Three Days of Celebrations in San Francisco


Good Afternoon:

We can’t just settle for one holiday during a three-day weekend. No, not in San Francisco. Saturday, as you know, saw the departure of the USS Iowa from the Bay Area. Today of course is Memorial Day. Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, you know, that bright orange hunk of steel that is so uninteresting when the weather is perfect (see here) and so beautiful when the weather is cold and grey (see here). I think I’ve walked a total of nine miles with 20 pounds of camera equipment over the past 2 days. You already know that I’m not complaining; I’m a photographer.

First up: I took another look at my photo library, and found this, possibly the best picture of the Iowa I captured yesterday.

Incidentally, I haven’t edited these Iowa pictures; not enough time; this one might be a little tilted. Fortunately, battleships tend to possess highly photogenic qualities that tend to obviate the need to tend to resort to much processing.

Another picture from the pier; amazing how plants will grow in anything, isn’t it?

The fireworks show on Saturday night presented my first opportunity to test my cameras on a very difficult subject. I brought a Nikon Coolpix S9100, and my five or six years old D40 DSLR. One interesting lesson is that even a six year old DSLR with “only” 6 megapixels can still take better shots than a 12 megapixel point-and-shoot; surprisingly, the Fireworks setting on the Coolpix proved almost completely useless–the first time any Nikon has ever failed me. I fared much better with using Shutter (or speed) Priority on the DSLR and setting exporsure time for 1, 1.3, 1.6 or 2 seconds, with 1 second working best overall.

Nikon Coolpix S9100, “Beach” Setting

In fairness, the S9100 fared well for sunset shots using the “Beach,” “Snow,” “Sunset” and “Dusk/Dawn” settings. With the “Beach” setting, the blues came out looking especially rich.

The fireworks show seemed plagued with technical problems (the North Tower was accounted for almost all of the action, whilst the South remained dark–very strange), but started well:

“Waterfall” Fireworks, 27 May 2012

Beautiful use of the span between the towers.

I call this next one “Megamind” because it reminded me of the cartoon character:

This was a pure luck shot; every time the camera indicated that it had focued on something, I snapped a picture without even seeing what was in the frame.

Nikon D40 DSLR, 1 Second Exporsure, Shutter Priority

The most dramatic shot of the night; I like how the South Tower glows in the night.

Today is a day for rest, writing and baked ribs and fried chicken. Oh, and for remembering our soldiers; Dad served in the Navy during the Fifties and Sixties, his brother was in the 2nd Marines from Saipan onward in World War II, one of Mom’s uncles just barely survived Gaudalcanal, and another uncle of hers might have been one of the first Americans to see the inside of a death camp before V-E Day (he never talked about it). They all came back, but I have never believed that Memorial Day was only about remembering the ones who did not.

Vonn Scott Bair


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