Doing it while there’s time! Mare Island Museum & more.

The next two days look busy, but that’s nothing new for a retired lifestyle. Ask any retiree! They’ll probably say they are busier now than before. That’s because active people need to fill their time. I’m no different. So, what better use of my free time right now than to show you the pictures from the Mare Island Museum in Vallejo as promised in yesterday’s post.

Even though I’d been to Mare Island a few times before, I never visited the museum. I guess I was too busy taking photos. But since I’ve gained experience taking photos indoors without flash and tripod, this seemed like a good time to investigate what was in this large building.

What a surprise! Not only does the museum house Mare Island’s history, it also serves as a meeting place and banquet hall. Here are some images:

Additional photos from Mare Island.

That’s it for now! Time to relax!

No horse on this island: Mare Island, Vallejo

It’s been a few years, and I wondered how much this former naval shipyard may have changed. Mare Island, in Vallejo,was America’s first such military post on the West Coast. Established in 1854, it was closed in 1996.

When I first visited, the transformation to a multi-use of commercial, residential and other uses had begun. During one visit, we caught the sunset as it gleamed through broken windows. The old buildings were already decaying. I also visited the island to view Osprey as they nested. (Of course, I can’t find those pictures. I did notice from the pictures I did find that my shooting and editing abilities have progressed!)

So, at our recent visit, I wasn’t surprised to find small changes. Some of the buildings that were behind chain-link fencing were re-opened and turned into businesses. Some older buildings remained as was.

Window reflections told stories:

We toured the USS LCS (L) (3) 102: “A Mighty Midget.” This Landing Craft Support ship was a shallow craft vessel designed to provide close-in fire support for our troops going ashore in the amphibious landings in the Pacific during WWII. Dedicated volunteers are restoring the ship and giving tours:

We also toured the Mare Island Museum, and I’ll show you those images in my next post. Stay tuned for part two!

Street Photography: San Francisco, part 2

When the going gets tough, the tough plow through it! Marlene and I walked between four and five miles the day we walked the length of the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Now that may be nothing to younger folks, but to seniors with feet and leg issues, it’s success!

Yes, we got some good images that day. In my previous post (part 1), I showed you some of people I photographed and told my interpretation of their stories in the captions. Some, I didn’t need to interpret like the old dog being helped into her stroller. I talked to her owners who were intent on making her last years as easy as possible.

However, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of buildings, structures and crowds. It’s amazing how many people can move along a street without problems. I also took some pictures from the ferry we picked up in Vallejo. So, to finish off our trip to San Francisco, I have some more to show you.

Walking and shooting: San Francisco

Many people have asked me what type of photography I enjoy doing. I always answer, “Everything but portriat!” Of course that leaves landscape, buildings, macro and more. One is street photography, and I don’t feel as comfortable with this as I do macro, etc.

Part of the problem is that I’m not fast enough to catch the moment. I also fail to see the opportunity. I think I can do better with some training and experience. So, I jumped on the chance to walk along the Embarcarado in San Francisco. This fun day was sponsored by the Exploring Photography Meetup group. We started at 8:30 a.m., taking the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. We were to walk and take photos along the way and meet back to catch the ferryferry at 4 p.m.

We were told to take small sized gear so we wouldn’t be conspicuous. So I took my D3100, my 50 mm lens and shot on aperture priority. But, how can you be conspicuous with a bunch of tourists snapping pictures! At least the D3100 was lighter than the D7100.

It was also good experience using the 50 mm prime lens. I stopped trying to twist the barrel after a while! It was a fun day as I looked for people their stories. I took so many pictures that this will be a two-part post.

So get your walking shoes on and follow along!

We’re having a heat wave: The pirate festival, Vallejo California

Triple digits–for two weeks! What’s a photographer to do? Go out early? Shoot indoors? Don’t shoot? The last is not an option! So one day Linda and I drove to Vallejo early in the morning to visit the 10th Annual Northern California Pirate Festival. Well, it’s cooler in Vallejo, we got there soon after it opened and left when the heat turned up.

I guess I was expecting something like the Highland Games we went to last year. This festival was on a much smaller scale, but didn’t lack pirate enthusiasts. The vendors were in costume, but what caught my camera’s eye were the visitors. They were the show.

There were kids activities, games, food, and more family fun. But, Linda and I didn’t bring grandkids, so we observed.

We were in and out within two hours, missing the fine festival food. Instead we enjoyed lunch in nice air conditioned restaurant! So, avast ye mates, and join me at the Pirate Festival.

Do you have any other ways to avoid the heat and still get out and shoot? I’d welcome suggestions because it’s going to be a hot summer.


A change of attitude: The Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island, part 3

When you need to change attitude, it’s best to get away. That’s what we did. We took our new/used trailer to Las Vegas, Nevada for its “shakedown run.” I know it’s hot in Las Vegas this time of the year, but it was our cousin Jim’s 70th birthday–so why not! The good news is that we were able to outfit and situate the trailer to our liking, but the bad news is that I didn’t take any pictures except for Peggy Sue’s Diner on the way home. I’ll show you those in my next post.

Today, I want to wrap up the Otainium Cup Race and show you some images that are a mixture of what is happening on Mare Island. I did not do any HDR on these, and, yes, there are some buildings again. But, don’t click off, there are some new sights too. Hopefully, if I can get into a carpool, I’ll be going back there for a full moon shoot on Saturday. Fair warning–more Mare Island. Hopefully I can do better with my images. After all, a change in attitude is mostly accepting that what you’re doing is good and you can also improve.

A change of attitude: The Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island, part 2

When you wake up at 5:30 in the morning to find a busted pipe, a flooded back yard and a broken water heater, it’s difficult to concentrate on a change of attitude! All is well now. Wow! We were lucky to find a plumber who came out right away and worked on both projects. But, I’m still working on changing that attitude. You know the one where you say, “I’m not good enough.”

So today I bought a new software editing tool from On One. The only problem is that it won’t work on my computer which is a 32 bit. For now, I’ll install it on my laptop and upgrade my desktop which really needs it. I did go through the thought process of I have a new camera that I haven’t learned all about yet, Lightroom that I haven’t mastered all the way, Photomatix that, again, I haven’t mastered, am I good enough to get more software. YES! Eventually I will be master of all my software.

Now for the continued story about the Optainium Cup. At each challenge station, the racers had to complete some tasks. Jayne and I were at the Mad Hatter station. You really had to choose one because you couldn’t walk from one to the other without missing some of the action. One photographer rode her bike around from station to station, but didn’t stay long.

At the Mad Hatter they had to talk to the bunny who gave them a special egg, great the Queen and wake the sleeping mouse. It was set up to be fun and it was.

A change of attitude: The Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island

Yes, there needs to be a change of attitude on my part. When I was looking at other photographers’ photos of the Optainium Cup Race at Mare Island, I thought how could mine compare. That’s what you get for posting to the Meetup a few days late! But, that’s been my feeling, everyone is better than me. I need to change that. I may not be great, but I’m better than some. And, I’m learning. Each time I go out, I learn. Each time I look at other photographers’ images, I learn.

My recent outing to the Optainium Cup race was fun and another learning experience. The race was exactly that except it was in homemade peddled vehicles that were decorated with a theme. You’ll understand when you look at the pictures. My photo buddy Jayne and I had never been to this fun activity before and it was a learning curve for us.

In this post, I’ll show you the line up and the start. Tomorrow, I’ll show you the challenge stop that we were at. I’ll explain it also. Oh, the people staffing the race were also in costume. Visitors were too; however, it was hot. I don’t know how they managed in costumes.