Posts Tagged California
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Today’s picture is the 400th post to the Picture of the Day!! Congratulate me, dangit!
Right, good, now that I’ve got that out there… Here’s another shot from Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco. I mentioned I had several photos from my recent visit that turned out pretty well, so here’s one of them. The area that’s called the “National Seashore” is kind of a spit of land that’s mostly separated from the main coastline and juts out a bit into the ocean. It mostly consists of small rolling hills covered with grass, and some low marshy/swampy tidelands. I had a lot of fun taking a bunch of shots of the late afternoon sun playing around on the grass, especially when the odd cloud would pass by, which did some cool stuff with textures of lighting. Using a polarizer was a must, as it cut through a lot of the haze and made for some nice cobalt-blue skies. The only downside was that it was right about when I took this picture that I remembered that I’ve got a fairly strong allergy to grass, and that’s why I had been sneezing and blowing my nose and generally feeling pretty miserable the whole day. But, it’s all worth it when you get a decent shot or two.
Okay, see you tomorrow for post number 401!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/250s, f/10.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 21mm.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Hey everyone! Last week I mentioned that I wouldn’t be posting anything on Monday. Apparently I used that as an excuse to also not post anything on Tuesday. But, now that it’s Wednesday, let’s get back to it.
I had to fly down to San Francisco for work on Monday, so I took the opportunity to fly out early Sunday morning and rent a car for the day. I didn’t really have a specific plan of where to go, but I figured I’d shoot for the coast north of the city. Thus, I ended up spending most of my day farting around Point Reyes National Seashore. That’s a reasonably interesting place, if you’re in the area and have some time to kill. There are some nice beaches (nice as in pretty, not nice as in let’s-lay-out-a-towel-and-get-some-sun), some interesting geography, and some wicked nasty wind. But, that makes for some big waves, which are also pretty cool.
I realize that it’s somewhat ironic that a picture captioned “Point Reyes National Seashore” would not contain a beach, or a shoreline, or anything even water related. But that’s where we are. Point Reyes is a triangular wedge of land that juts out from the mainland, and it contains, among other things, a bunch of historic ranches that are still operational. This one was along the main road in the park, after I had pulled away from the water a bit.
It’s interesting to note that I made *very* minimal adjustments to the image. Meaning, I tweaked the brightness slightly, and added a touch of sharpening, but other than that, this is what came off the camera. As in, I didn’t tweak the colors at all. Often these days you see pics from Instragram and other apps like it where people make it look all yellow-y and old-time looking, but none of that funny business happened here. It actually did look like this, it was pretty incredible. All of the wind meant that the air was thick with haze and mist from crashing waves, so the entire sky to the west was glowing. Cool stuff. Oh, I just remembered that my statement before about how I adjusted the image wasn’t quite true – there was a spot of lens flare that I removed with Picasa. So, I’m basically saying that I totally cheated. But I’m okay with that.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/160s, f/13.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 74mm.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Wait, it’s Tuesday already? What happened to Monday? Dang. I was kind of planning to post another Hawaii picture today, but when I started digging around looking for one (shouldn’t be THAT hard, I haven’t even gone through half of them yet, so the number I have available to choose from online is pretty small) I stumbled across this one from Yosemite. So I figured I’d save Hawaii for another day, and here we are.
I took this one with my wide-angle lens (Tokina 11-16), and it’s true that super wide-angle lenses cause some crazy distortion around the edges. But yes, that tree really was growing at like a 45 degree angle. I thought I had done a fairly good job at keeping everything as level as it can be, but now that I’m looking at those trees in the distance on the right, I’m thinking that side might be riding a tiny bit too high. Hmm. Oh well.
This was taken the first weekend in November last year. I was down in San Francisco for work, so I took a weekend to drive out to Yosemite. That was actually my first time out there, but it was really pretty at that time of year. The weather was of course pretty iffy (we only had a few hours of good weather, right after we got there (that’s when I took this and most of the other pictures that I got while there.) The full day we had planned for Sunday got rained out in a pretty dramatic way. Oh well, that kind of thing happens, especially in the shoulder seasons. Next time, next time.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 400. Focal length: 11mm.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Today’s picture is, of course, a picture of the island of Alcatraz, in the middle of San Francisco Bay. This was taken from Treasure Island, which is a decommissioned Naval base or something. I don’t actually know any of the details, because honestly, I don’t care. But, it’s there, and I was there, and now this picture is there. Nice.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/500s, f/14, ISO 100. Focal length: 154mm.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Well, the weekend came and went, and I still didn’t get around to downloading all of the pics on my camera from my recent trip home to visit the parents. Sigh. I mean, this is getting to be a bit of a dangerous situation, because as I talk about it more and more often, it’s almost like I’m trying to build up some hype, which would then just be setting everybody up for disappointment. I mean, I think I got a couple decent shots (from Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, and from a day I spent at Vail), but there’s really nothing mind-blowing. I just figured it’d be nice to toss a couple of them up here because they’re new and somewhat temporally relevant. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.
