Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Perfect Match

I went again for a stroll around downtown San Diego. I am really trying to improve my urban lifestyle type of photography. So I have been doing this type of shooting often, of late. I am finding some cool shots, but I think the number of quality shots is where I need to improve.

Anyways, this old Volkswagon van happened to be in the perfect spot, parked along the side of the street, with the perfect various paint along it's side, and the perfect building and tree to go with it. I'd say that's a perfect match.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scooting By

I was once again at Balboa Park, in San Diego. I kind of use this place as my personal practice grounds, especially during the work week. Therefore, trying to find some new and original shots is the challenge. That is why I go there.

I pretty much know all the classic shots of Balboa park and I try and look for something that is quite different and unique. I think this little boy who was on his scooter, is quite original.

Now, the fountain area is definitely a great area to shoot some candid shots. It certainly has that magnetic pull towards children. I had been in this area, for about 10 minutes, trying to actually line up this guy with his son on his shoulders. That shot didn't pan out. But then along came the boy and his scooter.

Now, the composition between the fountain and the California Tower (in the backdrop) is what I had lined up. Trying to find someone or something to fill in the immediate foreground was my goal.

For the exposure and overall look, obviously, this shot is backlit. So I had a black-n-white, silhouette type of shot in mind. I decided to purposely overexpose this shot,. I wanted to see just hints of detail on the boy, while still being silhouetted.

The other reason why I overexposed this shot was to eliminate a lot of other potential distractions. There might be a chance of seeing something through the water or other distractions in the sky. This leaves me with 3 distinct elements of the photo, the water spray, the California Tower, and the boy on his scooter. I really love the separation this gave me.

Lastly, I did some 2-3 burst shots as he scooted by. I chose the shots where his legs were really pushing off and supplying that man-made propulsion.

It's really nice finding new shots at a place where I have shot countless times. This made my evening of photography at Balboa Park wonderful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh No! Billabong

I decided to head out to Balboa Park last night. My objective was to photograph the Jacaranda trees. Unfortunately, the Jacarandas at Balboa Park are past their peak and there wasn't really any shots to be made with them there.

As I was walking past the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), these couple of young ladies encouraged me to come inside and check out the clock displays. I replied, "Clocks?" They said yes. What it was, was children who had made these clocks carved out of wood, to be ladies, in various poses, with the clocks somewhere on their bodies. Hey! It was free. So, I came inside.

As I was checking out the clocks and seeing what photos could be had from that, I saw this skateboarder next to this photograph on display. Immediately, I saw this interaction between the little girl in the photo and the skateboarder. Of course, I thought in terms of humor. It was like she was saying, "Oh No! I was put on display and look at the kind of people who are looking at me!"

In all seriousness, this kind of candid photo, taken in a museum, of a person looking at a piece of art has certainly run it's course. But, this skateboarder was not your typical looking visitor that you would find for this type of shot. His attire I found to be very intriguing and with him in the museum, he was sort of out of place.

I loved what he was wearing and how he was posed. From the hat, to that eye-catching Billabong tee-shirt, to the skateboard along the side, and the sneakers, it was a very cool outfit for this photo. It was different, which made this sort of generic shot, something I think would make people pause and take a second look at.

Finally, are you thinking what I am thinking? What is he looking at? It seems to me he is staring at the white wall and not the picture itself. Maybe that is what the girl's expression implies.

This is a photo that has many various interpretations, that one can come up with.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Surprise Figurehead

Located along the waterfront in San Diego, we have the Maritime Museum, which has a good variety of ships that you can board and check out. The most famous one that San Diegans are familiar with is the Star of India. But next to her, moored perpendicular to her is the HMS Surprise (the ship that the museum purchased after it was used in the Hollywood film, "Master and Commander," starring Russell Crowe).

One of the more popular features of these old ships are the artistic figureheads at the bow of the ships. The most common way to photograph these are usually head on or at a slight angle. Well, one obstacle you run into is a lot of clutter, due to the lines that tie the ship up. This is very true of the Surprise.

As I was walking off the the floating dock that takes you to the HMS Surprise, I thought of a good way to finally compose this shot. I decided to use the Star of India to fill in the background and to make it appear that the female figurehead of the HMS Surprise was watching over and guarding the Star of India. I composed the shot, as to ensure that the frame was filled with just these 2 shots.

