Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pasadena in the Fall

This weeks post is a short one. I think I only took my film camera on this trip, so I don't have much to work with. But the lack of photos doesn't mean I wasn't able to find interesting places to take pictures of.

Several months ago, I visited the town of Pasadena. Its right on the skirts of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley. The downtown area, where I was this trip, has a great old town vibe. With a city hall that looks rivals most state capitals, a huge park(that has a summertime theater), and a couple of great gastropubs and bars, including Congregation Ale House, Haven and a Stone company store, there is something to do for everybody.

If you are coming from Downtown LA, you can easily hop onto the Metro Gold Line. Then you can sit and relax instead of sitting in the traffic. By freeway, it's directly off of the 210 and the 134 freeways. Pretty convenient.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Film on the Open Trail ...... To Nowhere!

This weekend, I'm going to be returning to the San Gabriel mountains to hike my favorite trail, The Bridge to Nowhere. In anticipation, I would like to share some film pictures I took on my hike in March. One of the main reasons I keep coming back to this spot is the unpredictability that you don't normally get, say at some of the other trails like over at Griffith park for an example or the Gaviotta Wind Tunnels.

This trip feels like It might be one of the more difficult times I will have up there since this is the middle of July. I have a few ways that i'll beat the heat. First off, I will be taking two 1 liter bottles of water, my trusty Noble Ale Works trucker hat, SPF 50 sunscreen, a killer slipknot handkerchief that I will be wetting and then tying around my neck to block the sun and keep me cool, and a nice sack lunch to enjoy on the bridge at 8:00-8:30 AM, if not earlier, while watching the bungee jumpers.

I'll be taking my trusty $20 Rebel Ti film camera with me again to catch as much interesting and odd as I can. But until then, I'll leave you with these pictures.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Test Roll From San Pedro

One of the benefits to living in a large metropolitan zone is that several iconic places are easily accessible. That can also be a downside unless you know how to properly utilize what you've got. I find these places as prime locations for testing out new equipment.

With my trip to New York looming, I was looking into getting a new film camera. One that was more accessible to my needs and allowed me to shoot faster while getting the results I was looking for, ie contrast. I really want a rangefinder, but there was no chance on my budget, so I settled with a Canon AE-1, a very prevalent camera to find.

One day I walked into my local camera shop to check out their large format cameras and to see if they had any deals with the classic cameras. Lo and behold, they had Rolleicord. A Rolleicord was the inexpensive version of the Rolleiflex, which was a popular camera used for press photography and has probably the best glass for a Twin Lens camera. The only difference between the Cord and the Flex was a slightly lower quality lense, the Cord only went to f3.5 instead of f2.8 of the Flex (one stop slower), and the Cord had a winding knob instead of the leaver. For me it's fairly insignificant since I can make the most out of what I have (As seen with my Holga shots Here and Here.)

After a lunch run to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance, and a bowl of ramen at the ever so wonderful Santouka Ramen, I drove up Western to San Pedro and to the Korean Bell of Friendship and a slight detour to the loading docks for the cruise ships.Take a look.

The last two shots were on the butt end of the roll. The first is one of my friends at work and on the second is on the trail to the Bridge to Nowhere. In case you're wondering, the color stripe in the photos were scanning errors from my scanner. I have no clue what was going on that day because my last set of scans came out wonderful!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fireworks Extravemaganza 2013

The Fourth of July is one of my top two favorite holidays every year. The main reason is probably the same reason most guys will give, Fireworks! I love me some controlled explosions put on by incredible technicians and outstanding choreographers. There is only a couple of places in the country that can offer that experience, one of them being a couple miles down the freeway from where I live, Disneyland.

This was my fourth year specifically watching the fireworks at Disneyland. My first two years were from the Brookhurst St/ Interstate 5 overpass. It has one CLEAR view, plus or minus some smog. Last year, I stood on the Ball Rd overpass directly behind Disneyland's office buildings. the view was incredible, but I saw myself wanting more.

This year, I perched myself on the top level of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. You can pay 15 buckaroos, or you can do what I did, I parked in the neighborhood and walked about five to ten minutes to the structure. I got there around 8:00 PM, and there were people already setting up camp. I walked about halfway down the structure as far away from everybody as I could. I setup my tripod and my camera and the rest is now history.

The only unfortunate part about watching the fireworks here is that you cannot hear the music track that plays to the fireworks. Not so important, but you do get a quite different experience. But if you don't like to be elbow to elbow, I wouldn't recommend it. That happens to be the busiest day of the year, or at least it was when I worked there.

Test shot to see how my night photography is.

Spot floodlights coming from Fantasmic.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July the Fourth Be With You

Happy American Independence Day to all.

I used to be one of those guys who loved to shoot off fireworks. As I've gotten older, and money has become more important, I've turned my back on watching my cold hard cash turn into sparkles in my face. I shall once again, fourth year running, be making the trek to a prime viewing location to shoot pictures of fireworks at the Happiest Place on Earth, sometimes aka The Mouse House or its very under used name that probably not many people know of, Disneyland. There is no other company on the planet that can match the skill in fireworks of Disney.

Here are some basic tips for shooting pictures of fireworks

  • Make sure your flash is turned off, 
  • Your ISO needs to be set as low as possible, like ISO 100
  • Have a higher aperture, Try f11 or f16
  • Set the shutter speed to 1/2 or slower.
If you find that you are getting blurry pictures, you might want to bring use a monopod or a tripod. When looking for usable stands, most people make a mistake in thinking they need expensive equipment. A very inexpensive and light tripod will do everything you need.

Last but not least, Get there early and scout your zone. Composition is still an important factor.

Have Fun, and drive safe, and have a blast!

Further Refference:



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Long Ride With a Longer Recovery

It's beyond me how this used to be the main form of transportation just a bit over 100 years ago. For anybody wondering what its like to ride cross country on the train, It's very unique! My laziness seems to have overtaken everything else. I need to do a write up on the whole train experience. The only thing you need to remember is to take stuff to do, because the train is very boring.

These were all shot in the barrens of New Mexico. Unfortunately, most of them have reflections I couldn't see at the time, but I seemed to have unconsciously used them to my advantage. Also, they were all taken while the train was in motion.

I must say, New Mexico has to be one of the ugliest states I've ever been in. I got enough of that on the short drive on I-10 in the south, but this was just the icing on the cake. It really looks like there is a permanent orange filter over your eyes, but I guess they use red rocks in the asphalt. My recommendation is hell no, I wont go! Have a nice day.

One last thought, I thought I might have had some nerve damage, but my left ass cheek has finally recovered from this train ride.