Category: photography

Summer Luau

The Sunset Luau runs through September at the world-class Catamaran resort located in the beautiful Mission Bay Aquatic Park. People watch for free from the public beach, or buy a ticket which includes buffet dining and preferred seating. The dancers are from Pride of Polynesia. They are one of the most popular attractions at the Pacific Islander Festival which is held every year on Mission Bay. Click here to watch video from this photo shoot.

Copyright © In Pics and Words

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The Story Behind the Photo

What is the connection between this old photograph, the Vietnam War and the Hindenburg disaster? Keep reading to learn the story behind the photo.

I found this archived image in an old family album. LCDR Marvin Umstead, Jr. (pictured above) was a decorated war hero — the recipient of 13 Air Medals including the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “Valor” Device and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Upon returning from his service in Vietnam, Umstead was assigned to the elite Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron — the Blue Angels. At the time of this photo, he was serving as the team’s Lead Solo.

The F-4 Phantom, seen in the background, was piloted by the team’s flight leader, CDR Harley Hall. Umstead, in his final year with the Blues, was preparing to transition back into the fleet, but fate intervened. CDR Hall deployed to Vietnam, and Umstead was called back to serve as the Blue Angels team leader.

It was the last day of the war in Vietnam. A cease-fire had been announced when CDR Hall catapulted off the deck of the USS Enterprise for one final combat mission on 27 January 1973. His Phantom was shot down, but pilot and co-pilot safely ejected.* Hall was listed as the last American POW of the Vietnam War. For 40 years his official status was Prisoner of War, but the government since changed his classification to KIA.

Six months later, 26 July 1973, while practicing for an airshow over Lakehurst, New Jersey, Umstead was killed in a mid-air collision. The accident occurred just four miles from the site of the Hindenburg disaster. Umstead, who had left the team in December 1972, was only three months in as Boss of the Blue Angels. He had been called back after a training accident in March involving the #3 jet (pictured below).

Forty-five years later, In Pics and Words honors those who served including my older brother, Steve, recipient of the Bronze Star for Acts of Valor.

* LCDR Philip A. Kientzler, Hall’s RIO (Radio Intercept Officer) landed 100 feet from Hall as the North Vietnamese fired at them from the jungle. Kientzler said that Hall made it safely into the trees. This was confirmed by their wingman who circled overhead providing air support. Kientzler was captured and sent home with the returning POW’s, but Hall’s fate remained a mystery.

In 1995, Hanoi returned partial remains (teeth) that were identified as belonging to Harley Hall. Forensic tests indicated that the deceased likely died in captivity. The condition of the remains did not match Hall’s dental records at the time of his last mission thus suggesting that he lived a number of years in confinement. North Vietnamese officers reported parading the “famous Blue Angel” through the streets of Hanoi as a trophy of their victory over the Americans.

We will never forget.

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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

ZLAC Rowing Club, women's rowing, aquatic sports, Mission Bay, San Diego

The ZLAC Rowing Club, located in the renowned Mission Bay Aquatic Park, is the oldest women’s rowing club in the world. Zulette Lamb, Lena Polhamus, Agnes Polhamus, and Caroline Polhamus founded the club in 1892. They were pioneers at a time when women simply didn’t open boathouse social clubs. I am so proud of the ladies who continue the tradition, and their unyielding dedication to teaching the next generation of young women the recreational and competitive sport of rowing.

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Sunset Silhouette 3

Have you ever taken some interesting video and thought to yourself, “Wow, that would look great as a framed shot.” Often times, you have to decide whether to shoot video or photos, but in video mode you risk missing a really nice image.

What to do?

Your camera may have a setting that will allow you to snap a picture while in video mode. However, this will cause a brief but noticeable pause in playback. Some cameras can extract a frame from the captured video, but I prefer using the tried and true screenshot method.

I simply play the video on Windows Media Player, pause on the desired frame, and take a screenshot using Windows snipping tool. This method is so easy and precise — and I don’t have to fool around with the camera settings. A simple crop in Photoshop and you have a picture ready to post.

This process gives me more creative control over the final image so I can take video and not worry about missing an awesome pic.

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This Old House

f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO 160

This old house is one of the originals in my neighborhood. The carriage house, in the rear, has been converted into apartments, but the Victorian remains unchanged. In fact, it’s in need of a major renovation.

The home is still owned and occupied by the same family, but they have let the once majestic structure fall into disrepair. I asked if they might sell and was told that the family wants to keep possession of the property which is valued at three million dollars.

It is sad that this old house has been allowed to deteriorate into a neighborhood eyesore.

Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Vello Wired Remote
Manfrotto Tripod

Copyright © 2017 In Pics and Words