Wednesday, July 23, 2008

midget "Tall Ships"

Well, I barely survived the onslaught of cars and people who lined the coast, the piers and any street leading to these spots, hoping for a vantage point to see the ships.

As I have already seen a real Tall Ships event, this was a big disappointment for me. I expected four masted vessels, their crews up on the masts as I had seen in Spain twice.

The US Coast Guard training vessel Eagle was tiny in comparsion.... to make things worse, the other ships were tiny also. I was reminded of a small pond with little bits of flat wood with paper sails blowing across the wind-swept water. Some of the other participating vessels include the Californian, the Nina, the Bounty, the Gas Light, the Gold Star, and the Lynx. This was a great event still, enabling me to see something I've never seen before in the Bay Area.

I started at Baker's Beach and it seems after that, my life was a running blur... running from one spot, driving to another, and running again, getting a few snaps, then running yet again to drive off to yet another location, then running again. I estimate I must have run about four miles between locations and my car just this morning!

At the northern lookout point of the Golden Gate Bridge, a parking spot was the most valuable commodity. Leading the parade of 15 official participating vessels ~ and a whole lot of other unofficial vessels of every size - the Eagle made a grand entrance, with small sailing vessels coming in behind her. Up at the headlands, people were decked out in folding chairs up with tight collars up to the chin to stop the biting cold wind, but still there was a huge crowd. Parking again was impossible and I had to park so far that I couldn't see my car after just two minutes of jogging to find a decent spot to photograph the crowded bay full of sailing boats. The bay was was covered in haze due to the combined effects of smoke from northern California forest fires and smog.

The Embarcadero was no exception today as many of the vessels were tying up at piers scattered along the wharf, the farthest being piers 30 and 32 where the Eagle was berthed.

the Eagle passes under the Golden Gate

At all locations, the pelicans were again flying.... they are just such graceful birds when flying..... Visit my site at pixie to see some of the other images recorded!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

just in da nick of time!

I had gone to Treasure Island to record the fireworks, and because of the wind and smoke from the fireworks explosions, nobody on that island saw anything! During that time, my camera was exposed to a lot of wind and salt water spray.... later that week I cleaned my lenses and camera bodies very thoroughly. A few days later, I had to shoot an event and even after many tests at home, at the event site prior to the event, and during, the camera ~ a very nice and new Canon EOS 40D ~ just died. It wouldn't focus, it wouldn't fire... it was dust! I thought it could have even been the salty air blowing on the cameras, though it's happened to previous cameras with no ill effects.

Lucky was I in planning to shoot that night with two lenses, so in taking two bodies swapping lenses on a single camera body wasn't necessary. I instantly changed to the backup camera and continued shooting as if nothing had happened. I didn't even think of the other "broken" camera body till the event ended and I could devote time to it.

All that following week, I tested it and even used it twice, and it worked great. Since I had already "tested the waters" at the event location, I took a single camera body to another event at the same location just a week later. You guessed it: the same malfunctioning camera body. Sure enough, after the previous tests and use, the test beforehand and just again as the event began, it died again after a few snaps. I couldn't figure it out. Fortunately I was able to use a camera owned by the event coordinator but it was a simple point and shoot, and the shutter delay really frustrated me, in that because of that I had to really anticipate actions, movements and emotions. But I got through the night.

The next Monday my camera was turned in for repairs and just now - a week later, I've been informed my camera is back!

**jumps for joy**

The reason for the malfunction was a loose wire. It couldn't have arrived too soon as tomorrow I am shooting the Tall Ship's arrival into San Francisco Bay. Plus, I've missed that 40D. It's heavier and weight in a camera is a steadying factor that keeps me happy. Plus the grip is very comfortable unlike my backup EOS XTi, which has a smaller grip and is very uncomfortable on the middle fingers.

I'm planning to capture the grand sailing vessels from several vantage points, as this is my first Tall Ship event outside of Spain where I attended and experienced the ships in Cadiz in 2000 and again in 2006. Somehow, sailing vessels in a beautiful and ancient city like Cadiz is so appropriate.

Otherwise, things are calm for now. I am starting a personal walking program as I am gaining too much weight from constant driving and little exercise, plus for the first time in many decades, the ability to eat big meals each and every day!

As I type this, I am also starting to seriously begin work on my photo book "Memories of Rota", which features my black and white film images taken in Rota (Cadiz), Spain from 1976 to 1979. I already have a private publisher for the finished book, which I hope will be published in spanish and english. At least 35 images will be featured with captions describing my moods as I experienced spanish life..... and lived some of the best years of my young life. I will be designing the book, its layout and am contacting a spanish university for the translation from english to spanish as my spanish is street-dirty.

I am headed to Eugene again in less than a month to record a friend's wedding. I love to see and capture the emotion of events, any events and I love weddings! I always consider it an honor to be trusted to be a participant in any social event!

I've done some more construction; it's so good to build something! I've done this in my far past but nothing ever came out well - due to the lack of the correct tools. This time, I had the tools and I was pleasantly surprised at the results!

As in all the other places I've lived including Eugene, I enjoy helping people. Sometimes the shocked faces of people standing on the corner with map in hand is a laugh, but I know that I have been to many countries in my life, and I would have been very grateful to have someone help me with directions. From my room three stories above, I can see so many tourists stopping to catch their breath after walking up a steep hill - and headed toward a steeper hill. I've willingly gone out of my way to give bits of direction, including to let them know if they only went two blocks down, they could avoid all these steep hills! I continue doing this with great pleasure as I am again in my hometown.....

Don't be so suspicious; there are good people in the world who just want to help with no strings attached, nor money required in payment for information given. I have stopped my car to help a couple walking up these hills with a huge suitcase, and toured the streets with others to show them the beautiful victorians. I've advised people on many things, even with where to take better pictures! I've walked over to couples taking pixs of each other, offering to capture them both on just one frame....

Some people like me just like to help.... please allow us to help you!! I remember in Spain the americans were the worst of these types; they would frown their foreheads and refuse with a great display of hatred on their faces! What would create this type of reaction during a family vacation?