Thursday, May 3, 2007

Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco

Once in a while, I get to take my family to a real vacation away from home. San Francisco is one of those place where I know that I will get a lot of photo opportunity. So, let's see if what I've learned and practiced in the past couple of months about taking more interesting pictures can be put to good use.

The first photo-op came as a surprise, when my sister-in-law notified me that there was a big festival going on in SF Japan Town on the weekend.

So we all drove up to SF, coming off the US-101 into a very crowded street, inching our way towards the usual parking place, which, of course are full that day. I end up dropping off the family at the sidewalk near the Kinokuniya bookstore and drove off in search for a parking space. The atmosphere that day reminds me of those days when I was a little kid in a large fair, people in and out of cars everywhere filling every little nook and cranny of the streets. It's been a while since I've experience being a part of such a big crowd.

After circling in the radius of five blocks, twice, I couldn't believe my luck. In one of the smaller roads, I saw a family of five walking towards a Ford Expedition and just as I was taking my eyes off them, they stopped and started to get into the car and eventually got out of the parking spot, and it's only two blocks from Japan Town!!

A few minutes later, I jog my way through the crowd to the place where my family was waiting. After some indecision regarding where should we stand to see the parade, we started our way towards the edge of the street where people already lined up against the metal fence they usually put up to prevent people from crossing the street when the parade has started.

Here are some pictures from our spot:

Take a look at this one, it has a very nice separation between fore- and back-ground.

At the end of the day, after watching the parade for two hours, everyone is pretty tired, my daughter had a blast, she made new friends with the people at the parade.

Now, a couple of thoughts from the photography side of things that day. I used two cameras, the OM-1 "panda" paired with the Zuiko 85mm/2 and Ilford XP2 400, and the Oly C-5050. While the C-5050 has proven to be very adept (and boy what a sharp lens it has! see the one with the police officer), I still prefer the shots from the OM-1 (the Taiko drummers and the red Thunderbird especially).

I think the C-5050 is capable of producing images with good bokeh, but it doesn't come quickly, I pretty much have to use its manual focus to get them. The automatic settings will get all sharp pictures which may or may not be what I wanted.

The OM-1 still proves to be exciting to use. I'll scan the next batch from the trip tonight and we'll see how it captures image on a Kodak T-Max 100.