Not so pretty in pink?


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

Several weeks ago I spotted a fire hydrant on Flora Street and Pershing Avenue. Nothing unusual there, except that it was painted hot pink. I wondered if a new color was picked for the city’s more than 8,500 hydrants or it there something special about that particular fire plug. Was it a new primer color or perhaps a way to mark the plug for replacement or repair? I called Bill Catlett in the Stockton Fire Department’s hydrant division. I began to describe the hydrant and Catlett immediately knew exactly which one I was talking about even before I could finish. He said that someone had vandalized the plug by spray painting it pink from top to bottom. He also said that by the time I called, the hydrant had already been repainted the standard yellow.

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Blast from the past: Avast, ye matey!


(Camera: Nikon D2H. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. 1/250th sec. @ @ f/13. ISO: 200)

07/01/2006: I had an assignment that I thought would be a wild goose chase. For an advance story on premier of the then-new movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”,  I was sent to Korth Pirate’s Lair marina on Brannan Island Road near Isleton and find something pirate related. In the marina’s gift shop there were just a few pirate-themed knickknacks and the Jolly Roger flew outside the shop. The manager of the marina said that was about it, except for the pirate moored at the end of one of the docks. Say what?


(Camera: Nikon D2H. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. 1/320th sec. @ @ f/11. ISO: 200)

She said that a guy, dressed as a pirate, pulled his sailboat into the marina earlier that day. I walked out to the dock in question, and there he was. Sitting on his 36-ft-long sailboat, sat Derek Beck of San Francisco, looking very Johnny Depp-ish, with his braided beard, tri-cornered hat and saber at his side. He said that he just enjoys playing the swashbuckler and sailing the Delta. Beck didn’t say if he raided any boats, but it was a pirate’s life for him.

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Natural light

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor17-55mm @ 50mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/11 with Dyna-Lite strobe. ISO: 100)

A softbox is a light modifier that is commonly used in the studio. It helps to create soft, even light, usually for portraits. The strobe head is covered by fabric over a box-shaped, wire-like frame (hence the name soft box). Three sides are dark, the fourth is translucent to let light through. When the strobe is fired, light bounces around the inside of the box and out the opaque front panel. The result is soft, pleasing controllable illumination.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/2. ISO: 200)

I got this shot of Eliso Garcia attending a fundraiser at the Mexican Community Center in Stockton to help send Arthur Murillo, Stockton only Democratic delegate, to the National Democratic Convention in Denver. It was about 11:00 am, not the best time to light a portrait, outdoors at least. Sunshine comes nearly straight down, creating harsh shadows. Indoors it can be a different story.



(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)


Garcia sat inside the center next to a large window which was shaded outside by a large awning. The glaring sunlight bounced off the asphalt and cars in the parking lot and gently filtered its way through the window. The effect was similar to that of a studio softbox. The soft light quietly bathed his rough-hewn face in muted tones. It wasn’t a man-made light source, but given that there was some unintentional human intervention, it wasn’t exactly all natural either. However, the effect was pleasing all the same.

Posted in Equipment, Light, lighting, Portrait | Tagged , | Comments closed

Font of knowledge


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 55mm. Exposure: 1/160th sec. @ f/15 w/ Dyna-Lite strobe. ISO: 100)

From Helvetica to New Times Roman, fonts are the different styles type. Newspapers carefully and deliberately choose which fonts they use. The typefaces used in print have to be easily readable and efficient so as to not waste precious space. For the paper, fonts need to convey a sense of trustworthiness, dependability and integrity. Different ones are used for the main copy, headlines, sub-heads and captions. Each choice is considered carefully. Features sections (the LENS section in The Record) have a little more leeway to use playful type. Occasionally typefaces can have almost as much to say as the stories themselves. Hmm, if only they could talk…

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Bite club


Steve Holidy with the Sonora-based Wes Hauzahn Canine Training is attacked by a police dog during at the sheriff’s annual K-9 Trials at Madison Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

Near the top of the list of jobs I don’t want to do is to have dogs bite me, over and over again. That’s what Steve Holidy did at the San Joaquin County Sheriffs K9 Trials at Madison Park in Stockton on Saturday.


