Saturday, February 25, 2012

Walk Around Pleasanton

Spring Blossoms in Winter by Wayne-K
Spring Blossoms in Winter, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Paisley and I had a nice walk around Pleasanton last weekend. After shooting a season of high school basketball, I had the urge to get back outside for a relaxing walk with my dog and my FM2. The weather was wonderful and we both enjoyed the day outdoors.

As we approached the downtown section of Main Street, I bumped into a nice lady shooting a digital point and shoot camera. There was a group of photographers across the street and I asked her if they were part of a camera club. No, they were part of a photography class from Las Positas College, presumably an adult education class. The instructor either worked for or assisted Ansel Adams (I don't remember). I found that interesting, as I am currently reading Ansel Adams' autobiography. It must have been an incredible experience, working with one of the masters in American photography. The lady and I spoke for a few minutes about light, 365 projects, and other photography related topics. I finally bid her farewell and let her get back to her class.

I continued my walk downtown, turned around at the end of the block, and walked back. I ran into the photography group and the instructor, noticing my camera, asked what I shot. He was visibly surprised it was a film camera. I was actually surprised at his reaction, especially given he must have been surrounded with film cameras during his time with Ansel Adams. Perhaps he was surprised anyone shot film anymore.

Having shot film for over fifteen years, I don't think twice about running a roll of thirty six frames through my camera. It is clear, however, that digital has quickly become the norm. In fact, I suspect a growing majority of today's photographers and photography enthusiasts have only shot the digital medium.

Fortunately, Paisley didn't seem to care whether I shot digital or film and we continued our leisurely walk home. It was a great day for a walk around Pleasanton.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Waiting for Winter

Trail to the Barren Oak by Wayne-K
Trail to the Barren Oak, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I've been patiently waiting for winter. I'm not much of a cold weather fan, but I love the incredible beauty in the winter Sierra landscape. The contrast between the pine trees and granite against the white snow makes for wonderful B&W (or color) photos. Unfortunately, my winter gear is collecting dust, waiting for a decent level of snowfall.

Closer to home, I've been waiting for the winter rains to bring back the green grasses in the hills around the East Bay. We've had very little rainfall, so the hills are still a bit brown and dull.

Winter is rapidly transitioning into Spring and I'm not sure I'll make it to the Sierra snow this year. I only have one friend stupid enough to go snow camping and this person is moving to Arizona (yes, you know who you are!). I need to make more stupid friends. I'm working on one guy but I think he's too smart to do it. We may need to stick to day trips for starters.

Here are a few photos of the almost green East Bay hills (Pleasanton Ridge) -- captured with my Nikon FM2 and Fuji Pro 400H color negative film.

Stay on Official Trails

Rock Pile

Fallen Brethren

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

D80 Is Back

Portraits by Wayne-K
Portraits, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I borrowed my brother's Nikon D90 for the high school basketball season this year because it handles high ISO much better than my older D80....thanks bro! Now that the season is over, I returned his camera and got my D80 back.

I was glad to get my baby back, even though it seems to have a bit more sensor dust than I remember...but no worries, I'll pull out the Rocket Blower and swabs soon.

My brother was glad to get his D90 back as well. Apparently he shoots high ISO much more than I do. I tend to shoot high ISO for basketball (i.e., dark, indoor, fast moving subjects), but otherwise, primarily base ISO (ISO 100).

Anyway, I was sitting here wondering when I used my D80 last. I dug through my photos and it looks like the last time I used it was for Christmas portraits, back on Dec 11 (see the picture above). The next time I use my D80 will probably be on opening day of the Pleasanton Girls Softball League (PGSL), on March 17. That will give me a couple of weeks to get my sensor cleaned up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pile of Creativity

A Cow's Been Here by Wayne-K
A Cow's Been Here, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) offers some of the most incredible outdoor experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've spent many days fishing, hiking, camping, and photographing the beautiful parks and lakes over the years. The EBRPD also maintains a Flickr group, capturing photos taken within the parks. Photos from this group are frequently highlighted on the EBPRD web page.

I posted a number of photos to the group this past weekend. One of the photos caught the eye (or nose?) of the EBRPD Public Affairs team. Here's the note I received:

dear Wayne
I believe these are the first cow "patties" we have had submitted to the EBRPD pool. They are definitely a part of the parks... but I don't think we want them highlighted on the park page. Feel free to re-submit them if you remove the park name from the tags.
Photos tagged with the park name rotate into a small gallery on that park's web page. Thanks. @ EBRPD

Apparently, I've tapped into a pile of artistic creativity not experienced in Pleasanton previously! Perhaps it isn't "creativity" -- it could be just "strange" as my wife calls me, or "weird" as my kids call me. Anyway, I can understand why the Public Affairs group wouldn't want their parks represented with a pile of cow poop. I promised them I would focus on the more scenic views in the future…LOL.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walk Around Texas

Cattails by Wayne-K
Cattails, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

As a photographer, I am not a specialist. I just shoot what life brings me. I shoot sports because my kids play sports, I shoot portraits because family and friends want portraits, and I shoot landscapes because I am a hiker and backpacker. Other times, I just carry my camera around and shoot what I find interesting.

I traveled to Texas for a week on business and was stuck there over the weekend. I used the downtime to relax, sleep in, get some exercise, and walk around with my camera. While it wasn't quite as pretty as the hills of California, I enjoyed the walk and took in the environment around me.



Gaylord Hotel

Window Reflection

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Season Finale

The 2011-2012 Amador Valley High School basketball season came to a close yesterday, with the season finale against crosstown rival, Foothill High School.

I had the opportunity to take portraits of the senior players, along with their parents. Prior to the start of the varsity game, the players presented their mothers flowers. The players then led their parents to center court for a photo. It was a very emotional and special moment for the players and parents.

