Golden Dragon Parade in China Town Los Angeles

Well this was different, a meetup to shoot the Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown Downtown Los Angeles. We shot it on one street then crossed a block to the other street it was coming back down and shot some more. The first shots were pointing into the sun, not so good, on the back side street the sun was in the parade participant’s faces. Much better for photographs. Lots of Dragons and Lions!!!

Dragon in parade

Dragon in parade. F/11, 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@42mm

Of course there were lots of people and children there, I didn’t shoot the crowd much but a couple of children photos are worth noting.

Small girl with parasol watching parade

Small child with parasol. F/11, 1/13 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@109mm

These 2 girls were having lots fun, their father (I’m guessing that is who the man is) just shot off a Popper. You can see a few of the colored pieces of paper floating back down in the shot.

2 girls watching parade with delight

Cries of delight by to girls. F/11, 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@250mm

Along the way there were lots of colorful participants in the parade, like this karate woman.

She was part of a group of 10 or so people doing karate moves for the crowds. I think I like this close up shot the best. Note that I had a slow enough shutter speed that her foot in the air is blurred to indicate action/motion.

woman doing a karate kick

Karate Kicks. f/6.3, 1/100 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@55mm

Chinese are known for their drumming and of course there were some drummers to be heard and seen.

drummer boy in parade

Drummer boy. f/6.3, 1/320 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@250mm

And this drummer lady.

drumming lady in parade

Drumming lady. f/6.3, 1/200 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@146mm

But of course the lions and dragons stole the show.

close up of dragon head

Dragon up close. f/6.3, 1/400 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@96mm

And this one,

dragon head in parade

Dragon head. f/6.3, 1/400, ISO 250, 55-250@96mm

How about a lion or two.

lion costume bending down in front of crowd

Playing to the crowd, a lion bends down. f/6.3, 1/1250 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@60mm

People were feeding the lions and dragons envelopes, gifts of money I believe.

person feeding a lion an envelope

Feeding a lion. f/9, 1/500 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@55mm

Yeah there were small lions and dragons too.

young girl in costume in parade

Young girl in costume. f/9, 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@55mm

More dragons

Dragon head up close

Dragon head. f/9, 1/500 sec., ISO 250 55-250@208mm

Here is a few with some of the long body in the shot.

Long body of dragon showing below head

Dragon with body showing how it wrapped around in street. f/9 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@48mm

close up of head with body being carried behind it

dragon with people under it carrying it. f/9, 1/500 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@55mm

Here I got lucky and have 2 dragons in the same shot.

two dragons at the same time in a photo

Two dragons in parade. f/9, 1/500 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@55mm

Of ourse there were some pretty ladies in the parade too, more dragons and  lions later

close up of young girl in Chinese costume

Young girl dressed up in Chinese costume. f/6.3, 1/200 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@55mm

Here is Miss Taiwan, one of many beautiful young women.

Miss Taiwan on float

Miss Taiwan. f/6.3, 1/100 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@55mm

And these colorful performers.

colorful performer in parade

Colorful performer in parade. f/9, 1/500 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@46mm

Not to be out done were these Spanish dancers.

Spanish dancers in parade

Spanish dancers. f/9, 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@48mm

More Chinese costumed performers.

Performers in parade posing for crowd

Performers in parade posing for crowd. f/6.3, 1/400 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@146mm

Chinese costumed performers in parade

Performer in parade pausing in the parade route. f/6.3, 1/320 sec., ISO 250, 55-250@250mm

And at the end of the parade I got bold and walked out into the center of the street to shoot this group of lions and performers.

Group of lion costumed performers

Group of lions costumed performers at end of parade. f/9, 1/250 sec., ISO 250, 18-55@32mm

Well that all I’m posting of the 350 shots I took, lots more I could have posted but having been an editor before I know to stop somewhere. Bands played but I didn’t like any of the shots I took, other women were beautiful but again the photos didn’t impress me. So I’m not showing them. I put up 22 photos and that’s a lot for one post.

Till the next shoot, remember to shoot lots of photos, you can edit out what you don’t like but you can’t always go back for more after the event. And try different setting on you camera, experiment with it. That’s how you learn to be better.

