Tuesday, May 24, 2011

back in the saddle again

I realize it has been a long time since I posted but I am back now and hopefully will post some great shots for everyone to enjoy. A little break from photography has helped me re-energize my passion for this great hobby of mine.

I decided for my first portrait from my little hiatus away from photography should be someone I care about. DJ "la Coqui" is just that person. She is one of the Bay Area's most popular Salsa/Latin DJ's and just happens to be my co-worker and good friend. If you love music, you will enjoy her radio show on Thursday's @7pm at http://www.tomaradionetwork.com/home/page/djlacoqui

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trip to The Rock

Three years ago was my first visit to the infamous Rock called Alcatraz. For a native San Franciscan, people used to harass me about never visiting an Island that hosts nearly 130,000 visitors a year. Three years ago I finally visited the island with a group from Keeble and Shuchat Photography. Every year Keeble and Schucat hosts a trip to Alcatraz that allows its participants a full private guide of the Island that most visitors never see. We arrive after all the normal visitors leave at 4pm and stay until 10pm.

We were picked up not by the normal Blue and Gold fleet but a Tug Boat. Took a few shots while on the Tug but since the the salt water spray started to get a little stronger I put the camera back in the bag for the rest of the boat ride.

Once we got to the Island we were split up into small groups and led by Park Rangers that have worked on the Island for Decades. These guys had tremendous amount of fascinating information from the history, to the stories of famous inmates and even about the flora and animals species that populate the Island. Just a wealth of information that made the trip just that much more exciting.

This is a grill of the 1934 Diamond T Fire Truck that still runs and is used in case of a fire. The truck was restored by inmates at the Nevada State Prison at Las Vegas in 1998. The Irony of it.....

Without the hoards of visitors, we were able to capture shots of the cell blocks and corridors void of people. Very cool.

First I took a few pics of my buddy John before splitting up and shooting on our own. I always wanted to shoot this type of picture in one of these cells just to give a perspective of how small these cells really are.

Same cell as above but of course without John ;-)

After shooting a few shots in the cell blocks, we went outside and walked around to the west side of the Island to catch the sunset behind Golden Gate Bridge. We lucked out with the weather and had a beautiful sunset. Normally, fog would block any chances of such a scene.

Once the sun went down, we walked around the perimeter of the Island taking random shots of the severely worn structures and equipment that use to keep the most dangerous people in the country behind bars.

The old generator room I am sure has seen better days

Stack on the power house building

The old and now unused water Tower

Inside the industries building

To show support and pride to the World Series bound SF Giants, the Park Rec lit up the light house bright Orange.

A view of thew lighthouse and the warden's house from the Parade grounds. The Warden's house was gutted by a fire started by the Indians that took over the Island in 1970

On the Island is a very unique perspective of San Francisco's Skyline. Coit Tower and the Transbay Terminal are also lit up in orange to pay homage the the world series bound SF Giants.

I found a very interesting site that gives a tremendous amount facts about the Islands history. If you interested, Please check it out..Alcatraz and its History

Saturday, October 16, 2010

San Francisco 2010 Fleet Week

Every year since 1981, San Francisco has hosted an event that is extraordinary to view in person....Fleet Week. The purpose of Fleet Week is to bring awareness to those that serve in the armed forces and more recently to demonstrate disaster preparedness. I am a San Francisco native and have never gone to this event. I have always avoided it as if it was the plague. I dislike large crowds and growing up in SF, I have learn to really dislike tourists. What a shame that I have allowed my prejudices and fears keep me away from such an exciting fun filled event.
This year one of my closets and oldest friends and fellow photographer Eliot invited me to go with him to finally witness what Fleet Week is all about. Even though I was without my big lens, it is still at Nikon waiting for parts from my accidental drop while in Sitka, I still wanted to attend and enjoy the show all that Fleet week has to offer.

We arrived a few hours before the Ship parade was suppose to enter the golden gate to try and find a good location to shoot and to set up our equipment before the crowds started to pour in. With the extra time we had available before the show, I decided to take a few candid shots of some of the people waiting for the show to begin and an assortment of boats out on the bay.

The first part of the show was the parade of war ships entering the Golden Gate and heading to the viewing piers where civilians will be able to have the rare chance to walk onto the ships for a self tour.

The SF Fire boat lead the parade with its water canons fully on.

Once the ships cleared center stage, the helicopter show began. Showing off their skills on how they rescue people stranded in the water.

First the Air Force showed a mock rescue using divers and helicopters to retrieve a victim stranded in the water.


Then came out the Coast Guard showing off their training skills.

Once the air show started, I fully understood why this event is so popular every year. Even though I did not have my big lens as explained earlier, my 70-200mm lens with a 2x extender did a fair job. I did not get the most tack sharp images but non the less, I still managed to get some images I was proud of.

The air show was a mix of small acrobatic planes, to a commercial jumbo jet to military fighters. All of them had reasons why they were exciting to watch.

Watching a 747-400 buzz the bay was a sight to behold. Nothing can really describe watching such a huge aircraft making maneuvers at such low altitudes while having a majestic SF Bay as a background. Of course, I am a little biased since I actually worked on this aircraft for 15 years while employed with UAL. It was a surreal and profound moment for me.

I imagine the pilots of the Fry's Electronics sponsored MiG-17's and L-39 feel damn proud of their achievements. They are the only civilian-owned aerobatic jet team in America and they are fantastic to watch.

Before the Blue Angels perform for the finale of the air show, a C-130T also known as Fat Albert that carries all the supplies for the Blue Angles and is the true work horse that allows the Blue Angele's to perform through out the country was able to strut its stuff first.

At last, I bring you the Blue Angels.

This may have been only my first Fleet Week experience but it will definitely not be my last. Next year I hope to visit the ships up close and personal and once again enjoy all the airshows. I also hope to go more than just the one day. I can't wait until next year ;-)