Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly Pomona

Pumpkin Festival Southern California

Crowds at the 22nd Annual Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly Pomona

This past Sunday, my wife and I headed out for a nice afternoon drive to my old alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona. The 22nd Annual Pumpkin Festival was taking place so it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Of course they had a corn maze, petting zoo, horse rides, entertainment, and lots of activities for kids. But the people really came for the pumpkins. And there were lots of them. With the wide open space it was a very colorful landscape.

As usual, I took my D5100 series camera and had a field day shooting the festival. Although the photos turned out great, I’m starting to notice that I may be outgrowing this camera setup. So maybe an upgrade is in my future? Perhaps a D7100 or jump straight into an FX body like the new D750?

Whatever I decide to do, there’s one thing I know for sure, great photos are created by the experience and technique of the photographer rather than equipment.

What do you think? What camera setup are you using to photograph this season’s fall/pumpkin festivals?

Bulls on the Beach in HB

PBR at Huntington Beach

Bulls on the Beach event in Huntington Beach

The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) came to Huntington Beach this weekend. They setup on the parking lot right on the beach and had a capacity crowd show up. It was standing room only on the beach side. Who would have thought bull riding would bring in a crowd this big?

I’m in Huntington Beach often, so I headed over just in time for the start of the event. I met up with my friend JC who had arrived earlier in the day. With a much better position he captured the photo above. I thought he captured the moment perfectly. The beach was on the left of the image, along with the sun which provided perfect lighting for this photo.

JC captured a few other photos from that day, you can follow him on Instagram here: @crna6pk

Epic waves at the Huntington Beach Pier

big surf

Fifteen ft plus waves hit the Huntington Beach Pier

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen waves this big in Huntington Beach. Most of southern California and especially south facing beaches, were expecting 15ft+ waves. Most headed out to the Wedge in Newport Beach, but I was more interested in seeing the waves crash against the Huntington Beach Pier.

The photo above shows a very large wave crashing against the pier, but there were many others that reached the underside of the pier and spraying the spectators. Those larger ones were 20+ ft waves and it was awesome to see the force of pound the pylons and underside of the pier.

Surfers stayed away from here, except for a couple that tried to head out. But it was very difficult to do so due to the strong currents. One brave man was out bodysurfing on the south side of the pier. Most of the spectators thought he was a little crazy being out, but it was obvious he knew what he was doing.

I posted a few other photos from today on my OCSurfPix Instagram account.

Oxen at the OC Fair

Oxen at the OCFair

Oxen at the OC Fair

The oxen at the OC Fair are always popular with the visitors. These animals are big! The caretakers brought each ox out at a time into the open area.

They carefully placed the wooden harness on both of them and the crowd was allowed to get near them. They seemed very easily controlled.

Oxen

I’m no expert on oxen, so I headed over to Wikipedia and found out exactly why they are so easily controlled. Castration! Yikes.

These oxen were very tall, just as tall as their caretakers. I believe they normally have them in the big red barn at the entrance of the fair grounds, but during the fair they bring them to the back with the rest of the livestock.

Photographing the animals at the OC Fair

Each year my wife and I take a trip to the OC Fair, no we don’t each the chocolate covered bacon or fried Twinkies. But we do enjoy walking around and looking at all the exhibits.

Plus, it’s a great place to take pictures. I don’t carry my full gear, only my Nikon DSLR and one simple lens.

In the past I’ve focused on the food or in one case the large sign at the Arts and Crafts exhibit.  But this year, I spent a little time photographing the animals. And one of the first I chose was the Oxen at the OC Fair.

For the photo above I got down a little low. I wanted my angle of view to be just below the oxen’s eyes. Shooting slightly upwards is much better in this particular case. I’m 6ft tall, so if I shot it at my level, the animal would look big, but it’s size would really be lost. So I quickly got low as they were moving the oxen and one of them looked straight into my camera. Almost as if he was posing!

Overall, we had a great time with the oxen at the OC Fair. I’ll share more images from that day on a different article.

4th of July Fireworks Show in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach Pier

4th of July Fireworks in Huntington Beach

Every year the 4th of July fireworks show in Huntington Beach is a major event in southern California. Attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators, it’s an interesting experience.

This year my wife and I decided to capture the fireworks over the HB Pier using long exposures.

But first we had to find somewhere to park! With very little public parking available near the pier, we found one about a mile away. We were well prepared with two beach chairs, my Case Logic camera bag and tripod. Yup, we had to carry them all for at least 9 long blocks!

After finding the spot we liked, I setup my gear and waited for the fireworks start time of 9 pm. We were surprised to see that people were still in the water up to and after the fireworks began. Must have been the adrenaline of the day because the water wasn’t exactly that warm.

The beach was at full capacity. I tried setup near the water so that I wouldn’t get people on the pictures. However, with so many people, that was not possible. That’s why you see some “ghosts” in the images. With long exposures, the people sort of fade. That’s why the surfer on the lower left looks that way.

Photographing the 4th of July fireworks in Huntington Beach can be a little challenging with the people and the unpredictable Pacific Ocean mist that can cause a haze to occur in the images.

The show lasted about 20 minutes and fired off near the end of the pier, so I knew that Ruby’s Diner would show up on the photos. Making sure it was visible was very important. The lights on the pier are turned off, so the only thing lighting up the pier and beach would be the fireworks.

Camera Settings

I set my Nikon D7000 and lens to 29mm. Manual AF, manual exposure and shutter. My ISO was set to 100. Most of my settings varied, but they ranged from f/8 – f/22 and shutter release from 10 to 25 seconds.

Using the Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote, so that I wouldn’t touch and move the camera while the shutter was open, I triggered the shutter. It was really easy, every once in a while I would adjust the settings a little to capture more or less series of fireworks.

Overall, I was happy with my results but like always I learned something. The best photos were generally those captured at the beginning of the show. After that, the smoke which was blowing toward us, started to block half of the fireworks. You can see this a little on the photo above.

Also, at the end of this firework show, like most others, there’s a burst of several of them going off at the same time. Well, next time I’ll need to lower my exposure time, because with so many lights it really overexposed those photos.

But again, overall I was happy with my photos of the 4th of July fireworks in Huntington Beach. I encourage anyone to give it a try, the experience is fun especially with so many thousands of people in attendance.

You can purchase a download of this image at OCPix.com

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