Photographing Surf Dogs

I saw a photograph of a bulldog riding a surf board as an advertisement for a Surf Dog Competition. I thought it would make a fun event to photograph. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought so..

Media Frenzy

Media Frenzy

Turns out it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. While I expected the dogs to be escorted by their owners/trainers, I didn’t expect all the junior lifeguards. I think there were about 5 lifeguards for every dog in the water.

Get Out of My Way, I'm coming through

Get Out of My Way, I’m coming through

Sometimes the human element added to the photograph…

A Moment Between Friends

A Moment Between Friends

..but most of the time I cropped or otherwise removed distractions

Tail in the Air

Tail in the Air


Besides being on the beach, there were photographers in the air and the sea

Photography By Air and by Sea

Photography By Air and by Sea

Like human surfers, the dogs had their own moves. Some liked to go backwards..

Backwards

Backwards

I’m not sure what angle of view this camera is getting 🙂

Just Where is the Video Camera pointed?

Just Where is the Video Camera pointed?

..and some sidways..

Sideways

Sideways


..and some sit..

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty


..and some stand..

Surf Dog

Surf Dog

..and some couldn’t run away fast enough

Get Me Out of Here

Get Me Out of Here

They didn’t mind posing for cameras

Posing for the Cameras

Posing for the Cameras

and a bunch had cameras of their own.

Camera Ready

Camera Ready

Camera Not so Ready

Camera Not so Ready



Check out my SmugMug gallery if you want to see more.

San Diego Skyline at Night

I recently had a chance to venture down to San Diego to photograph the San Diego Skyline from the Coronado side of the bay. There is an area near the Coronado Ferry Landing with restaurants, beach and grassy areas so you can hang out as formal or relaxed as you want.

I was supposed to be meeting a few people I hadn’t met before from a new meetup group I joined. I didn’t know what they looked like and there were a lot of cameras in the area so that was no help 🙂 There was a grassy area next to the Coronado Ferry Landing so I sat down and setup my tripod as low as it would go and starting shooting across the bay as the sun went down.

San Diego Skyline at Sunset

San Diego Skyline at Sunset

When I first got to Coronado there were some nice clouds in the sky, but by the time the sun had set, they were mostly gone.

San Diego Skyline after sunset

San Diego Skyline after sunset

A half hour after the last photo, the reflections really stand out

San Diego Skyline Reflection

San Diego Skyline Reflected in the bay

Turning my camera and tripod to my left, I played with getting the lights as starbursts and their colorful reflections under the pier. I like how the moving people show as a blur

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing – 3.2 second Exposure to capture the people moving as a blur at f 16 to get the starburst

While the last photo shows the effects (starbursts, motion blur), the next tells a better story with the inclusion of the ferry boat. The ferry illustrates the purpose of the pier and why there is a constant flow of people on it.

Coronado Ferry

Coronado Ferry

I was seeing this light string in the background and it wasn’t until I moved further down the pathway, that I realized it was the USS Midway aircraft carrier that is permanently docked by downtown San Diego.

USS Midway at night

USS Midway

As I mentioned, I finally moved from my grassy position to work some different angles. I setup my tripod in a new location not too far from some other photographers and it turned out they were the group I had been looking for. After some conversation about how much water to include when it was so dark outside, I chose this composition.

San Diego Skyline at night

San Diego Skyline

As it was getting darker and darker, I thought the photos I was seeing on the back of my camera were looking too orange. After some conversation with the group around white balance, I decided to manually change the white balance setting on my camera to 2500 Kelvin with the intention of making the sky look more blue than black. It also change the lights from orange to blue, which I really liked.

San Diego Skyline at night

San Diego Skyline with creative use of white balance to make the photo more blue than orange

We decided to move in the opposite direction down toward the Coronado Bridge to get some photos of it. We never really found the perfect angle to get the whole bridge, but we did find a beach with a punch of boats sitting around. I took out my flashlight and light painted one of them. I still had my white balance set to 2500k so it cast a blue color on it.

Coronado Bridge and light painted row boat

Coronado Bridge and light painted row boat

The twin reflections of light are from Petco Park Baseball Stadium. The San Diego Padres were playing so the stadium was lit up very strongly even from across the bay.

San Diego Skyline and Petco Park

San Diego Skyline and Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres

We ended up staying an hour later than originally planned because there was so much to see and experiment with. With an hour+ drive, I didn’t get home to after midnight but it was worth it. 🙂

Visit my SmugMug gallery for the full portfolio view

Sunset Cannon Battle

The Ocean Institute of Dana Point holds the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival every September. As part of the festival the tall ships conduct a cannon battle at sunset. In previous years I’ve tried to photograph the battle from behind the Ocean Institute. The problem I had was that the ships need to be too far away in order to avoid the rocks. This year I decided to buy a ticket on an escort ship so I could be much closer to the action.

The ships look so good at sunset, it was hard to narrow down the best shots. I’ve selected a few here and the rest I’ve added to my SmugMug gallery.

