynamite escaped and removed their clothes in 35 seconds. The pic above was snapped at 1/30th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO. The video below shows them escaping and undressing.
Murrugun The Mystic With His Money And A Honey
When Murrugun finished swallowing swords and blowing fireballs 20 feet into the air, it was time to collect his dues. He must have left his collection hat at home so he went for the next best thing… He allowed tippers to staple money to his body! I would like to repeat that: Murrugun The Mystic allowed people to staple money to his body. $5 bought onlookers the privilege of stapling cash onto his nipple, while $20 earned you the right to staple a greenback right onto his forehead. While others stapled, I snapped this pic at 1/100th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO.
Project Dynamite With A New Assistant
After they escaped from the chains and their clothes, Project Dynamite found a new volunteer. Her job turned out to be torch bearer, or more specifically, torch thrower. After stacking 15 folding chairs and balancing on top of them, the assistant tossed six torches up to the performers, where they (the torches) were set aflame and juggled. It was quite a thing to see. Vital stats from the pic above are 1/60th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO.
And Then There Was Fire
This was the finale for Buskers After Dark, 2010 in Seaport Village, San Diego. Project Dynamite, stripped down to their skivvies juggled torches between one another while balancing 10 feet in the air on a stack of folding chairs. I bet next year will be even better!
Men With Beards Have To Eat Too
This particular location, where these men are, is a restaurant, and they were somewhere in the middle of their meal when I took this photo. This stats of this shot are: 1/50th, f/1.8, 1400 ISO.
D5000, 1/50th, f/1.8, 2500 ISO
Here we have a self portrait of my Nikon D5000. A friend of mine recently rented a wide angle lens, so after playing with it for a little while, I want one of my own. I have no idea when or where I would actually use it, but that doesn’t matter… If you use it, the photos will come.
D5000, 5 Seconds, f/8, 200 ISO
This was an accidental shot. I have no idea how or why I tried to take a hand-held photo with a five second exposure, but apparently I did. There is nothing redeeming about this photo, but I thought it looked cool, so it made it into the post.
Deboarding The San Diego Trolley At Night
La Mesa Public Library
The Fountain Adjacent To The La Mesa BLVD Trolley Station
Gypsy Treasure Costume Store In La Mesa
“Chasing It,” is a gambling term. Google it. I’m not going to explain it here. A few months back, some friends won the lottery in China. I didn’t buy a ticket, so I didn’t get to feel the joy that comes from winning the Celestial Lottery, only the humiliation of knowing I was wrong. Ever since then, I’ve been chasing it. I’ve been looking for my own Chinese Lottery and after all this time I’ve finally found it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find it in two places. For me, that means I will be able to pull my brain back onto an even keel. I’m going to visit a cove in Japan, and a wasteland in Kentucky. I’m going to win the lottery in both locales.
Try On 450mm For Size
Even though I’m eventually going to spring for a 75X telescope lens, I have to pass the time in that interim somehow, so my 300mm (450mm equivalent with my Nikon DX D5000 camera) will have to do. I missed out on the Mars photo-op last week, but whatever the cosmos hold in store for the future will be captured by me, a telescope and my camera.
Neon Is Not Exactly Photo Friendly
Back in the days of shooting with my Panasonic DMC-FZ28, night photography was easy. Simply put, any ISO above 100 was too noisy, so all my night stuff with the FZ28 was at 100 ISO with a long shutter speed. Now that I have a Nikon D5000, noise at high ISO is not an issue, other than I feel like I have a whole new chapter of nighttime photography to learn. Other than that, everything is great.
The Mirror Above The Head Chef Tells All
The first picture in my last post is a shot a really like, and this opinion was echoed by a fellow photographer that looked at it. That was all the encouragement I needed, so I set about capturing lightning in a bottle once again, and I failed. The pic above was taken on the sly. No one knew I was there except for the bouncer at the bar next door.
American People Being Served Chinese Food
Yes, I admit that this shot is much less interesting than the shot I took from the outside of the San Diego Culinary Institute, but I was trying to capture lightning in a bottle, so I’d appreciate it if you’d ease up off my back about it.
