Curiouser and Curiouser!

iPhoneography

Dropbox vs Google Drive – A Frustrated Photographer’s View

As with anyone who deals with a large amount of photo and video media I have a fair amount of trouble managing all of my files, especially since disciplining myself to properly sort said files once I am home from whatever photography excursion I have been on has largely been a task that I have failed in.

Often I am not intending to go on an excursion with the express purpose of taking photos and video but inevitably this is what I do… I have that wonderful device called a smartphone with me everywhere I go…. lo and behold, I return from wherever with many photos and videos. “I will just sort these out later” I say to myself and the digital files upload to my iCloud and Dropbox.

I was pondering this very conundrum this past weekend as I had holed up at home because I was not feeling well and was exceedingly bored. I decided that whilst resting I would be productive and finally sort all of my photos and videos into properly dated files, and perhaps also by subject matter or location. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that would lead to nowhere but frustration.

Dropbox has been a tool that I have used for years and thought nothing of sitting down at my PC to do a little folder housecleaning. I logged on to the website and began my task, quickly noticing that everything was taking a LONG time to click through. Checking a box of a file to move… 10-30 seconds for a checkmark to appear… okay, well perhaps my computer is lagging for some reason… click out of the browser and into a program – no problem. Try another website… fast as fast can be… go back to Dropbox, click “move files” – two minutes before any sort of indication that there was something affected.

4-1/2 hours later and I had barely made a dent in my organization – I was left with frustration and a long but friendly email to Dropbox was written. In the meantime, I am not one to let grass grow under my feet as I wait so I looked to my Google Drive account, where I also have a few files stored.

Three years ago I had moved away from a trial run with Google Drive to Dropbox again because at the time Drive was not an effective way for me to move my digital media from my phone or my camera – it was unreliable and tedious, with the app often hanging and then crashing which made it un-usuable for my particular needs. I had hopes this time that perhaps a few things had been improved and I was not disappointed!

Google made a Drive appΒ specifically for photos and videosΒ and oh my have I been pleasantly surprised! Fast reliable transfers and it even sorts things by date and location, along with a proper way to search for your photos whether it be by that date or location but also by person! It finds photos of people and asks you for their names so you can search by name too! That part is simultaneously awesome and a little creepy as well.

After the app backs up all of your photos, it asks you if you would like it to also delete the media from your phone – 32,524 media files still remain there because I cannot bear to delete a one of them… maybe tomorrow!

Addendum: There is so much more to the Google Photos App that I want to talk about, so look for a proper review soon!

 


Boo is BACK!

WELL HELLO THERE!

Last year my domain lapsed… a long and uninteresting story for you, Dear Reader and I will spare you that misery.

Sufficient to say that what seemed to be a minor miracle happened in the form of my BEST FRIEND and SWEETHEART Chris revealing that he had retained my domain AAAAAND had my archived posts! JOY OF JOYS! My backups had been lost on an external hard drive that failed two years ago and ever since this domain lapsed I had been lamenting the loss thereof, but now NOW I can relieve all of those memories in blog form once again!

My plan going forward is to update here weekly and possibly more often if I feel inspired to wax long about some topic or post a bazillion photos. Speaking of photos, I do have a Mini Rant: Instagram is starting to displease me more and more as they have introduced more of the Facebook-like features such as only showing you the most popular photos in your feed and not having photos in chronological order. My own photos visibility has DRASTICALLY shrunk as well… my posting habits had slowed down quite a bit and for the first few photos I posted in the past couple of months my photos were receiving above average likes… mostly from random people and not my followers. Now, I am receiving BELOW average… usually I receive around 20 likes but for the past two or three I have had… 7 – 15 likes.

Seeking attention or popularity is not what I am all about regarding Instagram… I just want to connect with other photographers but it seems that the algorithm is specifically designed to under-expose your posts to prompt you to post more content which would in turn might motivate users to open the app more often, thus increasing the probability that you will interact with their advertisers. Shady in my opinion, but effective because human nature is, if nothing else, quite predictable.

