In Celebration of Independence

The eve of the Fourth of July found us at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, picnicking with friends and listening to the Oakland Symphony. Given the divisiveness of events recently it’s a pleasure to come together in celebration. And no shortage of emotion on my part when the orchestra started to play the national anthem and the thousands of people stood and sung “Oh Say Can you See…” in honor of this place in which we live.

Rather than brave the traffic and parking for the event, we put our bikes on the car and drove to a convenient location just off the San Francisco Bay Trail, a yet-to-be completed 500 mile walking and cycling trail around the bay which passes through 47 cities and nine counties.

The entertainment started with the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra playing some rousing music starting with Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein and ending with a selection of suites from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Quite an amazing group of talented young musicians. They are off to Cuba shortly.

Then the Oakland Symphony came on stage, opening with our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Where else can you hear a free concert with a full orchestra ? And as the orchestra played we watched the fire works barge chug by getting in position for the evening pyrotechnic display.

The evening ended with the orchestra playing Souza marches as the fireworks exploded in all manner of colors over the harbor. Not to go unnoticed where a couple of dozen kayakers on the water. Perhaps I’ll try that next year. You can see more photos of the evening event as well as photos from our local City of Albany 4th of July celebration here.

Finding Photos in Your Own Backyard

tjp_1582_9459

I was out photographing a project for a client yesterday, and awestruck by this mural, painted on the side of a warehouse. I’m intrigued by murals, and it seems Oakland has a good share of murals and other public art. I’m continually reminded that I don’t have to go very far to look for photos. Mind you, my bucket list has plenty of places I’d like to visit, and sometimes I pine for the opportunity to travel and spend time in the natural environment that I love, but yesterday I left this photo shoot smiling, and happy to have discovered a an artistic treasure close to home.

Monolith in a Rain Puddle

IMG_4123

I was out walking the dog yesterday; and as always, on the look out for something interesting to photograph. I’m a firm believe in trying to create interest in mundane objects. I think we can look for beauty or interest in our own back yard without having to go to Yosemite, Iceland, or wherever. Not that there’s anything wrong with photographing grand landscapes, but I think the trained eye will do better in those places, and like a musician practicing scales, perhaps this is the practice in seeing that leads to the skill of capturing something grand when the opportunity arises.

I spied this piece of debris in a field next to St. Jerome Catholic Church, a few blocks from my house. So I started playing with it to see what I could do. While I’m not going to make this into a print to hang on the wall; there are some technical problems with the image. But as an exercise is seeing images, I think I was successful. This is also an example of using the tools at hand, an iPhone 6S, and a software app called Pro HDR. Unfortunately I was hand-holding the phone, and apparently introduced some movement between the two exposures.