Empty wharf

This is an abandoned and empty wharf I found along the Embarcadero in San Francisco last week. The work day was over and I had a little spare time on my hands.  It was still fairly bright out, so instead of doing the tripod/HDR thing, I opted for a little "traditional" photo walk - just me and my trusty Nikon.  I really need to do this sort of thing more often.  It is amazing the things you find when you are not lugging extra gear around and trying to find "the shot" (whatever that is).  I just cruised up and down the Embarcadero, which is the waterfront roadway there, and deliberately walked slow and took curious looks at everything.  In this case, I found an alley and meandered down it, and came to this sight.  There are so many famous places to photograph in San Francisco, and yes I want to capture them all too, but I derive a lot of enjoyment out of finding these little lost and forgotten corners.  They are interesting to me in their own way.

A summer night

Last weekend I took off for a little while to shoot some around sunset, but didn’t really know where I was going to go.  I ended up driving up to Georgetown, which is a nice little town north of Austin.  I cruised around, looking for something to catch my eye.  I spent some time meandering around the campus of Southwestern University, taking some shots here and there.  Eventually I ended up driving out to Lake Georgetown.  I had never been out here before, but knew about it and found it using the GPS feature on my iPhone.  Boy does that feature come in handy sometimes!  Anyways, I saw a sign that said something like “scenic overlook” (I always try to follow those signs!) so I turned, parked, and started hiking around.  This photo is the first one I took, and literally this view of the sunset was the first thing I saw there.  Timing was really on my side since I caught the last rays of sun just before it dipped below the horizon.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/14, with exposures ranging from +2 to -3.  they were merged into an HDR in Photomatix and then I made some adjustments in PSE and Aperture.

Impact

I hiked around Hamilton Pool a while back with my buddy Michael Tuuk, and we were happy to have it all to ourselves.  It was an overcast day, which was also nice.  This shot is a closeup of the falls where they land on a nice big rock.  I always like to photograph waterfalls, and this one in particular is very nice.  I tried a lot of different angles that day (including the standard straight-on shot) and liked how this closeup of the impact zone came out.  If you ever get to Austin, be sure and get out to Hamilton Pool and check it out!

Blue skies in the morning

I had the good fortune of spending this morning on a solo photowalk around Austin.  Austin is a wonderful town and I am reminded of that fact every time I go take photos.  There are so many beautiful spots in town that it could take literally years to get to them all.  There is a reason that so many folks are moving here, and it ain't just that our housing is cheaper than other places (though that likely helps).  Case in point: this location.  I was actually parked at the back side of our beautiful Texas Capitol, and had wandered around it for a bit taking some shots.  I noticed that the sky out west of town was a beautiful blue color, and all my shots at the Capitol just weren't facing the right direction.  So, I headed back to my car and very nearly was about to hang it up for a bit, when I saw these fountains at an adjacent building.  I had walked by them many times, never stopping for a photo or a second glance.  But this time, the blue sky in the distance caught my eye, and being a fan of water and fountains anyways, I hung around until I got a composition that I thought might work.  So, here it is.  You can call this an accidental HDR, or an unplanned shot, or just a lucky find.  Either way, I was glad I came across it!

This is a 5 exposure HDR (+1 to -3) taken at f/11 and merged in Photomatix.  I made some adjustments in PSE and Aperture and that's about it.  Oddly, it came out of Photomatix very similarly to how it looks here.  Usually my images require a bit of maintenance after Photomatix but this one was pretty easy!

An amazing sunset

This is one of those lucky shots - lucky in the sense that I was lucky to be where I was when this incredible sunset arrived.  This was by far the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen.  I just love the shape that the clouds took that night, and the colors were just intense.  To top it off, I was able to get a reflection in the pond.  It was miraculous.  This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/11, with exposures from +3 to -2.  I merged them in Photomatix to create the HDR and then made some adjustments in PSE and Aperture.
On a side note, you may have noticed that I have changed the look of my website.  I grew tired of the old look and wanted to refresh it with a new look.  I hope you like the new look and would love to hear your feedback! 

Inside The Ferry Building

The Ferry Building was one of my primary targets while in San Francisco.  I had read about it and seen many pictures online.  Though my initial plan was to get a nice HDR of it at night (which I posted here), the other thing I wanted to do was get some shots from inside it.  I had read about an upstairs section which provided some nice views of the interior, but I arrived one evening and couldn't get access to the 2nd floor.  Luckily though, the downstairs entry was open and I had the place all to myself.  This is a single exposure taken in Aperture mode at f/4 and adjusted in PSE, Topaz Adjust and Aperture.

The Golden Gate Bridge

When in San Francisco, it is hard to not want to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge.  It's such a lovely structure.  I had most of an entire day, and purposefully planned my route so that I would wind up here at the end of the day.  I was hoping for sunset, but by the time I arrived here at Ft. Point it was still a pretty good ways until sunset.  So, I will have to get the sunset at the bridge another time.  I also would like to capture this scene at night time - I imagine the bridge looks pretty sweet all lit up.  Ft. Point is definitely a great place to take shots of the bridge from, since you get a nice angle, a clear view, and some cool rusty chains to boot!  

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/14 and merged in Photomatix.  Some additional tweaking was done in PSE and Aperture.  I have a bunch of pictures from this area and I will sprinkle them in here and there.  Hope yo like it and if you ever get to San Fran be sure and grab the camera and head to Ft. Point!

Cafe du Monde at night

Cafe du Monde is one of those must-visit places in New Orleans, at least to me.  They are well known for their strong chickory coffee and beignets.  Though I do not like coffee, I can speak from first-hand experience and confirm that the beignets are fabulous.  I was walking around the French Quarter, looking for various shots to take, and was at the street corner waiting to cross when I noticed this scene.  I liked all the hustle and bustle of the cafe, and of course the light trails from the passing cars.  This is a single 20 second exposure.

Bokeh in the streets

As I have written previously, I really enjoy using bokeh in my shots and even the occasional "pure blur" or complete bokeh, such as in this image.  I took this while walking the streets of San Francisco, though with the blur I could tell you it was anywhere and you couldn't really tell.  But trust me, I am an honest guy.  I liked all the colors and the blue sky that I saw, so I set my camera on manual focus, spun the dial a little to get just the right amount of blur, and fired away.  That's one of the nice things about shooting this way - no worries if the image isn't perfect because it's blurry to start with!  This was taken in the Financial District, sort of near Chinatown.  San Fran is a great place and I have plenty more shots to share from there, and most of them are not blurry so that's probably a good thing!

Hamilton Pool

I really enjoy waterfalls, and not just photographing them.  I find it peaceful to just listen to them and watch the water flow.  It's relaxing.  This waterfall is at Hamilton Pool in Austin.  I went there with my buddy Michael Tuuk a while back, and we got there just as the park opened.  That gave us free reign around the area before any tourists showed up and got in our way.  It was wonderful.  That's one of the things I enjoy about photography - getting up and moving early and getting to cool places before they get crowded.  That allows me to enjoy them so much more and really experience a place - not just get in line and check a sight off the list.

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/18 with exposures from -4 to +2.  I tend to take more exposures for each HDR these days as I did in the past.  It seems to help get a cleaner image.  I merged them in Photomatix and made my typical adjustments in PSE and Aperture.