Steps Of The San Diego Convention Center
I was at the San Diego Bay Parade Of Lights on Sunday, and since the parade started over an hour late, I had time to get some shots of non-boat things. As it turns out, they would be the gems of the evening. I didn’t get a single decent shot of any of the boats.
Shaky Monopod & Too Short Of A Shutter
I have a Benro MA-91 aluminum monopod with fold out stabilizer legs that just don’t cut it for long exposure shots. The monopod stands up on it’s own, but it is never rock solid like a tripod, whether you are holding it or not. It was no help at all for taking shots of moving boats at night, all lit up as if Clark W. Griswald was at the helm of each one. For good shots of these boats I needed a lot of shutter time AND a firmly planted camera. The Benro just doesn’t provide it. High ISO on my camera is so noisy that it hurts me and makes me sad, so it was not considered as an option. Even with me bracing the monopod, 1/10 shutter was all I could count on to be clear with this tripoded monopod. I then placed my bag on the ground and my camera on the bag and took another shot. Since it was rock steady, I was able to use more shutter time and get a better photo. So… The pic above was 1/10, hovering over 5 feet above the ground on top of a Benro monopod posing as a tripod. The shot below was taken with the camera on firm ground with 1 second of shutter time. That’s what I got instead of boats on the night I went to a parade of Christmas-lit boats: Buildings and steps.
San Diego Skyline With One Second Exposure
There are a few lessons here, the first being that fold out legs on a monopod are no substitute for a tripod when doing night photography. Another lesson would be a willingness to find something else to shoot if your original subject, your equipment or even your own mad, photographic skills fail you. The boats were out of my reach so I turned around and shot the Christmas city skyline instead.
South Bay Power Plant On A Colorful Night
The southeast area of San Diego Bay is the home of South Bay Power Plant. It is not a desalination plant. Somehow, back in October I got it in my head that this facility removed salt from seawater. I took a night picture of it and wrote a blog post about it, titled, Night & Day With Salt & Dinosaurs, but it turns out it was factually incorrect. Oh well. This new and better information called for a new and better photo. The shot on the left is the image from the post I just mentioned.
I like the colors and the composition of the newer shot are much better than the first. I was still over a mile away, from the power plant , so you have to give it up for the super-zoom! This was a 10 second exposure, with my camera sitting on a thick fencepost made of brick.
Some slow shutter speed photography tips are: Turn off any anti-shake features on your camera, use a tripod and use the 2 second shutter release delay. If you don’t have your tripod, then set the camera on a firm surface. Multi-second exposures can not be hand held!
Beautiful Indian Being Played With Behind Fire
Once again, I found myself at Technomania Circus, for some live theater entertainment. On this particular Saturday night, Technomania Circus put on a Wild, Wild West Show, complete with gunfire, indians, cowboys, trapeze, fire and blacklight. I arrived just as the show was starting, and was actually led into the theater by the cowboys, as they made their theatrical entrance. While this made for some initial excitement for me, it also meant I did not get my usual spot at the top of the stadium seating. Not a big deal for watching the show, but terrible for taking pictures. The two keepers I shot are presented to you in this post.
Technomania Circus Presents The Wild Wild West Show!
This was a great show. For those of you that are not Technomania Circus Virgins, your will recognize the Indians of this show are also the fire performers from the Fire & Blacklight show back in July. It was so much fun, and the crowd cheered and encouraged the performers the entire time. Technomania Circus is simply the best, cheapest, funniest, most retro night you can spend in San Diego!
20 Seconds Of Open Shutter & A Desalination Plant (I Think)
If you stand at the the Southern tip of San Diego Bay and face North, you will see a factory at your 10 o’clock. As far as I know, and judging by the piles of salt around the factory, this factory is involved in the removal of salt from ocean water. I suppose the salt is then exported to the salt deprived countries of the work, and the water deprived people of San Diego. I was 6000 feet away from the factory when I snapped this pic. Super-zoom cameras are the shit, right?
Golden Hour In San Diego
Same factory, seen while the sun is casting it’s final rays for the day upon it. Ever since my tripod got smashed to Hell by a pack of rabid wolves over the summer, I have had to hand hold all my shots. Easy during the day but less than optimal during the night.
