Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

As the end of the WA drag racing season approaches (tonight is the final Whoop Ass Wednesday for 3 months, and all other racing wound up a few weeks ago), I start looking back on some of the other photos I've taken over the years.

In August 2009, I was in San Francisco, California, and I was intent on getting "the shot" of San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge. In the evening of the 31st of August, I was at Fort Point, at the Southern end of the bridge. As all Californian National Parks are closed an hour after sunset, I knew we didn't have much time on site before we would be asked to leave. As it turned out, once the camera was set up on the tripod, I had time to shoot 8 shots, at increasing exposures. This was the sixth image in the sequence, with a 2 minute exposure, and as it turned out, the next two images would feature the police car that turned up to sweep the area, and eventually, kick us out.

After returning home, I had this shot printed on a 32 inch by 20 inch stretched canvas, and hung it in my living room. Several years later, this is still one of my favourite photos, I see it every day and most days I will sit and wonder when I will return to explore this city some more. As with all of my photos, this one is available for sale in a wide range of prints through the online store.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cars and Guitars

Well, that was a very busy, and rather enjoyable, weekend. The Easter long weekend coincided with ANZAC Day in Australia this year, seeing two of the regular end of season events at the Perth Motorplex on the same weekend, the Hankook Tyres Burnout King on Good Friday and the Holden vs Ford drags on ANZAC Day. Between those two events, the Motorplex hosted a concert on Easter Saturday, headlined by ZZ Top and Rose Tattoo with support from local acts Datura and The Joy Evelation.

Kynan Hall took out the blown category at the 2011 Hankook Tyres Burnout King, shot with Canon 1D Mk III, 70-200 f/2.8L (non-IS) and Speedlite 580EX

The Holden vs Ford and Burnout King events are pretty much a regular feature on my calendar these days, but the opportunity to see one of my favourite bands in action at one of my favourite venues was what had my attention over the weekend. I'd been in discussions to organise media accreditation for myself for some time, and finally got the good word on Saturday morning. Having not shot a lot of concerts before, this was always going to be a challenge, and something that I was really looking forward to.

The pit, as seen from side of stage as we wait to be given permission to enter, shot with Canon 1D Mk III and 24-105 f/4.0L IS

This was the first time I'd experienced 'the pit', that part of the venue between the stage and the crowd, a little over a meter wide, where the accredited photographers can find some space to work. Many acts choose to limit the time that the pit is open to photographers to a couple of songs, and this concert was no exception. While this may seem to restrict us a little, I think it also helps, as in the case of ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons seemed to be paying attention to the shooters in the pit during those couple of songs, and there are definitely a couple of keepers in my shots from that time.

Billy F Gibbons, lead man for ZZ Top and legendary cool car dude, shot with Canon 1D Mk III and 24-105 f/4.0L IS

After the time in the pit was over, I headed back into the crowd to hang out with Kate, and switched to a longer lens to grab some more shots, mostly with two, or all three, members of ZZ Top in the frame. Another part of the challenge in shooting concerts, is that almost 100% of the time, flash photography is banned, meaning you're relying on constantly varying stage lighting, which can be good and bad, sometimes at the same time. While there are often some cool colour effects, you're always chasing the right exposure settings, and when you get it right, there's certainly a sense of achievement to go with it.

Dusty Hill and Frank Beard from ZZ Top, shot with Canon 1D Mk III and 70-200 f/2.8L (non-IS)

On the subject of gear, I shot the whole night with my Canon EOS 1D Mk III, using a Canon 24-105 f/4.0L IS lens for most of the night, and switching to a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L (non-IS) lens for the latter portion of ZZ Top's set.

ZZ Top on stage, left to right, Frank Beard, Dusty Hill and Billy F Gibbons, shot with Canon 1D Mk III and 70-200 f/2.8L (non-IS)

I don't think I ever doubted that I'd enjoy shooting my first concert, and it's certainly something I'll be keeping an eye out for the opportunity to do it again some day, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's the Little Things

I like it when I find an answer to a question I wasn't really asking, and it's happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks. It's usually something that I'll wonder about when I have no way of finding out the answer, and then forget about by the time I'm sitting in front of a computer with the whole internet in front of me, just begging to give me some answers.

Wayne Patterson warming the rear tyre on his Ducati at the Perth Motorplex

The first time, was when I was browsing an American hot rod forum, the HAMB, and came upon a thread discussing desmodromic valve actuation and it's applications. I had been wondering for some time, just why it was that Ducati motorcycles had such a characteristic rattle at idle, and it turns out that they use a desmodromic valve system. That is, instead of a spring to push the valve closed, they use a second rocker arm that pushes it closed in much the same way that it is pushed open, just that it pushes up instead of down. In earlier days, these systems were much more prevalent than today, as early valve spring materials did not support engines running at the high rpm's that we now expect from performance motors. Desmodromic systems of the time had their own pitfalls, but offered enough benefits for them to be fairly widely used in the performance and motorsport arena. Today, the only major manufacturer still using a desmodromic type valve actuation system is Ducati, who seem to have ironed out most, if not all, of the bugs in the system.

The second time I had that feeling of "oooohhhhh.... so THAT's what that's all about" was yesterday, as I was sitting at my dentists waiting for an appointment. I don't normally read the magazines in waiting rooms, as there's usually not much that grabs my attention, however yesterday I decided to have a rifle through the pile and see what was on offer. After pushing the gossip rags to one side, and hunting around some more, I found an issue of Sophisticated Traveller, the Australian Financial Review's travel insert, that contained an article on California's Mission Trail. Hidden in that article, was the answer to my question "What is so special about El Camino Real?" We had noticed last time we were in the USA, that one of the street names that keeps popping up in a number of different towns was El Camino Real, and we weren't sure why, however, at the time, while intriguing, it wasn't intriguing enough for us to actually type the words into Google and go looking for an answer, but now I've got one, and I intend to share it with anyone who's gotten this far.

Babe's Muffler Man stands tall on The Alemada, part of the current Route 82, the designation for El Camino Real from San Francisco to San JoseAs you may already know, long before California was part of the United States of America, the Spanish pushed north from Mexico and established a series of 21 missions each approximately 1 days ride apart, at the same time, the Russians headed south from Alaska, as far as San Francisco, but that's another story. The Spanish missions spread from San Bruno in the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico, up to Mission San Francisco in Sonoma, California. The track that joined these missions together was known as El Camino Real, which translates to either The Royal Road, The Royal Highway or The Kings Highway, depending on who translates it. From 1683 until 1912, El Camino Real was an unpaved road, initially marked by yellow flowers from mustard seeds sprinkled along it's length by the padres who traveled it, but in 1912, the state of California decided to start paving this historic roadway. Over the years that followed, El Camino Real has become one of Calfornia's busiest non-Interstates.