Aside from FaceBook’s disagreeable tactics in regard to Instagram, that app has also become a place where everything is a cookie-cutter copy of certain styles and content. I am tired of the buildings, food and fashion all under white-washed filters. To be fair, when this style was first gaining popularity (particularly with VSCO app users) I did give it a fair shake and it wasn’t for me… I know that some very much like that aesthetic. The intent of mentioning this style is not to poke fun at people’s preferences but rather to point out that there is more and more of the same sort of photos being published on Instagram and not the creative variety that was prevalent in the early days of the app.

Noticing the sameness has caused me to take a thoughtful look at my own Instagram grid and I think that perhaps my own photography could use a boost of creativity so I am making it my challenge this spring and summer to push my creative boundaries in regard to my photography and video editing along side regular blog posts – keep your eyes peeled for more content here soon!


Day #76 – A Photo A Day 2013

It’s late! I’m just now getting around to posting today’s pic, one that I snapped two weeks ago when I was roaming around San Francisco. (I miss my new home! Returning there in two days yay!)

San Francisco has no shortage of interesting things to look at and in turn, for me to photograph. πŸ˜‰

The Holy Cow Mascot

The Holy Cow Mascot

This cow hangs above the door of The Holy Cow Nightclub – when I first moved to San Francisco, this cow was one of the first things that greeted me but then he was a metallic gold! I walked past here hoping to get a better pic than I did last time, but now he’s such a lovely shade of neon pink that I didn’t mind that the gold was gone. πŸ™‚

I used Tangled FX and Photo FX to edit this photo.


Day #75 – A Photo A Day 2013

Pre-existing image templates provide a world of creativity that really sparks my imagination. It’s fun to see what other photographers have captured and it is a challenge to incorporate those photos into my own to make a blending of two people’s creativity.

So many apps have these images available either for free or for a nominal download fee but so far my favorite has been Filtermania 2 from Dropico. I used images from their library on today’s photo, which began as some stormy clouds that were outside of Ultrazone when I was there on Friday evening:

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Using pre-existing image templates for enhancing or completely changing an edit is something that I have frequently done but I think it’s time that I start making my own templates. I’m having fun with these pre-existing templates and they are a creative tool that is wonderful to have at my fingertips, but I would like to add more of myself into my projects, and I feel that this is one way that I can accomplish this.


Day #74 – A Photo A Day 2013

Another quick post for the day!

I snapped a quick photo as I was driving east on Hwy 14 in Vancouver, WA – Mt. Hood is in the distance:

IMG_9453

Tangled FX with multiple effects layered, then I did a bit of a tilt-shift effect to soften the clouds and bring the focus down to the vanishing point.


Day #73 – A Photo A Day 2013

A quick post for today – a snap I took on Mount Sutro last week:

Mount Sutro Sunshine

Mount Sutro Sunshine

I used Tangled FX layered with a couple of effects and then altered the trees and tree tops with ElastiCam. I obsess over the details, so this edit took quite a bit of time.


Day #72 – A Photo A Day 2013

Gosh, being sneaky with your iPhone to take pictures is HARD sometimes. Today’s shot is a perfect example of this. I found it to be one of the most difficult shots that I have edited lately.

Adorable Boy Riding on BART

Adorable Boy Riding on BART

This little guy was SO ADORABLE and he kept playing peek-a-boo with me… everything in me wanted to set up the shot and leave his Mom out of the picture – I felt like her white shirt was going to be really distracting in the frame. Also, I didn’t want the boy to lose his un-inhibited playfulness by putting the phone up to take a photo.

After I got on the plane at SFO I started looking at all of the shots that I got – the boy’s mom had on that annoying white shirt, and it was ruining this shot!!! What should have been a simple edit took a better part of the flight to do because I just could not seem to find a way to diminish that shirt enough to my liking.

