Well I had a great time hanging out last night on Mare Island for the first time. Mare Island is a decommissioned naval base in Vallejo. I’ve been wanting to shoot Mare Island for a while and Ivan Makarov helped organize an official DMU outing out there. Always being prepared, Ivan even briefed security ahead of time that we would be there and the entire great outing was completely hassle free of security.
We met at 7pm near the middle of the island and spent most of the evening night shooting more of the grungy industrial stuff down off of Nimitz Street. Mare Island is huge and I feel like last night I barely scratched the surface there and I’m sure both DMU and myself will be back many times in the future.
It was fun meeting more folks from DMU who I hadn’t met before. I can now confirm that the elusive Cody Robertson, aka SFlights, aka sfso is in fact a real to live person. Sometimes with internet folks you can’t be so sure. 😉 In addition to Ivan and Cody, Shims and NukinFuts made the drive up, Rumnose actually brought his girlfriend Heather, Dave, StefanB, suisun and G Dan Mitchell, who had shot there in the past with the Nocturnes and knew the lay of the land a bit showed up as well. Unfortunately my photos of Dave and Heather didn’t turn out.
Stefan had a really cool laser that he used to assist him with his focusing in the dark. I’d never thought of using a laser pointer that way but it seemed to work really well for him. I just may have to get one of those at some point. For the most part I was able to use my flashlights to get my autofocus to lock in on things, but there were a few cranes that I couldn’t quite get with my 135 where it might have been nice to have one of those.
The weather was perfect out there last night, the moon was just right, and we got some great wind/clouds for those long exposure night shots.
The outing was pretty much injury free, although I did scrape my hand up on once fence and unfortunately tripped a motion sensor alarm at one point that lit up a whole building like jiminy christmas. The moon provided great ambient light to go with the cranes and we saw some huge bats. There was also this weird animal screaming on the island. It sounded crazy, almost human like, and wild. It sounded like some wild animal or something was birthing or some other sort of crazy thing. Added just the right eerie feel to the night.
Mare Island is remarkably open. It reminded me of Treasure Island in a lot of ways that way, but with a bit more development and a lot more cranes and dry docks. If you want to check out some of the photos from the outing check out these photos tagged DMU Meet Up 083009 on Flickr.
Anyways, great meeting up with a great group of dudes (and Heather, who’s great too) and look forward to the next DMU outing that gets organized. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s back out on Mare Island yet again.