Redwoods are the main attraction at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains a hundred miles west of San Francisco. But in the summer people also follow a winding road eleven miles into the park interior to enjoy the Stanislaus River. A substantial concrete and steel bridge serves the relatively few visitors. The bridge provides a great vantage point for photographing river rocks and white water. Recently summer visitors added interest to the scene. I used my cell phone so I could do a mobile upload to my facebook page.
Vallejo, California is on the northeast extremity of San Francisco Bay, with ferries running to San Francisco. I recently found the ferry terminal to be an interesting place to eat lunch, and I used the opportunity to take pictures — of course. I wanted to take a panorama of the scene outside the large windows. My first attempt lacked a few things, like a ferry and people. In mid-sandwich I saw the ferry arrive and went back to the spot for another try. In the meantime a man had taken up a chair in the corner, and I only had to wait another moment for cyclist to take a position.
I had a couple of hours to spare in San Francisco earlier this month, so I walked around Chinatown with my camera. I wanted to show Chinatown as part of San Francisco. The city’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid is a few blocks from Chinatown, so I took a view looking towards the Bay. I did a little touchup in Photoshop, but the picture is mostly about pointing the camera.
One of the few places to park around lunchtime in Santa Barbara is out on the pier. Parking is free while eating at The Harbor Restaurant, so we made the best of it. While waiting for my lobster pot pie, I took pictures of harbor traffic, including one of a ship named the Ocean Rose. Looking at the pictures later on, I could see large bags of something on the deck. What’s in them?
The top tip for taking good photos is to first go to a place that has a great scene almost everywhere you point the camera. Then point the camera and shoot. Goat Rock Beach on the Sonoma coast a couple hours north of San Francisco is one of those locations. In the winter there can be high surf from distant storms even when the local temperatures are mild. This past week temperatures were not bad, in the 50s, but strong winds whipped up foam on the breakers.
The quickshotartist principle is that the most important part of photography is pointing the camera. Here is a photo I took with a pocket camera over the holidays. It’s almost as taken, although I did darken the highlights slightly in Photoshop™. The dusk sky adds interest to the colorful illuminations. I went to the event near sunset to capture the sky effect.
It’s so easy to be impressed with the brilliant flowers in Hawaii that the tropical foliage is overlooked. Flowers usually stand as individual subjects while foliage forms patterns. Foliage patterns call for close cropping to remove distracting surroundings. Usually there is no need for elaborate processing of the images, but sometimes posterization can be used to strengthen the patterns.
A jack-o’-lantern is a carved pumpkin. It is associated chiefly with the holiday of Halloween, and was named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o’-lantern. Thanks, Wikipedia. The difficult part, after carving them, that is, is getting the exposure right in the inevitable photographs. Too little and only the cutout face appears. Too much room light and the internal illumination is lost. The trick is to get close and check the results on the camera’s LCD display.
Point Lobos is one of the world’s beautiful places, and every visit has photo opportunities. There is one spot where low tide reveals rock strata with tide pools, ideal for closeups. I was tired from lugging around an SLR with a lens assortment, and acquainted with the old-guy-on-slippery-rocks-while-balancing-equipment problem, I walked around with just my pocket camera. That works great for closeups because the camera focuses very close and is easy to hold with one hand. A shot of the general scene proved irresistible, and that led to some Adobe Photoshop™ retouching of original images that could have been better.
I like to photograph flowers in a natural setting to preserve the feeling that the flower is part of nature, rather than extracted as part of a bouquet. The problem is that the background can be confusing, so much so it’s hard to identify the subject. Recently I brought along some black background material to experiment with isolating flowers. Perhaps predictably, the photos are more dramatic and, yes, less natural.
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