A ton of masking and layering went on. I wanted to age the photo but not make him get lost in the edit. I’m only half liking the results but I could not think of anything further to rescue this photo. In the end I suppose what matters is that I captured a sweet and cute moment and treasure that rather than obsess over what I feel is lacking in the composition of the photo that captured it.


Day #71 – A Photo A Day 2013

Trains are a never ending source of fascination to me and in particular I really like the BART Powell St. Station in San Francisco. Part of this may be a connection to it since my very first BART ride destination after leaving SFO was to that particular station.

I also really like the lines of that particular stop – so many textures and since the tunnel is so long at that point it gives me a chance to get really nice lines in the (excessive amounts of) photos that take of the station.

Warped Speed - at the Powell St. BART Station

Warped Speed – at the Powell St. BART Station

This was taken as I was waiting for BART to take me to SFO last weekend. I really wanted to capture the motion of the train as it was coming in for a stop and I felt inspired to not only run it through Tangled FX but also played around with it in ElastiCam, made by Lucky Clan. I only warped the windows of the train to give it a sense of faster motion while maintaining the integrity of the lines of the rest of the train.

ElastiCam takes a bit of getting used to, not that it’s difficult to use – quite the opposite actually, but fine-tuning just how sensitive you do or do not want the effect to be to the touch of your finger takes a bit of time. At first I found myself over-applying effects, but once I got used to gently dragging and adjusting the strength of the effect, I found it to be extremely fun and satisfying to watch the transformation to my photo.


Day #70 – A Photo A Day 2013

Quick post today – I have much left to do today (I’m in Portland visiting family and friends!) but I’m still committed to making my daily posts!

Today’s is #3 from the #7faceless challenge that Sumsion challenged us to on Instagram:

Day #3 of the #7faceless Challenge

Day #3 of the #7faceless Challenge


Day #69 – A Photo A Day 2013

My hike to/on Mount Sutro yielded more shots than I originally thought. As I have gone back to look at all of the pictures that I snapped that day I was pleased with more shots than I anticipated so that means that I’m not done posting photos here from that day. πŸ™‚

Lupine Leaves on Mount Sutro

Lupine Leaves on Mount Sutro

I used a subtle effect from Tangled FX to give those lupine leaves just a little more definition and then converted the picture to black and white. Simple, quick and easy! The leaves already looked really fuzzy (and in reality were really really soft!) but I wanted that definition to really stand out in the photo since the tactile sensation is impossible to actually transmit through the viewing of a picture.


Day #68 – A Photo A Day 2013

Since I posted a rather serious picture yesterday it seemed fitting that I post Day #2 of Sumsion’s #7faceless challenge – it’s a much more light hearted post!

Yesterday’s photo was all about a time in my life when things seemed dark and un-fixable, a very sad time for me. Today’s picture is all about where I am today – joyful and content, rejoicing in my life and in the wonderful blessings that I enjoy every day:

Dancing With Joy = #7faceless Challenge

Dancing With Joy = #7faceless Challenge

I really didn’t do much editing to this one – just added a vignette and toned down the colors a teeny bit.
It took SO MANY TAKES to actually capture my dancing without having my face in focus! I finally just twirled several times to get the effect I wanted and even then I took a lot of photos before I finally found one that seemed suitable within the confines of this challenge.

Life is good!


Day #67 – A Photo A Day 2013

Instagram has been one way that I have been sharing my photography for two years now and in those two years I have found quite a few amazing artists that have greatly encouraged me to continue pushing the envelope of my creativity.

One of people who has influenced me the most is Sumsion – I was going to link to his Statigram page, but he’s turned off public viewing, which is disappointing to me because I would love to share his work here as well. (he is simply amazing!)

Sumsion’s latest challenge is a self-portrait challenge but the trick is to not have your face in focus. So far, this has been a very difficult challenge for me!

