Tag Archives: Aperture

Traveling Light on the USS Iowa (Part-2)

This is the 2nd part of my visit to the USS Iowa.  The more I look back on the time I spent on this fantastic ship, I came to realize what an important role she played in history!

Doing a little research I found this on Wikipedia (click on the link to go there):

USS Iowa (BB-61) was the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 29th state. Owing to the cancellation of the Montana-class battleships, Iowa is the last lead ship of any class of United States battleships and was the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.
During World War II, she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic to Casablanca en route to a crucial 1943 meeting in Tehran with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin. She has a bathtub — an amenity installed for Roosevelt, along with an elevator to shuttle him between decks.[1] When transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1944,Iowa shelled beachheads at Kwajalein and Eniwetok in advance of Allied amphibious landings and screened aircraft carriers operating in the Marshall Islands. She also served as the Third Fleet flagship, flying Adm. William F. Halsey’s flag at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. During the Korean War,Iowa was involved in raids on the North Korean coast, after which she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the “mothball fleet.” She was reactivated in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan and operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to counter the recently expanded Soviet Navy. In April 1989, an explosion of undetermined origin wrecked her #2 gun turret, killing 47 sailors.
Iowa was decommissioned for the last time in 1990, and was initially stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995. She was reinstated from 1999 to 2006 to comply with federal laws that required retention and maintenance of twoIowa-class battleships. In 2011 Iowa was donated to the Los Angeles-based non-profit Pacific Battleship Center and was permanently moved to Berth 87 at the Port of Los Angeles in the summer of 2012, where she was opened to the public to serve as a museum and memorial to battleships.
USS Iowa

There are a lot of other great sources of information on this ship online, just go to Google or your favorite search engine, type in USS Iowa and check it out!

Some of the highlights of my visit would include seeing the USS Iowa for the 1st time, as I started to cross over the Vincent Thomas Bridge.  And then there’s my first real full view of the ship as I pulled into the parking lot.  I’ve been on USS Midway in San Diego, and many years ago had the privilege to tour the USS Missouri.  I was no less impressed when I boarded the USS Iowa!  And standing next to those massive 16 inch gun turrets really made me feel small.

Speaking of small, I have to say the my camera choice (Olympus E-P3) for this little adventure worked out perfectly!  I took about 500 shots that day with a fair amount of keepers.  Granted I was shooting with HDR in mind, and had the camera set up for bracketing 3 exposures each time I pressed the shutter.  For those interested, I kept the camera in Aperture Priority mode, and have the bracketing set for the metered exposure and +1/-1.  The ISO was set for 200 when outdoors and in the bright sunshine, and for 400 when inside.  The only other thing I did was to change to the Art Filters and set it to black & white.  Another thing to note would be that all shots were taken with the camera hand-held.

That’s enough of that!  Here are some more photos from the USS Iowa!

USS Iowa, Harpoon Launchers

USS Iowa, Bow Lines

USS Iowa, 16 inch guns

USS Iowa, Bridge

USS Iowa, Galley

USS Iowa, Crews Mess

USS Iowa, Life Preserver

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos of the USS Iowa.  It would be best if you planned a visit for yourself!  Here’s the link to the Pacific Battleship’s website where you can get all of the information you’ll need to plan your visit!

My final thoughts on this subject would be to take your time when you get on-board.  There are a lot of things to see; some obvious, some not so obvious.  You’ll need to look around and take it all in!  And don’t forget to bring your camera!

That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!



Traveling Light on the USS Iowa

I took the day off from work and spent a couple of hours on the USS Iowa!  What a wonderful day it was!

USS Iowa

For those that don’t know what the USS Iowa is, it’s a Battleship.  It was built in 1940 and served our country in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War.  The Iowa (a.k.a. the Big Stick) was one mean ship.  She has 3, 16″ Gun Turrets, 12, 5″ Guns, 4 Phalanx Guns, 32 Tomahawk Cruise Missile Launchers, and 16 Harpoon Launchers.  She’s also fast for a ship weighing 57,450 tons, and is 887 feet long.  During a Cold War exercise, she could travel over 35 knots (43 mph).

Before I made the trip to San Pedro, I had already decided on my camera equipment.  The choice was simple for me, it would be my Olympus E-P3.  Why?  Because I wanted to travel fast and light.  There is a lot of walking on this big ship, and that includes climbing up and down some narrow and steep stairs (which sometimes looked like ladders).  The last thing I wanted was to get snagged on something, or be bogged down with heavy gear.

