During our hike through The Presidio along the Bay Ridge Trail, Joey and I took a brief detour to Inspiration Point. It’s a great bayscape from which you can see the Palace of Fine Arts, the Marina, Alcatraz, and much more. That day it was even more exciting because it was the day of the big America’s Cup race. Look at all those boats!
A few weeks ago the first America’s Cup race took place in San Francisco. As there was a ton of traffic, Joey and I decided not to drive anywhere and instead go on a hike closer to home. We ended up taking the California 1 down to The Presidio and then hiking the Bay Ridge Trail. It’s a great hike that winds through the park with lots of sweeping landscapes and cityscapes and bayscapes. We saw this giant spire thing and the San Francisco National Cemetery (third); the tombstones have the names of the soldiers on the front and then the names of their wives, if they chose to be buried with them on the back. What I love about the middle photo is how it well it portrays the dichotomy of this park and giant trees against the backdrop of metal and glass skyscrapers.
One of my favorite spots in the Yosemite was Tunnel View. We only stopped there briefly at sunset the one day as we drove up to Glacier Point. You get a lovely perspective of the whole valley with Bridalveil Falls as well. This panorama is composed of 7 photos stitched together.
Last week I showed off a few of my favorite single frames from Yosemite National Park. Now, here are the HDRs. As is my usual practice, each one is composed of 7 frames, each 1/3 of a stop apart. Both were taken at sunset from Glacier Point. The first is shot of half dome while the second includes Yosemite Falls falling into shadow.
A few weekends back, Joey took me on my first trip to Yosemite National Park! It’s not your typical camping trip for sure, more like Disneyland with more trees. Just like the amusement park there are screaming children, eco-friendly trams, and a fair amount of magic. I spent most of my days wide-eyed, craning my neck back to gape at the magnificent granite monoliths.
The multi-frame panoramas and HDRs are coming but I thought I would share a few of my favorite single frame images.
Bridalveil Falls from Tunnel View at sunset
Waterfall at sunset from Glacier Point
Half Dome at sunset from Glacier Point
Half Dome and Yosemite Falls at sunset from Glacier Point
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park
Light reflecting off the water at dawn along the trail to Mirror Lake
For my second hike, we stayed much closer to home. We walked West on Geary down to Land’s End then, after a short detour to look at the Sutro baths, walked back East along the Coastal Trail. This panorama is composed of 12 photos taken just before the end of the trail. There is, of course, the Golden Gate bridge and all the pretty little sail boats clustered beneath it but also the Presidio, China Beach, and, way off in the distance, the tip of the TransAmerica Building.
Panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline from the Coastal Trail East of Eagle’s Point and Sea Cliff.
It has come to my attention that all Californians simply LOVE the outdoors. I can scarcely find a resident who doesn’t camp or backpack, own a pair of quick-drying, moisture-wicking pants or covet their lifetime membership to REI.
Well, I’ve decided to honor my newly-minted San Francisco resident status with an homage to The Golden State’s sylvan fetish and take up… hiking.
For my first excursion, I went on a short 3.5 mile loop along the Steep Ravine Trail at Mt. Tamalpais State Park.
Sunlight hitting the trees.
Moss hanging off a low branch.
An HDR of the Pacific Ocean where it meets the San Francisco Bay. (You can even make out Sutro Tower!)
This will be the last of my Grand Canyon posts. I am so glad I made the trip. It is definitely more than just a really big hole in the ground. I learned so much and had so fun shooting and processing these images.
This last installment is macro images. The lens was a Nikon 105mm AF Micro courtesy of Joey Baker. I shot these wide open, no tripod necessary. Just flowers around our campsite at Ten-X in the Kaibab National Forest (just south of Grand Canyon National Park) and that last one is of our dinner. As you can see by the images, I was very helpful :D
This was my first attempt at a long-exposure star shot. We don’t have stars in DC. I mean, we have stars – on a particularly clear night I can even make out Orion – but between the light pollution and the regular pollution those aren’t the norm.
Stars at the Grand Canyon – WOW!
In this shot you can start seeing a little bit of blur from the Earth’s rotation in there because it was a 3minute exposure. The red line is a plane! and you can see that one tree branch in the lower right courtesy of a passing vehicle.
I’m sure most people reading this blog have seen, or at least heard, about Photoshop CS5‘s new feature Content-Aware Fill. In the videos they sent out before the product’s full release, the demonstrators used it to fill-in vast amounts of sky and land around a panoramic photo in what seemed like a matter of seconds.
Well, I don’t know how much RAM the people at Adobe are using but I want some. There was no “racing” Bryan O’Neil Hughes. The first time I tried selecting all of the empty space (you know, the grey and white checkerboard around the photomerged image), I sat down and ate brunch while the bar inched across. It came up with an error about memory. (Poor little MBP – it’s not her fault!) So I tried smaller areas. Just the sky, a portion of the sky. I ended up with mountains as clouds.
For areas about the size of my thumbnail at 100%, the action works better than fine but for larger spaces…? Let’s just say, don’t believe everything you see on YouTube.
Photo people keep the craziest hours. On this particular day at the Grand Canyon, we woke up at 4:00 to catch the sunrise. Slept during the heat of the day, then woke back up for sunset (and some to-be-posted star shots). As I mentioned before, we decided to get a different view on the canyon by driving out to Desert View near the east rim of the canyon. These are the non-HDR images from that shoot.
This is my first real attempt at HDR. I know, I know, where have I been? I’ve known the basic premises for awhile and even tried once a few years ago when I was in New Orleans. But my beautiful little iBook couldn’t handle it (not even as JPEGS !!! ::tear::) and as far as photojournalism goes, there’s not much of a market.
The first image was manipulated from the “photorealistic” preset while the second was from “saturated” – with that dead tree, surrealist looked way too Dali-wannabe.
**A trick Joey Baker taught me while he was helping me create the top image: save the 32bit version of your HDR then manipulate in 16bit to make different parts of the image look its best. Piece together in Layers**
I have always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon but for one reason or another it’s always been just out of reach. One summer my family even went to Las Vegas for our family vacation with the intent of taking a day trip to the National Park. We got as far as the Hoover Dam and turned back. Then last summer my mother and sister took a weekend trip out to Vegas and went on a tour without me. THE NERVE! So upset.
So last week, a friend of mine (who’s about as photo crazy as I am) and I drove out to Arizona and spent a few days photoging. It was wonderful! To all those who say it’s just a big hole in the ground, I retort “yes, but it’s a really REALLY big hole”.
All the literature says the best times to photograph it are at sunrise and sunset when the colors and shadows are at their peak. So here are two of the photos I shot our second day there both from around the Yavapai observation station on the South Rim.