Weathered American Flag from WWII US Vessels

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As I was wandering in The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, I found another American Flag. This flag flew from a vessel during the invasion campaign against Mussolini’s outpost on the beaches of Sicily, Italy. The US and British forces battled to capture Sicily to help eliminate the Axis forces from Italy from the war.

I was attracted to the flag because of the tattled edges and the texture in this flag which survived the war. It is interesting how the flag survived the battle of 38 days without getting any bullet holes. I could imagine how the flag flew valiantly and was blowing fiercely during the vessel’s travels. I could envision how the flag was whipped in the air and proudly endured as the different vessels bought the American forces to the Sicilian beaches. The strength of the American flag fabric endured the battle, just as the Allies fought battles against Germans and Italians to bring about Italy’s surrender.

Seeing this American Flag reminds me what it means to be an American. It symbolizes that we all need to stand for the original principals of our Founding Fathers. Being an American should mean that we will be tough and strive to stand for Freedom and Liberty.

Normally, when we see an item tattled and worn, we would discard it. But this frayed American Flag represents the fighting spirit of those World War II soldiers who sacrificed to win the battle.

Keep photos that teach.

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What A Handmade American Flag taught us

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Handmade American Flag
Incredible story
Detailed views of the handmade flag

As I was walking around The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, I noticed this handmade American Flag. It intrigued me with the details. I photographed the details of the flag components. The stars were impressive to me, as well as the hand stitching of the stripes. I can imagine it took a long time to sew 48 stars on the flag.

This American Flag was handmade by a group French teenagers to express their gratitude to the American soldiers who liberated them. The fact that these French teenagers decided to hand sew and hand cut all these pieces to create an American Flag is very touching. It amazes me that they designed and thought about the detail to create this wonderful flag.

There are 2 lessons we all can learn from about their actions of gratitude.

  • Freedom is precious
  • Genuine Gratitude must be expressed thru actions

These French teenagers taught us valuable lessons by their actions of gratitude. Hope these pictures will help each us to have a greater appreciation of our freedom and to perform actions of gratitude to those around us.

Keep photos that teach.

P-51D Mustang Bunnie in New Orleans

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The P-51D Mustang is one of my favorite World War II Fighter Planes. It was a successful fighter achieving a kill ratio of 11:1. I enjoyed walking on the different catwalks and seeing all aspects of the plane. I could photograph from top to bottom and different angles on the side. This museum did an excellent job in displaying the airplanes.

I found this interesting article how ABC’s Good Morning America anchor – Robin Roberts and her sister – WWL-TV anchor Sally-Ann Roberts – hosted an unveiling dedication ceremony on April 21, 2016. This “Bunnie” was restored and replaced a replica P-51 at The National WWII Museum. These sisters’ father – Colonel Lawrence Roberts was a Tuskegee Airman. They led a discussion about these brave black fighter pilots experiences. Below is a link with an article about this event to unveil this airplane.

Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WW II

My wife is amazed about the specs I remember about the different fighter planes and military vehicles. I can remember the different models numbers and names. I collected books which describes all the specifications for these fighters and bomber planes.

It is important to find your passions in life. Whatever it is that interests you, spend your energy to learn about that passion. My passion for these fighter planes gave me a greater appreciation for the fighter pilots who sacrificed to protect our country.

My Gal Sal in New Orleans

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I have always been fascinated with military planes, ships, tanks, equipment, etc. When I was a kid, I built plastic models. I studied reference books for military vehicle specifications and for the detailed pictures and cutaway drawings.

I traveled to New Orleans with my church group. We went there to serve and do community projects. There is still a need to rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. During the middle of the week, we took a break to visit “The National WWII Museum”. It was quite a treat to visit this museum. The Pastor of our church is a history buff. He visited this museum previously and took us to visit and share in his passion for history. It was really cool to see the items on display up close and personal. Unfortunately we only had a day to spend at the museum. I could have spent a week there as the museum is huge and has multiple buildings. We were only able to visit part of two of the buildings. Seeing the many aircraft suspended from the ceiling was incredible. There were multiple catwalks on different floors, so you could see the different aircraft from many angles. The creators of the museum did a fabulous job on designing the displays. I definitely would like to go back and visit the museum again in the future.

