Alcatraz

2013.01.12
Day One Hundred and Six. Stopped by SFO to pick up my cousin Mark and his wife Michelle to save them from the boredom of their ridiculously long layover, then continued north to hop on a ferry to get to Alcatraz. Most of the time, I dread tours because the tour guides all have a pace they just have to keep and have zero regard for the guy with a tripod in the back who couldn't keep up if you paid him to, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the tour at Alcatraz was self guided. They give you a little audio player and a really cheap pair of headphones so you can start and stop the tour (and get lost) as you like. The self guided tour meant I could bottom out my ISO and get high quality shots instead of having to boost the ISO to get hand held shots. Because the lighting in the prison was terrible, this meant almost every shot was a long exposure, which gave the crowd a ghosting effect that felt very appropriate for the location. I ended up converting most of the prison pictures to black and white, as the colours inside the prison weren't very exciting to begin with, and B&W both fit better and was able to better express the details. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to take their time and get some really good classic prison shots. Also, time your ferry ride back to SF so that it happens at sunset. You'll get some awesome shots of the skyline with the sun just at the horizon. It's a perspective most people aren't familiar with. After Alcatraz, we went over to the Marin Headlands where I attempted to demonstrate the effects of digital high ISO and subsequently forgot to turn it back down, thus I had to throw away a bunch of what would have been at least half way decent shots, haha. Oh well. I've been there a bunch and will be back, so it's not a big loss, and after turning my ISO back down, the last shot came out really well :)
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