Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh, the places I've been ... (Part III)

... and the things I've seen!!!

(Day 2 - Rome to Florence to Mestre (Venice). October 2, 2009)

After 2nd night in Rome, traveling begins again.

I had booked the night's stay in Venice. Turned out it's not really in Venice, it's about 10-20 minutes away in a place called Mestre.

I had tried booking train tickets from Rail Europe while I was still in the States. After figuring out all the schedules, and about to pull the trigger, I found out that you have to be in the States for at least 3 working days after you book the tickets. They FedEx the tickets to you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh, the places I've been ... (Part II)

... and the things I've seen!!!

(Day 1 - Rome. October 1, 2009)

First real day of vacation. Woke up, got ready, went downstairs to get some breakfast. Breakfast was good, but one sip of the cappuccino, and suddenly I knew why Europeans are so snobbish elitist choosy about their coffee. It was unbelievably good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh, the places I've been ... (Part I)

... and the things I've seen!!!

(Getting there)

I managed to make a trip of a lifetime happen, with literally zero notice.

I have always loved traveling, seeing new places, meeting new friends, and for lack of a better term, just gaining new experiences.

Changing jobs, I had about 3 free weeks till I started at my new job.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Muir Woods National Monument

Friday, I took a day off from work, and went to the Muir Woods park near Muir Beach, CA.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Praying to the Sun God

Saw yesterday that this was "explore"d on Flickr. Not very high, but made #306.

Praying to the Sun God

It had been a while since I took any "real" photos of my car. Decided to go and get some sunset shots. Took the long way to the beach through some twisties (our term for twisty mountain roads). Timed it so that I was at the beach at sunset. Took a few shots, and this was one of them.

I also bought a gorilla-pod that day, and played a bit with that on the way back.
"Prepare for Ludicrous Speed"

Other photos that have been explored:
Will Pose for Peanuts!! 20080330_1156_LPR_AX The Exchange Just a bit more...

Passing Time in the Driveway

Last weekend in LA, I was waiting for other folks to get ready. Instead of watching TV, I decided to just see what I could photograph in the driveway.

Here's a few of the "good" shots. I like the first one quite a lot; the other ones I'm not too sure about.


Just a Leaf

Montara State Beach

Last week, I went to Montara State Beach on California Highway 1, north of Half Moon Bay. Didn't have a lot of time, so ended up taking just a couple of photographs... one of the scene and a self-portrait.

I think this one came out pretty nicely.
Montara State Beach, California

I then took a self-portrait. You can see the flash in the photo - no time to set up stands, etc. I could have photo-shopped it out, but chose not to spend the time. Kind of gives it a "real" feeling to me.

Santa Monica Beach

I was in LA last weekend, and among other activities, managed to spend a few hours at Santa Monica Beach on Saturday afternoon. While enjoying the atmosphere, I started shooting characters that caught my eye for one reason or another.

I did the same technique that I first tried on Gay Pride 2009... which is to meter the light in a couple of directions, and save those settings in the Custom dial positions, and just switch between them as need.

Unfortunately, I had to leave around 6pm or so, so no sunset shots :-(

Two of my favorite shots.
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach

Some more...
Santa Monica Beach Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach Santa Monica Beach

This one seems to be the most popular based on the number of views. Not quite sure why :-)
Santa Monica Beach

You can check out the rest on Flickr.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Photographing Laser Light

My attempt at a technique taught by Dean Collins for photographing beams of light.

Light itself is invisible. Think of your car headlights. You don't see the light coming out of the headlights, but rather the areas where it hits.

To photograph it, you make the light beam visible by making it "hit" something in all the areas you want it to show up in your photograph. Pretty simple concept and pretty simple to do.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Photographing Fireworks

Every year around the 4th of July and New Year's Day, there are several people asking for advice on how to photograph the upcoming fireworks. It seems that the questions are almost always the same, just new people asking them.

I'll share my technique and offer some tips. If you're a seasoned photographer, then most, if not all, will be redundant. Other people should hopefully find this useful.

In some ways, this article is late by a couple of days; being written on July 5th. Or you can see the glass as half-full, and realize that you now have many months to get ready :-)

Quick Guide
  • Set your camera to ISO: 100, Aperture: f/11, Shutter Speed: Bulb
  • Turn off Long Exposure NR (on my camera, it doubles the time for an exposure - essentially forcing a break between photographs)
  • Put the camera on a tripod, with remote release cable attached
  • Set the zoom on your lens to cover the desired area
  • Set your lens to manual focus, and focus on infinity
The Photographs
The Fireworks
As the fireworks go off, anticipate the bursts and shoot away. Take as many photographs as you can. You may end up throwing away a bunch of them.

You can usually see the rocket go up before it explodes. Press the shutter as it's going up and keep it pressed till the sparks fall off.

The longer you keep the shutter pressed, the more fireworks you'll capture in that photograph.

Beyond that it's practice. Anticipating the bursts, capturing cool shapes, keeping the photos from being too busy, etc. comes from experience. The more you shoot, the better you'll get.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gay Pride 2009

I went and saw the parade and the party for the first time. Took several photographs (93 came out decent), and have posted them to Flickr.

Some of the photographs are "adult", so you have to log into Flickr to see those.

Photography Information:
Using my light meter, I metered 3 settings and saved these in my camera's custom dial settings:
  • Sun at my back
  • Sun to my front
  • In the shade
I did this before I took the first shot. Since it wasn't cloudy (moving clouds, hiding the sun), I was all set up. I also set up the right white balance using my expodisc.

From that point on, it was pretty easy. Click of the dial, and I had all the settings preset. Just point, compose and shoot.

Here's a few teasers.
Gay_Pride_2009_65 Gay_Pride_2009_70

Gay_Pride_2009_71 Gay_Pride_2009_14

Friday, June 26, 2009

Photographing a beam of light

Edit: I've rewritten this here. Keeping this post in place now - maybe delete it later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Walk Across the Golden Gate

Golden Gate Bridge at Dusk

It had been quite a while since I had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on foot. Many, many years if I remember correctly.

Decided to do it today. As luck would have it, I managed to get there a little before sunset, and caught the sunset from the bridge.

Yesterday, I had gone to Santa Cruz, and hung out at the boardwalk and took a few photographs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Years 2009 Fireworks

Taken from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Showed up there with plenty of time before the fireworks began. Hung out and enjoyed the beautiful view, chatted with a few people, etc. till the show started.

Initially, I hadn't planned on taking any photographs, but once I was there any doubts were gone.

Had my camera gear with me, but didn't have a tripod. So I put the camera on the roof of the car. Had to put the lens cap and trigger release cable under the lens to get the right angle. Got a lot of light trails and cars in the photographs, but cropping them did the trick :-)

Lessons learnt: Take a tripod when you're taking your camera. You never know when you'll need it.

Fireworks Fireworks

Fireworks Fireworks

Fireworks Fireworks

Fireworks Fireworks

An un-cropped view


Golden Gate Park (part II)

Some more photographs from Golden Gate Park (taken in February - I've been lazy putting them up). Pretty much the same processing as the Pink Magnolia one.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 1

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 2

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 3

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 4

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 5

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 6

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 7

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 8