Photo Gallery

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Excursion: New Meets Old at iPhone Photo Tour of San Juan Batista

This month we decided to mix the new with the old by shooting our entire excursion with just our iPhone cameras at the historic California mission town of San Juan Batista. I was completely on board with this idea for two reasons. I was eager to learn more about the many hidden features of my iPhone camera and also I loved returning to the scene of my second grade field trip in 1957. Joining us this time was our good friend and professional photographer, Orbie Pullen. To read Stacie's recap of our April trek to this place with deep roots in California history just click here.

We began our adventure at another point of interest just outside of town at Fremont Peak State Park about eleven miles up the road above town. Just after a short drive you quickly get up to over 3,000 feet and come face-to-face with spectacular views of San Benito Valley, Monterey Bay and the Santa Lucia Mountains. From the campground parking lot a short hike takes you up to the vista point where you are suddenly surrounded by stunning panoramic views like this one.

From left to right, Stacie Tamaki, me and Orbie Pullen on top of the world.

The road up to the park is clearly marked because it is a popular spot for hikers, campers and anyone who appreciates these amazing landscape vantage points.

Stacie wasted no time in yelling "STOP!" at the first farm (about 500 feet) with friendly goats who loved posing for us even though they were likely just expecting us to be tossing them food instead.

My eyes were quickly torn between looking up at the incredibly blue skies or down at the rugged landscape that makes up this beautiful terrain. I will just let the following images tell the story of our first impressions of Fremont Peak.

After parking in the campground lot we found the short trail which was well marked and led right to the highest spot on the mountain. They have even carved out a few steps to make the trek to the top a bit easier for even the novice adventurers.

At the very top is this plaque honoring its discovery by John C. Fremont (1813 – 1890) whose legacy included exploring, U.S. Senator and even a run for the presidency.

The awe inspiring views and warm sun were quickly seducing us so Orbie stretched out for a little R and R on the rocks. Meanwhile, I scaled the flagpole to get to the peak-of-the-peak positioning and Stacie continued her obsession with photographing her baby blue dinosaur.

About now we began to lament that we did not pack a picnic lunch because we were getting hungry and this setting would beat a window seat at any restaurant in the world. For some reason my palette began hallucinating about a sourdough baguette, fresh mozzarella, ripe heirloom tomatoes, basil leaves and an eleven year old aged balsamic. That's when we knew it was time to head back to town and grab lunch. Orbie's quick phone search for great food in San Juan Batista yielded a couple of mouthwatering Mexican places and we all agreed on Jardines de San Juan.

 Jardine's rear entrance where they have private event space.

Although I didn't get my Caprese fix the Garden Tostada at Jardines was as tasty as it was plentiful. Paired with some great guacamole, chips and spicy salsa I was a happy camper...or should I say hiker. I had to also include this photo Stacie took of their Strawberry Lemonade which she accurately claimed was the best she's ever had.

The Garden Tostada at Jardines – $8.99
Strawberry Lemonade – $2.59

The historic Mission San Juan Batista was just a short walk across the street and I instantly flashed back 55 years to my second grade field trip. I was thrilled to see that neither time nor tourism has changed this special place very much in all of those years.

Now it's time for a little commercial interlude. Stacie and I have been enamored with a purveyor of iPhone accessories called Photojojo. We both ordered a new gadget from them in time for this all iPhone shoot. She opted for their very cool Fish eye lens that simply attaches over the camera's lens and delivers some fantastic super wide images. Shown here is her iPhone with the new lens attached. You've got to check out Photojojo because they also have a great sense of humor. As if a new fish eye lens wasn't enough fun for Stacie, included in the shipping package was that baby blue dinosaur surprise like the toy in box of Cracker Jack. We code named it PJ after Photojojo and the darn thing posed in many of the photos she took at Fremont Peak Park. To see more of her images making Fremont Peak State Park feel a bit like Jurrasic Park click here.
Photojojo Fish Eye Lens for iPhone – $25.00 plus shipping.

glif+ snaps onto iPhone for tripod and multiple mounting options – $30.00

My parting shot is of one very satisfied visitor to San Juan Batista. My iPhone camera took great shots and my new glif+ was just the ticket for using the phone with my Joby GorillaPod. By the way, you can also find these cool GorillaPods at the Photojojo Store. I call it "Must Stuff For Shutterbugs." Thanks to my traveling buds, Stacie and Orbie, the cool folks of San Juan Batista and the toys that continually exceed my expectations from Apple and Photojojo.

SMILE, You're on Carl Camera!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Exciting New Wedding Photo On My Website

Just when you think you've exhausted all of your resources for photos a really cool one comes falling out of the sky. Well, actually this photo did not fall out of the sky but ended up in my e-mail box courtesy of my long time friend and professional wedding photographer, Joe Homsy.

Photo by Joe Homsy

Joe and I had the honor of doing the weddings for sisters, Jennifer and Kristina Maggi. Joe captured this super wide audience image at Jennifer's reception in the Grand Ballroom at the Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton.

To see this photo in a larger size just click here which will take you to the Wedding DJ page on my website. To visit Joe's website and see more of his great images just click here.

Thank you Joe for the great image and fond memories of another incredible Maggi family celebration. Now that both Jennifer and Kristina have children perhaps you'll be shooting their weddings and I'll be rocking the dance floor for the next generation of Maggi clan.