Blast from the past: A ton of fun


9-year-old Elijah Lozano waves to passing traffic while wearing an inflatable sumo costume in front of his apartment on Center and Magnolia Streets in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D1H. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

There are some pictures that I have to work to make interesting. There may be a kernel of something interesting and I have to try and coax a picture out of the situation. Then there are others that just jump out at me.

3/65/2006:
This situation was the latter. I was just driving back to the office when I saw this kid standing on a street corner, waving a traffic while wearing an inflatable sumo wrestler costume.  That’s definitely something you don’t see every day. I asked him why he was doing it and he said that he was just having some fun. I know it made my day.

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One, two, buckle my shoe

“…for want of a nail the shoe was lost…” -  Benjamin Franklin


A child’s Spongebob Squarepants croc shoe found in the parking lot of Franklin High School in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/7.1. ISO: 200)

I posted an entry about a lost shoe on June 10. I’ve come across a few more since then, lone shoes, alone in the cold, cruel world. It begs the question: what becomes of the corresponding other half of the pair, the side that isn’t lost?


A Nike athletic shoe lays on the side of Waterloo Road near Report Avenue in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/22. ISO: 200)


A Hello Kitty slipper and two sneakers found on Sunset Avenue and Waterloo Road in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 38mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 200)

Are they sitting in shoeboxes, perhaps under a bed or in a closet, waiting with hope, to be reunited with their mirror-image twins? Are they mismatched with another orphaned half? Maybe they’ve been thrown out with the trash, all hope gone, useless without their partners. In that light, maybe it’s better to be the shoe that’s lost. At least there’s a glimmer of hope of being found, of finding purpose again.

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Hands of God


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic paints murals on the walls inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic stands inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/80th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)

From the outside the St.Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Jackson looks quaint but exhibits no sign of the beauty that is within its white walls. On and off over the past 12 years, iconographer Miloje Milinkovic, a Serbian native, has been working on the acrylic murals that cover the inner walls and ceiling of the church.


Decon Tom Triva Pavlov talks about the murals painted by iconographer Miloje Milinkovic in the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic adusts a light to illuminate where he intends to paint inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f4. ISO: 800)

St. Sava is a small church, just 10 small pews and a modest altar, but the murals make it seem much larger. The deep blue background makes the interior look like it’s expanding off into space.


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic paints murals on the walls inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/40th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)


A detail of one of the murals painted by iconographer Miloje Milinkovic in the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 250)

Everywhere one looks, there’s a feast for the eyes. From Byzantine-style portraits of Jesus and saints to the ornately detailed borders, there is something to see in every corner of the church. The deep and colorful paintings depict several scenes of the various scenes from the life of Jesus. There are also some illustrations of the order’s history as well as some significant events of the church itself.


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic paints murals on the walls inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic paints murals on the walls inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens:  70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)

Milinkovic is a soft-spoken man whose humility belies his talent. His work has changed the oldest Serbian Orthodox church in the America from a simple place of worship to a place of divine spiritual inspiration. He has photos that shows the starkly blank walls of the church before he started painting. To look at them and then to the now-transformed walls, the work Milinkovic has done is amazing. He estimates that there about 400 faces in the paintings.


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic casts a shadow on the wall as paints murals on the inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson. (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/40th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)


Iconographer Miloje Milinkovic paints murals on the walls inside of the St. Sava Serbia Orthodox Church in Jackson.  (Camera: Nikon: D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)

Milinkovic is a few weeks away from completing his labor of love. He has created a place of visual awe and wonder. It’s a place where worshippers can contemplate their spirituality amidst beauty and serenity while connected to their past.

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Hot wheels


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 100)

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 45mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 100)

I’m bit of a car buff and when I think of an exotic car like a Lamborghini Gallardo, I picture it carving up a road like Highway 1 on the California coast or hot lapping the famed Nurburgring in Germany. I envision it parked in front of some trendy Italian disco in Milan or at Gucci’s on Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 20mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100)


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 22mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 100)

So it was to my surprise when I saw an approximately $200,000 Gallardo parked along Highway 49 in San Andreas, population of around 2,600. The low-slung car, made from 2003 to the present, stood out like the proverbial sore thumb, it’s burnt orange metallic paint sparkling in the sun. It seemed a bit out of place in the high country where SUVs and 4x4s abound. The need for traveling over steep and rough roads, sometimes in the snow, make sports cars relatively rare there, expensive exotics even more so.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 34mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100)


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 45mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 100)

