Tag Archives: baseball

San Francisco Aerials & Fog

Golden Gate Bridge

I’ve always loved getting different images and views that most people are unaccustomed to seeing. That is why on my latest adventure to San Francisco I decided to snap a few images of the city and bridges from above. When I say a few, I really mean about 4000 photos over the course of one sunset, and the concurrent sunrise.

Lets back up for a minute.

I’ve flown about 50 helicopter flights during the course of my professional career, over Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando, and Alaska. Most of that work was for video projects, using gyros and nose-mounted cameras. My clients usually sit in the rear, advising and directing, but we all secretly know that it is the pilot who ultimately sets you up and gets the photographer into the correct position for the shot. All of the pilots that I have been fortunate enough to work with have been extremely professional, and experienced, especially my latest pilot.
Marc Fiedor was the pilot for both of these flights over San Francisco Bay. He works out of www.VerticalCFI.com, located in the Oakland area, and he is the real deal. Experienced, a great communicator, and probably the best controller I’ve ever used to get me into the right spot. I explained what I was looking for beforehand, and he obliged, setting me up perfectly each time, at one point he even offered to fly UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge! He knows the area better than most, the best times for images, and his experience really paid off for me on these flights. Thanks Marc, can’t wait to do it again, real soon.

AT&T Park

Moving on…..Day 1.
The San Francisco Giants had just paved their way into the MLB World Series against the Kansas City Royals, and the entire town was painted or lit up with Orange and Black. Everywhere you looked, the city was gearing up for 3 straight days of games, unfortunately, so was the FAA. All flights over AT&T Park (baseball stadium) were restricted, my only hope of shooting the field was the day before the first home game was to take place. We took the opportunity to remove the doors on the chopper and left home base about 20 minutes before sunset. The fog and sun were perfectly placed as we flew overhead. My business partner Steve Kidd was strapped into the back of the ’44 and he shot a bunch with his new FujiXTI. He was on cloud 9.
The stadium was lit up like it was Christmas time, with the field workers painting the logos onto the well manicured grass, all in all, it made for some beautiful images. We then headed over the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge for a few circles, before flying back over the tallest buildings in S.F. The flight was magical, and the images simply kicked ass! We set down in pure blackness, I was so excited to see the results. I uploaded a few dozen to the APImages.com website, in hopes of highlighting the city and the park for their World Series coverage.

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 2….
The next morning, at 4a.m. to be exact, I was back at it. I walked to the Powell Street BART station (the subway) and headed to West Oakland. Yup, that’s right, THAT Oakland, not the one that is located just 20 minutes from my house, but the Oakland where the Raiders live. Just 45 minutes later I was waiting outside in the barely lit parking lot for Marc to grab me and head off to the airport. I made a point to remind myself to take off the Giants cap on my head, just to steer clear of the Oakland A’s fans that were hanging in the lot and most likely cheering for Kansas City, they are a tough bunch I’ve been told.

The sky was a bright orange about 15 minutes before sunrise and the temperature had really dropped, this Florida boy was wearing blue jeans, a neck scarf and a jacket as the doors were once again off the bird.

San Francisco Skyline

The first thing I noticed as we passed the Oakland Coliseum was all of the stopped traffic on the roadways. Cars were moving 10 mph at best, it was very much like Interstate 4 in the Disney area, pure hell. The headlights were pretty bright, so I adjusted the ISO on both cameras to accommodate for the darkness.

We made our first pass over the city and the fog layer was almost nonexistent. The sun was beginning to peek out over the horizon and we were on the Marin Headlands side of the Golden Gate Bridge. When the bright orange ball was finally up, the entire skyline of San Francisco lit up like a camp fire. The ISO changed from 3200 all the way down to 640 in a matter of minutes, and the fog layer started to creep in. We flew over bridges and the TransAmerica building, watching as the workers looked at us from behind the glass of the highrise. The new Bay Bridge was golden in this light, and we rushed to catch it before the light changed to blue. Upon shooting back into the city from Oakland, there was time for one quick pass over the UC Berkeley campus.

TransAmerica Building

The images I captured that day were beyond belief, and I can not wait to return there to shoot more aerials with Marc. You never know what the weather will be in that city, but regardless, the experience is always worth the risk.

All Images Copyright Alex Menendez- These are low quality for the BLOG post.

Licensing and prints from my site at: http://alexmenendez.photoshelter.com/archive
-OR- https://500px.com/AlexMenendez

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Derek Jeter NOTE

Yankees SS Derek Jeter hands a game ball to a young fan in the crowd.

Yankees SS Derek Jeter hands a game ball to a young fan in the crowd.

I’ve had a very busy week and after returning home from covering the Mayweather Jr. fight in Las Vegas, there was only one more gig I was looking forward to covering: ……New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter would be playing in his final game ever against the Tampa Bay Rays, and I wanted to film him one last time.
After arriving, I was relieved to see that he was in fact on the starting lineup for the game, after being struck by a pitch the night before.
The Yankees fans were out in full force, and there were signs and camera flashes going off the entire evening, especially when Jeter got a hit and eventually rounded the bases for a run. He was all smiles the entire night and you could sense he was a bit sad about saying goodbye for the last time to his loyal fans, and the regulars that he always saw at Tropicana Field. There was magic in the air, mixed with a little bit of sadness that one of the greatest ever to play the game would not be in uniform come next season.
With the final out of the game, the Yankees had defeated the Rays 3-2, and the crowd roared its approval with whistles, clapping, cheers and flashbulbs. Derek tipped his hat for the very last time on this field, and I followed him until he disappeared into the safety of the dark Yankees bench, and down the dugout steps……….

Only later while photographing the aftermath of the bench area and searching for a shot of the final team lineups did another piece of paper catch my eye…….
……after looking closely, it was a hand written note addressed to Jeter, by a very young boy….it was taped to the wall with red tape, sitting just beside the players heads……..it read:

From Anthony (………..)

Hey Jeter! I really hope you read this. If you do I just want you to know that you’re my hero. You are the reason I wake up with a smile on my face. You are my motivation to do everything to my best ability to be as successful as you. Baseball has had a big impact on my life and it is because of you. I want to be just like you and be a role model to so many people like me. I hope you have a good game an I will always love you. You should text or call me sometime it would make me so happy, but I wouldn’t tell anyone your number ;-): (PHONE NUMBER CENSORED)
You could also visit me: (ADDRESS CENSORED)

I love you man. 😉

THANKS <3 And that folks is exactly the reason Mr. Derek Jeter will truly be missed. Yes, he was an incredible baseball player, and the best Captain ever…..but as a person, we should all strive to emulate this man. Alex Menendez Derek Jeter

Blog JeterLetter

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