Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barcelona Mediterranean Cruise July 2015

Street Performer in Aix-on-Provence
This was a cruise on the MSC Fantasia.  MSC is an Italian line that has few Americans aboard.  The appeal of this cruise was the ports of call:  Barcelona, Marseilles/Aix-on-Provence, Genoa/Portofino, Naples/Pompeii, Messina/Sicily, Malta, and Palma de Majorca in Spain. 
Fountain in Aix-on-Provence

Typically, this blog is about the photography.  Before I get into that, I will say that the MSC cruises may be rough on Americans used to a certain level of customer service.  This is for Europeans, mostly southern Europeans, on holiday with their entire families.  That means screaming kids EVERYWHERE.  Just go into it with your eyes wide open.  Go for the ports of call.  And, oh by the way, they do NOT serve coffee in the dining room.  Do not ask me why.  Just little frustrations.  Go for the ports!
Barcelona Fountain

Barcelona.  Getting there very early the best thing to do was to jump on a hop on hop off double decker bus that are everywhere in Europe.  It’s a quick way to see the sights. 
Wow, I come to France to see an APPLE STORE!

One surprise to me was the town of Aix-on-Provence, near Marseilles, France.  In the center of town was a water fountain, of course… but look!  There’s an Apple Store!  People hung around the front of the building because, as our tour guide told us, they have free wi-fi.  That was fun going in the store and looking around; everything written in French.  Plus, there were break dancing kids outside.
Break Dancing Outside the Apple Store

Next up was Genoa and the lovely resort town of Portofino.  To get to it, you have to take a water taxi. 
Portofino Home, Up the Hill
From the Port of Genoa, off to Naples and a skip over to Pompeii.  I studied Pompeii in grade school, like most of you did.  It was HOT that day.  I mean HOT.  95 degrees and about 95% humidity.  Please don’t tell me Phoenix is hot.  This was so hot sweat went into my eyes.  Plus walking on those cobblestones was difficult.  But it was POMPEII!  And there was Mount Vesuvius, ready to blow at any minute. 
From the Port of Naples we sailed to one of the reasons I wanted this trip:  Sicily.  My dad spent considerable time in Sicily during World War II and always spoke highly of it.  I wondered while there… did my dad walk these streets?  See these sights?  I’m sure he did.  And now, so did I.  Of course, much of Messina was bombed during the war.  The cathedral we saw had been mostly rebuilt.  It’s funny too that when you tell locals where you are from they often answer “Oh I have a cousin in Philadelphia!” or something similar.  We have such a strong tie to Italy and Sicily.  Did you know Sicily petitioned the USA to become the 51st state during World War II?  It’s true. 
Messina, Sicily
From Sicily we sailed to the little nation island of Malta.  Malta endured terrible hardships during the 2nd World War by the Nazi’s.  The people were truly heroic and received the George Cross in April of 1942 by King George VI of the United Kingdom.  More churches to see, jewelry stores, and of course British style telephone booths.  They say Malta has more of those red telephone booths than the U.K. now! 
Malta Jewelry:  They Love Knights!
And from Malta, we sailed to the Baleric Islands to the east of Spain.  Our port of call was Palma de Majorca and we visited at night.  We saw night life there and flamingo.  Flamingo was great but oh my the colored spot lights were difficult to handle in post processing. 
Time for Flamingo

Then we returned to Barcelona.  I was able to enjoy a cerveza at an outdoor cafĂ© and made friends with a young baby girl and some local workers (who bought me endless drinks, by the way). 

Until My Next Adventure, 

Now, I’m off to Photoshop World in Las Vegas for a few days of pure photography. 

See You On Down The Road!

Chicos y Chicka in Barcelona!

…and my collection of photos from this trip!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Arizona Coyotes Prospects Camp July 2015

The Arizona Coyotes National Hockey League club started their prospects camp on 7 July 2015 at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Arizona. 
Coach Dave Tippett

I photographed the highlights of the first day.  It was what appeared to be a hard skating hour and a half.  This wasn’t a scrimmage.  They had set things they worked on, then the coaches broke them into smaller teams of three and two. 

Photographing inside with artificial light is always a challenge, but since I shoot in raw I knew I could adjust the white balance within Lightroom in post processing.  I also used Photoshop’s content aware fill to eliminate some distracting elements in a few of the photos. 

There was either net or glass surrounding the entire rink, which was also a challenge.  You may see some of the net in a few of the photos.  I photographed through the net and later through the glass. 

I used a Tamron 28-300mm “all purpose” lens on my Canon 5D Mark III.

Until My Next Adventure, 

(Spain, Italy/Sicily, Malta...)

See You On Down The Road!

Here are all the keeper photos!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dbacks Game and Fireworks

Inside Chase Field from Section 117, done in HDR
What could be more American on July 4th than a baseball game, hot dogs, beer, and fireworks?  And so it was at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks as they entertained the Colorado Rockies.

The photo above was my view from section 117 before the game.  This is an HDR photo, or high dynamic range.  My Canon 5D Mark III (using a Tamron 28-300mm lens) has a setting that allows for three quick photos, exposure bracketed this time at -2, 0, and +2.  Then I combined them together in Lightroom to produce the finished product.  Not bad, considering I did this hand held and not on a tripod!
Patrick Corbin Starts First Time Since 2013!
It was Patrick Corbin's first start for the D'backs since 2013.  He had "Tommy John" surgery which is pretty major work on a throwing arm.  He pitched 5 solid innings and ended up with the eventual win.  
A.J. Pollock Strokes a Hit!

During Phoenix's hot summers, the roof of the stadium is closed.  So there is mixed lighting inside.  I was shooting at 1600 ISO (fairly light sensitive) hand held.  

Following the D'backs 7 to 3 win, they opened up the stadium roof so we could see the fireworks display.
Chase Field Roof is Opening!

The stadium lights were turned down.  I shot the fireworks with NO tripod, which isn't the right way to do it, but they won't allow such devices inside a stadium.  So I cranked up the ISO to 12,800, opened the aperture all the way, and hoped I'd get some useable shots.  

I think I had some nice shots!

Until My Next Adventure, 

(Spain, Italy/Sicily, Malta...)

See You On Down The Road!

Here are all the keeper photos!