Abalone Cove Tide Pool & Seascapes

A Sierra Club Camera Committee trip to Abalone Cove, just north of San Pedro where I live. In the Palos Verde Pennisula area. Lots to shoot in macro, but I didn’t have a macro lens so I faked it with my telephoto zoom lens (55-250mm & 18-55mm). Which I think worked out just fine. You be the judge of these photos. My most fun shot is this one of the waves crashing on the rocks. I took many shots and was trying to get a action shot of the waves. I’ll show you several here , but I like this the best. It looks like I got wet.

close up view of wave crahing on rocks

Wave crashing on rocks. f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 55-250@90mm

Timing is important when photographing waves, you want some action showing in the photograph and the only way to do this is to shoot several shots. If you are shooting film it is a bit expensive, because you don’t know if the shot works till you process the film and make a print. With digital I was able to just keep shooting frames and later edit them on the computer to see what I liked best. Composition with waves can be a real trick because the action dictates where the visual center of your photography is, cropping may be necessary to balance the photograph out. In the photo above it is as shot, I didn’t crop it any. Cropping was done with the telephoto lens in setting up the shot and waiting for a GOOD wave to splash.

In these next 2 shots I like the first one better, the rocks in the foreground make it more balance to me. All the foam in the foreground kind of washes out the effect in the second photo. Although the second one has the more interesting wave action on the far rocks in the background.

wave crashing on rocks

waves on rocks. f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

waves crashing on rocks

waves crashing on rocks. f/6.3, 1/500 sec., ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

Of course  I took landscape/horizontal photos too. I moved around to different spots and different camera settings as I moved.

wave breqking on rocks in foreground

wave breaking on the rocks in the foreground. f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

large wave breaking on rocks in background.

Large wave breaking on rocks. f/13, 1/60 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

Here is another shot of the rocks and water. This one however is a composite photo. I took 2 shots with different shutter speeds to vary the light, one the foreground was more detailed and the sky was blown out, the other the sky was more or less the correct exposure but the rocks were very dark. I layered them in Photoshop and used a mask to hide part of the top photo layer so that the sky and the rocks seem to be better exposed.

layered photo of rocks and water

Layers study with rocks and water. f/6.3, 1/60 sec & 1/125 sec., ISO 100, 18-55@36mm

Of course, the object of the photography for the day was the wildlife and what trip to the tide pools isn’t complete without a starfish or 2. Again for these close up shots I’m setting up with the tripod at a distance that lets the telephoto lens focus, but zooming in so it looks real close.

Purple starfish on rocks

Purple starfish on rocks. f/13, 1/13 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

This starfish is bent up some like it was placed here by one of the many children not long before I got there. It was a spring tide, special very low tide, so there were a lot of people at the tide pools. Hard to take scenic shots without people in it. People stepping all over making waves in the pools and casting shadows on the pools. Good reason to practice patience.

Orange starfish on rocks

Orange starfish on rocks, curled like it had been on a different rock not long before. f/11, 1/5 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@74mm

Hermit crabs are another favorite of tide pools.

Close up of 2 hermit crabs

Hermit crabs on rocks. f/11, 1/3 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@250mm

I found this sea slug on the dry rocks and put in the water, it opened it’s back up and showed the stripes of color for a brief few moments and I got this one shot.

Sea Slug in tide pool

A sea slug, f/13, 1/4 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@116mm

I was lucky and near some people when they found an octopus hiding in the rocks, not much to see but the tentacle and the suckers on the bottom, plus the breathing hole/tube. Shot several shots but the shots with the water coming out of the breathing tube were all blurry. I was shooting at slow speeds due to the low ISO and it was just slow enough for the water to blur.

Octopus in rocks

Octopus hiding in rocks, a lucky find by sharp eyes. f/13, 1/8 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@163mm

Another familiar sight on the tide pools was sea urchins. There were so many that yes I stepped on some over the course of the day. The rocks are slippery and it was impossible to miss them trying to stay on my feet.

Purple sea urchins on the rocks.

Sea urchins, bright purple against the rocks. f/13, 1/5 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

Sea anemones were also abundant in the rocks, their colors varied some what most were a iridescent greenish blue.

