Tag Archives: 2013

Photo Shoot at Sturgeon’s Mill

Recently, we attended the last demonstration day of 2013 at Sturgeon’s Mill for a photo shoot. Sturgeon’s Mill is located between Sebastopol and Graton in western Sonoma County and is a restoration project being undertaken by a local nonprofit group. Their goal is to restore this historic steam powered sawmill. Here is a bit of background info from their website:

Considered one of the last great mills of its kind, this mill has survived since 1914. It was originally built in the 1880s on the Korbel property near the Russian River. It was passed to Mr. Michael Sugarman, of the hardware store on 4th Street in Santa Rosa, and later to Mr. Meeker, for whom Camp Meeker is named.

It was purchased from Meeker by Wade Sturgeon in 1913 and was dismantled and moved to Sturgeon’s Coleman Valley site where Sturgeon began his lumber business in 1914. The mill was moved again to its current site in Occidental in 1924 where it has since remained. In 1943 Wade’s son Ralph Sturgeon and his friend James Henningsen bought and ran the mill. Now, in an effort to preserve this wonderful piece of history, this restoration project has been born.

I first learned of this mill last year when a photo group I follow did a similar shoot there. Somehow this facility had completely missed my attention and as I tend to like old rusty things, this seemed like a great place to have some photographic fun. We arrived just after opening time at 10am and were greeted with this view:
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A day (or two) at the Tin Can Rally

Recently, I visited once again the Tin Can Rally held in Petaluma at the local KOA.
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My visit to this event last year had impressed me with several facts: 1. old trailers can be fun, 2. people who fix them up are weird but also fun, and 3. one can get great photos from one of these deals. It’s all a bit of Americana and hobbyist coming together. The exhibitors are proud of their restorations and love to dress up in the period (usually 1950’s or 1960’s).
Continue reading A day (or two) at the Tin Can Rally

Opening Day of the 34th America’s Cup

Returning back to the story…September 7, 2013 was the day set for the start of the actual America’s Cup races. All before were to determine the challenger. This privilege was won by Emirates Team New Zealand (Kiwis). The defender – Oracle Team USA (Oracle), had been racing against itself as they had two boats but while many had opinions, no one really knew who was going to be the better or faster boat – the Kiwis or Oracle. So today was the day when the world would find this out. Knowing all of this, I had to go and watch and well take a few photos too 😉 .

The race format is a best of 17 series with 2 races per day and some day’s off. Given that in the challenger series wind limits (too high or to low) caused postponement of some races, we could hope for two races per day but were unsure if we’d see them. So…off to the races!

#17 Before the race looking at an AC45 (foot) cat used for a series of races in 2011 and 2012 leading up to the AC34.
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#18 Larry Ellison’s little Yacht – He owns Oracle and a few other billion dollars
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Continue reading Opening Day of the 34th America’s Cup

AC34 Semi-Finals

So, about a week ago, in response to an email from the AC34 organization, I entered a ‘win a ticket’ contest and…on last Friday, I found out I won two tickets to the 4th semi-final race for the challenger series. So on August 10th my wife and I drove down to San Francisco to attend the race and sit in the very nice grandstand for free! Very cool. Here are a few from the day.

7 – The ‘Auld Mug’ and Me. They bring the real cup out for display and you can get your picture took with it (and the two nasty looking guys protecting their genitals). Some day that cup will be all mine!
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Here are some scenes from the America’s Cup Village where we watched the race from.

8 – They had a display of all 33 challengers and defenders of the America’s Cup from 1851 until 2010, very cool.
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9 – For fun they had radio control sail boats you could try.
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Continue reading AC34 Semi-Finals

A Night at the Fair

Well, continuing with my summer series of event photography, I spent an evening recently at the Sonoma County Fair with some other photographers. We had been given special passes to bring our heavy photo gear in the gate without being given the bums rush by the security. This mostly meant that we could set up and use our tripods, which in the evening hours are a big help to creative photography at a venue like the county fair. I did this once last year as well so that helped with some time management issues as we again only had 2 hours to shoot with our gear. The other complicating factor is that we could only shoot between 7-9pm and…sunset was at 8:20pm which meant the really good light was only about 15 minutes [sigh]. So you go with what you are given.