Although the Lambo’s mid-engine layout, all-wheel drive, vented, cross-drilled brakes and double-wishbone independent suspension should make short work of the narrow, winding Mother Lode roads, those same twisties aren’t ideal to wring out all of the car’s prodigious horsepower from it’s V-10 engine (2004′s 5.0 liter motor produced 495 bhp, while the latest model’s 5.2 liter version makes 552 bhp). Even though the Gallardo’s neck-snapping acceleration can get you from 0-60 mph in around 3 to 4 seconds, there just aren’t enough straight stretches for the two-seater to reach it’s top speed of about 200 mph. That’s OK because Gallardo’s crisp, swoopy lines make it look like it’s flying even when it’s standing still.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100)


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/40th sec. @ f/22. ISO: 100)

The names of many Lamborghinis have been associated with famous bulls or bull fighting and the Gallardo follows in that tradition. I don’t know if the car roared into the small town like a bull in a china shop, but the Gallardo caused some visual excitement just sitting on the side of the road.

Here’s a video of the Gallardo in action from the BBC show Top Gear:

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Overdrive

Los Angeles Times photographer Brent Foster did something similar to Ben Gavin’s time-lapse video. It’s a story about Southern California traffic and it’s just gorgeous, the video, not the traffic, that is. Again, a mundane subject thought out and shot creatively.

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Video? We don’t need no stinkin’ video


Fairgoers walk the midway at the 2008 California State Fair at Cal Expo in Sacramento. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 18-55mm @ 18mm. exposure: 1/40th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

“Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s dollars to donuts
That our state fair
Is the best state fair in our state”
Our State Fair – Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein


The Grand Wheel ferris wheel spins on the midway at the 2008 California State Fair at Cal Expo in Sacramento. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 18-55mm @ 38mm. exposure: 1/8th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

State and county fairs are annual events and we photographers have cover them every year. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas and new ways to shoot such affairs. St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minn.) Photographer Ben Garvin found a great way to shoot the 2008 Minnesota State Fair.

He sequenced 4,000 time-lapse images of the Minnesota State Fair to make a video-looking slideshow that appears to be traveling at warp speed. It’s a great piece of work and it’s all done with a still camera. It shows some out-of-the-box thinking that you don’t necessarily need a video camera to shoot video.

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Sk8er girl


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)

Niquel Garcia of Stockton recently won a first place in the 2008 National Roller Figure Skating National Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska. The competition has free skating performances, with routines to music containing jumps, spins and fancy footwork much like its ice skating counterpart that we see on TV.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

But Garcia, a University of the Pacific student, won in the Senior Ladies Compulsory Figures division. Rather than the flashiness of free skate, figures requires precision and patience. According to the USA Roller Sports website, “Each skater retraces a series of figure patterns–combining a variety of difficult take-offs, edges, and turns–on a set of circles painted on the skating surface.” It’s a discipline that ice skating eliminated in the 1990s, but still endures in roller skating.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 800)

I shot Garcia as she practices at the Roller King skating rink in Roseville (Stockton hasn’t had a skating facility since Hammer Skate closed in 2006) and it was easy to see how Garcia won the competition. She had a single-minded focus and fastidious accuracy. Her win at the National event has qualified her for the Figure World Championships in Koahsiung, Taiwan in November. With laser-beam concentration, she precisely followed the looped lines on the floor. A single push off was all Garcia needed to shadow the path repeatedly. It was almost as if there was no friction at all. She easily and smoothly glided over the floor never seeming to slow down no matter how long she skated. And she did it forward and backward.

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Everyone knows it’s windy


Windsurfers skim across the Sacramento River pushed along by stiff
winds off Sherman Island near Rio Vista. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens:
Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. f/11. ISO: 200)

“I believe in windy days when everything gets blown away, oh
Please let me be blown away…”
Windy by Michael Nau

8/13/06: Francisco Furtado of Lake Tahoe, skims across the water while
kite boarding on the Sacramento River near Rio Vista. (Camera: Nikon
D2X. Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO:
100)

The wind blows vigorously and almost constantly on Sherman Island just
south of Rio Vista. Wind turbines can be seen spinning on Montezuma
Hills across the Sacramento River, a testament to the blustery nature
of the area. Sailboarding enthusiasts flock to the area because of the
strong and steady winds. They have carved out a launching area along
Sherman Island Road not too far off of Highway 160. There, windsurfers
rocket over the glistening water like skipping stones.


8/13/06: The wind unfurls a kite surfing sail by strong winds at the
Sherman Island County Park near Rio Vista. (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens:
Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100)

A little further down the road is Sherman Island County Park and the
Sherman Island Wildlife and Recreation area. There, in addition to the
wind surfers, are kite borders. Pulled by large kites, they skim across
the water on small surfboards. The more adventuresome will do acrobatic
tricks with their rigs, flying high into the air.


