Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We have a winnah!

Every week, I participate in a photo challenge with a group of ladies who I share a message board with.  Everyone submits a photo that represents a theme, and then we get to vote on which photo is the best representation.  You don't win anything except bragging rights for the week, and last week I won!  The theme was "Hidden" and I had two options to submit, the one that every Bay Area photographer has taken at some point or another

or something a little more original

I chose the more original one and they liked it!  So now I have a gold star to wear until next Friday.  Thanks, ladies!!

Classic rocks!

Last week, there was a classic car show in Alameda where they closed down four blocks of Park Street and lined up classic cars on both sides.  The requisite Model T was there, and every decade of the 20th century was represented, except for the 90's. 

They had gangster cars

Cop cars

Big cars

and little cars

Don't panic, that's a ceramic dog!

Some of them had amazing details

and I really wish the art form called "hood ornament" could be revived

because I think they say a lot about their owners in a way that personalized plates really can't

Well, maybe they can!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Photo walks

I highly recommend them.  I often go out on walks around my neighborhood, or to someone else's neighborhood or a local landmark or whatever, and just walk around taking pictures of anything that looks interesting.  Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.  Yesterday, Robert, Pandora and I went up to Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.  Now, a lot people think of Oakland as this hotbed of gang activity where you don't ever go without your own personal bodyguard.  But there are parts of Oakland that are totally different, almost wilderness, quiet, fresh-smelling, and only twenty minutes away from our house.  Man, are we lucky!

Capturing the light

We've had some awesome light here in the Bay Area for the last week or so.  We're in between the fog season and the rainy season here, so most days are clear from end to end.  Which makes for some really pretty light at the beginning and the end of the days.  Late last week, we had a full, harvest moon which has been rising around 6:30-6:45pm.  I left work late last Wednesday, and wouldn't you know, as soon as I hit the lower deck of the Bay Bridge, what do I see but this fantastic, orange moon rising above the East Bay hills, and it was right at eye level.  So naturally I think to myself, I've GOT to get a shot of this somehow.  "Somehow" turned into getting off the bridge at Treasure Island and driving over to the old navy base.  There's a parking area there which gets a whole lot of use by people who want to take photos of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.  So they're all facing west, and I turn around and face east and this is what I see:

I didn't want to take the time to get the tripod out of the trunk and set it up, so this is taken freehand, leaning on the top of the car door.  It was frickin' AWESOME! And so worth being home late for dinner.

Two nights later, on Friday, I left work a little earlier than I did on Wednesday and again, it was one of those really clear evenings and I could see that a sunset was in the making.  Now because of the fog, we don't get sunsets all that often, so you kind of have to take advantage of them when they show up.  Again I found myself on Treasure Island, but this time I was facing west with everyone else.

I love it here and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sometimes it's good to be reminded of what the important things in life are.  My good friend Morgan, whom I have never met, reminded me today of how tenuous our hold on life really is, and how we need to really focus on what's real and good in our lives before they disappear forever.  Another good friend, Amy, reminded me that I haven't shared some photos of one of the really good things in my life, our guide dog, Pandora.

Pandora is a five-year-old yellow Labrador retriever.  She came to live with us a little over three years ago from the Guide Dog School in San Rafael, California.  Since then, she has traveled with us to Maine, Alaska, Tennessee, and Southern California.  She has traveled by plane, boat, train, bus and car and done it all with aplomb. 

She loves to go in the car, it doesn't matter where we're going.  It can be up to Lake Tahoe, or just to the gas station.  As long as she's going somewhere, she's happy. 

While she was in training, her puppy-raiser was required to take her everywhere she would have to go as a guide dog, to restaurants, the library, the mall, you name it.  The one thing that she never learned as a puppy was that she already knows how to swim.  She loves running around and splashing in the water, but she has no idea that she can walk through it without lifting her paws out of it, or that she was born to swim, as well as to guide.

We still hold out hope that one day she will get the hang of it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movin' on up!

I am now the happy owner of not one, but two new lenses!!   Three weeks ago, on Labor Day weekend, I traded in my kit lens for a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.  It's a professional-quality lens, and hopefully just the first of several in my collection.  See that red ring around it?  That's your cue to oooh and aaah, because this is one awesome piece of glass!

This is what it can do

The color and sharpness are amazing.  I am seriously in love with this lens and I can't wait to get out and use it again.

My other new toy is a Tamron 18-270mm superzoom lens.  This one has unbelievable range, not to mention versatility.

I took these two photos from the same spot out at Alameda Point.

Amazing, huh?  What I love about this lens is that it's lightweight, has incredible range, and can be used in situations where I don't want to carry lots of different focal lengths.

I think I'm in love!!