Super Full Moon drives me crazy

Last night, Sunday was the largest full moon of the year.

Supermoon’s occur because the moon’s path around Earth is  elliptical. Distances between the two bodies vary from 225,622 miles at the closest  approach — known as perigee — to 252,088 miles at the most distant point, called apogee. When the full moon happens at perigee, the moon is about 15% larger and 30% brighter than at apogee. Being closer and full, the moon will lead to the highest tides of the year. It is also a ‘solstitial moon’, which means it will be at the southern most in it’s orbit.

While some predict disastrous tides, earthquakes and even humans experiencing lunacy, it will just be a very bright summer evening. Though, right now I’m beginning to lose my mind. I’m taking my camera and heading outside to photograph the moon.SuperFullMoon-(20130622)-006

Nikon D800 w/ 500mm f/4 Nikkor w/2x Converter

Chasing the Big Idaho Potato

As you know my latest project has me photographing the Giants that exist in our society. Most don’t notice the large versions of ordinary people or objects. You can see some of these images by visiting the Giants Gallery on my web site: http://www.djnphoto.com. I’ve photographed many different giants around Southern California for my project. The one thing all these giants have in common is that they are stationary. That is they are anchored in place, I don’t have to chase them to photograph them.

When I received a tip that there was a large potato on a semi that was traveling around the country, I became excited about having to stalk my prey. I investigated and discovered that this was the Famous Idaho Potato Tour, http://www.bigidahopotato.com. I visited the web site and found a contact, Laura Martin, and sent her an e-mail asking about the truck and when it would be in the Southwestern States. I received a very pleasant call from Laura and she let me know that they would be heading this way shorty and that she would keep me appraised.

Continuing working on my project, I arranged a trip to the California, Arizona border near Parker, AZ to photograph a large chicken on the roof of an old restaurant. See the two previous posts to see the trip. A couple of days before I left for Parker, I received a call from Laura informing me the Truck would be arriving in my area, the problems was it would be arriving the day I was leaving. The good new is that it would still be here when I returned. Laura was great and even offered to bring it by my studio. My studio is in my home and we live in a quite neighborhood with small streets that don’t allow large trucks. Laura informed me that the truck crew would be staying at a hotel just a couple of miles from me.BigIdahoPotato-(20130615)-043

When I returned from my chicken run, I contacted the crew and they informed me that they would be leaving the next morning at 8 am to head to Las Vegas. I set it up to meet them at their hotel and would follow them out to Baker, CA as I wanted photos of the Potato on the road. The truck and potato are definitely big. The truck is 72 ft. in length, with the Potato is 12 ft. wide and 13 ft. tall, and weighs 44,320 lbs. What a subject more my first mobile giant!BigIdahoPotato-(20130615)-058

I met the crew that morning, Paul Humbracht, the driver and the Tater Crew, Kristie Wolfe and Tyler Pagel. They were great and wanted to assist me in getting the photos I wanted. Other than I would have like to be out on the desert at a more photographic time, they have their schedule, the only thing I needed was for them to make a stop in Baker, CA to pose the Potato in front of the giant thermometer. They let me know that it would be no problem.BigIdahoPotato-(20130615)-089

It was fun following them out of the LA area out on to the desert. Once we were on Interstate 15, traffic would often back up behind the truck. As cars came up to the truck, the passengers in the truck would see what it was ad would slowly pass so that they could get out there cell phone cameras and snap a few pictures. My wife and I would leap frog the truck so that we could get shots from the side of the road with the desert in the background.

BigIdahoPotato-(20130615)-094-Small Baking the Big Idaho Potato in Baker, CA

In Baker, Paul positioned the truck in front of the thermometer and I got my shot. We had a great time with the crew and the truck. I’m definitely hoping that it will make another trip to the Southwestern States and that I can meet up with them again. Will I got some good shots, I have so many ideas for shots with the truck, it would be great to have one myself so I could not only get it to certain locations, but also get it there at times with great light.

Did we find large Chickens?