This is my first submission:

Blown Away - for the #7faceless Challenge on Instagram

Blown Away – for the #7faceless Challenge on Instagram

When I uploaded this to Instagram, some people that know me in “real life” were concerned because it seemed a bit dark. I explained that this is not representative of me now, but rather that it was how I felt at a certain point in time in my past – I felt like who I was had been completely blown away, destroyed and empty. I was having difficulty deciding just how to begin this challenge until a conversation I had earlier that day reminded me of that dark time and inspiration hit me.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do with my self-portrait, and after a couple of hours of experimentation, I found the right combination of app layering to actually achieve what you see here. This was a difficult one to actually upload for public consumption on Instagram – I felt like I was revealing quite a bit of myself without telling all of the personal details and I felt a bit of trepidation as I hit that upload button.

Immediately after, I felt almost a feeling of relief akin to happiness in that moment.

These challenges that Sumsion has presented to his followers have not only been pivotal points that have pushed me creatively but have also been instrumental in self-exploration and have taught me quite a bit about myself, even as far as really revealing to me how I view myself both externally and as a person.


Day #66 – A Photo A Day 2013

On my walk on Mount Sutro two days ago there may not have been a view of the ocean, but there were quite a few eucalyptus trees and many wild flowers. The smell in the forest was so invigorating and it was so quiet and peaceful – it didn’t even feel like I was in the middle of San Francisco.

Along the trail in many places there were Forget-me-nots, which are one of my favorite old-fashioned flowers. I tried out the macro lens that I won from Photojojo and was very pleased to find that I could get less than an inch from the flower for a nice bokeh effect.

Forget-Me-Nots on Mt. Sutro

Forget-Me-Nots on Mt. Sutro

Again, I’ve run it through Tangled FX using two effects and blending the two pictures. I was lucky to have the sunlight actually show up for the few seconds that I was on my knees taking this photo.

I was disappointed that I didn’t have an ocean view for the sunset, but what a beautiful oasis this hill provides in the middle of the city! I think this may end up being a new favorite place to ofrequent.


Day #65 – A Photo A Day 2013

Learning to be a little less obvious when I am snapping a photo is proving to be a more difficult thing than I originally thought that it would be and is definitely a big challenge.

I am always trying to get a photo of Chris when he’s not really paying attention – he will be looking at me with the sweetest smile but the moment I bring my camera or iPhone up to capture that sweetness, the genuine smile is replaced with the “camera smile”.

“Camera Smile” more often than not looks forced rather than natural and is definitely not what I’m wanting to capture in a photo.

Lately I have been practicing stealth photography with my iPhone as I’ve been walking out in public. Sometimes I am literally shooting from the hip and trying my best to not look as if that’s what I’m doing. It’s hard to focus on walking, looking casual and cleverly tilting my phone lens toward my subject without actually looking at the screen to see what it is that’s being captured by the camera.

I think that I managed pretty well to capture this adorable dog in motion while Chris and I were out walking this past weekend:

Miniature Husky?

Miniature Husky?

He was SO FLUFFY and he looked like a tiny Husky (is there such a thing as a miniature Husky?) so the moment he and his person were in the right light, I started snapping away. This was the second picture of 5 that I snapped in a row, and the only one that I thought was fit for editing.


Day #64 – A Photo A Day 2013

More fun with Tangled FX!

This is the “mountains” of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland as seen from the queue during the nightly fireworks show.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Edit

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Edit

This pic obviously doesn’t have any fireworks, but the sky was filled with all sorts of smoke from them and it made for a strange hue when I took the picture.

I ran it through three different effects in Tangled FX and also let it color boost and WOW the effect was crazy! It almost looks like lava or something! I’m so in love with Tangled FX!


Day #63 – A Photo A Day 2013

At the risk of redundancy I am posting yet another pic edited in Tangled FX because I simply cannot get enough of that app!

I layered two different Tangled FX effects for this picture of one of the Chinese Dancing Lions at the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade.

