Saturday, March 22, 2014

Marisa's Home Run

Marisa's Home Run by Wayne-K
Marisa's Home Run, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

The Storm defense started a little slowly today, with multiple errors early in the game. Perhaps it was the 8:30 AM start, but the defense eventually clamped down and the bats came alive, giving the Storm another win.

Overall, it was a great game. Kami started the game on the mound and pitched well. Marisa put on a hitting clinic, hitting one out of the park for a home run!

Here are a few photos from the game.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Storm in the Forecast

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

California is currently in a drought condition, with below-average precipitation this year. However, the weatherman didn't predict the big storm hitting Pleasanton...the PGSL Storm, that is. The Storm played a great game, with outstanding pitching, defense, and hitting.

We were the home team, occupying the third base dugout. This made it difficult to photograph the right handed batters, with their backs facing the camera. I decided to take a lot more portraits today. The game was held at Upper Bernal Fields, which is smaller than the fields at the Pleasanton Sports Park. The close proximity to the players made closely cropped portraits possible.

Here are a few photos from the game:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yosemite National Park

Half Dome by Wayne-K
Half Dome, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

- Anonymous

I took a day off from work yesterday to hike Yosemite National Park. Over the last 20 years, I've avoided Yosemite because of the large crowds, including tourists, hikers, climbers, photographers, and school kids. While Yosemite is full of breathtaking and iconic views, the outdoor experience is often tarnished by the mass of humanity. I generally prefer the less traveled areas of the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra is full of wonderful locations, relatively anonymous compared to Yosemite, but nearly as beautiful and much more serene. Yesterday, however, was incredible. The foot traffic was low and the spring temperatures were high. The off-season is a superb time to visit the National Park!

After four short hours of sleep, I wearily arose at three o'clock, showered, jump-started my brain with a cup of coffee, and hit the road to Gilroy to meet up with the rest of the hiking gang – Faye, Li, and Deac. Under Faye's watchful eye, the group (somewhat) quickly gathered the gear, packed the truck, and we proceeded down Highway 152, east toward Yosemite.

Upon our arrival in the valley, we started our hike near Mirror Lake, early enough to catch the mountains lit with the early morning light and reflecting in the appropriately named lake. The view was picture perfect, but unfortunately, I didn't have my tripod or graduated neutral density filter. The ND grad filter is a key landscape photography tool, enabling the photographer to balance the exposure between the brightly lit mountains in the background with the shaded lake/reflections in the foreground. Using Kodak BW400CN film, I decided to shoot the reflections tightly framed, excluding the brightly lit background from the frame. I then shot the entire scene with my iPhone5, using the HDR mode to deal with the exposure differences...not my ideal tool, but the best one I had available at the time.

We continued our hike along the Snow Creek Trail, climbing steadily for almost 3000 feet. The brisk pace slowed gradually as the miles and elevation increased. Our effort was rewarded when Faye guided us to the site of our lunch break – a large slab of granite overlooking Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Dropping our packs, we spent a moment absorbing the breathtaking views, before consuming our lunches and resting our bodies. An hour and a half passed in a moment, and it was time to descend the mountain and return to the valley. We spent some time taking photos before departing Yosemite and then proceeded home. After a quick stop for the traditional post-hike pizza and beer, and a long drive home, we concluded a wonderful day.

This afternoon at work, a colleague asked, “How did you manage to take a day off from work?” I searched for my soap box, hopped on top of it, and explained that life is short and we need to seek the opportunities that take our breath away. There aren't enough weekends in a year, so we need to augment them with vacation days to chase these moments. With the ever-present heavy workload, there's never a good time to take off from work...but there's always a good time to have your breath taken away.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Beautiful Yosemite landscape, lit by the morning light, and reflecting in Mirror Lake.

View of Clouds Rest, framed by an interesting foreground tree.

Mirror Lake

Half Dome, taken from the valley floor.

Misc Photos taken with my Nikon FM2, with Kodak BW400CN film.

Here are a few photos taken with my iPhone5.

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 PGSL Season Kicks Off

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

The 2014 Pleasanton Girls Softball League (PGSL) season is here! Kami is playing in the Senior Division this year, open to high school aged players. She is one of only two freshmen on the team, but after a handful of practices and scrimmages, the coaches said she’s a “natural.” She’s the lead-off batter, a solid pitcher on the mound, a reliable second baseman, and she tracks down fly balls in the outfield like a field-seasoned Golden Retriever (unlike Paisley).

Here are a few photos from one of the scrimmages. I will be taking pictures throughout the season as one of the photographers covering the team. Just as the girls needed to “knock off some rust” due to the long off-season, I too needed to get back into sports photography mode. The players move a tad bit quicker than the landscapes I’ve been shooting lately…

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Under the Table by Wayne-K
Under the Table, a photo by Wayne-K on Flickr.

It's four AM and I awakened with the urge to pee. With anticipation, I opened the door to the warm, damp bathroom, where earlier I saw two large, American cockroaches, sunning themselves quietly in the darkness. As the door slowly creaked open, a flick of the light switch sent a lone cockroach scampering for shade. I tried to crush him with a bottle of bathroom cleaner, but the roach deftly avoided it and scurried quickly for the door. I hurriedly slammed the door, playing a deadly chess game with my prey. I watched his long antennae sweeping from under the door, giving away his presence, and I took a moment to pee, carefully aiming with one eye on the bowl, with the other eye on the roach. I opened the door and ran to grab the nearest insect crushing device, but the roach scampered across the white tile floor to the safety and security under the dresser, saving itself from gut-crushing shoe. I lay in bed, reflecting on the time, decades ago, when a large cockroach crawled up the inside of my pants leg one night at a Boy Scout meeting. I shook my leg feverishly, desperately trying to get the roach out of my pants.

My attention switched back to the roach under the dresser, as it noisily walked across the tile floor, breaking the darken silence and my eerie reflection. I lay awake, hoping he crawls back into the bathroom instead of up the bed covers. Thus is my first night in the Barrigada house, where my brother in-law is housing me for my weekend in Guam.

Dawn patiently arrived and I exited the bedroom to find my host sleeping on the couch. He graciously gave up his room and turned on the room’s air conditioning before my arrival so I wouldn't have to experience the warm, humid nights in Guam. It was clear, however, that he typically slept in the bed without air conditioning, as the sheets and pillows reeked of many sweaty nights.

I traveled to Guam on business and spent the subsequent weekend visiting my brother in-law. Here are a few pictures.

Guam is infamous for its large number of dogs, unconstrained with fences or chains. The Spaniards brought Catholicism to Guam and apparently the canines aren't spayed or neutered either.

On my last trip to Guam, Chris prepared a wonderful dish using banana hearts from the banana trees on the property. The delicious dish of banana hearts and pork is a regional dish from Pampanga, PI (I believe). Knowing how much I enjoyed it, he prepared it again…and it was as good as I remembered it.

Here’s a rare sighting of the Maytag repair man. According to legend, it’s rarer than Sasquatch, Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster. One little secret, Maytag reliability is poor, but their marketing is incredible. My father in-law used to service Maytag commercial machines and he let me in on this little secret years ago.

Here are a few more misc photos.