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.