Dancing Lion at the Chinese New Year Parade 2013

Dancing Lion at the Chinese New Year Parade 2013

I really wish that I knew exactly how this app works – it’s so fascinating! This picture was already a little blurry because of the motion of the lion so I felt that it would be perfect to use the “blurred” effect to make it a little less noticeable. That didn’t quite give me the results that I wanted so I layered the “smooth fibers” effect over it as well to sharpen it up a little and to give the picture a bit more depth and detail.


Day #62 – A Photo A Day 2013

Tangled FX is fast becoming my new favorite photo editing app – it’s so versatile and I love how other-worldly it makes my outdoor pics look!

Here is a photo that I shot in Muir Woods on Friday before any editing of any kind:

Redwood Trees - Before Editing

Redwood Trees – Before Editing

Same photo – after editing in Tangled FX:

Sunlight in Muir Woods

Sunlight in Muir Woods

Watching the photo transform in that app is like magic – it just morphs in front of your eyes! I didn’t layer two effects in this pic like I did in the last one since I felt that altering in any further would have not been as effective. Sometimes less is more.


Day #61 – A Photo A Day 2013

There are SO MANY photo editing apps that I have been wanting to download lately but I have been limiting myself to one or two at a time so I can fully explore them before moving on and adding another to my library of well-used apps.

I just purchased Tangled FX, and app that I’ve had my eye on for a few weeks now and let me say that this app has blown me a away for a few reasons.

1. It’s easy to use. Effect options are clearly marked and it’s not hard to figure out what process you want by looking at the toolbar.

2. Processing time is minimal. It’s only taking a few seconds for the chosen effect to alter the photo.

3. Customization. You can adjust the effect scale factor, color boost, contrast or gamma.

4. There is a wide selection of effect choices – 16 in all.

Today’s picture was modified in Tangled FX, and I layered two effects in Blender to get the look that I wanted:

Piggy Art In The Window of Gallery 16 - Edited

Piggy Art In The Window of Gallery 16 – Edited

I pass by Gallery 16 a few times a week, and FINALLY the shadows were just right so I seized the moment and got my shot! Immediately I knew that I wanted to use Tangled FX to modify the photo. The shadows already had rather soft edges but I very much wanted to highlight and exaggerate that.


Day #60 – A Photo A Day 2013

Surprises are one of the most enjoyable things in life to me, and they don’t have to be a major surprise to be spectacular.

To clarify, I do not mean a bad surprise… like falling and twisting your ankle or waking up with a cold. What I am referring to are those un-expected moments where something good happens that you are totally not expecting and it totally makes your day.

My husband knows that I love surprises – he also knows that I am notoriously difficult to surprise, not because I get suspicious and nosy, but I’m generally a very observant person and I can tell when behavior is just a little bit off and then it isn’t long before my brain does the arithmetic and I figure out what has been planned behind my back.

I don’t know if I have been off my game lately or if I’m just not paying attention because he really surprised me today.

Two weeks ago Chris told me that his team at work was going to have an afternoon get together for lunch and that spouses were invited. The lunch was to be at one of his co-worker’s house, which is near the Muir Woods preserve. My eyes lit up at this, despite the fact that we would be going to the house and not to the woods – maybe I could get a glimpse! It’s been a desire of mine to visit Muir Woods for several years and I just KNEW that being so close and not being able to actually go on a hike was going to drive me nuts.

Today was the day – I laced up my boots and walked to Chris’ office where I met him and two of his co-workers and we started the drive, others on his team following. Our drive was taking us over the Golden Gate Bridge, which I had not done before and once we started across I realized just how awesome those beautiful red towers are! It’s such a different experience being on the bridge itself rather than under one end of it… impressive for different reasons, but what a magnificent sight it was to have the golden sun illuminating that fire-y red against a deep blue sky!

