May 4, 2013 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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.
August 2, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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!
July 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Flower Shaped Fireworks On Imperial Beach Pier
Imperial Beach hosted a gigantic fireworks display, launching fireworks off their pier for 2011 4th of July Independence Day celebrations and guess what? That’s a 7 minute bike ride from my house! I’m serious; my total commute time was a mere 30 minutes (because I made two trips) while automobile traffic was a parking lot nightmare. Getting out of Imperial Beach and Coronado; the entire Silver Strand looked like a cross between a drive-in movie parking lot and a Taco Bell drive-thru line at 2am. What is the lesson to be learned here? Next year, if you go to Imperial Beach or Coronado to see the fireworks on the 4th of July, ride your bike!
People At Imperial Beach On The 4th of July 2011
Most people start arriving during the day, and even though it’s more crowded than usual, it’s never out of hand. In the photo above you can see people patiently waiting for darkness and fireworks as well as being issued a ticket for having alcohol on the beach.
IB Woman With Amputated Arm
The lady above is always around Imperial Beach pier and was enjoying the live music when a phone call interrupted her. I snapped this shot because the way she’s holding her phone, her white wrist wrap and the color of her fingers matching her hair did a trick of the eye on me, making me think she was a double amputee. The tattoo on her right arm is a classic frontier star with the word, “SHERIFF” in the center.
Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky
IB pier was gated off by the time I arrived due to the large amount of pyrotechnic booty that had been carefully placed about. Sunset was to happen exactly at 8pm and the show at 9. This is where the magic was going to happen, this is where we can all say, “Boom goes the dynamite.”
During summer it’s not exactly dark at 9pm, so the opening barrage of fireworks had nice wisps of clouds behind them. The opening volley of fireworks is where you’ll find some golden moments of photography because during the explosion of the first set is the ONLY time you’ll have a smoke free sky, so you can actually include the sky in the background of your fireworks shot. As you see in the photos above, smoke becomes a problem very fast. The pic on the left was shot at 3200 ISO & the right at 1250 ISO.
I didn’t have a tripod so I had to find a combination of ISO and f-stop that would work with my self-imposed handheld photography shutter speed limit of 1/20th of a second. The f-stop turned out to be easy, wide open! For the lens I had that meant f/3.5. I wanted to include a lot of foreground/people in my photos so my ISO was determined by the lighting of the foreground; I cranked it up high, from 1600 to 3200 if the foreground was dark or dropped it to 200 if there was already ambient light around, such as those taken with people seated under lights. Whatever my ISO was, my shutter speed was always slow, 1/20th of a second or slower so I made sure to stand still, hold my breath and press the shutter release button with a surgeon’s delicate touch for each & every frame. What that did was keep my own personal movement and the movement of the camera to a minimum. These are the problems that I have to compensate for by not using a tripod. I sacrificed stability in favor of mobility since I was going to spend the entire 16 minute show running around.
Imperial Beach Portwood Pier Plaza Sign
The photo you see above is the main sign at the foot of the pier, in the center of Imperial Beach’s Seacoast District and is an example of planning ahead in order to get ahead. I knew the show would last 16 minutes, so I made sure I was near the Imperial Beach sign at the 16th minute for two reasons: First, because I wanted shots of the sign silhouetted by the fireworks and second, because from that spot I was already off the beach and the pier. In other words it made for a great shot and a great escape! Cheers!
July 4, 2011 At Imperial Beach, CA Pier
June 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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!
May 28, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
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!
April 1, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 4 Comments
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!
February 27, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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.
January 29, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Receiving Instructions At A Softball Clinic
I made a dedicated trip to Imperial Beach Sports Park to see a girls softball clinic the other night to get an idea of what the nighttime lighting conditions are like at this particular field. The lighting turned out to be very good. You would normally expect lighting to be the problem at night at a venue like this, but my enemy the entire time were the chain link fences which seemed to be everywhere, spoiling my backgrounds and foregrounds. I’m gonna have to work on that. Spring training is not just for the players, but the photographers and staff as well.
Learning Techniques For Pitching And Catching
There are several ball fields at the park, some of them less fenced in than others so with any luck the actual games will be played on different fields. Kulken Field, in La Mesa is a great little league baseball field and I got some great shots at an all star game there last summer. Anyway, I’m looking forward to watching a lot of live baseball and softball this year, while working on my photographic technique at the same time. Cheers!
December 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Christmas Lights As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10
Every photo and video in this post was taken or filmed with a Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10 at night during the 2010 Christmas season. Bloggie seems to have a max ISO of 1600. I was ultimately impressed with what this camera can do, especially the video capabilities, with the exception of the slow focusing in low light. Seriously, at full zoom it wouldn’t focus at all until I zoomed out, waited for the focus at then slowly zooming back in. It was very frustrating.
Christmas Video Shot With A Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS10
So what are my impressions of the Sony Bloggie Touch? It takes FOREVER to focus in low light, but it records some damn fine video and photos. It fits in my pocket and powers up in less than two seconds so it is just about always ready to go. Use the photos and the video in this post as your guide. I didn’t include daytime photos in this post because every camera takes great photos with lots of light but only great DSLR’s and video cameras can do the same at night.
December 25, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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!