Sunday, May 31, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge (May 2015): Spring

Here is is, the end of the month already and P.J.'s monthly challenge is upon us.  This month, the theme is spring.  I will be the first to admit that I didn't use my camera very much this month, nor did I even use the cell phone camera, but I did take enough shots that I think I can come up with five shots that pretty much epitomize springtime.  That being said, here are my entries into this month's challenge.

1.  Fiesta

Every Mother's Day weekend, our church has its annual fiesta.  This fiesta is likely the second or third largest event in the city of Claremont every year, so a lot of people attend and there were good crowds even though there was a large threat of rain in the air most of Friday night when this shot was taken.  For the past couple of years, I've usually set up my camera on a tripod somewhere around here and get some light streak shots.  This year, I walked down to the fiesta, only to turn my camera on and find out I had a dead battery.  I knew it was low, but wasn't aware it was that low and so I was totally unprepared for this circumstance.

However, this year, because I'm now part of the 21st century and I have my own smartphone now, I used the camera in the phone for some shots.  Not quite the same thing, but since I have several shots for the past couple of years with light streaks, this is a little different from my normal shots at this time.  It worked out well, mainly because the sight angles this year for the various rides weren't the greatest in the world and the best angles were right in the middle of high pedestrian traffic, which is not good for a long exposure with a camera on a tripod, so it probably worked out better that I did have a dead battery.  Still, that's just a rookie mistake, one that will not be repeated again.

2.  New hobbies?

For whatever reason, it seems like springtime is the time when new hobbies can be explored, that is unless you have a hobby that involves winter gear.  Most hobbies tend to be warm weather hobbies however and so I've got anew interest, one that might not come to fruition for a couple of years, but there's a large spark of interest here.  

One of many photo projects that I've participated in over the last couple of years is the 100 Strangers project.  I haven't taken a stranger photo in over a year, but when I saw Stephen here piloting a drone over the fiesta, I figured I wanted to know more about the drone, how it worked, etc.  Push came to shove and I walked over and starting talking with him about the drone.  Eventually, Stephen said the magic words, "Would you like to fly it?"

Oh man, that was very cool.  I got to hover, I got it to go straight up over the fiesta and just about the time I was ready to really start watching what the drone was seeing, the app lost contact with it.  Oops.  Fortunately, it didn't just plummet to the ground and Stephen was able to guide it in to a safe landing, but at least I can say that I've now piloted a drone.  Oh, yeah.  I plan on doing that again, sometime I hope in the near future.  Perhaps my children can pool their money together and get their old man a drone for Christmas.  That would be pretty cool.  At least here in California, I wouldn't necessarily have to wait until springtime to try it out.

3.  Walt Disney Family Museum

Springtime usually means the beginning of the traveling season, at least for me.  Early in the season, during my spring break, I went camping in Death Valley, the first time I'd been there in about 20 years.  But I digress, since these photos for this challenge have to be taken in the month of May.

Usually in May, I go visit my older two children over Memorial Day weekend.  This year I traveled up to the Bay Area to visit with my daughter and her fiancé.  My older son drove over from Merced for the weekend and we had a very enjoyable time.  Most of Saturday was spent dealing with little wedding details, mostly finding the right suit for the two dads.  I remember several years ago, when one of my good geocaching friend's daughter got married and he bought a suit for the occasion. If I remember correctly, he hadn't worn a suit in a very long time and probably won't ever after.  My daughter commented that she couldn't really remember ever seeing me in a suit either.  Well, I now own a suit, but once again, I'm digressing a little bit since that story doesn't deal with the photo.

Sunday, we drove up to San Francisco into the Presidio.  Our goal was to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum.  If you are a Disney aficionado, or have next to no knowledge of Walt Disney, you will enjoy yourself at this place.  The entire museum is obviously dedicated to Walt Disney, set up by his daughters and it contains all sorts of memorabilia of the man.  The museum is very interactive and pays attention to all sorts of small details.

At one point we were walking down a hall that had a grand vista view of the Golden Gate Bridge and my daughter commented that she felt that all of a sudden she was in a ride at Disneyland.  Not coincidentally, we turned the corner of the hallway and were in a room that featured everything Disneyland, including a scale model replica of the park.  Having worked at the park for five years in the 80s, this was just fabulous and I could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, but there were other things to see.

The photo that I've decided to show here doesn't have anything to do with Disneyland, but with the early pioneering that Disney did with sound cartoons.  This shot shows 348 frame enlargements form the film Steamboat Willie, the first talking cartoon, and the first that featured Mickey Mouse.  The 348 shots represents less than 15 seconds of animation time of the film.  And these were all hand drawn at the time as well, no computers to help them out.  Talk about labor intensive work.  It's no wonder that a feature length film, such as Peter Pan, was only released once every three years or so.