If I composed this with the camera leveled, then the figurehead and the Star of India have some separation and more distractions enter the frame. If you look between the figurehead and the Star of India, you will see a structure, which is a restaurant in the distant background. Of course, I wanted to squeeze this out as much as possible. Then, by tilting the camera, I brought in some good features of the Star of India, such as the sails, which I definitely wanted to get as much into the shot as possible. I also paid close attention to the "Star of India San Diego" and wanted to ensure you could read this. The last thing I wanted to ensure is the lines would be the least intrusive.

I was fortunate, as it seems they did some maintenance on the figurehead, as she did not have the usual green discoloration and instead was bright and shiny.

Anyways, this was a surprise find, as I am usually looking at this figurehead,...well...head on, of course.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Save" the Jacarandas!

During our "May Gray" & "June Gloom" months along the coastline of San Diego, one of the events that occurs to help counter the marine layer gloom, is the annual bloom of the Jacaranda trees.

One of the prime areas to find plenty of these trees is along Ash Street, in downtown San Diego. This is the best display of these blooms in the downtown area.

The challenge of photographing these trees is composition. Trying to find compositions which translate well into photographs is not that easy. Trying to find shots in which really shows the fullness and color of the bloom. I also like to show just enough downtown elements, to give it that urban beauty aspect, as well.

In this shot, there was a recent demolition of an old school and the vacant lot gave me access to check get this shot. A bonus was how the "save" spray-painted on the wall lined up with the Jacaranda tree. The "save" was for the demolition team, so they would not knock this wall down. Finally, I love how the fallen flowers filled up the area right next to the wall.

I am glad the demolition tree "saved" this Jacaranda tree.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Anza Borrego Desert Vista

On my way to take photos again of the wildflowers along Sunrise Highway, I got sidetracked and decided to check out this one road (maybe a 1/4 mile strip) that adjoins Sunrise Highway, just as you enter the Anza Borrego portion of Sunrise Highway. Now many folks are familiar with the turn-out miles before, which even has a nice viewing platform. BBut, in my mind, this scene here offers a much better view and I am glad I found it.

This road I mention dead-ends. I guess for obvious reasons. At the dead-end, you will notice that the road use to come to this edge, with the view you see. I am guessing years ago, the constant unstable rockslides made it to dangerous and they brought this portion of the road further inland from the cliffs.

Anyways, the view you see is of the Anza Borrego Desert floor below. This was taken just maybe 30-60 minutes after sunrise and the sun is still breaking through openings in the mountains. This light really gives good definition to the mountains and hills (and I guess bumps) down below.

The challenge was finding the composition I liked best. Choosing the best foreground rocks, which would still give me a great view of the desert floor and beyond. I think this is one of the better ones I came up with.

There are a number of reasons why I like this photo. One, the foreground rocks are pretty impressive, yet, you can see how fragile they are, as well. It's as almost you can see where the portions of these rocks has fallen (right below along that crevasse). Secondly, the crevasse (maybe it's a stream) is a very nice leading curves and lines to lead your eye further onto the desert floor below. Lastly, I love how the sun is just lighting the top edges of the hills on the very right side.

I think this is a pretty impressive vista, that maybe not as many folks, even local, know about here, an hour from downtown San Diego.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

California's Gold

If anyone has ever seen Huell Howser's show on PBS, you will know it is called "California's Gold." Here's a view which fits that description perfectly.

I took a trip up again to Sunrise Highway, which is up in the mountains, east of San Diego. I decided to leave a little before sunrise, so I can get better light and have a better blue in the sky. Well, I got sidetracked along Sunrise Highway. So this photo was taken 2-2 1/2 hours after sunrise. Still early enough to get some nice shots of the wildflowers.

The wildflower you see dominating the landscape in this photo is called Blennosperma, which is Greek for "slimy seed." But, this is more commonly known as Stickyseeds. I went up last week, as well. But, this week, I noticed this wildflower move more across the landscape. I also started noticing the other dominate wildflower, which we should really start seeing in the next few weeks, the Tidy Tips, starting to sprout up. There will also be some nice lavender, reddish, and purple flowers popping up shortly. So the stickyseeds will have some company soon enough.

I plan on taking another drive up this way next weekend and to check out the progression of the other wildflowers I saw breaking through all this yellow and gold tones.  Along Cuyamaca Lake, I started seeing patches here and there. That should really start popping up by next weekend and be fuller. I think this will be pretty good throughout most of this month.  If you are local, take a drive up this way, preferably early in the morning.

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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