Friday, February 26, 2010

Wawona Covered Bridge Crossing The South Fork Merced River

I decided to go back and look at some of the photos I have not processed from my last trip to Yosemite, the last week of 2009. This was the last place I visited on this trip to Yosemite, before heading back south to San Diego.

In this area, it's an area of Yosemite that not many photographers take many photos of, to my surprise. This is in Wawona, in Yosemite National Park. The famous Wawona Hotel is right close by to this location. Which, makes it all the more surprising. Not to mention, it has the best outdoor toilet of anywhere I have found in Yosemite, thus far.

In this photo, you see the Wawona covered bridge crossing over the south fork of the Merced River. There is also the Wawona stables (not seen) off to the left in this image. This is where you can make reservations, during the Summer months mainly, to take a half-day horseback ride to picturesque Chilnualna Falls. But, don't overlook what is right in this immediate area.

I found the sparse snow mixed with the green moss on the rocks interesting. Then I was fortunate enough to get a bit of diffused sunlight splashed on the covered bridge. I tried to get out as far as I could into the river, so I could lead the river to the bridge and place the bridge appropriately in the shot.

I didn't quite get to where I wanted, but I think the log cabin off to the upper right really was a crucial element in the photo and really tied things together in this shot. I believe that, because it gives the viewer some info as to what is across the bridge, but without telling too much at all. It leaves the viewer asking, "What is over there?" Many interpretations can be made about what purpose the bridge actually serves, which leaves intrigue in the shot.

On your next visit to Yosemite, check out this little area.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Right Outside My Window

I really went far for this photo. Ok. I just clicked the sarcasm off. This was taken at one of the entrances to my apartment complex.

There were obvious things that attracted me to this photo. One of them is the circular shape when you walk through the gate, as you look up. I then use the shape of the shadow, as well as the path that leads back into the complex, to create a lead-in line. Kind of almost looks like a keyhole shape. The other things that obviously stands out is the orange stucco against the blue sky.

Anyways, sometimes it is very easy to walk out in our immediate neighborhood and forget that it can be photogenic, as well. That great photo can literally be right outside your window.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Some days, we all feel like this swamp monkey. Aaaargh!

The monkey was actually yawning. But I liked where he was perched and seems the monkey picked that high spot on the branch to let out a loud screech for all to hear.

This was taken at the world famous San Diego Zoo.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, during the months of February thru April, every weekend I shoot what is called winterguard. Winterguard is basically indoor colorguard. These shows are held indoors, mostly in high school gymnasiums. Each colorguard program last anywhere from 5-7 minutes long. I thoroughly enjoy shooting pageantry arts. It doesn't get old, especially when you get great performances and the performers are really into the show they are performing.

In  this photo, I decided to shoot in landscape orientation, rather than the usual portrait orientation I usually do for rifle shots. I did this because I saw a nice line trailing into the back. The added bonus was her fierce look and how the rifles were all basically aligned.  This was caught in a sequence of action shots I fired off. Therefore, they were not posing and just standing there like that.

During the early portion of the winterguard season, it is the most challenging for me to photograph. I have not seen the shows and a lot of the shows, the performers are still learning and are not quite finished. So I have to rely solely on anticipation. As the season progresses, I will have seen the shows a few times and hopefully remember the next time I shoot, what shots I can get. That is a challenge itself, as there are over 300 guards I photograph, by the end of the season. So my memory is the biggest challenge of all.

For the technical side, high school gyms are notorious for terrible lighting. I am usually shooting at 3200 or 6400 ISO, at f2.8. I try to maintain a shutter speed of 1/500sec. We are not allowed to use strobes, because of the restrictions to ensure safety to the performers, when they toss rifles or sabers. I have to say that this is one of the most challenging subjects I have shot in photography. Hands down! I can't think of too many sports which are as unpredictable, fast, and just all over the place like this is. I would even challenge the best sports photographers on the NFL or NBA sidelines to try and shoot this and under these conditions.

With all that said, I really love when I get great shots. This was one of my favorites from the day and not bad for the first competition of the winterguard season.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Watchful Wanderer

I was out at the San Diego Zoo earlier in the day and then strolled over to Balboa Park, since it is adjacent to the zoo. Well, I strolled over that way, the evergreen pear trees were in full, white blooms. This is especially evident near the east end by Park Blvd (by the water fountain). It makes Balboa park that much more photogenic than it already is.