My Gal Sal is one of my favorite airplanes. I like this airplane, because it is a very sturdy bomber that could carry a lot of bombs. It could take a lot of damage. It also has a lot of machine guns for self defense. As per the sign I photographed above, it had 10 .50 caliber and 1 .30 caliber machine guns to defend itself against any enemy fighters. It fascinates me how these bombers were able to effectively protect our country and beliefs.

Our photographs should reflect our fascination with objects, people and places. I’m glad I could photograph this special museum to remember My Gal Sal.

Where to see the Tantive IV Glow

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We went to see Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland in December 2018. I could have stayed here for a real long time and amused myself taking photographs of the Star Wars memorabilia with my new Pixel 3XL. If you have looked at my older posts, I have photographed other Star Wars exhibits, since I am mesmerized by all the props.

These are 2 glass exhibits cases. The front ship is the Resistance X-Wing Fighter featured in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The back ship is the Tantive IV Rebel Blockade Runner seen in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The effect of the glass cases gives an artistic look to this photograph. I was also impressed with the lighted back engines. The lights gave a nice glow to the photograph. Things do not have to be perfectly staged for a good photograph. Even though these ships were in 2 separate glass cases, the glass and lights in the display worked together to give a special effect to the photograph. So try to surmise your surroundings to see how you can optimize the light to take a good photo.

Here’s a clip from the Star Wars website where the Tantive IV is being chased by the huge Imperial Star Destroyer. Size does not matter as the Tantive IV survived the attack. In the movie, the Imperial Star Destroyer was protrayed to be much larger than the Tantive IV.

By the way – an interesting fact of reality – the models for the 2 ships were actually opposite in sizes. The Tantive IV model is a little larger than the Imperial Star Destroyer.

So even though I did not use my big and heavy Canon camera and lens, the Pixel 3XL still took a pretty decent photograph of these 2 ships. I’m hoping my new Pixel 3XL will provide good photographs, when I do not bring my heavy duty camera equipment…size does matter for convenience.

Tantive IV from Star Wars

How to take night photos from your cellphone?

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Sleeping Beauty Castle taken with my Pixel 3XL

We went on a recent trip to Disneyland and enjoyed all the lights during the Christmas Season. We went with a couple of friends. Of course, we had to capture the Disneyland magic with all the Christmas lights. How do we take night photographs using our cellphones?

I recently purchased the Pixel 3XL. I chose this cellphone, since I was impressed with the camera. I love using my Canon cameras, but the equipment is heavy especially carry the lenses. So during this trip, it was a great opportunity to test out my new Pixel 3XL.

It is important to have the camera on the correct setting. If I was photographing the Main Street Christmas Tree and light decorations, I would set the camera on Night Sight and not use the flash. If I was photographing a person in the foreground with the Christmas lighting in the background, I would use the camera flash so it illuminates the person’s face. If I did not use the flash, the person would be silhouetted by the bright Christmas lights or the camera would over compensate by allowing more light to lighten the person’s face, but the Christmas lighting in the background would be overexposed. It would look blown out, and the colors washed out. When you use the camera flash, it is a good idea to have the person fairly close to the phone flash because if the person is too far away, the flash won’t illuminate the person’s face that well as the flash not that powerful.

If you take one photo without the flash and one photo with flash, you will see the difference in how your photograph looks.

Fading Memories of Candlestick Park

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Late Afternoon at Candlestick Park in 1991

Gazing at the Home Plate area and experiencing the serene and quiet upper deck down the first base line before a SF Giants game in 1991. I am more relaxed now looking at the photograph than when I took the picture.  I remember I was rushing around Candlestick Park photographing the stadium before the fans came in. I waited by the gate and rushed in when the staff opened them up 2 hours before game time. When I took this photograph in 1991, I had no idea that the SF Giants and 49’ers would move to different locations and that The Stick would be torn down. 

