Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sails and Steel

I went back to this spot I have been checking out lately, since in San Diego, during June, we have what is called "June Gloom." Which is, we get a lot of marine layer, the "gloom," during this month.

Now, what I really like is what you see in this photo. I really like when the marine layer is coming into the bay, but it is only half-way in. Therefore, you get a hazy, cloudy background, yet, the sunshine is still apparent where I am at. If you look closely, you can see Pt. Loma in the background. This type of conditions really creates some interesting lighting conditions, which I like a lot.

Now, if you didn't read my previous post on this similar shot, during the late afternoon-early evening, this light reflects nicely up onto the bow of the USS Midway. This condition last around 45 minutes, in optimum condition. But, the marine layer, where it is at, is what makes it extra special. I like that it basically hides the background land strip. It gives it a nice atmospheric mood, as well.

Now, I have been scoping this spot and looking for unique or interesting subjects to compliment the carrier. This time, I found that the sails worked nicely here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tomcat and Her Sidewinder

Of all the expensive pieces of glass I have (lenses), for this shot, I used sort of a toy piece of glass, called a Lensbaby. Now why would I put such a cheap piece of glass on such a professional camera? Well, hopefully this image shows why.

I went with a group of people to the USS Midway museum last Saturday. This is the decommisioned USS Midway aircraft carrier and her flight deck.

For this shot, since there was a lot of clutter in the shot, I thought it would be ideal to use the Lensbaby and focus the attention better on the F-14 Tomcat and her Sidewinder weapon. Now, I could have used a regular lens and chose a very wide aperture, which would have blurred out the background also. But, here, the blur would have been linear. What I mean is, everything would be the same blur. By putting the Lensbaby on, I am able to direct you attention to where I exactly what you to, by drawing you over to that spot, not just blurring everything else out. I hope that makes sense.

The trick with the Lensbaby is not overdoing it. That is so much easier said than done. For scenese like this, you have to be very subtle with it. For this shot, I used the f5.6 aperture disc and the Lensbaby double optic insert.

You can check out the Lensbaby itself at their website, and see if this might work well in your arsenal, as well. It can be very frustrating, many times in fact, but can be very rewarding when you get a couple really great shots. It takes plenty of time and practice to master.

I hope you like how this turned out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Massive USS Midway

So, this is my 100th blog post. And to mark history, what better way than to do this than to have a shot of the historic aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. Ok! I know I am not famous. But, the USS midway has certainly gotten around, in her almost 50 years of service in the fleet.

The USS Midway decommissioned for the last time in 1992. For about 10 years, she sat up "mothballed" in Bremerton, WA, until finally making her way to San Diego, in early 2004, to become a permanent museum which not only shows off the carrier itself, but also a lot of the vintage aircraft that once flew off her flight deck.

For this shot, I did what is usually not the best idea. Shoot straight towards the bright sunshine. Now this wasn't sunset time, yet. It was about 1 1/2 hours or so away. But, what attracted me to this shot was how the light was reflecting off the water and onto the bow of the ship, by the anchor.

I sat for a while and waited for a perfect foreground object to make the shot even better. I waited probably around 20 minutes. I actually lost a little of the light reflected on the ship, but when these 2 couples appeared and they both simultaneously pointed at the ship, I knew that was going to be the best shot of this today.

This shot was going to be nothing but a black-n-white shot. Even the original color version of the photo is very hard to see any color. What I like is the scale between the ship and the people. Also, the marine layer was coming in, yet the sun was still above it. I did not mind at all that the sky is a bit overexposed. i didn't care. In fact, it made the shot clean.

The components, besides the people in this shot and the carrier itself, that I liked in this shot were the little sailboats off in the distance.  I thought it was a nice touch without cluttering the shot at all.

I have another idea for this shot. It just needs the right foreground subject. Stay tuned if i am lucky to get that shot.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Majestic Maintenance

One of the things any photographer should try and do is capture something when it is not in it's usual form or normal self. In this case, this would apply to the San Diego California temple, situated just off the I-5 freeway, in La Jolla. The temple is undergoing some preservation type of maintenance.

What drew me to the photo was the intricate scaffolding surrounding the temple. I have had this on my "radar" for the past few weeks and I figured I have better get this shot, before the work is complete and the scaffolding disappears and the temple returns to it's normal look.

I had stopped here on my way back during the early afternoon last weekend and took some shots. Immediately, I knew that I would need a shot of this at dusk. Now, if the temple was in it's normal state, then an afternoon shot would be ideal, as well. But, in this instance, the scaffolding sort of hides the pristine white. Therefore, I needed the lights inside and outside the church, at dusk, to really bring out the magic in this shot.

I think the scaffolding is blocking some of light rays and therefore is not quite as bright as it usually is. But, the scaffolding really shows up, due to the same lights. At dusk, the deep blue sky contrasts nicely with the warm yellow tungsten color inside the temple. The incoming marine layer just barely held off long enough for this shot, to get those nice deep blues in the sky.

I took this shot from the other side of I-5, in a strip mall parking lot. I met another photographer, who had the same idea. She was kind enough to let me borrow her tripod for a quick few minutes, as I need to find a new tripod. She also let me use her little step ladder to shoot over the chain-link fence, to make it easier than to use the live-view mode on my camera. You have to like a photographer who really comes prepared. She was nice company and I hope to see her photos of this, as well.