As I was taking pics, I noticed this interesting guy in the distance, leaning casually up against one of the evergreen pear trees. His attire was even more interesting. As it turns out, him and two of his friends were messing around doing some video. Not sure for what purpose. Anyways, I thought he was a very interesting character.

Lost in Thought

One of the things that is a powerful composition is when you can put the human mind or thought process inside that of an animal. In this case, it appears that the gorilla is lost in thought. But, what is it thinking about? In my mind, it seems neither a sad or a happy thought, but just an everyday type of thought. But, that is the beauty of a photo such as this. It is left up to the viewer's interpretation and which gives the photo strong intrigue.

This was taken moments before the zoo keepers at the San Diego Zoo fed them. The gorillas sensed they were close by and were waiting for the head of cabbage to be tossed to them. They love catching the heads of lettuce as well and boasting when they do catch them.

I usually try not to include much of the zoo structures, as possible, when composing animals in a zoo environment. But, I really liked how the solid green wall went well with the green vegetation off to the left side and it made the gorilla very prominent in the frame. It also helps when the gorilla has a pretty neat posture, to go with that stare in it's eyes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Family Time

On this trip to the San Diego Zoo, the primates seemed to be the prize of the day. In this photo, the family of Bonobos is spending time together. You could not ask for a much more precious photo. All the different emotions in a single pic.

I decided to process this one a little more aggressive, because it was shot thru thick protective glass and it affected the sharpness and focus of the image. I decided to process this black-and-white (which seems like a no-brainier). But, not only did I do that, but my goal was to bring out detail and to not let the out-of-focus areas in the image distract the viewer's eyes.

You have a lot in this photo which garners an emotional response. So much is open to the viewer's interpretation. I find the one with the hand on the other and looking like it is in deep thought or in a reflective mood, to be the most powerful. They were up against the stone wall and created a nice texture all on it's own.

This photo is more artistic than what I usually do. But, since I knew this image was a natural candidate for a black-and-white conversion, I kind of felt I could get away with a more artistic interpretation.

If you have any questions about the post-processing, feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

B-39 Soviet Submarine Control Panel

Here's a photo inside a former Soviet Russian Submarine, called the B-39. It is now on permanent display at the San Diego Maritime museum.

Obviously, one of the challenges of shooting inside this submarine is the tight, cramped quarters and also the lack of much light. It is also pretty tough to keep photos pretty simple, when composing them. So, I decided to embrace confusion. Wouldn't you be confused when you saw all these dial, valves, knobs, switches, etc...staring at you?

This is the control panel in the diesel engine compartment. I shot this with my new Carl Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZE Distagon lens. What a fabulous piece of glass it is! I am shooting this right as you enter this compartment. You can actually see the next space at the bottom right, which I believe in the actual engine room. So you can see how tight the space is.

My focus for this shot was the panels. I decided to basically shoot this straight on and use the red wheel, which stands out prominently in this photo. That gives the eyes a comfortable to rest. Now, what does this wheel actually do? Hmmmmm...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heading Out

This was a recent photo taken this past weekend, out at the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is located in the Imperial Valley, in Southern California and it has a very interesting and strange history behind it. It was formally called the Salton Sink, until a flood caused by the waters of the Colorado River in 1905-1906 created the Salton Sea. You can read more about the Salton Sea at Wikipedia.

One very important function the sea serves is it is a stopover for migrating birds. During the Winter months, hunters and bird-watchers head out to this area. In this photo, some skittish coots are taking off into the vast, open Salton Sea. That is a very common theme out in this area. There is a lot of...well... nothing.

I was trying out my new Zeiss 21mm lens I received this week. It is a superb piece of glass and I think it will eventually make me compose photos even better than I have in the past. One thing great about prime (fixed focal length) lenses is that it will train your eyes and make you put much more thought into your compositions. With zoom lenses, it is easy to be lazy or fall back into your normal compositions which you have done time and time again, in the past. I think this lens will make me see things differently. By the way, this lens is superb in quality and I can certainly shoot without worrying about any quality issues.

About Me

San Diego, California, United States
Thanks for checking out my photography blog. I am a photographer from America's finest city, San Diego, California. This blog is just a regular update of what I am photographing or what catches my fancy, when I am out and about with my camera. So subscribe and stay up-to-date with my latest photographic adventures.


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