In the meantime, here’s a somewhat recent shot from my Yosemite weekend in November. For those keeping score, I was down in the bay area for work, and I managed to sneak into the Sierra for the weekend while I was there. This wasn’t the Yosemite picture I was originally going to post today, but I couldn’t find that one, mostly because I was too lazy to really look. So, instead you get this one.
This was taken from the Glacier View (or whatever it’s called) viewpoint, looking over Yosemite Valley. (Okay, a quick search says it’s actually called Glacier Point. Whatever.) It was one of those three-quarters-cloudy days, which meant that there were some neat little splotches of sunshine here and there over the valley. Halfdome itself was never really illuminated in a very interesting way (at least not while I was up there), but there were still some interesting shots to take. So, not a total waste of time.
Okay, see you all tomorrow.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/250s, f/10.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 90mm.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Hello, hello. Looks like I managed to squeeze in one more post this week afterall. Congrats! This is Lower Yosemite Falls, in Yosemite National Park. I had mentioned in the last picture I posted from Yosemite that some bad weather rolled in while we were there, and this was the result. This was the day that we were going to spend driving across the park to the eastern entrance, and also do some hiking here and there. But, it was raining pretty steadily, and they ended up closing the road through the park anyway. So, blah. Gave us an excuse to take the rental car back to the airport early and avoid an extra-day charge. But, it at least made the waterfalls look nice.
Today’s picture is actually interesting for another reason though. Or I suppose I should say, “today’s picture is actually interesting though.” Why’s that, you ask? (Hahaha, who am I kidding, you asking that would imply that you’re reading this, but I know better.) Well, it’s because, a few days ago, I downloaded a trial copy of Adobe Lightroom, and I’m putting it through its paces. Normally, I do all of my image management and touching up using Picasa, the free tool from Google. It’s… not great. But it’s fast, and it gets the job done. It only has a few tools to choose from, but if you know how to use them, it’s actually surprisingly powerful. But, there are definitely limits to what it can do, and often it’s clear that I’m using it in ways that it wasn’t really intended, so it can feel like a giant hackjob at times. Thus, the Lightroom trial.
After a few days, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. On the surface, it seems extremely powerful and slick. But, after using it for a little while, I’ve realized that even with all of the crazy fancy tools, I haven’t really found myself able to do much that I couldn’t do before. I mean, sure, there are tools that Picasa flat-out doesn’t have, light noise-reduction. And the tools definitely allow finer-grained control of exposure and color. But it’s an incremental improvement at best, not a night-and-day difference like I would hope for (and expect, based on the price.) Also, it’s SO EFFING SLOW! It’s amazingly unresponsive. Using it feels like I’m riding a tricycle on the freeway. Granted, a large part of the problem is that I’m using fairly dated hardware. But, even on my crusty old desktop PC, Picasa runs like a champ. Performance and the responsiveness of the UI is one thing I may not be able to get over.
Oh, right, I think I forgot to mention this part: today’s picture is the first picture that I edited purely in Lightroom. Actually, not quite true. It’s the second. But it’s the first one I’m posting here.
I’m going to keep using Lightroom, as it’s entirely possible that I’m not giving it a fair shake, because the controls are clearly not what I’m used to. (I’ve been using Picasa for YEARS – literally! – so I’ve gotten embarrassingly proficient with it.) I mean, I’ve got 30 days of free trial, I may as well use them. But I’ve got a feeling I’m going to run back to Picasa with open arms and tears streaming down my cheeks at the end of this crazy experiment. We’ll see.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/4.5, ISO 400. Focal length: 11mm.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
So, yesterday, in all of that Yosemite and East Coast confusion, it seems I left out the sort-of punchline of the story, which was that, I had actually taken the time to go through some of the East Coast pics (which I think I mentioned), but I had just forgotten to take that last step of uploading them up to my web host. Thus, I had every intention of posting one yesterday, but I still failed.
So, back to today. This is not from anywhere on the East Coast. To make things as confusing as possible, this is from Yosemite. Which explains perfectly why this is the 4th appearance of the phrase “East Coast” in today’s post.
This was taken right in the valley, which would have meant nothing to me before this weekend when I was there. But since I have now been there, saying this was “right in the valley” makes total sense to me, so I’m going to toss it right out there as if I’m some kind of Yosemite veteran, based on the 27 hours I was there. The weather was really nice on Saturday, but right around the end of Saturday (ie, “now”, in the context of today’s picture), the bad weather started rolling in, and it didn’t leave until I was well outside of California. That’s unfortunate, it’s true, but it just gives me that much more reason to head back.
