Moonrise in the Park

Getting a shot of the moon rising/setting over the California Academy of Science has become a minor obsession of mine. Four conditions must be ideal to the the shots I have in mind: time of day, season of the year, trajectory of the moon and the weather. Amazing how few times a year they all combine to get that perfect shot. I like this one but it's not the shot I'm dreaming of.

Beautiful Surprise

While downloading new files from the Nikon this morning I found this ravishing image shot December 6th I had totally forgotten. Don't know even where it was shot. What a pleasant surprise.

Blue-Blooded Fire Hydrant

San Francisco fire hydrants are color-coded by where their water comes from. A water tank atop Nob Hill is the source for blue hydrants, according to Barnard Winn's "San Francisco Underfoot."

Solitary Splendor

Magic hour in San Francisco. I'm shooting from a 12th floor SOMA penthouse, looking down at the semi-industrial part of town. Amidst the graffiti d warehouses, storage units & anonymous high-rise buildings St. Joseph's Cathedral glows like a beacon. But at ground level, St. Joseph's is empty and abandoned. Surrounded by a chain-link fence with ferocious No Trespassing warnings. Broken windows. The exact opposite of the original glory you see from the sky.

Abstract Art in Real Life

This is a wall in the latrine at Headlands Center for the Arts in the Marin Headlands. The art center is housed in former US Army barracks. This wall has aged wonderfully. Put it in a frame & you'd swear it was a work of art.

Little Red House on the Mountain

I spent the first weekend in April on a mountain top in Utah. It snowed for 24 hours straight and when it stopped snowing, Oh. My. what a beautiful world. This shot was taken just before dawn. The sun is illuminating the sky in the west, but hasn't hit ground level yet. Notice how the trees lead up to and embrace the little red "house," in a very satisfying composition.

Aspens 1

Adobe's Lightroom is the most amazing tool. I used its "cold tone" preset as a starting point to make this image look as wintery as possible. By contrast, the next picture has no manipulation at all. The file is pretty much just how it came out of the camera.

Winter Scene 2

This is the scene as it actually looked. It's beautiful, but it doesn't evoke winter as strongly as the toned picture. In fact, to my eye, the toned picture almost looks more realistic!

Sunshine and Shadows

The valley floor is bathed in late afternoon sunlight. Rapidly moving clouds shroud the mountains. A red tractor casts a long shadow in the pasture. Springtime in Cache Valley, Utah.

Primary Colors

No, this picture was not staged! It's exactly what I saw--a yellow bike with red tires parked in front of a blue building in late afternoon light. This is exactly why you should never go anywhere without your camera. You can never predict when a picture like this will appear and be your only chance to capture it. I've never seen that bicycle again.

Mysterious Statues

These amazing statues from Burning Man lived on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building for about three years. Entitled "Passage," the work was created by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. "Crouching Spider" by Louise Bourgeois has since replaced them.
I used a wide-angle lens for this shot for two reasons. First, to fit the entire scene in the frame. Second, to use the distorted perspective to add mystery. Backlighting amplifies the mood. Is the figure embracing the city or attacking it?
The statues lend themselves to many interpretations. Their sheer scale alone makes them impressive. From the front, they can be seen as warm and welcoming. At other angles they can seem cold and cruel.
I hoped they would stay there forever and was sad to see them leave.

Adding Mystery to an Industrial Scene with Lensbaby

These enormous cranes at the Port of Oakland have fascinated me for years. They can be seen clearly from San Francisco. However,the closest I'd ever been was on the Bay Bridge. I assumed you couldn't get much closer, so never thought seriously about making pictures of them.

Yesterday I was in Alameda with a friend doing some test shooting with the Lensbaby, a special-purpose lens that allows selective focus more precisely and interestingly than relying on depth-of-field alone. We started out at Bay Farm Island.Great views, but everything too far away. So my friend, who lives in Alameda, drove us to the Naval Air Station. Well, guess what's right on the way--this very scene! Sweet!

Thanks to Lensbaby, the white loading cranes pop right out of the scene. Awesome!

Seize the Moment

Unlike most of my work, this is a totally unretouched photo. I loved the way the morning sun shone through the bay window on the right. The starburst inside the silhouette of a funnel-shaped vent on an adjoining roof was pure serendipity.