Suprise Kiss from Mom (at Center Court)

Kiss from Mom

Capturing the Excitement

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's a Conspiracy (Part 3)

Don't Worry, Be Happy by Wayne-K
Don't Worry, Be Happy, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Holy cow, I must be on Candid Camera....

Earlier today, the shower in my hotel room had cold water and colder water. I mentioned it to the lady at the front desk, she apologized and called maintenance to get it fixed. I figured the problem was there were too many hotel visitors taking a shower this morning and they drained the water heater before I could shower.

To work around this problem, I decided to shower tonight, so I wouldn't have to worry about hot water in the morning. Well, the good news is they fixed the cold/colder water problem. The bad news is I had NO cold water. Tonight, I had hot water and hotter water. Let me be clear, the water temperature ranged from "third degree burn" hot to "first degree burn" hot.

I let the water run, hoping the water heater would run out of hot water so I could rinse in warm water. No luck. The shower turned into a sauna. Being a semi-intelligent person with creativity and ingenuity, I turned the water flow down low, hoping sufficient heat transfer would happen between the trickling water and the air before the water hit my skin. It helped, but not by much. Anyway, I managed to get washed and rinsed without scalding myself. I'm not sure I got all the soap off, but I don't care....I'm heading home tomorrow.

Fact is stranger than fiction! I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried....

It's a Conspiracy (Part 2)

Happy Peppercorns by Wayne-K
Happy Peppercorns, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I went to bed at midnight last night, after sending a few more notes of appreciation to FTD. After a few deep breaths and yoga exercises, I managed to fall asleep. I was in deep REM this morning when my alarm went off at 0600. Tired, but reasonably well rested, I proceeded to tackle the three S's.

The first "S" occurred without incident, with everything coming out okay. I did, however, have a few issues with the second "S"...the shower. I ran the water for several minutes, but there wasn't any hot water. Not sure what the heck happened, but it was like fifty people decided to take bubble baths this morning. The "hot" water was cold and the "cold" water was arctic cold. A few more deep breaths and yoga exercises later, I was ready to take on whatever else this day was going to deal me. I love the power of positive thoughts.

I am looking forward to returning home tomorrow. My plan is to shower tonight, while the demand for hot water was low. I'm hoping to get through tomorrow without incident. With my recent luck, I'm sure my plane will crash into the mountains. If that happens, I'm going to kill myself....JK.

BTW, the third "S" went okay problems with my electric shaver.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's a Conspiracy

Don't Worry, Be Happy II by Wayne-K
Don't Worry, Be Happy II, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

I need to take a happy pill.

First, the Swedish telecommunications company I work for decided to schedule their annual sales conference in Texas starting on a Sunday. With all the travel, long hours, and days away from our families, did they really need force hundreds of employees to travel on the weekend for a sales conference? Why couldn't they schedule it to start on a Monday?

Second, not only did the conference start on a Sunday, but it was also scheduled over Valentine's Day. What thoughtless, inconsiderate, SOB decided to do that?

Third, I decided to make the best of the bad situation by ordering some flowers online for my wife. This is a rated PG-13 blog, so I will just say I do not recommend for your floral needs....they suck! As of 9:30 PM on Valentine's Day, no flowers have been delivered. To make matters worst, it's 11:30 PM here in Texas, I'm dead tired, and I have a 7:30 meeting in the morning. I'm going to be doubly cranky tomorrow.

I don't think I'll be using FTD again anytime soon. I don't know what the "F" in FTD stands for, but I have a few thoughts at the moment...

Oh, I hope everyone had a *&^%! Happy Valentine's Day! :-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Battle of the Valleys

He Knew I Was There... by Wayne-K
He Knew I Was There..., a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Amador Valley visited San Ramon Valley yesterday. It was a tough game and Amador came up a bit short.

I'm in Texas for a week and will be missing the upcoming games against Cal HS and Livermore. I will, however, be back in time for the season finale against cross-town rival Foothill. I can't believe the season is coming to a close already!

Home of the Wolves



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Driving Permit

Kevin passed the test at DMV and has his driving permit. Today was his first day with the driving instructor. California requires six hours of driver's education. In the good old days, parents provided the training, so kids received no "professional" training. Hopefully the driving schools are teaching common courtesy and the rules of the road. A lot of Americans think the right lane is for passing and the left lane is for casual sightseeing.

Here's a picture of Kevin next to his future ride, a 1989 Toyota truck with 260K+ miles on it. Next step after his, marriage, and, these kids grow up so fast!

Friday, February 3, 2012

One Stop Darker

National Anthem I by Wayne-K
National Anthem I, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

Amador Valley traveled up north to Danville to take on the Monte Vista Mustangs. I walked into the gym, shook the hand of another parent, and exclaimed, "Wow, this gym is dark!" He replied, "Well, that would be important to you..." I guess most normal parents wouldn't notice the lighting in the gym.

It was definitely the darkest gym we've played in this year...about one stop darker, to be exact. My 70-200mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which wouldn't cut it tonight. I walked back to the truck to grab my 50mm f/1.8 so I could shoot the game at f/2. I typically shoot the 50mm from the baseline, capturing the action under the basket. However, the cheerleaders occupied the real estate on the baseline. After shooting what I could with the 50mm, I decided to revert back to the 70-200mm and bumped the ISO to 4000. This gave me a bit more reach, albeit with a bit more noise.

Here are a few photos from tonight's game. I'm hoping the gym is a bit brighter next week...

National Anthem II

Pregame Introductions

Guarding the Inbound

All Smiles

Boxing Out

My Favorite Player Dribbling

Stealing the Ball