Across the bridge and into the hills we went… there was the entrance to Muir Woods! WAIT! We’re turning INTO THE PARKING LOT! SURPRIIIIISE! The team was gathering here to go on a short hike!!! Elation! Chris did a great job keeping this a secret, no small feat let me assure you! The rest of the team arrived and away we went!

We took the Ocean View Trail which was a challenging one – lots of un-even ground with roots and rocks and many many hills. We were completely surrounded by towering Redwood trees and the fresh smell of the woods was so incredible! I only had my iPhone with me, and I had to catch up to the group many times because I kept pausing to snap pictures. πŸ™‚

At the top of this trail was a hill covered in grasses, and you indeed could see the ocean. I was surprised that we were not closer to the ocean itself as I was under the impression that we would be on an ocean side cliff view, but it was still spectacular nonetheless. At this point, we hiked back the way we came, hopped into our cars and went to Chris’ co-worker Jason’s house, where we had a barbecue and we all talked and played with Jason’s lovely two girls. πŸ™‚

The team ended up talking about ideas for a project they were working on so while they were talking shop I played a bit with a photo that I took while we were on the hike:

Iris In Muir Woods

Iris In Muir Woods

It’s an iris that I found growing along the trail in the woods. I shot the picture with my fisheye lens from Photojojo – I haven’t been very impressed with this lens but I’ve been trying it out in a variety of lighting situations to give it a fair shake. It just seems like the pictures are not turning out as sharp as they should be, like the lens glass just isn’t very nice, and after looking at the original of this flower I think that’s what the problem is.

I took a picture with just the native lens (un-fortunately I ended up deleting it from my phone to make more room for other photos before I backed up my photos, so I can’t put the comparison of the originals here) and it looked much more clear than the original of this photo.

I was determined to make this photo look a bit more interesting with a bit of app layering – I do love a challenge! All in all, I think this edit looks better than the original but I am a little disappointed still with my edit. I think what is bothering me the most is that one petal that is much longer than the rest of the petals – normally I like asymmetry but this just seems out of place to me. I’m posting it here anyway as it was a part of the memories that I will take with me from this awesome day!


Day #59 – A Photo A Day 2013

App Layering. It’s addictive. It’s highly rewarding and creatively stimulating, not expensive and most apps are really easy to understand and apply practically.

I’m doing another Before and After post today because the edit I did this morning is so drastically different from the original photo that I wanted to show the difference.

The Hawaiian Chieftain is again the subject photo of the day. This photo here was taken on my iPhone 4s, native camera app at approx. 4:45 in the afternoon.

Here you see it un-touched – no edits nor touchups of any sort, just the raw photo:

Hawaiian Chieftian Un-Edited Photo

Hawaiian Chieftian Un-Edited Photo

I went to bed last night thinking of this pic and how I’d like to edit it. As I found myself immersed in the process, the picture ended up becoming something much more different than I envisioned it to be in the first place and I built layer upon layer of editing and overall I am much more pleased with the finished result than what I had originally planned to do.

Hawaiian Chieftian Heavily Edited Photo

Hawaiian Chieftian Heavily Edited Photo

I started out in Photo FX where I added a bit of haze to darken things up a little. I then moved on to Iris where I added a bit of dirt, back to Photo FX to darken it a bit more. On to Filtermania 2, then Wow FX, back to Filtermania 2, again to Wow FX again, on to ScratchCam and that’s where I forget just how many more times I ended up going back into Photo FX and Filtermania 2. This edit has taken the longest of any iPhone editing I have done – there were just a lot of layers to play with and tweak until I got just the look that I was going for.

I really don’t know what I would do without Photo FX and ScratchCam – they are my staples, and the Dropico apps are quickly becoming favorites as well!


Day #58 – A Photo A Day 2013

Back to the tall ships I went today, cameras and iPhone in hand!

There were considerably more people there than there had been yesterday. At first I figured that yesterday wasn’t busy since I was there so late, but one of the crew told me that there were much fewer yesterday. I guess word got out that they were here!