This is a famous San Diego landmark. With or without scaffolding, it is a beauty no matter what.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Now, for all the photos that there have been taken of the USS Midway, I would venture to say, that this isn't the most popular of them. In fact, I am quite positive I am the only one who has a pic like this of the Midway.

The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier museum, that sits docked in San Diego. You can tour the carrier, seeing not only the carrier itself, but also vintage aircraft parked on the flight deck and also in the hangar bay.

For this shot, I was walking along her starboard side (right side) late in the evening sun. The marine layer had started to diffuse the sun and roll into San Diego Bay. I was actually trying to compose shots of the USS Midway's bow with the aircraft carriers at North Island in the background. As I was looking around for better angles to photograph that, I notice this ducting up high on the side of the ship.

The thing that caught me first was that there was ducting on the outside of the skin of the ship, in the first place. It's kind of unusual to see. But, the sort of rate maze design of it, with the interesting shadow play, really made it stand out.I really like how the shadows fall right on the "Y" shape part of the ducting.

I just think that this ducting takes you on an interesting journey inside and out of the USS Midway. But, just like that rat, confused and wondering where it might lead out or end.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SS Moonlight & SS Encinitas

One of the more peculiar icons, on a lesser scale, in San Diego county are these 2 boat-houses that sit in a residential area of Encinitas, California. These are apartment complexes that were built to look like boats. Therefore, these were never boats on the high seas during any portion of their existence.

Anyways, for this shot, since the boat-houses, are identical, I decided to get closer to one boat and then use the other boat to "fill in the blanks." It also fills the frame better.

I like this composition, because it is like the boats have literally crashed the neighborhood during the last high tide and ran aground. I decided to leave just enough off to the left side for the next buildings along the street, to give the shot some needed context. I also find the tiny palm tree interesting as well as the palms that are framing right around the "SS Moonlight" sign. In my opinion, it is what you would expect, if a ship ran aground in a lush tropical scene . The first thing you would see is the bow of the boat busting out of the greenery.

Anyways, I wonder what these boat-houses contribute to the neighborhood property value?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sailing Out

The Portuguese tall ship sails out of San Diego, California, after her week-long visit to "America's Finest City."

This ship is a training vessel for the Portuguese navy. It is on a current around-the-globe voyage and her next stop will be Hawaii. They pulled into San Diego last Monday and I was able to go aboard her and take some pics of her. They offered free tours to the public. It was parked next to the San Diego Maritime Museum.

For this shot, I headed out to Shelter Island, in Pt. Loma. My goal was to get the ship sailing out of the bay, with the skyline in the background. I wanted a part of the skyline, in which people who are familiar with San Diego, would recognize. One of these buildings is the One America Plaza building. It is the building off to the right which slants inward slightly and has a pointed top. If you look closely, you'll also see the Sante Fe train depot, with the "Sante Fe" sign visible.

There were a few challenges with the shot. To get this angle, one of the unknowns is the public boat traffic also in the bay. Finding a good angle on the ship, where the public boats add just enough, yet don't impair the vision too much of the vessel was one of them. The other challenge was the marine layer coming in right at this time and causing the sun to appear/disappear a few times.

The idea was to really showcase the splendor and size of the ship. I could have chosen a high vantage point to look down, but I wasn't sure if the ship would really "pop" out in that composition. Therefore, I chose a water-level shot instead. I wanted to also get the ship on an angle sort of coming at the viewer, which gives it a 3-D view of the ship. I also wanted it to soar high above the skyline, to really showcase it's size.

I used a 300mm lens on my Canon Mark III (1.3X crop), at f8, to take this shot. There will be more photos of this fabulous ship to come.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pole Positions and Electric Boxes

I have been doing my usual downtown San Diego strolls, once again. This time, I decided to head into the less scenic part of downtown. Then, I found this gem. A gem, in that it's kind of funny and makes you think.

For one, the first thing that caught my eyes was the unusual electric box, with the rooftop-like covers on them. Then, there were the metal poles protecting these boxes. I guess, obviously, we see why. I guess commercial drivers cannot park or drive.

The unusual really makes for great photos. The unusual electric boxes just happen to have a complimentary color behind them, as well. Also, for each box, a pole gets knocked down even more, almost looking like dominoes falling. I left the 20 minute yellow commercial parking lane, as yet another protection device for these electric boxes.

What really is surprising is that there is no tagging anywhere in this image. Again, odd, concerning how much attention this spot got for everything else.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Totally Rad in San Francisco

I had to get away for a few days and since I had 4 days off for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, I took a quick venture up north to San Francisco. The weather was not the typical San Francisco weather. It was very warm and blue skies. Therefore, many folks went to the beach.

Now, taking photos of the Golden Gate bridge is certainly an iconic shot and nothing original. Therefore, with people around and probably going to get in your way anyways, why not use them? This dude I think was the perfect candidate. You have to take a different approach when shooting iconic shots, such as the Golden Gate bridge.

I really love how this guy was standing. His posture couldn't have been any better. I love the light coming in from the side and really spotlighting his face (black wetsuit helps emphasize that). I love how he is gazing out and the position of his board. Lastly, I had a perfect trail of folks along the beach surf that carried you to-and-from the bridge.

So many folks tend to try and keep folks out. I like including them in shots of the bridge. I like the life that it provides in the shot and makes it much more interesting, rather then just another typical empty shot of the Golden Gate bridge.

This was taken from Baker Beach, in the Golden Gate Recreational park.

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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