30 Second Exposure Of San Diego’s Silver Strand Dinosaur Cage
I set my camera on a bench, near the bike path, pressed the shutter and let the magic happen.
Imperial Beach’s Dinosaur Cage
I’m still hoping for my money shot of the Dinosaur Cage, located on the Southern end of San Diego Bay. I like what I’ve done but I think something better is in store.
After Midnight At 12th & Imperial Trolley Station, Neon Is Your Friend
I swear to the the creator that it really was a dark and foggy night! Shut up! It was so foggy that you could not see more than 50 feet in front of you, and it was so late that ALL the San Diego Trolley police had gone home for the night. The sodium halogen lights from the clock in the photo below below and the neon lights in the photo above were the only earthly things separating the world of light from the debauchery of the world of night. Due to an abundance of shady characters and the lack of trolley security guards, I was only able to snap a few shots. For those of you that do not understand what I am saying, trying to snap some pics, on the sly, after midnight at the 12th & Imperial Transit Station. I would have felt more at ease if I was trying to take a dump on the White House Lawn.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock – Late At Night The Trolley Can’t Come Soon Enough
The Biggest Moon Of The Year Just Didn’t Cooperate
This post will be a little bit different because it will offer a view of the man behind the curtain. October 4th was the actual harvest moon for 2009, but nothing was falling into place, photographically. I had no tripod and the moon was already well above the horizon by the time I set out, so I felt like I had failed. The once a year harvest moon was not properly photographed by me because I was late out of the blocks. What can I say? It wasn’t until I was entering my pad that I saw the spider above, huge and fluttering on it’s web in a very stiff evening breeze. I tried to capture, in camera, the spider, against the moon, but the wind was so strong and my hand so unsteady that I could not quite get the metering I hoped for.
My Mad Photoshop CS4 Skills Had Failed Me
I attempted to use my digital darkroom to recreate what my eyes had seen, but it was to no avail. The image size had to be reduced so that I would not look like an imbecile, posting photos that were nothing more than hacks or garbage. Hopefully, you can still get an idea of what I was trying to do, even though I failed to do it.
It’s Important Not To Hide When You Fail
Yet fail is what I did, yet again with this web. The spider, on his web was moving aroung in the breeze so much that use=ing my on camera flash was the only way I could could any detail. The problem was that using the flash blew out the spider, so it was a pure white mess. My solution was to crop as much of the web as I could and that mirror image it so it would look like I had done a grander job than I actually had. Don’t tell!
What Would My Role For This Moon Have Been 1000 Years Ago?
I actually like this shot, even though it is just a glorified snapshot, and won’t make me any money. The moon has a sense of scale with the trees and the clouds. It lights up the sky and clouds but not the trees. It is huge and it was captured by me. Yes!
Simple Bold Colors
Near the dinosaur cage, is the Southern end of San Diego’s Bay, the proverbial end of the line. The water goes no further than this point here. In the photo above, you are looking due South, seeing light reflected from the Southern most bit of water contained by the land of the bay. To your right is the relentless Pacific Ocean and to your left is Imperial Beach.
I returned to the scene of the crime. As I monitored the progress of the latest Cop Condominium in my neighborhood, I was again challenged by an officer of the law. The challenge was actually more of a wrestling match, but I had my own back-up present, so I won the challenge.
Taxpayer Money During A Recession: $12.3 million
What really got me was the complete lack of progress on the police station’s construction. Maybe the cops in the area should threaten & belittle the construction workers like they do photographers, blacks, homeless people and Norwegians.
So, despite the fact that I was feeling bulletproof from standing toe-toe with a cop and emerging victorious, I wasn’t done for the night, I found a cannon sitting nearby, so I took an image of it & the moon
This is a very old cannon, What is a cannon anyway?
Maybe if I had the time to deceive people tonight, I would have PS’d a better rendition of the moon.
Hiding Behind an Industrial Truck So The Police Won’t Interrogate Me
Here is your lesson of the night people: If you are in America and a Cop detains you, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING without an attorney present!