They’ll be in Oakland for the next two weeks after that, so just across the bay. It’s cheaper to moor over there, plus they can have mock battles with each other on that side of the bay without paying for a sound permit like San Francisco charges.

Today’s pic is the main mast of the Hawaiian Chieftain. It was very sunny today, but I decided that it needed a little moonlight:

Hawaiian Chieftian Main Mast - Edit

Hawaiian Chieftian Main Mast – Edit

Layering iPhone apps is SO fun and I got so deep in this one that I don’t even remember all of the apps that I used – I was sort of doing it as I was working on other things and not making mental notes of what apps I used and in what order. (I really should note these things!)

I have many more photos to sort through from today’s session so expect more tall ship photos!


Day #57 – A Photo A Day 2013

Yesterday I learned that two tall ships were in town so OF COURSE today I had to go see them, since I have had a life long fascination with tall ships, pirates and the sea.

This afternoon I started the long walk to Pier 40. It was warm today and very sunny so I was particularly looking forward to a long walk that I routinely enjoy. Also, I hadn’t walked toward the tourist-y part of San Francisco in quite a while so I was ready to go.

It wasn’t as crowded as it would be on the weekends, and people were smiley and friendly. Lots of runners and bicyclists and people walking their dogs, apparently oblivious to the fact that THERE ARE TALL SHIPS IN TOWN! How could they not be heading straight there that very moment?! It boggles my mind.

The bay looked like a blue jewel glinting in the afternoon sun and it made me want to take a dip, despite what I knew the temperature of the water to be. I resisted the urge, partially because I wanted to reach my destination and partially because… well, I had no swimsuit! Onward I marched…

Past the Ferry Building, past Boudin Bakery, past In-n-Out – I almost stopped there but NO! I must resist! The ships await! (and because I like this pic, here is a shot of the Ferry Building! It’s an accidental shot, and I haven’t edited it)

Ferry Building - Accidental Photo

Ferry Building – Accidental Photo

I avoided pier 39 completely and went onto…. wait, where is Pier 40? This is 41, where The Balclutha, and amazing ship in her own right (and an original!) makes her permanent home.

The Balclutha is a National Historic Landmark and Pier 41 is in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park so I asked the park rangers if perhaps I had the wrong pier? No, Pier 40 was correct, and this is Pier 41… It turned out that Pier 40 IS JUST A FEW BLOCKS FROM MY APARTMENT!!! Arg! So I walked miles out of my way when I would have been at the ships in mere minutes.

The park rangers and I had a good laugh at the irony, and they explained the odd-even placement of pier numbers – basically the Ferry Building is the center and everything to the south of the Ferry Building is the even numbered piers and everything to the north of the Ferry Building is the odd numbered piers.

Disappointed, I started the walk home. Tours were due to end at 5 and I knew there was no way that I could walk there in time. (there was only a window of 1 hour for dockside tours) My feet were killing me – I already had some major blisters from a very long walk I had taken earlier in the week and I feared that I was forming blisters under my blisters… so I hopped on the F-Line and started home.

I hopped off at my stop and walked toward my apartment. I realized that I would have JUST enough time to get to the dock to spend a few minutes there so I decided to walk through the pain and make my way there. Fast walking and blisters do NOT mix but I cared not.

Finally I was there! 10 minutes on board the Hawaiian Chieftanso I didn’t have time to shoot many pictures but I took a few and talked with one of the ship hands. Everyone in the crew was dressed in appropriate attire for the late 1700’s early 1800’s as is evident to the photo I shot and edited below:

Aboard the Hawaiian Chieftan

Aboard the Hawaiian Chieftan

Shot with my iPhone 4s, edited in Photo FX, Iris, and ScratchCam.

10 minutes on board was not enough and I didn’t have time to go on board the Lady Washington… I’m going back tomorrow!


Day #56 – A Photo A Day 2013

We have arrived at post #2 for today, which is actually today’s post! Hopefully the website and internet access woes are behind me for a great deal of time.

