Solana Beach Triathlon/Duathlon

July 27, 2008

This past weekend we went with the fine people at Amateur Endurance to the Solana Beach Triathlon/Duathlon in beautiful San Diego. We took lots of photos, we posted some in our gallery. For full race coverage check out Amateur Endurance.

Aquarium of the Pacific

July 13, 2008

Tropical Fish at Aquarium of the Pacific

How to shoot at an Aquarium

Step 1: Forget the Flash

When you go to an aquarium it is a courtesy to the sea life to not bombard them with fill flash. Besides the glass on the aquariums will bounce back the light and ruin your photograph. Yes you could shoot at an angle and reduce the bounce back but just be kind to the fishies and forget the flash.

Step 2: Use a fast lens

If you are using a point and shoot then you get to use the lens you have but if you have an SLR then use a fast lens. Another idea is to use a prime because usually these can be even faster then their zoom counterparts. Jamie used a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens on the photo above.

Step 3: Learn to set the ISO

The rule is to bump up the ISO last after everything else has been done to improve shutter speed. So if you are shooting at f/1.8 and you can’t turn on more light (which you can’t at the aquarium) and you can’t use a fill flash and you photos are still blurry then you might need to bump the ISO. The higher the ISO the more noise. With film this will translate to more noticeable grain. Either one is better than blur. Luckily reducing ISO noise is a top priority for the camera manufacturers so as time goes on this will improve.

Step 4: Be patient

Fish and Sea Mammals are not going to pose for the camera so sometimes you just have to be patient to get the shot. Next time you are at an aquarium put these four steps to practice and see what develops.

Be sure to check out our other shots in the gallery.

Fourth of July

July 5, 2008

We hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July. This year we decided to go to Huntington Beach to check out their fireworks show. We got down there around 6pm and we were suprised to see how many people were down there. We had to park on a residential street over a mile away from the beach. The majority of the crowd watched the fireworks show from the beach but we decided to pay $10 each to watch them from the pier. It was definitely worth the cost, they were shooting them off at the end of the pier so they were right over our heads. Bryan got some really great slow shutter speed shots. Check them out here.


Oh yeah, we also got some amazing sunset shots. Aww…the sun setting over the Southern California coast, is there anything more beautiful?

San Diego International Triathlon

July 1, 2008

This past weekend (June 29th) was the San Diego International Triathlon. We have posted pictures of the event in our gallery.

Early One Morning

Well the first thing you have to face when covering a triathlon is getting up way too early in the morning. It is well worth it but when that alarm goes off you ask yourself just for a moment “What was I thinking”. So Jamie and I piled into Jay’s vehicle and went off towards the starting line and transition area. Jay is our friend who participated in the event along with hundreds of other triathletes. We arrived and Jay went off to prepare and warm up while Jamie took a spot along the bike route and I took a spot on the run course.

It’s Dark Early in the Morning

So guess what? It’s dark early in the morning before the sun comes up. This made shooting the swim pretty futile. That and the fact that even a 200mm lens was not enough reach. I later noticed that the light meter gets easily confused by water too. Either it was that or all the bright orange kayaks and yellow swim caps. Either way my swim photos were useless. Swimmers at San Diego Internationl Triathlon
Jamie got a good shot at the turn around point for the swim though.

“I hit 47 mph on the downhill!”

Jay told us he hit 47 mph on the downhill section of the bike part of the race. In case you don’t know, anything over about 30mph feels really fast on a bicycle. This is especially true on road bike with brakes about as wide as my pinky finger. Jamie got some great shots of the bike riders including this great panning shot.
Bicyclist at San Diego International Triathlon

Time to hit the pavement

Once the athletes transitioned from the bike they got into their running shoes to finish out the triathlon. I positioned myself so I could take photos of the runners along two points in their run without moving from my location. This worked well and I was able to get some great shots. The funny thing is runners can look awkward depending on where they are in their stride when you take the photo. This one came out pretty well. Luke Bell running at San Diego International Triathlon

Lessons learned

Jamie and I learned a couple of lessons at this event. First is always bring more memory then you think you will need. The second is that sometimes setting the autofocus to use only one point makes sense. I got a lot of shots where the AF focused on the cones in the road or a reflective road sign or the sign for a hotel instead of the runner. The third is to check the histogram to make sure the meter isn’t confused.

“I’d do it again”

In the end it was a blast. We even took a pic of Jay, drove his car to the finish line, and took a pic of him again. We learned a lot and we will definitely want to photograph this event again.

For race coverage check out