FanFest on Rolleiflex

My second year covering FanFest for the San Francisco Giants was another blast. I changed it up a bit by bringing my 1959 Rolleiflex E2

With no light meter and a horizontally flipped ground glass, I gained even more respect for the photographers who shot like this daily. And of course, I was carrying a full compliment of digital gear and lenses since I knew film wouldn’t satisfy what the Giants’ front office was in need of.

This was my first time using the twin-lens-reflex camera while “on assignment.” The documentary approach on a camera like this is a whole other beast. At least my Kodak 150 4×5 frankenstein has a rangefinder viewfinder with a ghost image focusing system.

It was also a nice reprieve to go back to shooting some fresh Ilford film. For the past 2 years or so, I have been using expired color and B/W film almost exclusively. As fun as it is, man does it get annoying seeing all that grain after a while. I was blown away by the depth of the new Ilford Delta 400.

The first image (below) is probably my favorite and sums up all Giants FanFest. A father and son in matching Bumgarner jersey’s, sitting in the upper deck behind home plate, with dad waxing on about the stadium.

One of the huge treats of shooting events for the host is the extra access I get. Being able to follow Buster Posey while he signs dozens of bats for new season ticket holders was a huge treat.

Manager Bruce Bochy signed autographs before taking the stage to talk on KNBR 680.

Jeff Smardzija relaxes in the sun before taking the stage.

Gotta bring your own compliment of bats to be signed at one of the dozen autograph sessions through out the stadium.

Giants for the Giants

I recently got to work for a new client: The San Francisco Giants.

All of the sports I have ever photographed were for news outlets. Documenting the company you are being paid by is effectively PR work. Which changes your approach. The story of the game might not matter as much as exciting colorful art of the characters involved. I am still getting used to it. I hope to do a lot more.

I was treated to three games of Giants baseball. Call me crazy but I don’t mind rain during baseball. Isolating the rain drops just looks great.

My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 5: Polaroid 150

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This is part 5 of an on-going series
titled "My Grandfather's Cameras."
I never met my paternal grandfather,
Robert Diefenbach.
He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat
in a basement for 45 years until
they were handed down to me in the
spring of 2014, still loaded with film.
Read more in Part 1: Argus C4, Part 2: Argus C3,
Part 3: Kodak Retina, and Part 4: Kodak Tourist

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This is my grandfather’s 150. It is huge. It is both complicated and simple at the same time.

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My two lives with Candlestick

I am grateful the Superbowl is over. As a 49ers fan, watching such a one-sided match is like Bill Clinton watching President Barack Obama’s performance in the first debate against Mitt Romney and thinking, “damn… I could have done so much better.”

But let’s be positive. Let’s remember the last big hurrah we got to enjoy at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. I had the amazing pleasure to photograph the final game at the ‘stick for the San Francisco Chronicle. But the honor didn’t stop there.

My partners on the final home game of Candlestick were the Chronicle’s veteran Michael Macor and¬†John Storey¬†(the photographer who made “the catch“). I carpooled with the two of these photographic mentors to the stadium, sitting in the back seat trying to keep my mouth shut. I just listened to them rag on Candlestick the whole way and it was great.

By now you have heard about the sorry venue that is Candlestick Park. It is cold (for California), too far away, and just plain ugly. A victim of 60’s multi-use concrete construction philosophy, the park held a strong spot in my heart not because of the building, but because of what it housed. The Giants and the 49ers in the early and mid-90’s were powerhouses. And both played at the ‘stick.

I was just a child in elementary school at the time, so the years of Matt Williams, Will Clark, Robbie Thompson, Steve Young and Jerry Rice hold an extra special place in my heart. That is the age in which a child choses his heros.

I have two very different relationships with Candlestick Park. In one, I am a kid catching a ball tossed to me by second baseman Robbie Thompson. In the second, I am a freelance photojournalist covering the San Francisco 49ers. Both memories are very vibrant but are in no way related to each other. Separated by the Giant’s move to AT&T Park and my 7 year stint in the Midwest, my relationship with the ‘stick is fractured.

So let’s move on from the anti-climatic end to the Niners’ 2013 season and re-live the last great sport experience at the ‘stick: the San Francisco 49er’s 34 to 24 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons on December 23, 2013 (yes it has taken me this long to write a blog post about it).

Russell Yip 415-215-0652 CQ

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