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The Alameda Antique Faire, A Blonde Bombshell and A Badass Tamron 28-75mm Lens

For those of you that live in the San Francisco Bay Area that don’t know about the Alameda Antique Faire that comes into town the first Sunday of every month, you truly are missing out on something great. The antique faire is held at the old Alameda Point Naval Base in Alameda, just a quarter-mile down the road from the Alameda Ferry stop. It is a walkable distance, but with all the walking you’ll be doing all day long, the walk back sure will seem long and endless. So, I’d recommend driving and taking advantage of the free parking and shuttle service offered by the folks that put on the event for those of us that park REAL far away from the front door.

So, what is an antique fair, you ask? Well, it’s a glorified flea market geared for the sale and trade of antique pieces of at least 20 years of age or more. You do find the occasional item that is newer than the requirements request, but I think it’s handled more by the majority of the seller’s merchandise than on an item by item basis. I’m sure if you Google the antique faire, you can read to your heart’s content to all the rules and regulations.

What can you find at the antique faire??? YUUUUUUP!! It’s all there!! You name it, someone’s got it!! From furniture to trinkets, jewelry to musical instruments, artwork to old bottles, you can find just about anything there. I started going only for the musical instruments that I like to pick up in despair to recondition (as another one of my hobbies), but soon found all sorts of stuff that I have picked up there again and again. Things like vintage tools, hand planes, old wooden smoking pipes have all found their way into my humble abode to take up space, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For a while now, my son and I will wake up super early to beat the crowd and have a first peak at the offerings. That means that we’re usually out the door by 6:30am and there walking around by 7:15am with a Starbucks and ATM pit stops. At that hour, only the very serious and brave at heart are gallivanting around. The cool part is that there isn’t a huge crowd to have to fight with to walk around. The downside is that you usually don’t get the real good deals that day, since most of the real bargains happen after lunch when all the vendors are faced with having to pack up all their stuff and that extra discount looks real attractive to them if it means that they don’t have to move that item back into their vehicle to come back with them. Occasionally, you’ll find the vendor that isn’t completely knowledgeable with the piece that they are selling and there is always the savvy buyer that exploits that fact real early in the morning for a real bargain. I’ve done it plenty of times, as I have found that antique dealers usually price instruments based on how pretty they look and not on the manufacturer or level instrument.

I did come home with a nice prize today, but I was just going along this time to hang out with my son and test out my theory from yesterday about the error message on my camera regarding the memory card. Luckily, the error message did not pop up once today, so I would say that the advice found on the photo blog that mentioned that I should format the memory card on the camera instead of the PC worked out just fine. Great piece of advice that I won’t forget any time soon.

The other great find today came to me as coincidental, since I couldn’t wake my boy up this morning and decided to let him sleep in. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of heading out on my own, so I got back into bed as well. Eventually, he woke up with a pissy face, so I told him to get dressed quick and we were out the door by 8:30am. After 9am, the entrance fee to the antique faire is only $5 per person, so that helped save a few bucks since I usually pay $15 to get in before 7:30am. And while we were walking around, I noticed a beautiful blond that was all done up in vintage period attire. I would say she looked right out of the 40’s or 50’s. To me , she stood out from everyone around, but I decided to walk by without saying anything while trying not to stare too much. I mentioned to my boy that I thought she was very well put together and that if we happened to bump into her again, I’d probably tell her how great she looked. Wouldn’t you know it? We crossed paths again the next aisle over!! So, I complimented her on her look, and I think she appreciated my compliment.

I automatically assumed that she was a model, simply cause she was so well put together. I recently took a portraiture course at Aperture Academy down in Campbell (very recommended, folks) that specialized in the pin-up style of photography now famous. There are plenty of portrait photographers that make a living out there dolling up clients in the vintage styles for portraits. Although I am nowhere near getting there, I took the class to get out of my comfort zone of the sports stuff and try something new. I was very impressed with everything I learned in the class and would certainly like to pursue it further. I asked the instructor if taking the course again would help hone my technique more, but he suggested that I possibly reach out to models to work on anything in particular that I was interested in instead of going through the topics covered in the class again. I get it, simply cause he’s trying to convey to the entire class what we should be doing and once it came to practice, we had to take turns with the models. So in reality, I didn’t get much camera time in front of the models and having someone pose for me would be better use of my time.

The “Model” and I spoke briefly about possibly getting together again in the future. Hopefully, she’ll get in touch with me so we can set something up and I may have portrait shots to share with everyone in the near future.

Finally, I wanted to mention the lens I took along with me today for the photographs that I’m sharing with you below from the antique faire. Right before my trip to New York, I stumbled across a review of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens that glowingly compared it to the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 in image quality and sharpness. Whoa!! That’s not something to do lightly, so I thought I would look into it a little more. After all, the Canon 24-70mm has been one of the ALL TIME best lenses that Canon has put out. This thing is sooo badass, that it just recently got a facelift with a new model, while the offering had remained constant since 2002. I have rented the Canon 24-70mm on multiple occasions and have always been pleased. Shit, for a price tag of almost $1600 retail, this thing better do everything and then some!!

So, how could a 3rd party lens company even come close to this lens while only asking for $400 for their copy?? I have no F-ing clue, but they did it!! This Tamron has been awesome today!! The sharpness is all there, as can be seen in the images I’m sharing. I have read that there is a loss of sharpness in the corners, but with my 1D being a 1.3 crop sensor, I didn’t experience any softness out of the ordinary. The lens had very good contrast and excellent color. I was completely impressed and shot with it wide open through f/8.0. Is it all that and a bag of chips when compared to the Canon? That depends on what you’re using it for.

If you are using a full frame and need every single pixel to be dead on and perfectly sharp, I would suggest dropping the $1600 on the Canon or else you’ll be pissed. If you are working with either a 1.3 or 1.6 crop sensor and aren’t that exacting from your images, I suggest you buy the Tamron and be happy. If you still feel the need to drop the $1600, just go out and buy 4 copies of this lens to have on shelf should you ever break one.

The Tamron does feel like it was put together by a Chinese sweat labor shop that also produced Hasbro toys during lunch, but the glass is good. The zoom was touchy and tight at times. Definitely not the smoothest zooming lens I’ve ever tried. But, again, folks, it’s only $400!!! Damn, it’s good…

So, I leave you now with my favorite images from today’s trip to the Alameda Antique Faire. I am off to Chicago tonight and will be back in time for a Saturday posting at the end of the week. As I mentioned, I will try to get on and post something while I’m out, but I won’t guarantee anything!! Take care for now and don’t do anything you can’t do on a moving motorcycle!!

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