I got the day off from work.
Instead of sleeping in and lazing around in my underwear, I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the first time.
I got a lot of use out of all three of my main lenses.
Go go macro!
( +4 )
The rest are here.
This one started with this article about the Wave Organ... but I was feeling too caffeine-withdrawn to leave the house before dusk. So I decided to just head over to the Embarcadero to take some familiar photos.
I think it's somewhere around Pier 1 that I make the conscious decision to keep walking... it's happened a few times now. So up to Ghirardelli Square, over to the Exploratorium again. This time I followed Yacht Road and saw the Marina from the other side before getting to the Wave Organ.
(Reminder to self: when taking photos when it's nearly pitch black out, if you carry&use your tripod and infrared range finder, you might end up with more than five usable photos at the end of the night. Including some of the thing you walked all that way to photograph in the first place.)
Bit rusty. Had fun though.
Requisite shot of Coit Tower, from Yacht Road
( +4, all familiar )
On Thursday, we were split about the drive up Mauna Kea, and it wasn't as much of a must-do for me as photographing the lava flows. So we went snorkeling again, this time at Anaeho'omalu beach, which was within walking distance of our hotel.
Afterwards the parents drove back, while Hiro and I walked a bit with our cameras, waiting for sunset. I photographed a sailboat and the sunset; Hiro also took pics of me taking pictures.
Damn sunspot/fingerprint smudge.
If only they made some sort of software in which you could edit digital photographs. =P
Guess I'm feeling lazy.
I think I had my polarized filter on for these last two.
Been a long time since I've been sailing.
On Monday, our petroglyph guide recommended we hike to the lava flows in late afternoon, arriving around sunset so we could see the lava glowing orange, then hiking back in the dark. That sounded perfect to me.
On Wednesday, we made the drive around to the other side of the island to the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
I ended up hiking most of the way alone, since my brother and mother had stayed at the hotel due to exhaustion and my father wasn't up for the treacherous terrain so soon after chemo. In a way, I was glad he decided to turn around, since I was worried for him, his balance, his general energy level.
It was three, three and a half miles one way. The first leg was paved, then reflective markers every few feet across large lava rocks. Then the markers stopped and we were guided by six plastic posts with blinking lights, spaced a third of a mile apart. These often disappeared from view until I made my way back to high ground and stopped to scan the horizon.
I tried not to think too much about how lava caves formed and how the tops of seemingly solid lava rocks would sometimes collapse.
I made my way to the rope barrier with time to kill before sunset. I ate my onigiri, took some photos, and waited. As more and more people arrived and ignored the rope barrier, and as I noted how my view was nowhere near as good as it could be, I, too, decided to disregard the "The rocks beyond this point could slide into the ocean without warning at any point" signs and made my way past the rope for a better view. We watched lava hit the water: huge clouds of steam; sometimes lava would spray high in the air as a particularly big wave hit.
This was one of the two times I wished for a stronger zoom in Hawai'i, but for the most part I'm in love with my new lens.
The hike back was difficult. My mind was no longer on collapsing rock; I was just concentrating on not tripping, not stepping into a crevasse. And yet I figure this wasn't the most dangerous photo walk I've taken ;-)
After today's blackout-induced non-rehearsal hanging-out beerness with BSM, I drove home, took care of some stuff, then grabbed my camera and a jacket and headed towards the water.
I missed sunset and it got very very veryvery dark. I went for long exposure times and stayed aware of my surroundings... and decided I'd keep going until I felt I couldn't walk anymore.
I ended up taking a 4+ hour photo walk... I'd guess over 10 miles. I'm a bit sore and the cabs passing me looked better and better after I found the Exploratorium and stopped taking photos... but managed to walk all the way back home to Loft Ness. I think that made up for a few too many days of not exercising.
Requisite pic of Coit Tower
( +10 )
I went to see The Fountain last night.
(Hostel II: I'm not a fan of Eli Roth's at all, but I may end up watching this in the theaters anyway =P ... The fact that Letters From Iwo Jima was filmed back-to-back with Flags of Our Fathers makes both of them more interesting to me. Not sure if/when I'll watch though.)
[the rain starts falling harder outside and my mind sidesteps for a moment as i marvel at my capacity for being self-absorbed. meta-self-absorbed, even. i'd consider it a failing if it weren't such a defining part of me (..., i think to myself, pondering the inner workings of my self-absorption).]
[[if a sponge were self-absorbent, would it only absorb itself, or would it absorb other sponges? would it grow larger and take on the memories and abilities of the sponges it absorbed? would it be a cannibal sponge or a highlander sponge? would we end up with a huge there-can-be-only-one sponge that can both clean your kitchen and act as a contraceptive? and would that sponge be my father? (never!!!)]]
