Saturday, February 23, 2013

Venice 2004

While my wonderful wife is in the next room looking up hotels in Venice for our trip this summer, I began perusing photographs from past visits. All of these were taken with the Konica-Minolta A2, which, at that time, was the best "bridge" camera available. Bridge meaning a step up from a simple point-and-shoot but not a full-fledged DSLR. This camera has a useful 28-200 zoom range and isos down to 64, which I used for all these shots. I have blown up some of these photos to poster size and they hold together fairly well. It has an 8 megapixel sensor, at the time a pretty impressive number during the megapixel wars of the early stages of sensor development.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bolinas, California

The expression "You can't get there from here" applies to the Northern California seaside town of Bolinas. My sister lives there and my mother lived there for about a year. The middle photo shows Bolinas from the south tucked back in the spit of land beyond the beach in the foreground. There are no road signs indicating where one should turn off the main road to get there. You just have to know the way. The faux HDR look courtesy of Topaz Spicify. Nikon D90.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sucker For Sunsets

I am not opposed to taking pictures of cliched subjects as should be obvious from these Hawaiian sunsets. All of these are from 2008 and 2009, all from the Big Island of Hawaii, except the bottom one which was taken in Honolulu. It's hard for me to say if they go beyond cliche, but I don't really care. I love almost everything about Hawaii, especially at the end of the day. Nikon D80.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rock at Frost Amphitheater, Stanford University

Of all the music venues in the Bay Area that have closed, it is Stanford's Frost Amphitheater that I miss the most. During the 70's and early 80's, it was possible to see all manner of great artists very cheaply and in an acoustically excellent venue. My good friend Dana Jang was also able to get us in the photographer's pit in front of the stage more often than not. At top is Eric Clapton with Carlos Santana sitting in on "Eyesight To The Blind" from Tommy. I still have an old cassette of the show around somewhere. Nice bellbottoms Carlos! This was in August of 1975. I'm too lazy to look up the dates of the other shows, but they were memorable nonetheless. Below Clapton is Boz Scaggs who I saw numerous times, mostly in small clubs all over the Bay Area. Another favorite of mine at the time was Dave Mason, off on a solo career after a stint in Traffic, before he got sappy. Next up is David Crosby and Graham Nash with the great David Lindley on slide guitar. The bottom two shots are of Levon Helm, the recently deceased drummer for The Band and an outstanding singer as well, and bassist Rick Danko and lead guitarist Robbie Robertson, with Richard Manuel playing keyboards in the background. The only photographic concept I understood all those years ago was shutter speed. Controlling depth-of-field was beyond my ability, if I even knew what it was. Frost Amphitheater is still there on campus, it just isn't used much for whatever reason.

Walking Around Old San Juan

I'm just sitting around at the computer on President's Day weekend, listening to Steely Dan and revisiting some photographs. After first not being very happy with the photographic possibilities in the Caribbean, I've started to see a bit more in some of the pictures I took over a post-Christmas cruise. I think I do my best work when I'm free to walk around unencumbered by other people's schedules. That was not always possible on this trip, but I tried to make the best of it. This summer, my wife and I will be going to Istanbul and then on to northern Italy. Since she enjoys photography, I'm hoping for some good results, especially in Istanbul where I've never been. It will also be my first time in Italy with what I consider good equipment. I'm still very happy with my Sony cameras, especially their compact size and image quality. I have yet to find the best camera bag to use with these smaller cameras, but the search goes on. All three shots with the Sony NEX 7 and Tamron 18-200 lens.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The High Line, New York City

On our most recent trip to New York, my lovely step-daughter Jenny took us to the High Line, which I had read about but couldn't visualize. I must say that it is quite a remarkable place, stretching about a mile and a half down into Chelsea, two stories or so above the street. It's a former train track converted to a sort of park, albeit a narrow one. I've read about massive crowds making it uncomfortable, but on this winter's day it was just about perfect. I don't really understand the area at the bottom. It's basically rows of seats where people just sit and look at the traffic down below. I suppose you can eat, drink, talk, and rest as well. Whatever, it's a great idea. All photos taken with the Sony NEX 5n and kit lens.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leaving Cayo Coco

