Sunday, June 15, 2014

Way Back in the Day

I'm still having fun with my new Epson scanner, pulling out old slides and trying to restore them to some semblance of goodness. The top photograph is from '96 or '97 at Stanford University where I am pictured with two of my former players, John Gall and Eric Byrnes, both of whom went on to play Major League baseball. Next a shot of my work crew up in Anchorage where we gathered each morning the team was in town to clean the ballpark after the previous night's game. This is from 1990. Really a terrific group of players and nice guys. In the middle is yours truly with the great Washington Redskins coach, George Allen, whom I met on an Alaskan cruise in 1982. We'd meet up on deck in the morning and take a walk around the ship, chatting about all sorts of subjects, not just sports. A most remarkable man. Really going back now to 1967 when I was a sophomore at Santa Clara University posing happily before a game against who knows who. At the bottom is one of my favorite pictures of my son Jason, taken when we dropped him off at summer camp at Cloverleaf Ranch. Happy birthday Jason!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Night Photography in San Francisco

My brothers Stephen and Curtiss have long expressed an interest in driving up from Los Angeles to play some golf, go to a Giant's game, and do some night photography. Yesterday, we were able to accomplish all of that. We played 18 holes in the morning, drove to San Francisco for the Nationals-Giants game, and later drove a short distance to the Embarcadero to finish off the evening. All of the photographs were taken with the Sony NEX 7 and 10-16 super wide zoom; ISO 100, 30 second exposures, and an F-stop of 16-22. I forgot to shoot in RAW this time, but processing the jpeg files wasn't too difficult. The Embarcadero offers a wide variety of shooting possibilities and I wanted to take advantage of some angles I hadn't explored before, this being my third or fourth visit. The third photograph involved the heaviest processing as the out-of-camera jpeg was quite dark and somewhat distorted. Photoshop and Nik filter suite to the rescue! Thanks to Karen Sweeney of the Giants for the tickets and parking pass. You made our evening together memorable and it went off without a hitch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Stephen Strasburg at Santa Clara

Since Stephen Strasburg is pitching today for the Washington Nationals, I was reminded of a couple of times he made an appearance at Schott Stadium at Santa Clara University. At top, he pitched for San Diego State against the Broncos, drawing the largest crowd in memory to see the consensus number one pick in the 2009 MLB player draft. I took this photo on a rainy night from the box next to the pressbox using the Tokina 11-16 wide-angle on my Nikon D300. There were dozens of scouts there, their radar guns rising up every time he unleashed a pitch. The first time I got the chance to see him throw was during the USA Olympic Team workout at Santa Clara, though I didn't know who I was watching at the time. I had just finished chatting with Mike Zirelli, the Santa Clara pitching coach, sitting to the left, who excused himself to get a better look at Strasburg. The look in Strasburg's eyes as he delivers a pitch is somewhat haunting, I think.

Beyond Bokeh

Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens, according to wikipedia. So, yesterday, bored and uncreative, I popped on my Nikon 50 mm, 1.8 lens with a Photodiox adapter to my Sony A7 full-frame camera. Since it's manual focus only with an adapter, I started playing around in the backyard and decided I liked the blurred shots more than the in-focus ones. Moving on later in the afternoon to the Sunnyvale Art and Wine "festival", I tried some more while my wife was busy shopping for a hat. I even went for a portrait using the technique. On the way back to the car, I photographed a bush in bloom with the more traditional approach of getting some part of the shot in focus, letting the background go blurry using a large aperture. Counterintuitively, the smaller the aperture, the more is in focus. Having fun with this just made my camera bag a little fuller for our upcoming trip to Morocco. I'll be packing the Nikon.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Last week, my wife and I and some friends attended the Northern California CIF Volleyball Championship match between Saint Francis High School and Mountain View High School in Dublin, CA. I wanted to get some photographs for my friends Mike and Jonah who coach Saint Francis. It's a much more exciting game to photograph than football or baseball because of the access to the court and the non-stop action and athleticism of the players. I used two cameras and two lenses, the Sony A7 with the Sony 10-16 wide-angle, and the Sony NEX 7 with the 18-200 Tamron lens. On the full-frame 24 megapixel Sony A7, you get only 10 megapixels when you use the 10-16 lens because it's meant for APSC sensors, but it does the job. I sat at courtside with the camera held low to the floor and used the tilting screen as my viewfinder with my thumb at the shutter. My only regret is not going up to a slighty faster shutter speed, but I like the results nonetheless.