I ended 2011 with another trip to the USS Iowa. This time I was able to get on board! The ship is finally getting restored and prepped for its voyage to Southern California. In the meantime, they are letting people check out the foredeck. I took the opportunity to push the 10-22mm lens. Close quarters, huge structures lots of people make for a challenging shooting environment. On a positive note, the morning clouds & sun were extremely cooperative. This shot is one of my favorites of the day. I’ll post a few more and I plan to visit again in a couple weeks. Maybe there will be additional areas we can look at. I’d love to capture more of the ship before it’s fully restored.
Happy New Year everyone! This year, I want to at least get an image a week posted. Despite shooting well over 25k images last year, I only managed to post a couple. This year should be better.
San Francisco VA Medical Center, Point Bonita Lighthouse, and this old army lookout line up in this shot. Since I love shooting gritty old and abused structures against picturesque scenes, this worked very well for me. The orange on the building is from the glow of the setting sun. You can get glimpses of it on the lighthouse in the distance. The clarity is pretty good for that structure as well, which you can see by clicking through.
A fog-free night in San Francisco combined with driving by the Palace of Fine Arts with a camera in the car means you must stop to get a few images. The buildings are lit dramatically with sodium lights. This makes difficult color set to capture and reveal the detail in color, so I opted for black & white here. We were in the late hour of twilight so the sky had a nice gradient left to it.
The day in the Marin Headlands let us have a nice, golden, somewhat hazy sunset. Off in the distance you can see an old army lookout station with a bit of graffiti on it. I’ll post a close-up of that in a couple days. The light on the iceplant worked really well for this shot. I just wish I had a round aperture and possibly an ND filter to really bring this image home.
Our last image of the tour of the Newark Slough. This is one more view of the footbridge with the Dumbarton Bridge off in the distance, lit up by the morning sun. The water in the foreground is not the bay, but the marshland next to the bay. Off in the distance you can see the power lines and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Okay, lets take a break from the islands and enjoy one more sunrise from the Newark Slough. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to Maui soon enough.
This image is one that was fraught with user-error in the taking, and yet ended up pretty decent. I had the camera setup on some long exposures in bracketing mode. As I was setting up for the shot, the sky was lighting up with brilliant oranges and I accidentally hit the shutter. 30 seconds to wait for it to finish? I don’t think so. Off went the camera. Back on, change settings and finish. Unfortunately the brillance faded to some degree before I could shoot again. Overall, I think it turned out pretty decent.
While hanging out at the beach, I took a few photos of my lovely wife. I noticed that my reflection in her sunglasses was rather interesting with the blue sky and other features clearly visible. I called the kids over and had each one wave to create his “family portrait”. I think this will make a great print since there is quite a bit of detail in the reflection.
Okay, to come clean, work wasn’t the only reason I haven’t been posting. Earlier this month we took a week-long vacation to Maui to enjoy the nice warm weather, water and relax. Photography on a family vacation isn’t the easiest thing to get out and do, but I did manage to get a few decent images from the trip. We’ll start with my daughter having a blast on the boogie board at Ulua State Beach. In the background you can see the West Maui Mountains. The vacation was a blast and the family had a great time.
I love this shot since it just freezes the excitement perfectly and has a decent amount of location orientation included.
This is the perfect time of year to do sunrise photos. They are happening closer and closer to the time of day I actually want to wake up. Once the time changes it get all that much harder. So after a long period of working too hard and photographing too little, I actually went out with some friends to do some shooting. Today we’re looking at the Newark Slough with a footbridge crossing it. Everything about the morning was cooperative, including the clouds, sun and water.
Its fun to get out shooting again after realizing I’ve been working too hard. I do have a mini backlog so look for more images soon. Hopefully I’ll build back up some readers after leaving everyone for so long .
Getting out of the house, the kids and I took a walk along the Mississippi riverfront. Along the way we saw some firefighters that allowed them to get inside of the bucket of their tower ladder truck. They didn’t get to go up the 7 floors that it extends, but it was fun for them to get up in there. Along our walk we strolled under Centennial bridge that connects Davenport, IA with Rock Island, IL. The clouds made for a great backdrop to the span.
Other than the stifling humidity, it is great to go feet from the house and have tons of vegetation, creeks, and fun things for the kids to do. I wasn’t able to get out to see a sunset in the fields, but the creek did very nicely. I love how the water caught the light.
The focal point of the weekend’s photo outing, the USS Iowa Battleship. She was commissioned in 1943, saw lots of battle in WWII, some in the Korean War and other action all along the way. Currently she’s with the rest of the reserve and mothball fleet in Suisun Bay waiting to be turned into a museum ship. I can’t wait for that day. I have always been fascinated with the Iowa. You can see in this photo a couple of the nine 16-inch guns on the deck.
Here’s a creative piece from my trip on the Suisun Bay. I’ll let this one tell its own story as it has had lots of work done to it.
Not much time to write today, so I’ll let the image tell its own story.
This nice Black Sea Turtle posed ever so briefly for photo. He was highly admired by all of the children at the aquarium which furthered my need to be agile in my photography. Squeezing in for a moment to get the shot sometimes is harder than the shot itself.
Doesn’t this make you want to go for a swim? This shot was achieved through skillful negotiation, and patience. The birds were flying in and out of this little cove and the family wanted to move on. Of course once I setup for the background, the birds decided to take a rest from flying. This didn’t help my small window of opportunity to get the shot I foresaw. As luck would have it, everyone wanted to take a break like the birds and took a breather. This gave me five more minutes to sit and wait. Even though I would have preferred an incoming seagull, I was pleased to get this guy on his way out. He’s in a good spot, great wing angle, and I can still see his eye. Perfect.
