Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Manhattan Beach Pier

With 8 straight days of rain, I haven't shot a sunset in a while. I thought I might chance it today and catch a few clouds in the photo. No such luck but I tried to make chicken salad out of chicken crap anyways.

Manhattan Beach Pier always provides a nice backdrop for sunsets. In winter, it is less populated and makes photo ops easy. These pictures capture a few people watching the sun drop over the horizen.

Today I shot the Nikon D70 with my Nikkor 80-400mm lens. All the books and articles I read always promote the "go wide" philosophy in shooting landscapes. Nonsense. I find the telephoto zooming in and narrowing the subject makes very interesting shots. To me, far more interesting than "going wide angle." But, you be the judge.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Moon

A storm moved in last night and created a game of peek-a-boo between the moon and clouds. I had an amazing time photographing the moon dancing with them. I thought moonbeams outlining the clouds made for great photos.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Surprising Sunset

An approaching storm produced large clouds all day. I patiently waited for the sunset to arrive. As the sun descended over the Pacific, a large cloud formation overtook the setting sun. To my dismay, the sunset would be very pedestrian. I snapped a few shots hoping for the best.

With no hope of a spectacular sunset, I turned towards the city an began to go home. I was surprised to see the moon rise above a cloud bank just over the hilltop. What a spectacular sight indeed. I took way too many shots but all were great. It was hard to pick one.

I took many photos of the rising moon and was pleased to have this bonus to balance an unremarkable sunset. I always mark the phases of the moon but tonight I did not give it a second thought. It caught me off guard and it was a pleasant surprise.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Patience Pays Off

I cannot count how many times I heard a photographer tell a story about how they were ready to give up on a shot due to frustration. The weather was bad or the animals were not cooperating, etc. For some reason they stayed with the shot and miraculously the sky opened and the money shot appeared upon command.

Recently I walked to the beach and scouted for a new location to photograph. The clouds were heavy and it could easily become overcast and a waste of time. I have a good knack for guessing if the clouds will break for a good sunset shoot or not. Today was debatable but I figured what the heck.

Upon arrival to my scouted location, the sky miraculously opened up and it allowed for my shots. These are the results.

The lesson learned is to stay with the shot until all hopes is lost. If you stay with it, you will get some amazing shots you never expected. Then again, there will be plenty of times where it is bomb. Such is life.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Today's photo goes back several years to 2003. While at the Orange County Fair, I snapped this one off of these young girls performing a traditional Mexican dance. The vibrant color of the dresses draw the eye immediately.

The beauty of this shot proves that you don't need the most modern DSLR (although it helps) to capture great photos. I used my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P92 5.0 Megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera for this photo. In comparison, today's new Nikon D300 and D3 are 12 megapixels cameras.
Today's lesson is encouragement to get out and shoot regardless of your camera. In the end it is the photo's compositon and not the equipment that makes great shots. Happy shooting.
P. S. The Sony has long ago bite the dust, so today I will take my new expensive Nikon out for a run. I goes to show that you get what you pay for.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Swinging Sunset

The new year brought a magical sunset with it. Late in the afternoon I monitored the clouds formations in the western sky. I made my way to the beach to prepare for the sunset. I had no location set in my mind as I departed.

As I came upon 2nd Street I noticed a family taking in the last of the day's light on the swingset. This made for a perfect composition to frame the sunset. With the light quickly changing and the swingers constantly changing position, I take more pictures than I should have. This gave me plenty of photos to choose from but a harder choice to narrow down the best shots.

As I sorted through the shots, I learned a lesson from the lens I chose. The wider lens (Nikkor 18-200mm) had the overall better shots. The telephoto lens (Nikkor 80-400mm) took sharp pictures of the swings but the depth of field of the sunset distracted from some shots. Presented for your approval are these shots as they were the best representations.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Weather Event

Rain in the Los Angeles area is always a big news event. Given that we had one of the driest years ever last year, three successive storm this weekend brought major concern.

I cannot resist grabbing my camera, with my Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro lens, and head out for flower photos after a rain. I don’t think we had enough rain days last year to shoot any flower shots. Today was an opportunity I looked forward to for over a year.

Unfortunately, the small amount of rainfall in the last year provided few flowers. I traveled several of my old walking routes and didn’t many flowers to photograph. The ones available were lame. What a major disappointment. I did get one shot that I was pleased with. This orange flower popped out on this dark and dreary day. It was definitely my favorite of the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's 2008

Today is the Rose Parade in nearby Pasadena. Just two years ago I got lassoed in taking a few people to Alhambra to work on the floats. If you were ever interested in working on a float, it is easier than you think. Just show up there at the building and you are in.

I remember working all day on the City of Alhambra’s float and told all my family and friends about it. I asked them to keep their eye out for it while they watched the parade. As luck would have it, the national coverage of the Rose Parade ended before the float passed by. I barely caught it on the local coverage, which plays all day and night here by the way. So much for the float building but I must say that it was an experience. At least when I pass on to the great beyond, I can say, “I worked on a Rose Parade float.”
2008 is shaping up to be the best photo shooting year yet. I look forward to 2008.

Nikon D100, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 micro lens