Exy Johnson

Exy Johnson – Low light towards sunset highlights the color on the sails

Cannon Battle between the Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson

Cannon Battle between the Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson

Irving Johnson firing on the unarmed Escort ship Sea Explorer

Irving Johnson firing on the unarmed Escort ship Sea Explorer

American Pride Sails

American Pride Sails

The Spirit of Dana Point

The Spirit of Dana Point

On the Horizon

On the Horizon

American Pride

American Pride, the only ship with colored sails and I convert to black and white to highlight the effect of the sun

Smoke Rings

Smoke Ring – I didn’t even see it at the time

US Open of Surfing

Ok, so I know nothing about surfing or what makes a good surfing photograph. However, I thought the US Open of Surfing might be a good opportunity to give it a try as Huntington Beach is so close. The first challenge is parking. The Huntington Beach pier area can be very crowded and difficult to drive around. I had the idea if that if I went early enough I might beat the crowds and find a close parking space without having to park on some side street and walk miles. The surfing competition started at 8 AM so I got there at 7 AM and as I hoped there were few people around at that hour.

Second challenge is where to shoot from…the beach or the pier. I chose the pier as I was shooting with a 70-200 mm lens and the pier would get me closer to the surfers. It was a very overcast day so I had to increase by ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action.

Third challenge was editing my photos afterward. I had set my camera for burst mode and at 8 frames per second that produced a lot of photos. I found in culling through them all that the ones I liked the best were a combination of their facial expressions, which meant those that were facing me, and body positions or gestures.

I enjoyed the experience so much I went back a second time with a photo buddy. These are a combination of both days. Click on a photo to view them all larger

The high resolution photos can be found on my SmugMug portfolio

Pasadena

A photo walk around Pasadena after attending a Photography related expo.

Statues of Jackie and Mack Robinson in front of Pasadena City Hall

Statues of Jackie and Mack Robinson in front of Pasadena City Hall


Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena City Hall


Pasadena City Hall ~ Front entryway

Pasadena City Hall ~ Front entryway


Pasadena City Hall ~ Clock

Pasadena City Hall ~ Clock


Pasadena City Hall ~ Hallway

Pasadena City Hall ~ Hallway


Pasadena City Hall ~ Courtyard

Pasadena City Hall ~ Courtyard


Stained Glass

Stained Glass


The Auditorium of the City of Pasadena - Danielle's one time concert venue

The Auditorium of the City of Pasadena – Danielle’s one time concert venue

Blue Whale Watching

I went on a Blue Whale Watching cruise from the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. We found a blue whale not far off the coast. The problem was that there were people on jet ski’s and other small boats that were too noisy and were getting too close.

This whale would come up to the surface, blow, glide on the surface, dive and then come up a few minutes later in a different spot. Some times you could predict where it would come up and sometimes you get surprised. Polarized sunglasses helped on occasion as I could see the whale when it was still under the water if it was close enough.

Blue Whales are very big, apparently it’s tongue is heavier than an elephant and it’s heart is the size of a small car. I never felt like we ever saw the whole whale. It was either the blow whole, it’s back or it’s tail.

I used my 70-200mm and most of the photos were taken at 200mm. The slowest shutter speed I used was 1/2000 sec and my aperture was at f6.3.

Blue Whale Blow

Blue Whale Blow

The blue whale didn't lift it's fluke much and when it did it wasn't very straight

The blue whale didn’t lift it’s fluke much and when it did it wasn’t very straight

This whale like to roll as it dived which made it's fluke look like a shark fin

This whale liked to roll as it dived which made it’s fluke look like a shark fin

Whales eat krill so their poop is orange

Whales eat krill so their poop is orange

Tail action

Tail action. Reminds me of the tail of the C-5A 🙂

The boat crew said they hadn't see this behavior before. All that water is from the whale

The boat crew said they hadn’t see this behavior before. All that bubbling water is from the whale blowing

I took a short sequence of photos and turned it into a very short video from the whale coming up for air to it’s dive.

A to Z at the OC Fair

The challenge issued by the South Coast Photography meetup group was to photograph the alphabet using the first letter of the subject of the photograph. For example Apple = A, Butterfly = B, etc. I decided a target rich environment like the fair would be a good opportunity to try and get the whole alphabet at once.

In no particular order (Click on one to show all of them in a viewer with the alphabet description)

I missed a letter. Do you know which one?

Moab Signs – Sense of Place

When I attended the photography workshop held by the Legacy Project at the Great Park, Douglas McCulloh did a presentation entitled “The New Landscape Photography: Adventures in Chaos and Disorder” I think the gist of the presentation was to expand what you consider “Landscape”.

One of his examples was a photographer, whose name I don’t remember, who did a project photographing town signs. Not just any town, but towns with interesting or humorous names such as Boring, Oregon. His signs included The Boring Library, The Boring Fire Station, etc.

I decided to use that idea when I was in Moab. When I was leaving town after the photography workshop I attended, I made several stops along the way to take photos of signs with “Moab” in them. My purpose was not a project of town signs, but to have them available to use as filler if I decide to create a photo book of my trip.

I think these photos do a good job of showing a sense of place. If you’ve never been to Moab, I think you can tell from the photos, that it’s located in red rock country. As well as being a popular for area for adventure sports and activities.

While I show these here to illustrate my point, you won’t find them in any of my SmugMug Galleries 🙂

I tried to do the same thing in downtown Grand Junction and came up empty. While Moab was full of businesses that use “Moab” in their name, Grand Junction was the exact opposite.

Taking photos of signs, whether you publish them or not, is a great way to remember where you’ve been.

Grand Junction

While I was in Grand Junction in April & May, Dad and I explored in and around Grand Junction. Among the locations, we checked out were the Colorado River, Colorado National Monument, the arboretum at the college and around Palisade.