Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saint Louis, Missouri 2012

There's a lot of down time waiting for a baseball game to start in a mostly unfamiliar city, so I tried to make the most of it. I took a $50.00 cab ride out to the Hill, a mostly Italian-American area within the Saint Louis city limits, for lunch at Adriana's. It turned out to be well worth the cost. I was welcomed like a long-lost relative when I informed the proprietesse, Adriana, that I had been Daniel Descalso's high school coach. She showered me with more food than I could eat, hugs, and promises of eternal friendship. I went there at the urging of Daniel's dad, George, and am looking forward to going back this weekend. Photographs # 1,4, and 6 are from the Hill, the rest from downtown Saint Louis. Sony Nex 7 and 5n cameras used for the shots.

It's World Series Time!

Today the 2013 World Series, Saint Louis Cardinals vs. the Boston Red Sox, gets underway in Boston. On Friday, I'll be zipping off to Saint Louis for games three and four and a chance to say hi to two of my former players, Daniel Descalso (seen in 2012 against the Giants in the last three photographs), and Daniel Nava of the Red Sox. For an ex-coach, this is a match made in heaven, and something I'm not likely to see again in my lifetime. Rooting for both teams to get this far has been gut-wrenching for the past two weeks. Now I can finally relax and enjoy the games, knowing that no matter what, one of my favorite players gets a World Series ring.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Portraits in Cuba 2009

Wandering the cobblestoned streets of Trinidad, Cuba, in 2009, I found numerous opportunities for candid street portraits of Cubans doing what they do best: sitting on their front porches and just chillin' out. It's probably not what they do best, truth be told, but they do it a lot. On another trip in 2012, I saw two of these guys in exactly the same location. It doesn't hurt that the backgrounds are almost always colorful in this old colonial town. Nikon D90 with 18-200 Nikkor lens.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cuba 2003

On our first trip to Cuba in 2003, we were there primarily to play baseball, and so there wasn't as much time as I'd have liked to do photography. Nevertheless, I managed to get a few keepers, saddled as I was at the time with the Nikon 5700 5 megapixel all-purpose zoom. The problem with the lens is most evident in the last photograph as I couldn't get verticals and horizontals to be just that; vertical and horizontal, even with today's powerful lens correction tools. The top photography was taken from our hotel balcony in Cienfuegos, the site of our only victory in the four game goodwill tour. The top three are all from Trinidad, where we had a brief two hour stop before heading down to the beach at Playa Ancon. I feel very fortunate to have been able to go back twice to Trinidad for more extended periods with much better equipment. Although I am not obsessed with having the latest and greatest (read expensive) gear, today's camera technology is light years ahead of what it was ten years ago, making photography not only more enjoyable but far superior at a pixel level.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Venice Backstreets

I can think of no more enjoyable photographic pursuit than getting up in the morning and setting out on a walk around Venice. Twice my wife decided to go to Zoomba and left me to wander to my heart's content for a few hours. One does not have to venture too far to get away from tourists. It's also almost impossible to get lost in Venice. It's an island! Walk until you hit the lagoon, turn around and go off in another direction. It's a beautiful thing. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

More From Hardly Strictly

Because I had parked my lawn chair at one stage and decided to stay there, it gave me the chance to people-watch. As in years past, I tried to get a few shots of the more interesting fellow attendees. I'm especially taken by what people choose to put on their heads. I was wearing a soft baseball cap, brim facing forward of course. I think I'd prefer to keep my shirt on my body instead of my head, like the gentleman in photo number two. The top photograph is the most interesting of the styles I observed, but it's just not me. I also refrain from any sort of Elaine Benes dancing, but guy #3 hadn't seen that episode I'm guessing. Ouch! Except for the cowboy boots, the lady at the bottom was dressed for the unseasonably warm weather in San Francisco last weekend. All photographs taken with the Sony NEX 7 and 18-200 Tamron lens.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2013

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival takes place every October in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It's a fabulous event for a couple of reasons: it's free and a photographer has no restrictions about photography. It also draws some of the biggest names in music today. It's not fabulous for a couple of other reasons: It's free so a ginormous number of people attend and it can get claustrophobic. It's also difficult to find a place to park in San Francisco, and once you do, it's another 45 minute walk to one of the six stages where the music goes on continuously from 11 am to about 8 pm. This year I was only able to attend Sunday and so I got there early and staked out a place right near the stage, brought some crossword puzzles, a book and some excellent food. If you give up your place to walk to another stage, there's no guarantee you'll get it back. I saw only three acts, but one of them is in my pantheon of all-time greats, Richard Thompson. I was also able to see Billy Bragg, another Brit who, like Richard, has a devoted but not extremely large following. Enough to make a comfortable living but not with yachts and mansions. Richard, by the way, usually has his famous blue guitar, but made do this year with his red, white, and acoustic models. He performed with his stripped-down electric trio. I also really enjoyed Billy Bragg.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kudos to the Cards!

Who would have known on Opening Day of 2013 that the Saint Louis Cardinals would be the eventual National League Central champs, but here we are on October 1st with the Cards awaiting the NL Central play-in game today. The 162 game marathon is now officially a sprint.

China 2007

These photographs are from our pre-Olympic trip to China in 2007 with Viking River Cruises, although only four days of the two-week plus trip were spent on a river. At the top is a monk in Suzhou, an hour from Shanghai, where we took a side trip before the tour began. Getting there via train was an adventure in itself. The next two are from the Forbidden City in Bejing on a blisteringly hot and humid day. At the end of the tour, we took four days to see Guilin and Hong Kong. The bottom photograph was taken on a lunch break on our boat ride down the Li River outside Guilin. Terrible lunch, great boat ride. Nikon D80.