4. Street photography

As most of you know, I enjoy taking street shots of total strangers.  Outside of the Disney Museum, the green between some of the buildings was hosting a massive street fair.  Food booths surrounded all sides of the green and all of us took advantage of the massive amounts of good food.  If any of us went hungry, that was our own fault. 

Springtime in San Francisco is dicey at best.  There's always a good chance that Carl can show up at anytime.  Who's Carl?  Believe it or not, Carl is the fog that shows up in San Francisco.  He even has his own Twitter account.  The day we were at the Presidio, Carl was still off shore, but was threatening to come in at any time.  Still, people came to the street fair prepared for the weather and most everyone was enjoying each other's company, which is why I find this shot so amusing.  All sorts of things are happening all around and this guy was totally absorbed in his phone, probably checking his email or something similar.  Maybe he was checking out the latest tweet from Carl.

5.  Kanka

While we were eating lunch on the green, my daughter told me to turn around and look at this massive Great Dane that was walking around with his owner on the other side of the green.  This dog was the size of a small pony.  After we'd finished eating and they had found a place to park themselves, I walked over and asked if I could take some photos of the dog.  After getting permission, I took several shots before the dog got bored and didn't want to have anything more to do with me.  This shot turned out the best of the bunch. He has a better expression in another shot, but I cut off his ear with some poor composition, so I'm going with this one.

His owner said the dog's name was Kanka, which apparently means best friend in Turkish.  Nothing better than going for a walk with your best friend on a beautiful spring weekend up in the Presidio.

Well, there you have it.  Five shots of spring.  Please stop by P.J.'s post to see his offerings on the theme.  There's also links at the bottom of that page where you can view other blogger's springtime offerings as well.

16 comments:

  1. What a happy Fiesta picture. In love and light Cheryle

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    1. Thanks. It turned out pretty well I think.

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  2. Great interpretation of the theme this month. The fiesta looks like a fantastic time. The 100 Stranger Project sounds very interesting and I'm sure you met some fascinating people. LOVE the Great Dane shot. They are such magnificent dogs.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I enjoy the 100 strangers project, just don't do it enough, mainly because I'm usually with other people when I have my camera. Or, when I have my camera, I never see any other people.

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  3. I enjoyed your pictures, and I admire that you are not afraid to take pictures of strangers, that is something that always intrigues, but intimidates me.

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I've found with the 100 Strangers project, that a lot of times, it's little casual conversations while you're standing in line for something that works well as ice breakers.

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  4. I love the atmospheric shot of the fairground and the Great Dane. Good luck with your new hobby it sounds like fun!

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  5. Cool shot of Disney Museum! The pattern translates well into an interesting shot. :)

    Also, the portrait of the dog is great! :D

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  6. wow! I love the fiesta at night shot and the Kanka pic! And you got to fly a drone! HOW cool must that have been! What a nice guy! I bet not many would have uttered the magic words! Glad you had fun!

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    1. Thanks. Now it's just the trying to figure out how to get the better half on board with the drone thing and I'm in business.

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  7. For somebody who wasn't sure about having five photos, I think you nailed things this month. The fiesta shot is cool. I haven't done anything with my 100 strangers project in years. I think I was at like 21. It's sad, too, considering the places I've been -- even geocaching events -- where I could have dived into it. I always knew it would be a stretch for me to finish that project as I get chatting with people and never thing "Get their photo!"

    That photo of the photos though -- very cool. Love the angle and how you've framed it. Very cool stuff.

    Good work this month.

    And I know you have one crazy and hectic summer (I'm with you there!), but I've booked my flights for the Geocaching Block Party in mid-August. You thinking about going to Seattle?

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    1. Thanks P.J.

      I don't have plans to go to Seattle this August. I'm already back in school by that time, so getting the time off would be difficult.

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  8. Paul, you shouldn't underrate yourself and your photos! You deftly wove several threads from the narrative of your month to tell a pretty interesting story. I think it's pretty cool the way your stranger project led to a new experience for you.

    I've been trying to do more photography with my phone camera, the thought being that I have to work harder at selecting great subject matter and good composition because the small files don't lend themselves to much processing afterwards. Thought I'd mention that I recently started using a new app on my Android OS phone. It's called Camera FV-5 and it lets me switch my phone to shutter or aperture priority mode, which provides a lot more control. The first version I used was a bit buggy, but they're really cleaned it up in the last couple of releases. Anyhow, you might want to look into something similar (just in case your camera battery dies again).

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    1. Thank you very much for the encouragement.

      I'm wondering whether the Camera FV-5 is also available for iPhone?

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