I met @tatum22 and @diegoscott83 of Instagram fame on the instawalk_sf and they are a continual source of inspiration to me. They have this Monday tradition where they post “Meditation Monday” pictures where one of them (usually @diegoscott83) jumps in the air in a pose of levitated mediation and they have really perfected this!

Below is one of the shots that I took of @diegoscott83 doing just that at Fort Point right under the Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco.

@diegoscott83 "levitating" under the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point - Instawalk_SF 2103

@diegoscott83 “levitating” under the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point – Instawalk_SF 2103

There was a great deal of lens flare that I wanted to keep in the picture, but it was hard to tone down the outer edges of the picture and still keep the basic integrity of that awesome flare. I’m basically happy with how this turned out but I may re-visit the pic for a re-edit later.


Day #54 – A Photo A Day 2013

This whole week I have been bummed out that I was going to miss my good friends’ concert up in Seattle today. Sure, the plane ride is short, but other forces prevented me from going.

Actually “bummed out” would be understating it a bit, but I am trying to not sound melodramatic so the phrase stays. Oscillaror X not only makes awesome music that I LOOOOVE, but they are also dear friends of mine, so to not be there to support them was driving me nuts. (side note – you will see a couple of shots that I took of them in their Photos section! /shamelessselfpromotion)

Somewhere around Wednesday this week I was perusing the San Francisco Fun Cheap websites for distractions this weekend when I saw events listed for the wrap-up of all of the Chinese New Year celebrations happening this weekend – how could I have forgotten?!?!?! I’ve only wanted to go to the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade since forever!

While I wasn’t able to be magically transported to Seattle for the concert, I did have the parade to look forward to and it would be so sweet to finally see it in person! I immediately studied the parade route, diligently scouting out the perfect position for me and my camera – oh and Chris too. I really wanted to share the parade with him – to have that memory to share together.

This morning I awoke, sleepy and cuddly when suddenly my mind remembered what day it was… PARADE DAY! I jumped out of bed with anticipation of the evenings festivities to come – why was the morning crawling by?

Afternoon came and my excitement grew. Chris just looked at me with a half smile and a shake of his head.

Oh! It’s time to go! We put on our coats and half walked and half jogged the 3 blocks to Market St. – despite wanting to be in Chinatown, I felt that we would have the best experience with fewer crowds (for Chris’ sake) and I could still get a good angle.

We weren’t far from the beginning of the parade, so that meant less time standing around too. We stood just north-ish of Market on the corner of 3rd and Geary, right underneath the Geary sign. (Some of the intersections downtown are soooo odd) We had a front-row seat! er, stand!

A few parent-less kids (where were their parents, anyway?!?!) attempted to make the crowding more miserable by yelling at each other and shoving both themselves and people around and didn’t stop until the guy to my left said “Look, you should stop shoving and shouting because if you don’t I’m going to shove back, and I’m definitely going to win”. That made them leave – hooray!

The parade was a cacophony of colors and sounds that constantly bombarded your eyes and ears and it was hard to focus on any one thing for too long due to the whirlwind of activity before you. One of my favorite parts of the parade were the Chinese Lions dancing all around the street and coming up to greet and dance right in front of us! I was determined to use my iPhone as much as possible as an experiment – sometimes the images are just a blur of color (once it got dark) and sometimes the motion really added to the sense of movement in the picture, in my opinion.

This picture is actually pretty clear:

Chinese Lion Dancers - SF Chinese New Year Parade 2013

Chinese Lion Dancers – SF Chinese New Year Parade 2013

Here I am now at home, re-living the parade tonight with relish – I’ve wanted to see this for such a long time, and finally I was able to attend! I’ll never forget when my former boss Stan told me, in great detail, what this parade is like. He definitely described it well enough for me to yearn to go and being there to experience it myself was really a treat – I felt like a kid again.