Ok, so I didn’t get a chance to post anything new last night, but with good reason. Who knows? Maybe I’ll fire away two posts today to get caught up. I’m crazy like that!!
On Friday, I headed over to my friendly neighborhood camera equipment rental house to visit my favorite two gals in the lens rental industry. Adolph Gasser, conveniently located off of 2nd and Howard and just down the road from AT&T ballpark, is my favorite lens rental spot out there. Why? First of all, the two gals that work the still rentals counter know their stuff and are super helpful. Second, Gasser is one of the few rental spots in the area that offer a daily rental. Sometime you just need something for one day, and the big rental houses usually have a minimum rental period of 3 or 4 days. If you are renting something with power, like a 300mm f/2.8 or bigger and only need it for one outing, a one day rental can save you HUGE bucks!! And finally, they offer a 40% off discount on anything not reserved after 3pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. I don’t know how Wednesdays got picked, but it makes a hell of a lot of sense to empty your shelves on Fridays and get people in your store. They have gotten me quite a number of times, and I’ll willingly keep going back. Sometimes you are really surprised to see what they have left before closing, and I have gotten some really sweet deals!! Other times, they don’t have much and I leave empty-handed. Anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area owning a lens interchangeable DSLR, should get to know Gasser and give them a try.
I called up ahead and had a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens put aside for me, but when I got there, I happened to notice that their 300mm f/2.8 was sitting there, so I couldn’t resist. I’ll be going to the Giants game tomorrow afternoon against the Diamondbacks, so I’ll put that puppy to good use. But, the main reason for getting over to Gasser was the wide-angle in preparation for the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration tonight. Since I didn’t just want to let the lens sit around, I headed out with the family to Golden Gate Park yesterday to make an outing of it and visit a few gems that the Park has to offer. First on the list was the Japanese Tea Garden, then we headed over to the Conservatory of Flowers. I’ll be posting some images I snapped off in later posts. The reason I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday was that I followed up that photo outing with a sweet-ass nap. Once back up and rested, I decided to head back out one last time in an effort to find a good viewing spot for the Golden Gate Bridge fireworks scheduled for tonight.
I had read about a spot in the Marin Headlands known for its beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge with the City in the background called Battery Spencer. Although we didn’t make it to Battery Spencer since it was closed off, I did find a few lookout points right on Conzelman Rd that gave the perfect opportunity for trying out the Canon wide-angle lens at night.
The first piece of advice I can give you is to make sure to bring plenty of layers to stay warm!! The wind is ferocious and the cold air coming off the Pacific Ocean will freeze you to the bone if you aren’t well dressed. Gloves would be a good idea too. The second piece of advice I can give you is to have a good tripod, which I do NOT. You usually get what you pay for with camera equipment purchases, and skimping on the tripod will usually end up biting you in the ass. I was bit hard last night, as I saw that the wind to my back was bobbing my camera setup all over the place regardless of my efforts to keep everything still. I have a Quantaray tripod that probably cost me no more than $50. It’s a decent tripod for any situation where you don’t have strong winds or a huge camera/lens setup, but last night’s wind proved to be too much for what I was trying to do.
Obviously, I would prefer to have 20 to 30 second exposures to have the luxury of shooting in ISO100, but I was forced to bump all the way up to ISO1600 to get the exposures down to a fraction of a second to make the shot possible. I was pretty impressed with how the wide-angle performed, but I also brought along the trusty Tokina 100-300mm and was able to put that to work as well. I’ll go into my review of the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 later on when I post some of my images of the Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers.
The following are the better of the images that I took last night. A few of them required a lot more work than I would have liked simply in an effort to try to correct the deficiencies of my lousy tripod. On some of them you can see some of the lighting they were trying out in preparation for tonight’s fireworks show. There was even a pattern of lights in the middle of the sky that were only visible in using these long exposures that were pretty fixed throughout the various shots that I took in that setting. I’ll go with them being aliens!! 🙂