My previous post gave a little of our journey to Vidal Junction to photograph a couple of large chickens. I had been told by an acquaintance that there were 2 large chickens atop an old restaurant at the intersection of US Highway 95 and California Highway 62. I searched the Internet and found a couple of photos and sure enough, there were 2 large chickens. There was a chicken at each of the front corners of the restaurant. In the photos, it looked like the business was no longer. Well, the world isn’t perfect.

After being on the road for 4 & ½  hours, see previous post for some of the details of the trip, we arrived at Vidal Jct. Over the top of mini market/gas station, I could see a large chicken. With growing excitement, I made a left at the stop sign and headed to the restaurant. It was then I could see that there was now only one chicken on the roof. Where the other chicken was located, there is now a light on a pole, probably for security reasons. Having spent the previous few days planning my angle to get both chickens in my photo, I now had only one. The best laid plans…LavidaJctCA-(20130612)-003

Back home after the trip, I see a post on Matt Kloskowski’s Blog, http://www.mattk.com, a blog titled, “Photographing Something Different Than What You Showed Up For.” How appropriate since that is what I just encountered. Sometimes in life you’re handed lemons, that’s when you make lemonade. The restaurant was out of business but it wasn’t in derelict state as often happens. I had something to with which work. I now would have to look for some good light.LavidaJctCA-(20130612)-039

That afternoon we decided to drive up to Lake Havasu City to look around. As we came around a bend in the road, we found the other chicken. It turns out the owner of the mini market/gas station in Vidal Jct. has another market/gas station and had removed the chicken and placed it upon his other store.GiantChickenOnGasStation-ParkerStripAZ-(20130612)-003

Here’s my wife Margaret taking a picture of the chicken the next morning at sunrise. That morning was bright and clear, not a cloud in the sky. But luckily the evening before there were some great clouds that were light nicely at sunset.LavidaJctCA-(20130613)-073

Note: all photos are not yet processed.

Coming home Thursday morning, we headed north on Highway 95 to Needles. It was a very beautiful drive with some great scenery. Definitely I’ll have to come back to this area in the future. Before getting on the interstate to head west, we stopped in Needles to get a couple of pieces of fruit for snacks along the way home. As we drove west on Broadway St. in Needles just scouting for interesting photo opportunities my wife suddenly site a giant, a metal sculpture of a giant snake. I couldn’t pass that up.GiantSnake-MetalSculpture-NeedlesCA-(20130613)-010

Overall, this was a great trip for us. I got a couple of giants and we had a great time. The weather was nice, temperature in Parker, AZ. was about 110˚. After lunch in Parker on Wednesday, I spotted a mini-van with bicycles on top of it. Having been the bicycling photographer for 30 years, I easily spot bicycles. It looked like a support crew for cyclists. I was the photographer for the Race Across America (RAAM) from 1984 until 1999 and this definitely looked like a support vehicle. We stopped at the restaurant where the vehicle was and went inside and found the occupants. It RAAM and they were a support crew. The race had started the day before in Oceanside, CA. Sometimes it seems as if your past is always following you. But, it was a pleasant surprise.

Trip to find large Chickens

Driving today from the LA area out to Vidal Jct., a few miles west from Parker, AZ. It’s a nice warm day in the deserts of Southern California. It was 98˚ about 9:30 in the morning. By the time we got to Parker, it was about 110˚.

When we arrived in Parker, we notice a van with bicycles on top and lettering on the side. On further inspection it was the support crew for an entrant in the Race Across AMerica bike race. We stopped and talked to the crew for a few minutes and found the race started yesterday. I was the race’s photographer from 1984 until 1999. I’ve been busy the last 2 months and hadn’t even given the race a thought. It was a pleasant suprise to catch it.

Here a couple of photo from the trip out.

An interesting directional post.

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We next found a shoe fence where passerby’s deposit their shoes and a lot more.

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We also found the remains of an old gas station along the road.

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These images are raw from the camera with no work done other than to shrink the size. These are some are some very interesting items that I’m adding to my log of things I want to return to in the future to capture them in better light.

We’re leaving to get some dinner before we head out to out chicken for some photographic work. I’ll be adding another post later with the chicken.

Dave