Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Sunday, January 26th, 2014


This week I was busy processing the rest of my images from San Diego.  It was hard to choose one for image of the week because there were many good ones and also because I am planning to post a show next week in my virtual gallery so I was a little hesitant to steal my own thunder by posting the best of the best. I ended up choosing this one for being a somewhat off kilter image of an iconic location.

As I am trying to expand my niche as a travel photographer I have been thinking about how to address the iconic locations.  When I have seen the same view of the same location over and over I find it a little off putting to stand in the well worn footprints of the thousands of photographers who have come before me.  On the other hand I don’t think you can call yourself a travel photographer if you don’t have some shots of the iconic locations in your portfolio.

Since the campanile at the San Diego Mission is usually shot from the front where there is little vegetation nearby I chose to shoot it from the back garden and at an angle to offer something that might not have been seen before.  I also liked the way the bouganvillia and the trees helped to frame the subject though it might be argued that the flowers in the upper left are somewhat distracting.

Curly Fern

Saturday, January 18th, 2014





I traveled to San Diego last week with just the EOS M to really put it through its paces and see if I could make it work as a travel camera. This image is the result of an experiment to see if I could do macro photography using my Tamron 18-270 lens with adaptor on the Canon EOS M  using a monopod. The answer was not really, at least not really well.  The image was shot inside the Botanical House at Balboa Park which is well shaded and fairly dark.

The settings were: ISO 1600 1/30th of a second at f8.0. I would have liked more depth of field for this to be a really successful shot but I couldn’t hold the monopod and big lense still enough to make that happen. I did not even try to use the small flash that came with the EOS M because I was pretty sure the long lens would block the light  and I don’t really like the harshness of flash for botanicals anyway. I had realized going into it that one of the issues with the monopod was that I would need an L bracket to do a vertical shot…not in the spirit of lightening the load.

I did feel that enough of the curls on the fern were sharp in this image to go for an artistic look and I didn’t even mind some noise for that look although I did do a little noise reduction and sharpening in Photoshop. I cropped the image to get closer in on the fern, then took it into Nik Color Efex Pro and added a detail extractor, a brilliance/warmth filter and a darken/lighten center filter.  I like the vibrant colors and especially the purples in the background.

AS for the EOS M, the jury is still out.  The first two days in San Diego I carried around a photo bag with the Tamron telephoto lens, a super wide angle and a set of extension tubes.  Since the monopod wouldn’t fit in that bag I needed a separate bag for that.  It was awkward and cumbersome and made me tired and grumpy.  I’m trying to get to a place where photography is still a fun part of my travel experience.  The rest of the trip I just carried the camera with its 18-55mm lens and I was a much happier camper.  I did get some great images and I relearned how to zoom with my feet. But I still want a small lightweight telephoto lens. I am also very frustrated with trying to frame an image using a screen that I cannot see clearly in bright light.

I truely think mirrorless cameras are the new wave in photography.  I am hearing of many professionals going out and buying a full system from Sony or Fuji or Olympus. I think Canon is missing the boat and needs to step up to the plate with a full system of M lenses or they are going to loose their market share. I have no plans to retire my 7D but I am thinking about how to adjust my photography to fit my goal of traveling light rather than deal with the burden of a full set of creative tools in all circumstances.

Star of India

Sunday, January 12th, 2014


Well, I’m in a rush to get out and shooting as my long awaited visit to San Diego is now a reality.  I arrived yesterday and just had time to stroll along the waterfront.  I won’t show the before picture this week but the biggest thing I did to this image was to edit out a submarine to the left of the ship.  Then I took it into Nik Color Efex Pro and added a detail extractor and darken/lighten center filter.  I also cropped for a little better composition.


Sunday, August 4th, 2013


In trying to discover whether this was an egret or a heron I learned that egrets are part of the larger heron family.  So it might be an egret but I am sure it is a heron! This is just a grab shot that turned out well.  I had been to the Mad River Beach near Arcata, California and passed by this old bridge over the Mad River now doing service as a walking/bike trail.  Walking out on the bridge I was disappointed that the chain link fence obscured the beautiful view for photography.  But when I spotted this guy sitting in the middle of the river with the bright green vegetation for background I decided to give it a try and shoved my lens up to the hole in the chain link and clicked.  In post processing I turned once more to Nik where I added a detail extractor, a brilliance warmth filter and a Polaroid transfer filter with a large border.  Love the result.