Posts Tagged: California

July 13, 2011 – Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

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.

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April 26, 2011 – Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley

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.

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February 15, 2011 – Alcatraz



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.

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January 10, 2011 – Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley

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.

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November 19, 2010 – Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

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.

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