Tonight I found a new location to photograph the Coronado Bay Bridge. A place with just a little bit more light than trying to photograph it from the Island of Coronado itself. If you go a little bit west of Chicano Park (which can be dangerous for a white boy hanging out alone), you’ll find a small bridge the juts out over the water. It is near the various naval shipyards so it provides some unique views of the bridge. A little known fact is the Coronado Bay Bridge has two reasons why it was designed with its beautiful curves rather than going straight over the water. The relatively short distance of between the mainland and Coronado is so short that if they built a straight bridge it would have been too low for the Navy ships to go underneath so they needed to create a curve so that they could make the bridge longer and higher. The second reason is that in order to qualify for a city bond the bridge had to be a certain length, so they had to put the curves into to make the bridge longer.
It was a beautiful night in San Diego last night; an almost full moon, wispy clouds and temperature in the mid 60’s. I decided to get the camera and tripod out and take a trip down to the Bay to see if I could improve my night photography skills. Shooting at night is a bit difficult because you have to allow for longer exposures and have to carefully compose your shots so that you are not bringing in too much or too little light. For example, you might see a great shot but smack dab in the middle of that shot is a street light with blaring light that will drown out everything else with obnoxious lens flares. Anyway, you can take some very nice photos at night. I prefer to shoot along the water because you can get nice reflections and the steady ripple of water flattens and smooths out nicely on long exposures. It can be a lot of fun after a night photo shoot, taking your camera home, uploading the pictures and seeing if any magic happened during the night. This is one picture I took right near SeaPort Village near some boats. Not a perfect shot but we’re getting there with practice.
I spent a day with one of my very good friends, Maryann, and her boyfriend Lee in a part of Brooklyn called Williamsburg. Williamsburg is a super trendy and hip area where everything is original – you won’t find a Starbucks or McDonald’s anywhere near this area as they seemingly only support local merchants and goods. It is truly unique. So Maryann and I have been good friends for many years as we share the same passion and career – we’re fraud consultants and our aim is to rid the world of fraudsters, scammers, cheats and liars. We have collectively traveled to most places in the world to consult banks on how to stop fraud (although she more than I), and have fought fraudsters from Taipai to Toronto, from Norway to New Zealand. And to state without reservation that if there was ever fraud in the Arctic Circle we would be there too (which would be cool since I am dying to photograph polar bears someday). You might notice Maryann is wearing a big RoboC0p/Terminator boot on her foot- well she just had surgery on her foot so she is wearing that boot for protection and to help her foot heal. It was a great day visiting my very good friend Maryann and meeting her super cool boyfriend Lee. I decided to edit the pictures in black and white with selective color since Maryann’s favorite color is orange. Great day in the hood.
There is a new commander at the San Diego Yacht Club and he needs a photo. So my brother, his friend (a professional photographer) and I went up late this afternoon to take some beautiful pictures of him with his wife cruising their boat along the city view of downtown San Diego. What a beautiful sunset it was as my brother kept the chopper at low altitude allowing us to snap some compelling pictures. As is typical, it is a bit frightening sitting in the chopper with the doors off cruising a few thousand feet above the ground. We take the doors off so we can snap pictures without the glare of the glass – the pictures turn out so much nicer that way. Great afternoon for pictures again here in San Diego.
I just got back from New York and had a chance to photograph Occupy Wall Street which is situated in Liberty Plaza of lower Manhattan. Since the first time I visited New York many years ago, I have always felt like it is one of the centers of the world where most progressive ideas in politics, fashion, food, media and public opinion are shaped and formed. If it makes it in New York, it can make it anywhere. The Occupy Wall Street movement is an example of just that type of progressive thinking and the movement has perhaps grown faster than any other political movement ever and is now supported by close to 60% of Americans.
I have decided to photograph as many Occupy camps as I can in the next few months to help capture what I do believe will be one of the biggest populist movements in US history when all is said and done. What struck me about Occupy Wall Street was how well organized and cooperative it was. Everyone was working together feeding each other and even creating electricity by charging batteries with stationary bikes that everyone took turns riding. The people in the park were very well informed and while everyone might have had there own take on the problem and what they wanted to see changed they all agreed on one thing – economic injustice. While I was there, I was asked to follow a small group of protestors and capture their march on Wall Street. They all carried brooms and dust pans and where symbolically and literally sweeping the dirt off the streets up to the Stock Exchange. They carried a bin of brooms and solicited others to join them along the way. The group started off small but soon there were over 50. The police noticed and pretty soon there was an armada of police following the protestors making sure that they did not take a single step out of line. It was a very interesting day and as always I learned a lot.
I haven’t had a chance to update my photography blog recently because I was in New York for the week. I did not bring a computer. I regularly do not travel with a computer anymore just my IPAD – it’s lighter and allows me to check email and watch movies which is enough for me. So this was a business trip which meant that I didn’t have a whole lot of time to take pictures which is unfortunate because to me New York has got to be one of the best places in the US to take pictures. The city is vibrant, full of activity and unique characters. I did get a chance to take some pictures of Times Square and Occupy Wall Street while I was there, as well as some portraits of my good friend Maryann and her boyfriend Lee. I will post those later. I really cannot wait to go back to New York and spend 3-4 days just taking pictures of the different boroughs. I got a chance to visit Brooklyn and Williamsburg which was amazing – the character of the neighborhoods there is like nothing you have seen in any other city in the US – you really feel as if you are going back in time. The attached photo is at one of the busiest places on earth – Times Square. The rest of the pictures will be up in a gallery which I will setup soon.
HDR Photography is a relatively new type of photography that uses multiple exposures from very light to very dark exposures to make sure that every element in the photo is exposed correctly. The darkest and the lightest areas are all lit up so you can see everything. It’s called HDR because it is high dynamic range photography. Cameras can only process about 4 stops of light but your eye can see about 11 stops of light. Have you ever taken a picture and it looks nothing like what you see? Well its because most of the range of light is lost in the camera.
I just started testing HDR photography this weekend. Take a look at a regular picture and then a picture enhanced with the use of HDR and some photoshop. Big difference huh?
Without HDR Method
With HDR Method
We had a great night carving pumpkins, eating hot dogs, sitting around the campfire and face painting over at Patrick and Moni’s house in Bonita. The highlight for the kids was when Camille painted their faces. I got a neat picture of Geno seeing his face paint for the first time as he looked in the mirror. You can almost sense what he is thinking in his mind – what it feels like to be transformed into a completely new person.