Here are some of my keepers from the shoot:

From the Midway
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Continue reading A Night at the Fair

Civil War Days

On July 20th, I attended the Civil War Days event at Duncans Mills in west Sonoma County. This is a two day event in its 15th(?) year or so that usually has between 500-1000 reenactors and 3,000 to 4,000 attendees per day. I had attended this once before in 2011 and been very pleased with my images of the event and well, it was fun too! So back I went with one of my photo meet up groups. I spent the entire day there and staid until the evening to have dinner with a friend who is one of the reenactors at the event.

I will say that as a photographer, playing with these images to try to create that 19th century photo look is part of the fun of this for me. At times I used a pinhole lens and/or a creative lens called a Lensbaby to distort some of the images. You will see some of these in these few images from the event.

A familiar figure was seen roaming the event.
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A blacksmith’s forge heating up some iron.
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My First Images from the 34th America’s Cup Series

This may become a recurrent post as it’s my intention to post images of this event in San Francisco Bay from now through its completion sometime in mid-September. Right now the challenger series is being run and will end in late August. While I can’t get there a lot until September, I will get there from time to time. Here are some shots from the July 27th race. It was supposed to be between the New Zealand (NZ) boat and the Swedish boat (Artemis) but the Swedish boat is not ready to race and thus the NZ sailed alone around the course collecting the win. Still it’s amazing to see a 72 foot catamaran going between 30 to 40 knots on foils right across your field of view. Wow!

All of these images were shot with my Tamron Adaptall 360b 300mm (f2.8 ) lens mounted on my Pentax K5 and tripod.

1 – foiling
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2 – the best foiling shot I got
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3 – racing in front of Alcatraz Island
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Continue reading My First Images from the 34th America’s Cup Series

Shooting the Moon

A few weeks back we had the news that this year’s super full moon was going to occur. In recuperation for that one of my photography meetup groups held a shoot the moon meet up to practice for the then coming full moon. I’ve tried to get some moonrise shots in the past with spotty success and last year I even did a workshop with a pro photographer on how to do this. On top of this since my efforts last year, I’ve acquired to new tools: a Pentax Q and an old Tamron Adaptall-2 300mm f2.8 lens. Each of these adds something to my arsenal of tools to get a decent picture of the moon, which is a surprisingly difficult subject to shoot. The Pentax Q is a small mirrorless interchangeable lens camera which can via adapters accept lenses from larger camera systems (like my normal Pentax DSLR). The interesting thing about the Q is that it has a 5.5 crop factor which means that any lens you put on it is 5.5 times longer than it’s equivalent 35mm lens, so if you have a long lens and want to make it 5 times longer, you can theoretically attach the Q to it for some amazing magnification. So I thought that with my 300mm lens and Q I should get an equivalent 1,650mm lens- WOW. Anyway, that was the hope for this shoot.

Here is a picture of the Q (keep in mind that it’s no bigger than a credit card).
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The Tamron Adaptall 300 is a 1980’s lens made with an ‘adaptall’ mount that allowed one to have a lens which, with cheap adapters, could be used on many camera systems. Normally lenses are sold with only one mount, i.e., if you buy a Canon lens, it will only work on Canon cameras, or you could buy a third party lens (like Tamron) for a Canon with that mount only. Adaptall’s were an attempt to get around this limitation. Here is a shot of the 300 which weighs 7-8 lbs!
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Ok enough about the gear! So we set up at the end of a street in southern Santa Rosa. The location had a nice view to the east and south. Here is a shot of the group:
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So what were the results?
Continue reading Shooting the Moon

Weekend fun in Lake Tahoe

We recently spent a weekend with friends on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. Normally on a trip like this, I’m very active with my cameras, but…I’m still in lazy summer mode and was a bit more relaxed with my photography. So consequently these images are more documentary versus serious efforts.

Friends at Speedboat Beach
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Clear Tahoe Water
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A Hike on Martis Creek
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