What a moment to capture! The pictured couple was sitting on the coastal rocks and I liked the double recliner nature of the rocks. So of course, up went the camera. Wouldn’t you know that on the first click, fortune struck enough to have a huge wave crash behind our love birds. In post, this took a bit of adjustment to keep the detail of the water spray and the colors but overall I think it turned out well.
In continuing this small San Francisco series, it’s about time I posted the shot that isn’t the one I really wanted to get. This is the closest I managed to get to that illusive shot. This particular photo doesn’t impress me since, without the ship, it really isn’t anything other than a photo of San Francisco that everyone has. Instead, the lesson I learned in acquiring this image will stay in my memory longer than the image itself.
To get the shot I really wanted, I planned, spent time in Google Earth picking the location, setting the sun angle and time-of-day, choosing the position on the hill and frame the shot with the 3D buildings turned on. Everything looked wonderful and sounded like a decent plan. The morning was forecast to be a rare sunny one, free of the fog that San Francisco is famous for. Additionally, I did some research on other photos with a similar angle. I saw several from other photographers a the correct location, so yes, it could be done. The idea was to have the bay bridge strongly prominent on the left side of the frame with the southern edge lit up by the sun.
The city would then appear where the last of the main cables joined with the island. The sun would to light the bridge up a nice gold-tone, and the white on the buildings would to catch the same beautiful glow.
That isn’t what happened. I live in San Jose, which is an hour drive away from San Francisco. This meant waking up and being on the road by 5am at the latest to catch the show. Again, this assumes I know exactly where I want to be and what I have to do in order to catch the 6:30am light. Yerba Buena Island is one tough tiny island to navigate on with its windy roads. To top it off, there is no parking. To get the angle, I would have had to hike about a half mile at the very least. Arriving at the island at 6am and then getting lost didn’t help matters.
Alas, I drove over to the Treasure Island portion where parking is plentiful and the angles are not. I settled for this shot which is a good reminder of how to better prepare next time I’m going to drive an hour away and a horrible hour for a 10 minute window of opportunity.
The last bit I learned was that sunrises are not nearly as cool as sunsets. No dust, no glory. I wonder when that volcanic dust from Iceland will reach the Bay Area.
Google Earth still seems like a great tool for planning a shoot. Here is the shot I ended up with as seen by Google Earth.
During my Sunday walk in San Francisco, I really liked the pier and the potential it brought for getting some good shots. For this one I wanted to play with symmetry. The camera is just slightly above the ground, as dead-center as possible. There are breaks in the symmetry with the Bay Bridge being visible through the bars and Yerba Buena island looming on the right side.
Not that it is a surprise, but I did some post processing on this to get the tones as I saw them. It was an incredibly bright day and this represents my view of the pier by the time I got to it. Wanting shade, feeling like the colors were all just running together and high contrast was everywhere.
I have a creative interpretation of this shot that I am working on. Stay tuned.
Having a bit of fun with the evening light and water. I’m not sure if the expression here is one of boredom or concentration.
#ds130 – Time to revisit a traditional photographic look. Make a black and white photo with high contrast today.
Today I took the kids out into Sanborn Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. The redwood forest is always a spectacular place to visit. This was my first time in this particular area. Below is small collection of photos from the morning, starting with the log cabin type hostel.
I love the look of this building. The fact that moss grows absolutely everywhere out here adds tons of character to everything. It was a challenge to capture things with just the right amount of light since the most mossy structures were also in the shade. This collection is comprised of both single-shot and HDR images to bring out the looks I was going for. With most of my HDR images, I prefer the more natural look.
Towering Redwood Trees
Creek in Sanborn Park
The first image I used for the Daily Shoot assignment: #ds103 – Novelty can help goose creativity. Go somewhere today you’ve never been, even just a different street, and make a photo.
After a busy week at work and very few opportunities to use my camera, I returned to it again over the weekend. The following four photographs were taken around Travis Marina just northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge. A great chance to catch up on my Daily Shoot assignments.
This is Travis Marina with a faux tilt-shift technique applied.
#ds88 – “We often get stuck in a rut of always zooming to the longest focal length. Break out today by making a wide-angle photo.“
I love the detail in this pelican. For this assignment, this is titled “The Pelican Brief”. Yes, I know it’s literal, but it is a nice pelican portrait.
#ds89 – “Continuing the Friday fun theme, make a photo that goes with the title of a book you’ve read.”
A couple enjoys the view of the San Francisco Bay.
#ds91 – “Sunday (Valentine’s Day) challenge: What is love? Make an interpretive photo today. Keep it clean, people.”
Fog Under the North Tower of Golden Gate Bridge
#ds90 – “Odd or even: Compose an image with an odd or even number of subjects today, and make a photo.”
In the brief appearance of the sun yesterday, I had about 10 minutes in it total. On my way home from the office I tried to make something of the sun. This shot of the Dumbarton Bridge was a pleasing result. With the sun low in the sky, it cast a warm orange light on the columns. The reflection in the marsh and the blue sky hit all the right notes. Other than adjusting some contrast and light levels to remove some haze, the colors are natural.
This is an up-close view at what it looked like inside my car this morning. You can see the my house in the drops refractions.
#DS73 - “Take something common–an object, building, or landscape–and compose an abstract composition with it.”