Iridescent sea anemone in tide pool

Sea anemone in rocks of tide pool. f/11, 0.60 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@96mm

Here I found one with a white center.

Sea anemone with white center

Sea anemone with white center. f/5.6, 1/20 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@131mm

And of course here is another star of the day, didn’t see many of these crabs and those that I did see scurried under rocks pretty fast. But this one just sat there blowing bubbles so I had time to set up the camera and that a few shots.

Small crab blowing bubbles

Small crab blowing bubbles. f/5.6, 1/80 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@250mm

Here is a different shot of some wildlife. I shot this panning the camera to follow the bird. I wanted the action or motion in the shot. I took several shots but this one with the water and rocks in the background seemed the best. Noticed that the slow shutter speed blurred the wing tips too. The camera’s auto focus is pretty good as the head and body of the bird are in focus.

Bird flying past the rocks and shore

Bird flying past the rocks and shore. f/5.6, 1/50 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@146mm

As it got towards sunset, I was setting up to shoot a shot of tree on the cliff. So waiting and being bored somewhat I turned and saw the surfers on the waves next to the tide pools and decided that with the sun behind them it would make a nice shot if I could stop the action. Here are two of the best.

Surfer on a wave with the sunset light on him

Surfer in the sunset. f/5.6, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@131mm

Surfer cutting back on a wave

Surfer cutting a wave. f/5.6, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, 55-250 @250mm

Here is the final picture, taken before sunset when the light lit up the colors in the rocks of the cliff. I used a graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky and balance out the photograph’s colors.

Cliff with tree at sunset

Cliff with tree at sunset. F/5.6, 1/10 sec., ISO 100 18-55@29mm Graduated ND filter.

Well there are the best photos of my trip to the Abalone Cove tide pool trip with the Sierra Club Camera Committee. It was fun and I learned a lot about trying to shoot macro shots with a telephoto lens. Hope that you learned some thing from this post. Let me know what you think of my photos.

Landscapes Vasquez Rocks

Well I went to Vasquez Rocks, just north of Los Angeles with a group. The leader has been out there before many times and knew some interesting shots to be had.

I knew before hand that I would make several of the shots black and white in post production (Photoshop) so I kept this in mind as I shot. It helps to think in black and white, mostly contrasts between the light areas, (whites and grays) and the shadows, (dark grays and blacks). I also was working with a new graduated neutral density filter set up, trying it out. It had rained the day before so there were lots of clouds in the sky to make things interesting visually.

View of man crawling in some rocks to get a photograph.

Our fearless leader shows us how to get the shot. f/11 1/30 sec ISO 200, 10-22@20mm

As you can see it was a tight spot to crawl into, but the shot was interesting as you can see here.

shot though a hole in a rock

Shot though a hole in the rock, you had to crawl to get to. f/11 1/200 sec, ISO 200 10-22@12mm

As you can see it was a very different kind of shot, not the normal. How our fearless leader found the shot we never learned, but it seems he looks for these kind of shots all the time. As you will see he took us to several of these shots.

view though rocks at rocks

f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@15mm

Trying to make a nice composition with these elements is a little tougher as almost all the rocks at at angles. But still the balance is needed to make the shot work.

f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@12mm

f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@12mm

As I said earlier I also made several of my photos into black and white.  Here are the examples,

wide angle view of Vasquez Rocks

f/10, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@15mm

close up of rocks with view of rocks in back

f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@20mm

view of rocks at Vasuez Rocks

f/11, 1/160 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@13mm

view of vasquez rocks

f/11 1/80 sec, ISO 100, 10-22@14mm

Now here are some color shots to let the viewer decide if they like it better in color or in black and white.

color shot of Vasquez Rocks

f/10 1/400 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@17mm

View of angular rocks at Vasquez Rocks

f/10, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@22mm

color shot of rocks at Vasquez  Rocks

f/10, 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@20mm

view of Vasquez Rocks

f/10, 1/125 sec, ISO 200, 10-22@22mm

Anyway, that’s the best of the photos of my trip to Vasquez Rocks. Hope it shows you some various ways to put together compositions in landscapes. Like I said I used a graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky and balance out the exposure. I hope I’ve given you some idea of the setting used and how to play with your camera and learn more about it. Happy shooting.