Sunday, April 29, 2012

Old and In The Way?

I don't think so. The wreck of the Point Reyes sits on private property behind the small market in the small town of  Inverness, CA on the very scenic Tomales Bay. My first thought was how nice of the store owners to allow access to the boat. It's now clear to me that the wreck is a goldmine for the store owner and probably the town in general. There is a steady stream of photographers and lookyloos (is that a word?) that are drawn to the boat and then stop in the store for snacks and drinks. The two times we visited, I saw point-and-shooters, serious photographers with tripods hoping for just the right light, picnickers... all kinds of people coming and going.
And did I mention how scenic Tomales Bay is? I've even changed my header (not to worry, I will be returning with a desert theme soon!). The San Andreas fault sits directly under the bay, with mainland CA on the east slowly sliding on it's plate in one direction, and much of Point Reyes on the west sliding the other direction. We spent two nights at the Motel Inverness. There is a wonderful wood-plank walkway leading out on the marsh for bird-watching (and photography!) directly behind the motel.
f 2.8, 1/400, iso 125, 24mm focal length
Light fog on the bay
Spiderwebs on the saltgrass
Bird blind at the end of the walkway
Linking with Your Sunday Best and Weekly Top Shot.
Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Point Reyes Lighthouse

So full disclosure right away... you will not see any photos of the lighthouse! Because of the crowds, you must catch a shuttle bus during peak hours to see it. The stairs to the lighthouse are only open between something like 9:30 AM to 4 PM. We assumed we would still be able to see the lighthouse from a distance as we were driving through the fog at about 6:30 PM last Saturday. Turns out we were wrong. But the good news... the short hike to the lighthouse is full of interesting things to photograph, as is all of Point Reyes! Actually, I'm having a hard time organizing all my photos and trying to figure out which to share... there are so many! I guess that's a good problem to have.
Adjacent to the parking lot is a short trail leading to this incredible lookout. Sheer, steep cliffs with scary drop-offs and incredible views (when not fogged in!).
Walking up toward the lighthouse through the fog

Interesting how all the trees lean due to the constant strong winds. Also, and you have to be there to experience this, but it was only raining under the trees! Somehow the trees manage to capture the moisture in the air and there was constant dripping directly under the trees... crazy!
The natural beauty in the Point Reyes area is really incredible. If you ever have a chance to visit, please don't miss the opportunity. You won't be disappointed!!
Linking to a foggy Skywatch Friday and
Friday's Fences. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

San Francisco, Day #4

Well, actually we're staying at a small town in the Point Reyes area (north of SF) called Inverness, which is on Tomales Bay. We've been driving all over the Point Reyes National Seashore... it's kind of a photographer's paradise up here! I have a huge number of photos to process and catalog. Heading back home tomorrow, so this will be my last post for a couple days.  Just want to share a few of my favorite photos from today.
Dutch Girl... getting back to her farming roots!
Trail back from the Elephant Seal overlook, Pt. Reyes. And yes, lots of Elephant Seals!
Took this yesterday... "Surfing Alcatraz".  They were surfing almost directly under
the Golden Gate Bride, with views of Alcatraz in the background.
The "Point Reyes" shipwreck in Tomales Bay
This beached fishing boat is very popular with photographers, and was very close to our motel. One of my favorite photos.

Tomales Bay on a cloudy night (4/22/12).
Thanks for following along on our
San Francisco area journey!! Linking with:

San Francisco, Day #3

Well, according to all the locals we've spoken with, we somehow managed to pick the absolute nicest day of 2012 to travel up the cost! I guess temps in the 80s and blue skies are quite rare on the north coast!! There's good and bad with that. I guess the good is obvious, but the bad is we hit an incredible amount of traffic... from the moment we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and got on Highway 1, the traffic crawled (that's a generous description... it was mostly at a standstill).
Line of cars creeping up Route 1
Yikes! That's a seriously crowed beach!!
Stinson Beach seemed to be the popular destination. Whoa, look at that crowd... looks like Huntington Beach in July!! OK, enough of my whining. Other than the traffic, we had a really incredible day. Here are two of my favorite photos from this morning.
Golden Gate Bridge, View North:

Golden Gate Bridge, View South:
Hope to post again tomorrow. Wishing you a wonderful 
and relaxing weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

San Francisco, Day #2

After a nice dinner out, walked up Grant Ave. toward Chinatown. Leaving to drive up the coast tomorrow.
Prada window display

Chinatown entrance

The gritty side of Chinatown... trash day
Sewing shop window display in Chinatown
Trolley car street rails
Street musician, Market Street
Night rider!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

San Francisco for Business & Pleasure

So I needed to attend a conference in San Francisco this week (Th. and Fri), and I talked my wife into joining me and staying a little longer. After the business is over late Friday afternoon, the pleasure begins... we will rent a car Saturday AM and drive up the coast for the weekend. I have limited access to my computer, but will post when I can. I'm sharing a couple photos I took right around the Marriott. I also made a big bonus discovery tonight... we tried to go to the top floor, only to find the elevator would not allow us access. However, I tried the stairwell, and amazingly it took me up to a little rooftop perch perfect for photography. I kept my fingers crossed that security wouldn't think I was some nutcase and come and arrest me! All worked out well. Unfortunately, my photography rooftop perch did not provide the classic San Francisco views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but great city views none-the-less!
San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art

Old and new:  St. Patrick's Catholic Church...
with the shiny Marriott Marquis next to it (on left).

Linking to Skywatch Friday. Have a wonderful week! Check back for future posts of photography in the San Francisco area.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Hummingbird Challenge

The hummingbirds have been really active the last few weeks. We have two feeders outside our kitchen window, and you don't have to wait long to see one stop in for drink. The challenging part (from a photo perspective) is twofold: [1] The feeders are right up against a stucco wall, so the background is ugly and [2] our dual-pane window is hazy, so it's impossible to get a nice clear shot through the glass. Here's the straight-out-of-the-camera shot:
Kind of a dull photo, and the stucco background really bothers me. So the first thing I did was soften/blur the background, increase the clarity and vibrance of the hummingbird, and a slight crop. There, that's better.
Once you have an image you're happy with, you can add textures, borders, etc. All of these photos were taken using a 55-250mm telephoto lens maxed at 250mm (effective focal length on my Canon Rebel is 400mm if I'm doing the math right... should really be using a tripod, but I didn't).
Same photo, texture added. Below are similar photos... all next to or on the feeder, with different textures added. Do you have a favorite?

Thanks for stopping by! Linking to: 
Please check them out for some great photos!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunrise at Keys View, Joshua Tree National Park

Last Saturday we set the alarm for 5 AM. We've been to Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park before, but never at sunrise, and I was curious to see what it was like. A major bonus... we didn't see a single person at this early hour (we left 29 Palms @5:30 and got to Keys View by about 6:10 AM), and this spot can get very crowded. The entire park was pretty much empty, so going in really early is great. The morning was very cold, and up at the View (about 5,200' elevation) the wind was blowing my tripod all over the place! Ah, what we won't do for a good photo, right?
Couldn't resist stopping just before reaching the View to catch the full moon setting. One of my favorite shots.

Perhaps because of the high elevation and the constant wind, but Keys View has very few Joshua Trees... this is one of the few! I think the shadowy mountain in the background is Mt. San Jacinto.

The first hint of sunrise, with a bit of light hitting the road coming up to Keys View. I watched the jet making the vapor trail overhead as I was setting up my tripod.

What's wrong with this picture? The placard makes the point that the view is often hazy due to air pollution blowing in from LA and other factors. Regardless, it's an incredible view. You can see the Salton Sea, Indio, Palm Springs, and the San Andreas fault among other things.

Took this photo shortly after leaving Keys View at one of the first turn-outs. The light was still great, and I have quite a few more photos from this session that I'll save for future posts.  Linking to Skywatch Friday. Check it out for great skies from all over the world. Have a wonderful weekend!