My little Oly worked perfectly!  I carried the camera and 1 extra battery in a very small LowePro bag.  For the couple of hours I spent on the ship, and all of my walking and climbing, I never once regretted my choice.  Most of my pictures were taken in Aperture Priority mode, bracketing 3 exposures for future HDR work, and sometimes I quickly switched to the Art Filters (black & white).

The more I use my E-P3, the more impressed I am.  It’s sized just right (at least for me), has just enough knobs and buttons to make changing settings quick and easy, and has more than enough photo quality for my taste.  I’m very tempted to trade in the rest of my Canon gear for the new Olympus OMD E-5 to complete my transformation to a smaller equipment footprint.   You can check it out here: Adorama – OMD E-5.

I think that’s enough for now.  Here are some of the photos from my visit to The Big Stick!

USS Iowa

USS Iowa

USS Iowa, 5 Inch Guns

USS Iowa

USS Iowa

USS Iowa

USS Iowa, 16 Inch Guns

All but one of the images above are black & white.  I did actually shoot color, but I really think the black & white does this amazing ship more justice.  When you’re on board, you can almost feel the history, and I started to visualize how things would have looked back in the 40’s.  I wanted to try and preserve that feeling with the black & white tones.

I highly recommend that you see this ship for yourself.  For more information, check out this link – USS Iowa, The Battleship of Presidents.

Until next time, Happy Shooting!

Out of the Ordinary

Having a new camera in the bag really has me itching to get out and do some shooting!  Today I went to the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California.  Since it’s been almost a year since my last visit, this seemed like the perfect time to go!

The Planes of Fame also puts on a fantastic air show every May.  If you love air shows, and especially want to see rare World War II aircraft in the sky, this is the place to be.

One of the nice things about the Planes of Fame Museum is most of the planes from the annual air show are on display.  There are also other displays of equipment, clothing, vehicles, and other “stuff” from the World War II era.

As usual, I set up my Olympus E-P3 to bracket 3 shots (normal, +1, -1 stop), and make RAW files rather than jpegs.  I set the camera to AE (aperture priority) and ISO 400.  Just for fun I also brought my Sony NEX3.  That’s what I love about these ILC’s (interchangeable lens, compact) cameras.  They are so small and light, (but have larger sensors than typical Point & Shoot camera’s) that I can carry 2 of them in my bag and not be bothered at all!

I got to work once I got into the 1st hanger.  While I was enjoying framing each shot, and looking for new and different points of view, I noticed something.  Even though it had been almost 1 year since I last visited the Museum, if felt like I was taking the same pictures as the last time.  There wasn’t a feeling of creating something new and exciting, just a sense of doing the same old thing.

It was because of that feeling that I started to look around.  Instead of looking at the planes on display and trying to capture them, I began to look around the hanger at some of the other displays.  And in those displays, I looked deeper trying to find something different, out of the ordinary.

I guess it was then that my eyes really opened to new photo possibilities.  Different scenes started popping up.  It seemed as though I had blinders on before.  There were all sorts of neat little scenes with wonderful texture and detail waiting for me to discover.  Here are just a few of those scenes:

Flight Gear

Above – World War II Flight Gear, Olympus E-P3, 3 shot HDR image from RAW files.

Sherman Tank Track

Above – WWII Sherman Tank Track, Sony NEX3, Single RAW file converted to B&W in Photoshop.

Aircraft Workshop

Above – Mig 17 Fuselage, Olympus E-P3, 3 shot HDR image from RAW files, processed in Photomatix and Photoshop.

I’m very pleased with what I was able to create.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did take plenty of shots of the airplanes on display, I just can’t help myself.  I’m glad I took scenes out of the ordinary, to make images that I felt reflected my vision as a photographer, not just shooting the same old thing.

One of the things that sets a photographer apart from a snap-shooter is inner vision.  It’s that inner vision that takes time to develop.  It doesn’t always come easy (at least to me). It takes work to try and create new and fresh images.  But I think it’s worth it!  When you really nail that one image, it’s hard to put into words how satisfying it can be.  You may never get rich selling you photos, but that’s ok (again, at least for me).  It’s a labor of love and getting that special wall hanger makes it all worth while!

That’s it for this post.  My advice, get out there and start looking for those out of the ordinary scenes;  those behind the scenes places, hidden from the casual viewer, waiting for you to discover them!

Until next time – Happy Shooting!