Friday, August 31, 2007

It's a wrap

I was assigned to shoot a company placing vinyl graphics on what will become Stanford University’s football equipment truck as it was getting covered or as they call it, “wrapped”.

What struck me was the printer used to print out the 9-foot long sections. Imagine an ink jet printer on steroids. It was fed off 12 ink tank cartridges with each of the 21 vinyl panels to be placed on the truck requiring one hour each to print. Now that is a printer.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Going up

The marquee for the Grande Theatre Center for the Arts being installed. I will have to go for a night shot once the neon lights are installed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007


A driver heading southbound on Tracy Blvd lost control of his car as he neared the curve in the road just after Eaton Avenue early Saturday morning. The results were frightening, the Ford Mustang careening out of control into the northbound traffic lanes and then striking a tree injuring all four occupants. The reason for the crash? Speed.

Early police investigations estimate the Mustang was traveling 106 mph as it entered the curve. The driver, a 19-year-old, lost control and the car struck the tree at about 60 mph. The results were devastating, the Mustang ripping apart sending parts into a nearby store parking lot. By some miracle none of the four occupants in the car were killed although all were injured, the driver most seriously as he was airlifted to a Modesto hospital that night.

This obsession with speed has been a tragic one for our town. From street racers in the county areas to drivers using Tracy Boulevard as their own private drag strip the speed of drivers is taking a toll on our young people. Hopefully programs such as the “Get Real Behind the Wheel” will make people stop and think before pressing the accelerator down.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lightning in a bottle

I was working on a photo illustration and things just didn’t work quite right. I had one idea but when I ran the photo past the editor she couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be. Giant eyeball, Petri dish or maybe a beehive? Nope it was actually a Luminglass.

The first time I saw one of these it was a prop in one of the Start Trek movies. Cool looking electric bolts flying around a thin piece of glass. At night in a dark room the effect is fantastic using an electric current on an inert gas.

It is a lot like a plasma ball only flat. I have one of those too and the pair can really shoot off the sparks. The random arcing of the current along the glass surface favors a slow shutter speed to show the number of arcs and their movement about the glass plate and the ball’s inner surface.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Food for thought

John Bacchetti looks over the progress of his crop of baby lima beans in a field off Koster Road outside of Tracy. The 150 acre field is one of several fields he farms for beans. The weather has been good and Bacchetti thinks he will have a good harvest in about a month. What is odd is where these beans will head. Not to a soup pot, nor a salad or even a grocery store near us. These beans are headed overseas to Japan.

Bacchetti’s crop will head to Japan where it will be used in the cookie and candy manufacturing business. The baby lima beans with their white color are prized for their use as a base in the candy business. The beans are transformed into a past which is then mixed with sweeteners, flavors and coloring to form the base and filling for cookies and candies manufactured in Japan. A whole field of dessert, mmmm dessert!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Digital decisions

I was waiting with baited breath for Monday’s announcement of the Canon 40D camera that is sure to be my next personal camera. It was one of several new digital cameras released by Canon along with new lenses, printers and scanners.

Not to be outdone rival Nikon announced the D300 and D3 cameras as consumers now have more choices for their next digital imaging purchase. I’ll be taking a close look at the decision making process for selecting a camera in a future Snapshots column.

Nice light

There is a myth that you can’t take photos of a backlit subject. I have no idea who started this story but it just isn’t true.

Riding on the ferry to Angel Island this past weekend I saw many great photo opportunities. Among them was what I like to think of as some nice light moments. The sun glinting off the water made for a dramatic scene of a pelican and then a sailboat riding the waves. A little underexposure gives a nice silhouette of the pelican and a pretty look at the boats sails. It never hurts to try an exposure if the light looks right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hay fire

if you have ever wondered what sixty tons of burning alfalfa looks like up close, this is it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A grand sight

Even though it was rejected for the cover I still like this picture of a worker sprucing up the marble work in front of the Grand Theatre.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Angelic scene

A trip through San Francisco Bay led to our next hiking and photo adventure at Angel Island.

Riding aboard a ferry from Oakland passing underneath the Bay Bridge and by Alcatraz Island gave us many picture opportunities from pelicans swooping by or ferry to the sailboats passing along in review the ride to the island was half the shooting fun.

I had never been to Angel Island and it was quite the experience. From the dock area and the Segway scooters whizzing by to the serene coves with sailboats docked made for beautiful views.

Hitting the trail for our climb to the top of Mount Livermore we had to dodge a group of diehard runners sharing our narrow trail as they took part in a morning race.

As we reached clearing on the trail we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the bay and surrounding communities. The Golden Gate Bridge peaked through a fog bank as we continued our climb.

With runners behind us we crested the top and took in the views on the clear day as sailboats raced in the waters around the island. The trip down the mountain was faster and led us back to the docks and our return ferry trip to Oakland.

One more trip under the Bay Bridge and a good look at the Port of Oakland and all the shipping traffic gave me one last chance for some seagoing close-ups.

The weather was great, the air clear and conditions perfect for pictures. A fun hike with la friend and lots of photo opportunities. I will have to come back and visit this island again some time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jazzed up

Some reporters like to toot their own horn on assignment. Here’s the photographic proof.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hard to say goodbye

It was back to school week in districts around the area and the saddest moments I found was while shooting for the Sun Post newspaper in Manteca.

A group of kindergarten students and their parents and other family members found that first goodbye at the start of the school careers a little tough to make.

From a shy girl nervous about her first day to parents making tearful waves goodbye at a window and a teacher consoling a scared boy it was a cute look back at those first moments of their school years. One of those warm and fuzzies shoots I don’t nearly do enough of.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Crime scene visitor

I was shooting the bank robbery scene this morning when I noticed someone else hanging out near the crime scene tape on the railroad tracks. He just sat there and watched the burned money blow by. I think he was waiting for a $20 to float by.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

This is my shovel. There are many like it but this one is mine.

I was shooting the groundbreaking for the new San Joaquin County administration building in Stockton when I stumbled across a curious sight. A group of identical shovels were gathered for the dignitaries’ ceremonial dig into the earth but there was something different. They each were labeled for the supervisor, mayor or visiting official that would wield it. I have never been to such an anal-retentive groundbreaking in my life than that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Batter up!

I just prayed he didn't foul tip the ball into my face.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The paparazzi effect

Nothing brings out the worst in a photographer than photographing someone famous. Give us flames, floods or famines and we act like reasonable respectable journalists. Throw someone with some notoriety in front of the lens and watch as even the most polite of photographers circle their prey like a school of sharks on a helpless mackerel.

Today found U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer making a grip and grin stop in Tracy. Besides the elbow bumping with the usual gaggle of news photographers I was amazed at the amount of cameras that appeared and circled the senator’s every move. Amateur paparazzi appeared around me running about to try and capture a picture of the senator as she walked about.

Stare down

A Tracy Animal Shelter cat challenged me to a stare down while I was on assignment. He had these shifty green eyes but I managed to hang in there and not blink. I think it ended up a draw.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Balloon busting

Incoming freshman and upper classmen play a game during the Tracy High freshmen class Link Crew orientation. Funny, I don’t remember anything like this when I was going to Tracy High. It’s just not fair.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Too close for comfort

I stumbled across this video the other day. It is nice to know photographers around the world share one thing in common: we all get too in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Batting practice

So you may wonder why I would stand in front of someone taking batting practice? At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. Yeah I’m heavily insured.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007