Last summer, on the island of Cayo Coco in Cuba, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort. The cons of doing so include interacting with the staff, all warm and friendly and accommodating, but with the realization that they have a one and a half hour bus ride to where they live their real lives after work. Then we see them the next day after another such ride and they're still the same: happy to see us and ready to answer to our any need. The pros: they're warm and friendly and accommodating, and the place is great! Cuba is full of contradictions .That's the best way I can explain it. One never, never knows just what is going on or how things really work in Cuba. So you talk to the people and get a little insight into what they think, what they feel about Americans, and where their lives are headed. But you just don't ever feel you've figured things out. This is a part of what makes us want to go back there. This shot is from the last morning there before we headed to Trinidad. Sony NEX 5n. We don't usually have this sort of thing in California, and I'm a sucker for sunsets and sunrises and dramatic clouds.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Three From Vinales

Vinales, Cuba, lies in the far West of the Island in the province of Pinar del Rio and is known for growing tobacco as well as the spectacular limestone formations known as magotes. The bottom photograph was taken a block off the main road through Vinales, which is paved. The top two were taken from the balcony of our hotel, Los Jazmines. I got up early and sat out there and watched the sun come up as the valley mist evaporated. I love the panorama function on the Sony cameras.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2013

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am, at least on Saturday, focuses more on the AM, as celebrities from all walks of the entertainment world converge on the historic course. At top is Bill Murray on the 18th green, Justin Verlander answering the question, "Where's Pablo" on his way to the green ("He's not here!"), Jim Harbaugh acknowledging the cheers from 49er fans lining the fairway, and The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, walking up the fairway with his daughter's boyfriend, pro Dustin Johnson. The camera gestapo were out in force, so taking a few quick shots with the Sony RX 100 was about all I could manage. Other notables included Kelly Slater, the greatest surfer of all time, quarterbacks Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers, pitcher Matt Cain, coaches Bill Bilichek and Brian Kelley, actors Andy Garcia, Chris O'Donnell and Josh Duhamel, yada, yada, yada.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

San Francisco at Night #2

Last night, February 3, with the wives out of town, George and I, along with Tom and Dave, headed to SF for some night photography and dinner. This was only my second go-round with the Sony NEX 7 on a tripod with 30 second exposures. Operating in pitch-black situations with only my cell phone's flashlight was a tad cumbersome, not to mention I wasn't as fully prepared for the cold and winds as I should have been. We began on Twin Peaks high above the city, but my shots there were not successful. Things got better at the Golden Gate Bridge and the Seven Sisters. The bottom photo was taken with the Sony RX 100 at 800 ISO. Only in San Francisco!

More from Trinidad

More wabi-sabi from Trinidad, Cuba. Bottom is the Plaza Mayor before the approaching storm hits. These were taken in 2009 with the Nikon D300. I was using two bodies, the D300 and the D90, the latter with the Tokina 11-16. Great cameras but I don't miss the aching neck and shoulder at the end of the day.

Two From Barbados

Guys playing cards in the fisherman's hall, Bridgetown, Barbados. Abandoned building in downtown Bridgetown. Sony NEX7.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fishermen in Havana

 The Malecon in Havana is simply a great place to people-watch. There are always people fishing, but I'm not sure I'd want to eat anything they manage to pull out. Despite that, these guys are bearing down on their fishing and pay no attention whatsoever to photographers. Converted to Black and White in NIK software and taken with the Nikon D300 in 2009.


I woke up this morning thinking about my old friend, Dennis Mattingly, who passed away last year after a 10 year battle with bone cancer. I was fortunate to call him a friend since our first meeting in a hotel bar in Houston in 1982. We were there for a baseball convention and I went on to work for him for five summers in the 80's in Anchorage. This is how I remember Dennis, sitting outside the clubhouse, watching his beloved Anchorage Bucs play on a beautiful Alaskan evening, a Big Gulp at the ready. Middle photo is Turnagin Arm  outside Anchorage on the road to Kenai. Bottom, fishing boat on the Kenai River.