Memories are not as vivid compared to the actual time of an event. We forget details and sequence of events. We do not anticipate how places and people will change over time. This is why it is a good idea to take photos to chronicle the important events, people, and places in our life. I’m so glad that we now can take photos so easily with our cell phones.

I’m really thankful I have my collection of Candlestick Park photographs. Candlestick Park represented a turning point in my life. It was not only the place where I enjoyed watching the SF Giants play baseball, but it was also the place where I found my love of art in photography. I still love to photograph other baseball stadiums in the same manner I did when I was at Candlestick Park. But Candlestick Park was my first love. Stay tuned – I still have a lot more of the old photographs to scan and share.

Farewell to SF Giants Great – Willie McCovey

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I was very sad to learn about the passing of Willie McCovey yesterday.  He was one of my favorite players.

When he got to the batter’s box, he had a distinctive practice swing.  He was a left handed hitter and had a slow deliberate practice swing but would hit the ball so hard that he could rip the cover off the ball. Willie McCovey could hit mammoth upper deck home runs.

I saw him play at Candlestick Park. I went to see the SF Giants play with my parents when I was a child. That was first time I saw him hit the upper deck home run in right field. My mother was so excited, impressed, and in awe.  I was so happy to finally go to a game where I could actually see my hero in action. All I remember about this game is the fun time I shared with my parents and seeing the great Willie McCovey play. I don’t remember who the SF Giants played against. I don’t remember the score. But Willie McCovey made a big impression for myself and my parents.

Willie McCovey – you will be dearly missed!

On Top of the Green Monster

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The Green Monster at Fenway Park is a popular nickname for this high left field wall. Fenway Park will be rocking this Tuesday as game 1 of the 2018 World Series will start.

I was fortunate to quickly photograph the Green Monster during my tour at Fenway Park last year.  This is the 2nd highest wall for a professional baseball field. It is the highest in the current MLB fields.

Wikipedia history about the Green Monster

The view is pretty great from the Green Monster. It is ironic how nice it is sit up here, since the original idea for a 25 foot high wooden fences was to prevent people from watching the Red Sox play for free.  Of course, it is not free to sit up there, but it is worth it to get a better view. It’s nice they added 269 seats in 2003 to replace the old nets.

Why was the Green Monster built?

The Green Monster is also known for its valuable space for displaying advertisements.  It still has the old concrete base and a hand-operated scoreboard – a rarity for today’s modern world. Celebrities even want to sign the Green Monster.

I loved seeing the Green Monster.  It reminds me a baseball field fortress with the different rigid upright structures. My experience in shooting Candlestick Park in San Francisco taught me to appreciate the art in a baseball stadium’s architecture. To me – the Green Monster is a piece of artwork at Fenway Park!

How to take Sunset Photos at Chocorua Lake

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Chocorua Lake in New Hampshire in 2017

Last year, I visited my good buddy, Larry, at his new home in North Andover, Massachusetts.  I timed it so I could find Eastern fall foliage to shoot. One of my photography passions is shooting the wide spectrum of fall colors which is not as common in northern California.

So, Larry was patient and kind to chauffeur me around the surrounding areas in search of scenic fall foliage. We stumbled and found Chocorua Lake at the end of day in New Hamshire. I love the orange, gold, red and green colors in the leaves.

I always strive to shoot the photos with the light in the background.  It is ideal to shoot as the sun is setting since the light is more subtle.  One has to be quick to get the ideal light before the sunsets. The spectacular lighting is the key for your photographs.  Also utilizing the natural light to highlight your scene is essential. Also there is a certain glow in the leaves which makes this scene pretty.

Sunsets are great to experience. Hope this post will encourage plans for an outing to enjoy the special light at sunset and take some great scenic shots. Scenic photos are one time events to capture, since the exact scene is only temporary.