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
April 6, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 3 Comments
Yoga By Candlelight
There was a time when I looked at a camera as if I were looking at a bucket of paint or a stack of lumber. Back in the day my camera was a pile of stuff to do a job. Things have changed since then because now, my camera is a weapon, a friend, an employer and journal. The really weird thing is that I used to look at one of my photographs as a raw canvas that would become a work of art after I ran it through Photoshop. It’s different now because rather than using bullshit post-production techniques to fake a great photo, I use actual photographic experience to make a great photo. Photoshop has now been relegated to being nothing more than a tool in my box, just like a flashlight or a hammer.
The photo above is an original piece of art I created in 2007, and let sit on an unobserved shelf since then. At the time, for some reason I was trying to decide if I was an artist or a photographer. Defining what I was seemed more important than actually doing anything. There is a great line from a late 1990′s song called, “Steal My Sunshine” by the band, Len that I repeat to people around me today:
“And of course you can’t become if you only say what you would have done, so I missed a million miles of fun.”
I was introduced to that line of lyric at just the right time. At the time I was less than 5 years removed from an epic journey through South America and barely a year from an amazing, self-destructive path I’d cut through North Africa. Not to give anything away, but details from both those adventures and the time in between have already been sold and are being made into a Hollywood movie. I would be more excited but… Meh. What is soon to be new for the population of the world was old news to me 15 years ago.
Still, watching a 17 year old boy on vacation with his parents in the Virgin Islands that signs onto a Greek cargo ship as an able-bodied seaman that takes him to Brazil were he sails up the Amazon River to the foot of the Andes mountains only to be deported and flown back to America where he joins and serves 4 years in the Navy, hops a ship to Morocco, then heads east to Syria where he had to flee the country at night to avoid having his hand amputated for stealing oranges might have some appeal for American cinema folks. What do you think?
April 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
A Beautiful Golden Hour Scene In Utah
Somewhere in the wild blue yonder of Utah, in a location I would really have to struggle to find again is the canyon you see above. Seeing an unspoiled view like this, identical to what the pioneers saw hundreds of years ago keeps the spirit of exploration in me alive. Traveling is good, and I think the tiger inside me has awakened and wants to roam around. The tiger inside me wants to travel.
No Loitering! This Is A “Traveling Only” Zone.
I want to take quick, inexpensive outings like the trip I took to Las Vegas last month and I want to take them regularly. Going to new places is fun and since I take photos the whole time I become a better photographer, which enables me to make more money which enables me to travel more. This helps me to improve my photography because I take more photos while traveling than while at home because the inspiration and excitement I get from traveling to a new locale causes me to click the shutter way more often then when I’m in a familiar place. Traveling with your camera is a win-win situation for everyone… New places are seen and photographed, those photos are shared and inspire a whole new group of people to travel or pick up a camera.
April 3, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Mouseover Photo Above For Black & White Version
While editing photos, I may end up with a few different versions of the same photo. Trying to decide which version I will present to the world can be difficult. There is a plugin for WordPress called IMG Mouseover that helps make this choice a little easier. It allows two photos to occupy the same space on a page, changing from one to the other when the viewer hovers their mouse over the image. If you mouseover the image above, it will switch to a black & white version. This is a very clever way to show more photos with less space but you will want to make sure to include some text or a caption so your viewers will know they need to mouseover images to see something else. Back in February, San Diego had a “King Tide” event so I was able to use the IMG Mouseover plugin to show the difference between high & low water marks. Being able to switch between two photos really helps to make a point and tell the story. That post, with photos that show the difference in San Diego Bay’s tides can be seen here.
December 31, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
My Final List For 2009
As the final day of 2009 has less than 7 hours left, I made sure to write a list of personal things I want to remember. A small portion of this list is above.
December 15, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Water Evidence On An Alien Planet – As Seen From An Orbiting Satellite
Back in the 1970′s, NASA launched a series of deep space probes. Mostly forgotten today, some of them have finally managed to reach planets outside our own solar system. The image above was taken from 150 miles above the surface of a planet named “NIROBI”. The visible geographic features could be giant, wind-swept sand dunes or even a series of canyons made by liquid water.
December 3, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
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!
November 23, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
This Guy Drove His Mustang Into Southbay
It was an action packed half hour in Southbay San Diego on Sunday! About a half mile south of the South Bay County Biological Study Area, just north of the point where Palm Ave. meets up with Silver Strand Boulevard, some poor soul drove his mustang into the Southwestern tip of San Diego Bay. A San Diego Police helicopter circled overhead, a tow truck arrived, and most users of the Bayshore Silver Strand Bikeway stopped to see this intruder into the bay. This guy was driving way too fast, lost control, and spun out into the bay. Technically, I think he ended up on the nature preserve at the extreme south end of San Diego Bay.
Waiter, There’s A Car In My Bay!
All things being equal, how often do you see a mustang, police, sheriffs AND a white heron all in the same photo? What a bummer though, right? I would also make the assumption that the driver is in the military because some MP’s showed up a little later as well. A tow truck pulled the car out without incident, and a San Diego Police helicopter supervised from overhead for a few minutes. After that, things returned to normal, and a cloudless sunset followed.
Excitement At Southbay County Biological Study Area
Watching this helicopter swoop, dive and circle overhead reminded me that I have always wanted to learn how to fly a helicopter. Of course, I could be wrong, but to me they seem like the motorcycles of the sky. Motorcycles of course, being way cooler than cars.
About 3 Miles North & 3 Hours After The Accident
As the final sunset of the weekend approached, I hustled north on the Bayshore Silver Strand Bikeway, towards downtown San Diego. I was on the East side of Silver Strand Boulevard, so the fence that denotes the Eastern edge of Silver Strand State Park was in my way, but the sunset was still very easy on the eyes.
October 30, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Just A Scene With A Lot Of Color
My first post on this blog was a short record of my trip to Palm Springs in May, 2009. Due to all the hustle and bustle of a new website, the photos that did not make the original grade had been more or less forgotten. Three lucky pics are now given a chance to see the world for the very first time.
Desert Riders Motorcycle Club Members
Although the grain of photoshop film degrades the detail a bit, I like this shot because texting on cell phones, drinking powerade and applying sun screen occupies the minds of these suburban bike riders. The one in the middle looked right at me, then continued texting.
I Call This A Color Sandwich
Nothing more to add. I just wanted to post these four pictures. Feel free to look at my very first blog post by clicking here.
One Does Want A Hint Of Color
The windmill in the middle is my favorite one. It is frozen into a perfect viewing position. Anyways, hover over the tag cloud below to rotate it, and then click on any tag that strikes your fancy.
October 23, 2009 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
$26 Million Bridge To Nowhere & San Diego Sunset
I really have no idea why this bridge is being built. What you see in the foreground is the mast that the pedestrian bridge will be suspended from. It will span the trolley tracks, over Harbor drive in downtown San Diego. $26 million dollars so that residents of Paris Hilton’s hotel can get to Petco Park without having the pesky inconvenience of walking all the way to 5th Ave. to cross the street. It will shave about 800 feet of distance for these glorious people. Considering the price tag and taking simple math into account, we the OTHER people are paying $32,500 for every step the Hilton folk are taking. So, Harbor Drive In San Diego has a very impressive bridge to nowhere that is, kind of expensive.