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.
I’m off on a short family visit in Iowa this week and man, is it green here. The brown grasses and hills of California make one forget just how different it is in the middle of the country. Looking out the airplane window, all you see is green green green with creeks, streams and rivers cutting up the farmland. I managed to get out to the golf course with the some of the family yesterday and play 18 holes. This one spot had a great view down the hole with the cart perfectly positioned in the foreground. Way off in the distance beyond the green, is the corn fields.
If the clouds cooperate in the next few days, I’m going to chase down a barn or two and see if they’ll play nice for the camera. I even rented a wide-angle lens for this trip in my efforts to replicate a FunkySlug image. My work’s cut out for me .
Below is another view of the course with the sun cutting through the clouds.
The kids and I went hiking around Anderson Lake in Morgan Hill on Sunday. The sky was playing very nice and the views were gorgeous. I really liked how the brown grass interacted with the blue sky, orchards, mountain and puffy white clouds. I took this at 28mm f13 to get the background just slightly out of focus. It was a bit breezy so it was really tough to get this with a super-sharp grass in the foreground.
Yesterday evening, after a day with the family, the clouds were setting up for a promising sunset. Since the airport isn’t too far away and the sun is getting closer to lining up with the end of the runway, I wanted to get some planes against the nice backdrop of a gorgeous sunset.
This proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. My assumption was that there would be a stream of planes constantly landing which would make it easy to get one right where I wanted when I wanted it. This wasn’t the case. The frequency of planes was quite sporadic and the sun moves pretty quickly at the end of the day. Also, there isn’t really a great place to setup. I did find a legal place to park which was a bit low so I had to get creative. I setup the focus and camera settings for the lighting but the angle was wrong. So, I ended up with the tripod on top of my car, extended as tall as I could make it, while I stood on the seats with half my body out the sunroof. The post-shot viewfinder about 4 feet above my head was all I could use to verify things were just right. Minor framing adjustments were made by moving the tripod legs. I couldn’t tell when a plane was in-frame. A bit of spray and pray helped with that.
This plane shot above would be sweet if it was taken 1/2 second sooner, putting the plane at the top left corner. I’m going to have to get back and try again next time we have a promising sunset!
After taking a few shots of the bowling alley in Americana, I rushed the family home to be back in time for magic hour. As the sun moves further north, my ability to capture the sunset gets harder and harder without heading out further from home. So as a last resort, I brought out the extension ladder and headed for the roof to get above all the obstructions. What I completely forgot about was the power lines in the back yard! (See Brian, I told you my neighborhood looked like the Leeds Castle grounds ). I tried to make the most of it and capture as much of the sunset as I could. My family thinks I’m nuts. I probably am!
On Sunday evening, the clouds were setting up for what I was hoping would be an incredible sunset. Because of that, when we went to dinner, I brought the camera and made sure we had a window seat so that I wouldn’t miss the magic hour. I was prepared to abandon the family and run outside to start capturing it. We finished before that time, and on the way outside, the wind was blowing and I saw this nice little scene that I had seen a million times before. This time, I found it interesting.
The clouds on the coastal range, the flag blowing, and the old signs on the bowling alley. Bowl, cocktails and an American flag. It reminds me of moments from my childhood. I processed this to try and capture the era of alley’s heyday.
A gorgeous day with scattered showers opened up a fabulous blue sky, very white clouds that enhanced the tinted glass on the Market Post Tower. This shot is a single exposure. I tried a few, and a couple bracketed series. The single shot worked better than what I came up with as an HDR version. Not to mention, as single-exposure it will qualify for an entry into the travel category in tomorrow night’s competition.
This shot has sat around for some time, ready to go and not let out. I have very mixed feelings on it and I’m not sure why. On one hand it always catches my eye in the grid display in Lightroom while reviewing older shots. Whenever I open it with some renewed excitement, I feel let down that the bird (I believe it is a turkey vulture) is not larger in the frame. Perhaps it works since it gives a sense of scale as-is. I do love the cloud formations.
Today I am planning on going to the Japanese Tea Gardens and tomorrow to the Embarcadero up in the city. I should have some good material for awhile after that.
Today I’m taking things in a completely different direction. It’s all about experimenting for me in this shot. I’m going for a sense of old, a sense of dark, and a bit scary. Almost like a zombie silhouette will appear over the hill. I really like the steep angle, the white fence and the low clouds in this shot. I’m also a fan of trying to make some eerie images, even if I’m the only one that appreciates them. (see my parking garage set. Another experiment with the dark side)
I’m curious what works and what doesn’t on this shot. Let me know.
A bit more digging into the backlog to make up for not being out taking pictures over the last few days. This is the Coyote Valley in the South San Jose area. In the far distance you can make out Mt. Umunhum, the old Air Force Radar tower and the Doppler Radar tower. I am not sure of the name of the hill on the left with the radio transmitter on it. On the left is Coyote Peak with its radio tower.