Evidently my mind has snapped somewhere. Perhaps while viewing The Fountain and its interweaving, era-spanning storylines. Though I have my theories about that.
Did I mention it was very good? Beautiful. Parts of it seemed more like a dance than a movie. Or a play. Or a visual piece of music, but that all got woven back into the story. A scene close to the end got a little "Oh no, this is getting a little too 2001" but I think it recovered.
on the way home.
blurry b/c i hadn't stepped up to iso 1600 yet, but i like this.
( +4 )
This no ins/outs in my parking lot between 7pm and 6am Sunday through Thursday is one thing. The 4am-6am street cleaning is another. Once I get settled in and get comfy with my bike and it stops raining I'll be good =)
But after tracking down a cheapish overnight parking spot, I decided to do my very first, uber short (3 or 4 blocks?) photo walk here. S'fun. First of many I think. Total tourist. S'weird how different it looks, like turning an abstract painting upside down and seeing something completely new and fascinating.
View from the parking lot I parked in. There were some cool shots I missed on the way up the ramp.
No one's throwing stones here.
The view a block away from my apartment.
(the [mostly] empty house, before it gets fixed up... photos from yesterday (monday) and today)
This guy has some fucking beautiful guitars.
Not cheap. But I've been lusting after a custom guitar...
The Buick warehouse (down the street from the Hamilton house) that Aaron wanted to move into is being torn down. I think it was in the realm of 2mil back then; wonder what it's worth now? And what sort of check cashing/strip mall/yuppie loft are they building in its place? Still, I suppose it's for the best that someone use the property...
( photo walk )
I've got tons of pictures left over from my photo walk, with a rough theme of "downtown Oakland". This encompasses Old Oakland, a bit of Chinatown, and areas that still haven't been restored. They certainly don't have the semi-cohesive feel of the Preservation Park or Jack London Square photos, but I think, as a whole, they tell a bit of a story. Whether that story is Oakland's or merely of my eccentric photographic style I'm not entirely sure.
This is the abandoned theatre I was planning on buying once I got rich and famous.
Looks like the city is restoring it. Fair enough.
( +23 random pictures )
I went on another photo walk today. Rather unsuccessful.
I kept finding good vantage points for photographs, but they tend to be in the middle of streets and on freeways. I need a crane or a helicopter. I need to take photos from the rooftops or hills. Otherwise I can't really get a photo of the greater picture, as it were. Just individual buildings that don't necessarily capture the feel of an entire neighborhood.
I also drove west in the hope of seeing the bay from a new vantage point. The army base kind of prevents that. Suck.
Perhaps the scope of this project is a bit large, and I should focus on familiar parts of the city or specific buildings. Perhaps the scope of this project is a bit limited, and I should include my haunts in Emeryville and Berkeley, and branch out.
(Also, it's Easter and the streets and shops were abnormally quiet. And it was raining and I ended up driving more and walking/photographing much less. I think I took a grand total of three pictures today.)
But I still have oodles of pictures from yesterday. Here are some from Jack London Square.
I've missed the salt water air and the glint of sun over the bay. I should visit more often.
The cranes in the upper right inspired George Lucas' AT-ATs.
( +11 pics of Jack London Square )
Aaron once said he loved Oakland despite what other people thought of it. Perhaps even because of it. I've met others with that mindset as well; fiercely East Bay, despite the popular belief that the city across the bay is somehow superior. They're definitely in the minority; most people seem to have an aversion to Oakland without even getting to know the city themselves.
In the past... almost nine years, now, it's become home for me. More home than Claremont ever was. I haven't noticed it being much more dangerous than other cities I've known. Or the suburbs, even, where you're in constant danger of keeling over from sheer boredom. Flatline. The rictus the first glimpse of a smile anyone's seen from you in years.
Today I went on a photo walk to capture some of Oakland. Just small glimpses. It was fun. And I noticed things about my town that I hadn't noticed before. I think I'll want to do some more of these. To share my view of Oaktown. And to encourage me to do more exploring. Not necessarily limiting myself to the one city, but it's a good place to start.
Oakland, at one point in time, was a classy and elegant city.
Mayor Jerry Brown writes about Gertrude Stein's comment, "There is no 'there' there" (which is not, in fact, directed at the entire city of Oakland).
I still have photos from downtown and Jack London Square to post. And in the future I want to explore and photograph:
- flea markets and farmer's markets.
- west oakland; east oakland; warehouses and artist communities. a study of burrito vans.
- lake merritt and the hamilton house.
- rockridge and my old apartment.
- piedmont and the half-mil 8 bedroom houses.
- the hills, possibly. or urban decay.
- the aesthetics of railroads and freeways.
- the port of oakland.
Will you show me your city?