8/13/06: Michelle Gabriel of Livermore, catches some air while kite
boarding on the Sacramento River at the Sherman Island Wildlife and
recreation area near Rio Vista. (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens: Nikkor 500mm.
Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100)

It’s all fun to watch and a great way to relax, with a stiff breeze to cool you off from
a hot day. Just take Highway 12 west to Highway 160. Head south on 160
several miles and turn off onto Sherman Island Road and follow it until
you see the windsurfers. For the Kite boarders, just follow the road to its
end at Sherman Island County Park and Wildlife and
Recreation area and literally hold onto your hats
.

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Obon


Lodi Buddhist Church minister reverend Harry Bridge, uses a light-up fan while dancing at the Obon odori at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church. Bridge holds services in Walnut Grove once a month. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens Canon 16-35mm @ 20mm. Exposure: 1/4 sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 100)

“Bon Odori is a Japanese Buddhist Folk Dance performed outdoors and danced in concentric circles around a raised platform called a Yagura.  Odori means dance and Bon is the abbreviated name of a Buddhist text, the Ullambana Sutra, whose Japanese pronunciation is Urabon, shortened to Bon. The sutra tells the story of a Monk called Mokuren (known as Mogallana in Pali), who in meditation saw his deceased mother suffering of starvation in the Hell of Hungry Ghosts, where any food she touched burst into flames. Mokuren appealed to Shakyamuni Buddha to save his mother from her fate. Shakyamuni instructed Mokuren that in order to overcome his mother’s selfish past life karma, he should make offerings of food from land and sea to his fellow monks at the end of their 90-day retreat which ended in mid-July. Upon following Shakyamuni’s instructions, Mokuren danced for joy when his mother and seven generations of his ancestors were freed from their suffering.” – An excerpt from the Buddhist Church of San Francisco’s website.


Dancers participate in the Obon odori at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens Canon 16-35mm @ 20mm. Exposure: 1/4 sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 100)

I attended the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church when I was a kid. I remember the church thriving with the Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) and Nisei (2nd generation American born offspring of those immigrants) who were a large minority in the small California Delta town. It seemed that the pews were filled with congregation members every Sunday back then.


Sandy Kawamura dances in the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church’s Bon odori. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens Canon 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 800)

Being a yancha bozu (mischievous child), I didn’t pay attention during obon practices when I was a kid. As I grew into a teenager, I didn’t dance because I didn’t want to embarrass myself, so I didn’t even go to the practices. Thus when it came time to dance, I spent much of my time sitting on the sidelines, just watching.


Hiroko Sugimoto dances in the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church’s Bon odori. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens Canon 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 400)

Over the years membership at the church has dwindled. The Issei, have passed away as well as many of the Nisei. The Sansei, the third generation, my generation, have all moved away. But obon is still held every Summer at the small church.


Dancers participate in the Bon odori at the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/500 sec. @ f/18. ISO: 400)

Since 1997 when my father passed away, I’ve danced at obon at the Walnut Grove church. I’ve even gone to some of the practices. Since I have two left feet, I keep my eyes on the person in front of me and try to mimic their movements. Over the last few years I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter what I look like when I’m out there dancing. That’s not what I’m there for. I dance to remember my grandparents. I dance for my aunts and uncles. I dance for my dad.

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Bird’s the word

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

The warriors in the first line of defense in San Joaquin County’s battle against West Nile Virus are just a bunch of chickens. No, I don’t mean they’re cowards, they’re literally chickens. The county’s Mosquito and Vector Control’s maintains two flocks of hens that act as indicators against the disease. If a mosquito carrying the virus bites one of the chickens, it may transfer the sickness to the bird. Blood is drawn from the fowl and is tested on a regular basis.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11 w/ fill-flash.I SO: 200)

Entomologist Stacy Bearden ” bleeds” 10 chickens at each site every two weeks. She uses a syringe to drain a few CCs from each bird. They seem pretty used to the procedure and know the drill. It only takes a few minutes and they put up a minimal amount of fuss. Bearden grabs each bird from the cage, the wraps a rubberband around its legs. Although the chickens are fairly docile, the last thing she wants to do is to spend her time chasing a runaway bird. Bearden uses a syringe to draws the blood from he back of the chicken’s neck. When she’s done with that she rubs the spot where the needle went in until the bleeding stops. The bird is put back into the cage, none the worse for wear.

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 23mm. Exposure: 1/160th sec. @ f/5. ISO: 200)

Its not a bad lot for the birds. San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District community education specialist Aaron Devencenzi says at the end of their service they become egg-laying fowl for the owners of the land on which their coops sit. The chickens provide a valuable health service and have to do just a minimal amount of work. I’m sure it beats a gig at KFC.

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    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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