Downtown San Jose, taken on the same trip as yesterday’s golden clouds. The building was lit up wonderfully from the clouds and sun from the east with the nice pastel colors on the clouds to the north. The negative space adds to this one so I am using this as my Daily Shoot submission for DS102.
#ds102 - Negative space can be just as important to a composition as your primary subject. Explore negative space in a photograph.
One more shot today of the spectacular sunsets we’ve had lately. This one was taken as a passenger in a car barreling down the freeway. It was also taken out of the driver’s side window, which was a shot only available for moments before it had a chain link fence in the way.
Tomorrow, I’m hoping sunrise will be good and I can be setup for it!
There is a tiny bit of horizon, so I’m stretching for meeting this assignment today.
#ds104 – The horizon can be a strong composition element. Make a photograph that emphasizes the horizon today.
This evening I walked out of the office and was treated to a wonderful array of colors in the sky. It has been some time since I have seen anything like this. Other than adding a bit of dark back into this photo, the colors are as they were seen. Amazing after a super rainy day. I only wish I anticipated it so I could have gotten to a place with a bigger sky.
I think this counts as a background for this Daily Shoot assignment.
#ds98 – Backgrounds are tricky. They can make a subject stand out or distract from it. Make a photo with a good background today.
San Jose Diridon Train Station with Caltrain Engine 919 underway.
With the constant endless rain, winter is still going strong. The blossoming trees give hints of spring. This made for a tough choice for Daily Shoot assignment 79. (Which was completed a few days late)
#ds79 – It’s Groundhog Day in the U.S. Make a photo that illustrates whether it’s more like winter or spring where you live.
#ds76 “Get up close and personal with a building today. Make a photo of an architectural detail.”
The detail here didn’t look great too close, but with the glass and reflections, I thought the architecture really worked here.
Finally! A nice break in the rainy rainy weather. Blessed with a beautiful day, the kids and I went to play outside. It made for good times and wonderful photos. After several attempts of pushing the swing, focusing, pushing the swing, snapping photos, pushing the swing and adjusting, I finally managed to get it just-right. The sun and clouds were very cooperative on this shot. The added bonus was the non-stop laughter by the girls as they got to swing extra-high.
I am a fan of Mt. Umunhum. It is visible from almost everywhere in San Jose. The dilapidated radar tower at the top, bad roads, and large stretch of private property add to its mystique. Cloud formations over the top are always a treat, especially as storms are just rolling in or leaving. This is my submission for #ds46: “Time for a change in perspective! Look up today and make a photo that favors what’s going on in the sky.”
Other recent clouds were captured in Palo Alto. This one captured the sun fabulously just as a jet was leaving a contrail that was cutting the sky like a knife.
Today I left work a bit early in hopes of catching some of the waning light of the day. The wildlife sanctuary at the Dumbarton bridge was a good place as any to try and complete a couple Daily Shoot assignments. While at it, I was hoping to get a bit more practice with sunset photography and if really lucky catch a good picture of a bird. While still only owning a 28-135 lens, I wasn’t holding out for a killer bird picture.
This is the type of shot I was after. I am not necessarily thrilled with it, but it was fun to try and get this one. Finding the dead tree and placing it against the power lines and marsh seemed like a good combination. I think a wider lens may have made this a bit more dramatic. I am using this one for #ds43: “Trees come in all shapes and sizes. This time of year they may be covered in snow. Make a photo of an interesting tree.”
I would be hard-pressed to find one with snow out here.
After my attempts with the sunset, I noticed this next shot with my car.
I liked the way the car, the radio tower, fence and bridge came together. For this one I waited until a truck drove by to add a sense of bustle.
Finally, my other favorite shot from this mini-outing was the photo of four cones that were stuck in the silty mud under the bridge. I love how dirty this photo is and how along with the bright reflections in the water. The cones captured the setting sun to make it look like a flash was used on this shot.
Finally, I have been hunting for a picture for #ds41: “Share a little bit about yourself by making a photo that exemplifies your part of the country or world. (@book_up)” While this one is similar to the one with the tree, it captures a bit more about the area. Marsh, Wildlife, hills and the power that drives silicon valley.
The variety of color on this image is what I think I like the most. This was captured with the camera closed way down. 90mm, f36, 1/1000
I am debating if this image would look better cropped in a portrait style which would put more emphasis on the birds.
Snapped this while leaving the office in Meno Park, CA. I like the streetlight right in the sunburst and the strong sense of perspective that the clouds provide.
#DS19: “Weather affects our lives in so many ways. Make a photograph that illustrates the weather where you are today.”
Santa Cruz Mountains during a rainy day.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the sun jumped out for a bit. I saw this while circling the mall parking lot for spot. To my surprise it turned out rather nice.