Word and Image

Archive for February, 2018

Nature’s Spectacular

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For fireworks, I’d guess you can’t beat the sun. My old partner used to say the sunset over Bayonne, NJ was spectacular because of the air pollution. Maybe? The California wildfires were burning furiously to the north and south of Los Angeles. We could see the smoke 65 miles away in Ventura. Maybe? Maybe it was pollution, or maybe just luck? Nature put on a spectacular display.

I get a lot of sunset shots. …because I look. After that it’s the camera that does the trick. Of course, you’ve got to know how to hold your camera. Ha! There are a few things to knowing the right exposure. There’s nothing that Photoshop can make better if you didn’t get a good image to start. I’ve learned a lot about photography. Scenes and images come around again. It’s a matter of knowing what to do. I got hundreds of sunset images. Do I need to stop to take one more? Hmmm? Each time the light is a little different, the clouds unique, the location? It’s kind of like love; I do it ’cause I am.

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Hang ’round awhile. What’s the rush? Unfortunately, I shoot a lot of sunset pics from a moving car. Hey! I shot some/something. Did you? But if you hang ’round after the sun goes down, there is an afterglow that follows. That is pretty spectacular and worth shooting too.


Fireworks for Christmas!

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Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.

We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.

On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!


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Manhattan Beach dresses for Christmas. They have festive lights. The pier is lit. We arrived on the perfect weekend. We didn’t even notice there was no snow.

Is this worth a post? Well, here’s the thought process. We came upon this scene at dusk. The lights and sunset, the trail of lights out along the long pier, my surprise and delight at finding this scene was visceral. We stayed for several days, three nights. And, in that time I tried to get a quintessential image. I knew the scene was special in terms of its graphics and color and potential as a night shot. Heretofore I would not have been able to capture anything of the essence. Film was simply not very good to do this task. Digital and the spiffy camera computer processor gives me something to work with. I never got exactly what I wanted. Wait around? Try again? Do something! Nah! Time moves on and my companions don’t want to stand around forever while I explore options. My modus operandi is to catch what I catch on the fly. It works and it doesn’t. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. Huh?


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We have been on a long journey to California and back. The estimate was 5500 miles point to point. The actual miles turned out to total 8200. Yeah, you never go in a straight line. This was the turn around. We spent a weekend with Jules. She can make gnocchi! I helped. It was great fun! And delicious.

There were cupcakes for dessert. I’d do it all again. In case you cared, I don’t really eat icing… too much sugar. I gotta watch my sugar. And I’ve been avoiding high fructose corn syrup too. So should you.

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Hey! We got Jeff that hat in Moab. He actually wore it immediately. I usually wear my new stuff about a year later. I bet you didn’t know that either. Alas, my new jeans and new shoes had to be worn almost immediately. It’s inside info except for those who know me.