On that note, even though I’ve only been there once, I can say with authority that the fall is a FANTASTIC time to head to Yosemite. There were no crowds to speak of, there were plenty of vacancies in the hotels in the park, and the fall colors were amazing! True, the weather can (apparently) be hit-or-miss, but given that the whole week before we were there was great, as was the whole week after, I’d say we just got really unlucky, just like when the October Nor’Easter rolled through New England on the 1.5 days that we were there. That just seems to be the way it’s going these days. I’d like to make it back to Yosemite in the winter as well, but I’m not sure if I can swing that this year.
In completely random other news, I was contacted by somebody from the Marketing staff for a Broadway show called Time Stands Still. Apparently the show is somewhat photography related, but she mentioned that they have a series of “talkbacks” that actually sound really interesting. (The lady, Ann, says that’s when they have sort of a lecture/q&a after the show. I had no idea.) Seems like there’s only one left, on November 16. But, they’ll have three or four staff photographers from Getty Images talking, including a Pulitzer Prize winner. Good stuff. If you’re in the New York Area. Which I’m not. But hey, maybe you are, and maybe you’d be interested. Here’s the info if you want: http://www.timestandsstillonbroadway.com/talkbacks.php . And no, they didn’t give me any money or anything to write that. That would have been a silly thing for them to do, since there aren’t enough of you, dear readers, to justify that. So why did I bring it up? Not sure. But there it is.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/13.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 37mm.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Hello everyone! As (sort-of) promised, here’s a shot that I took over the weekend while I was visiting Lake Tahoe. You’re looking out over Emerald Bay, and that’s Fannette Island there in the water (which, according to the tour guide on a boat tour I was on, is the only island in all of Lake Tahoe). As you may be able to tell, this was taken with my wide-angle lens (Tokina 11-16), so it’s nice (for me) to see that I’m still using it. Why do I say that? Well, before last summer, I was using lenses that were 28mm at the wide-end (first a 28-300, later a 28-75), so I decided to buy the wide-angle because I was missing out on a lot of stuff. But later in the year, I swapped out the 28-75 for a 17-50. Before the switch, I had to reach for the Tokina for anything even sort of wide, so it got a fair amount of use. 17mm is pretty wide though, so I wasn’t sure how often I’d actually want to go wider (and I wondered if I would have even decided to buy the wide-angle in the first place had I gone with the 17-50 earlier), but I proved to myself this weekend that, yes, there are absolutely still times when it’s handy to have. Woo!
In other news… There’s this new website that you all need to check out: Flattr.com. It’s a great way to show some love to websites that you like. Basically, you pay a couple bucks each month, and you click a button on sites you like. At the end of the month, all the sites that you “Flattr-ed” split up your couple bucks. I LOVE this idea, since to me it’s absolutely worth a few bucks each month to help out the folks that make the content I like, who may otherwise be too small to make any money from advertising or anything. A couple of bucks a month is such a small amount that I definitely won’t miss it, but yet that’s way more than these guys would otherwise be able to get from having me visit their site, even if they were big enough to attract the attention of the ad buyers.
So, check it out!! Obviously, I would LOVE if you signed up and Flattr’ed my site (And if you’ve got a site, let me know, I’d love to Flattr you as well to share the love), but even if you don’t want to do that, you should at least acknowledge that it’s an awesome idea, right? The Flattr button is at the bottom of all my posts, although I’m not sure if it comes through the RSS feed, so if that’s how you read the blog, you may have to click through to get to it.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens w/ Hoya Circular Polarizer. 1/200s, f/9.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 12mm.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Hey again everyone. Today’s picture was taken from Treasure Island, which is this little splotch of land out in the Bay off of San Francisco. It was formerly a naval base or something, but now it’s the place where a friend of mine recently got married. That explains why I was there. What’s your excuse?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do some tweaking on this one. Mostly just bumping up the contrast a little bit, to cut through the haze. But I swear the water looked all inky like that even before I touched it up. It was right around this time that I got my new Canon 55-250mm low-end telephoto (to replace my old Quantaray 70-300mm low-end telephoto), but I can’t remember if I actually had it yet on this trip. I’m going to go ahead and guess yes, and thus tag the post with that one. But that could be wrong. Whatever.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/400s, f/14.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 208mm.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Hey everyone, here’s a nice pic to carry you through the weekend. This is a pretty old one, I took it on a roadtrip up the California coast, when Julie and I were driving north from San Francisco back to Seattle. We didn’t have time to take the coast the whole way, but we made it as far as the Redwoods before heading back to I-5. A nice drive, worth the time for sure.
Before letting you get back to whatever you were doing before, I’d first like to give a little shout-out to Rhonda Moon. Because she linked to me, which is awesome! Hopefully the torrential flood of traffic I’m going to send her way <crickets chirping> will make it worth her while.
Have a good weekend!
Notes: Canon PowerShot S230 (Point and shoot). 1/1500s, f/8.0