Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow in Burbank

We interrupt our CONA coverage to proclaim "Snow in Burbank"...well, sort of. It mainly hailed and sleeted. If there was snow, and I think there probably was somewhere in the Valley, it was brief. But memorable.

The upper shot was taken at Camera Craft in North Hollywood, where I was when it hit. That's Kevin's car and you can see a nice accumulation building up. Some cars passing on the street looked positively wintery.

This shot was the door to the Camera Craft. Slushy ice was building up.

This was the scene a couple hours earlier along Victory Blvd near Alameda in Burbank (right in from of Burbank House of Hobbies). I grabbed a quick snap with my small Pentax that I keep in the car. The two shots at Camera Craft were with the same camera.

I got this shot on the way home from Camera Craft. It's along Olive about two blocks West of Buena Vista and looking to the Northeast at the Verdugo Mountains. You can see the snow reaches nearly to the base of the Verdugos.

When I got home I grabbed by Canon 40D and shot the Verdugos from our front yard. That's them peeking through the trees.

A telephoto of the Verdugos from our front yard.

The sun was setting but I thought I'd grab a quick shot of the grass in our lawn. The remnants of slushy snow can be seen.

It was certainly a memorable day. Ironically Tina is in Colorado Springs visiting the kids and grandkids. It was sunny and warmer there than here. She will be back before the storm here gets there. Some people have all the timing. Still, I'm glad I got to see it once. Now it can warm up. It's flippin' cold outside!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blues Moon

The Blue Angels opened the Parade of Flight during the CONA celebrations at NAS North Island on February 12. They did a simple six-ship formation pass as they are still training up at NAS El Centro and their season doesn't start for a few more weeks. Nevertheless, the Blues were a de rigueur component of this event.

As they made their single pass around the island following the bay and channel, they crossed in front of the Moon. I knew it was rising and so I had hoped to catch it in some of the shots that day. And indeed, I got one on this pass.

This is actually a crop of the 12x8 format to a 10x8. It looks pretty good in that size as all the elements balance each other out pretty good. No Photoshop work was done other than the cropping.

This is a shot of the full image. It's still not bad.

The last photo is a full height crop into a portrait format. I wanted to see what a cover shot might look like. (Well, we can dream, can't we?) Not quite as satisfying as the first shot, but still a decent image. A little PhotoShop tweaking could maybe bring this home. I may have to play around with it and see what happens.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CONA Sundowner

I had the good fortune to get media access to the opening event in the year-long Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) celebration. The kick-off occurred February 12th at NAS North Island. Not only did we get to shoot from a very advantageous spot on Saturday during the show, but we were able to acquire ramp access to MCAS Miramar, where most of the military aircraft participating in the Parade of Flight and CVW-9 flyover were staging from, and Brown Field, where the vintage warbirds were based.

I will post photos from those various venues over the next few days. This will include the specially marked "retro-camouflage" painted aircraft. Many of those were in attendance at North Island and were a thrill to see. Fortunately most were there on the Friday media-only day. The rest we were able to catch on Saturday before the public was allowed onto the ramp.

This Northrop (now Northrop Grumman) F-5N Tiger II is from VFC-111 "Sundowners." I was excited to see the full-color tail CAG (Commander Air Group) bird. Usually one airplane per squadron (maybe two) gets the full color treatment as it is reserved for the CAG to fly, if he chooses. It is also the squadron show bird, which is why some go all out on the schemes. In this day and age of gray airplanes it is a refreshing throwback to the Golden Ages of Naval aviation - the 1930s yellow wings and the 1960s vibrant colors in the squadrons.

This one has it all - brilliant tail and sharkmouth to boot: just like the F-14s and F-4s before them. It is one beautiful plane, and a Northrop one at that!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Open Curtain

A parting shot of the Lockheed C-40 Electra Jr. presents a wonderfully abstract blend of reflections and shadows. The passenger window with the barely discernible curtains brings a touch of realism to the image. Again, not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. The dash of color in the mirrored surface of the engine nacelle and cowl adds a nice element, too.

Sometimes I can see myself in the pictures I take as a distorted self-portrait on the polished metal, but I must have angled myself in such a way that I seemingly have disapparated away from the scene in this shot. Perhaps a trace of me remains; perhaps not. Either way, I am gone like a fleeting memory.

Something like life itself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Electra Reflections

I was asked if I was in my Darth Vader period, much like Picasso had his "Blue Period." I suppose that is one way of looking at it. I find the dark shadows and rich reflections compelling. Understandably others may find them too murky and moody for their taste.

For those who feel that way, I did shoot a variety of exposures. Here is a lighter one. It's still a nice image, but I prefer the first one. But that's the beauty of art and photography: it speaks to each of us differently; and it speaks to the artist differently at different times in their life.

One of the most interesting exhibits we attended was the Ansel Adams' 100th anniversary show at the L.A. County Museum of Art. They had several examples of his work developed at different times of his life. The older he got, the more dramatic his prints became. The art was truly in the dark room as he managed to turn some of the earlier great photos into incredible iconic images. Moon Over Hernandez is one example; New Mexico Aspens is another.

Unfortunately photography as an art doesn't get much respect. Hopefully that is changing, but the proliferation of digital and cell phone cameras is flooding the world with a sea of images that range from the awful to the inspired. It's just a lot more work to wade through the mass of material.

But there are some really great images out there and a lot of very talented people doing fantastic work. I hope to be one of them someday.

Here is a more full-bodied shot of the C-40 (military version of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior) in case anyone was interested in seeing it. Unfortunately the space was cramped and I couldn't get the whole tail in the picture. Another reason to do tightly cropped artsy shots.