John Donais with the Sonora-based Wiess Hauzahn Canine Training is attacked by a police dog during at the sheriff’s annual K-9 Trials at Madison Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

With temperatures around the mid-upper 90s, Holidy and several of his co-workers from the Sonora-based Weiss Hauzahn Canine Training wore thick, heavy “bite suits” to protect themselves. They fired blanks from handguns and shouted unkind things to the dogs and their police partners.


Baker, a police dog of Oakland Police officer Al Liwanag runs to attack a suspect during in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s annual K-9 trial at Madison Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

When the dogs were ordered to attack, the trainers basically stationary before the canines were called off. One trainer had to shout and wave his arms. The officers ordered their dogs to attack him, but as a part of the exercise, commanded them to stop about halfway. Most of the dogs stopped, but one zealous dog kept on going and jumped so high, the trainer was actually nicked on the chin with a bite.


Steve Holidy with the Sonora-based Wiess Hauzahn Canine Training is attacked by a police dog during at the sheriff’s annual K-9 Trials at Madison Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 500mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

Holidy seemed to have the toughest assignment. When he was attacked, he had to drag the dogs about 15 feet over to a nearby car and wait for the officers to release him. All that while a full-sized dog tried to tear off his arm or leg. And he had to do it over 30 times on a hot afternoon.

It’s a tough job that provides a valuable service, but I’m just glad I don’t have to do it.

Posted in Animals, General news | Tagged , | Comments closed

An in-depth probe


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm. Exposure: 1/60 @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

I don’t know if they knew I was coming, but the staff at American Hearing Aid in Stockton had something called an Oto-Probe2 sitting out on a tray when I arrived for an assignment last week. I know that “oto-” is a Greek-derived prefix meaning ear, but, I was still too afraid to ask what it was specifically used for.

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Rallying the troops


SEIU member Andrea Alvarez of Stockton pickets outside of the CalTrans offices with other union members on Charter Way and B Street in Stockton to protest Governor Schwartzenegger’s proposed cut in pay for state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until legislators reach a deal on the overdue California state budget. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/1250th sec. @ f/10 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

Last week, I shot a rally by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local-1000 members protesting Governor Schwarzenegger’s slashing the pay of state employees wages to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour. It’s understandable, If my pay was cut to the bare minimum I’d be angry too.


(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/1250th sec. @ f/10. ISO: 200)

Chanting “we can’t survive on six-fifty-five”, a couple of dozen union workers marched outside of the CalTrans office on Charter Way in Stockton. It was about noon hour and a group of CalTrans employees were playing basketball in the back of the building on their lunchbreak, oblivious to the protest happening out front.



SEIU member Blanche Espinosa of Stockton pickets outside of the CalTrans offices with other union members on Charter Way and B Street in Stockton to protest Governor Schwartzenegger’s proposed cut in pay for state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until legislators reach a deal on the overdue California state budget. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 70 200mm @ 150mm. Exposure: 1/1250th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 200)

The rally continued for about a half hour. A few CalTrans employees peeked out to see what the commotion was all about, but none joined the protest. Maybe that will change when they get their next paycheck.

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July in review

Summer’s blazing heat was the reigning theme of July, but the month is
over and hopefully the dog days of summer with it as well. Here
some of my favorites shots not previously seen in this blog from the seventh month of the year.


7/8/2008:


Gerardo Vega with the Stockton-based J.H. Simpson Company, checks out a
chiller while doing maintenance on the cooing system on the Calmont
Medical Center on California Street in Stockton.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250 sec. @ f/22 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200)

_____________________________________________________________


7/14/2008:

Stockton Ports’ Frank Martinez prepares to throw to first after forcing
out San Jose Giants’ Mike Mooney during a California League baseball
game at the Stockton Ballpark in downtown Stockton. Martinez made the
double play to retire the side.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 300mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/1000sec. @ f/5.6. ISO: 200).

_____________________________________________________________



7/15/2008
:


Some of the 96 campers, ages 7-14, pilot 8-ft sailboats on the waters
of the deep water channel near Buckley Cove in Stockton as they
participate in the 18th annual week-long Sailing Camp sponsored by the
Stockton Sailing Club, The santa Cruz Yacht Club and the Richmond Yacht
Club.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500 sec. @ f/22. ISO: 200).


11-year-old Rene Perez skids along a slip-and-slide to cool off at his home on Tiffany and 11th streets in Stockton.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500 sec. @ f/9. ISO: 200).

_____________________________________________________________


7/16/2008
:


Former Edison star James Newson has been a wide receiver /defensive
back for the Stockton Lightning for the third time in three seasons.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125 sec. @ f/5. ISO: 800)

_____________________________________________________________


7/17/2008
:


A child plays in the fountain at the Weber Point event Center in downtown Stockton.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500 sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200).

_____________________________________________________________


7/31/2008:


6-year-old Scotland Vang draws a picture during a parent educator visit to his home  in Stockton.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/125 sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)


Parent educator Yia Her, right, helps Choua Yang with her daughters
Lorrina Vang, 3, front, and Cheyanne Vang, 22-months, during visit to
Yang’s home in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 18mm. Exposure: 1/40 sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)



Ethan Vang, 4, draws a picture during parent educator Yia Her’s visit to his home in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60 sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)


The Books Not Bars youth advocacy group from Oakland holds a rally
outside of the CYA Facility on Newcastle Road in Stockton calling for
the closure of the entire youth correctional system.
(Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250 sec. @ f/11 w/ fill-flash. ISO: 200).

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Night lights

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” – Vincent Van Gogh


(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)


(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 70-200mm @ 170mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

In most towns, when the sun goes down, so the number of photo opportunities. San Francisco is stays awake long after smaller cities have rolled up their sidewalks and locked their doors. When the sun sets in the City, new picture possibilities arise. Neon signs are largely hand-made and can be crafted into artistic shapes and designs. The Fisherman’s Wharf area has some great neon signs to shoot. Sure, they’re basically advertisements, but they can have an aesthetic all their own. The glowing signs can cut into the darkness and add some beautiful color to the night.


(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

Like most night shots, the best time to shoot is twilight. There is still enough light to turn the sky a rich, deep blue. Sunsets and dusk seem to last a little longer on the coast than in a valley town. In San Francisco, being at the edge of the sea, there are no tall mountains to prematurely block the sun before it sinks below the horizon.


(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)


Using a tripod will help to hold the camera still, but the shutter speeds, while on the slow side, can still be hand-holdable (with a little practice). Bracing yourself and/or the camera against a wall, pole or something stable can be enough to stop camera shake.


(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 21mm. Exposure: 1/30th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

Lastly, San Francisco has a vibrant night life. In high foot-traffic areas, there tends to be a lot of people, even when it gets dark, so safety isn’t a big concern. It can be a bit spooky on the darkened streets of Stockton or San Joaquin county, so if you’re looking for neon here, bring a friend or two.

Posted in Light, Travel, vacation | Tagged , | Comments closed

Mirror, mirror

(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 70-200mm @ 170mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

(Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

The Hyatt Regency hotel along the Embarcadero in San Francisco, features an cavernous asymmetrical geometric interior. The indoor courtyard has a large spherical metal tube sculpture rising from a reflecting pool. The water in the pool was so still that it made a perfect mirror. Usually water reflections can be difficult because the slightest disturbance, a breeze or a touch, will cause ripples which degrades the image. But the Hyatt’s pool was like flawlessly polished glass and made for a prefect reflection picture.

Posted in Travel, vacation | Tagged | Comments closed
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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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