Tuesday, May 27, 2014

San Diego

We decided to get away for the holiday weekend so we took a 2-day trip down to San Diego to eat and relax. We stopped by the SD Safari park on the way down. It's a pretty small park and wasn't too crowded considering the long weekend.

We rode the Africa tram first before the line got too long. They get you pretty close to some of the animals which is cool considering it's not an extra charge like some of the more personal tours they have. We spotted a vulture with her baby. I only had my 18-200 on so couldn't get a close enough pic but here are some cropped versions.

I realized I wasn't going to get close enough so I switched to my 300mm + 1.4tc for the rest of the ride. We saw a bunch of other animals which was pretty cool since they are out in the open and not behind cages like at the zoo. This is probably the closest we will get to Africa for a long time. I snapped a few others, and one of a baby Giraffe towards the end.

We hit the park in about 3 hours, and I got a few other decent shots.

The lion cubs were out during the am. They pretty much laid in the shade the whole time tho. There was about 2 seconds where they played together but I had my long lens on and didn't get a good shot.

The Gorilla exhibit had a new baby. I was able to snap a few before she took it behind some logs.

After the park, we headed down to SD. We had dinner at OB Noodle House which we saw on Triple D. We had the pho, spicy garlic wings and house fried rice.

I'm not a huge fan of pho, but I liked the broth....J said because it was milder than some of the ones she goes to. She said some of the ones around here are better.

But the garlic wings were so good...crispy, juicy and tons of flavor. The best wings we ever had were the fish sauce wings at Pok Pok in Portland, but these were probably second best.

The fried rice was also good, had their house sausage, shrimp and some other kind of beef. It had a sweetness to it like the Chinese sausage but it was really flavorful.

We would definitely come back. Other reviews said the sizzling fish was good so maybe we'll have to get that next time.

We headed over to harbor island to take skyline pics at sunset/blue hour. Clouds rolled in tho and there wasn't much of a sunset. Blue hour wasn't all that great either as most of the color was blocked by the clouds. I still managed to get a panoramic of downtown SD with the Coronado bridge.

Obligatory shot

San Diego skyline and Coronado Bridge from harbor Island
Skyline at Twilight

I woke up early the next day for morning twilight/sunrise pics looking across from Coronado. Downtown San Diego blue hour from Coronado

It was still cloudy but the blue/purple hues from twilight still came through. Twilight was over the next 30 second exposure I took right after this as it doesn't last very long. The water was nice and calm making for some good reflections. There was no sunrise so I headed back to the hotel early.

We went to an early breakfast at Hash house. I read reviews to get there before 8am to avoid huge crowds so we got there by around 7:45 so there was no wait. I ordered the sage chicken and waffles and J had the corn beef hash.

Portions are ridiculous...probably big enough to feed a few people. The chicken and waffles was meh. Bit dry and not that much flavor. Roscoes kills it by a mile. The corn beef hash however was good. If we ever went back, they have a smoked salmon scramble that sounds good. As we were leaving, the line outside was crazy. Not sure what all the hype is about, but we'll have to try it again when we are back.

We spent the day shopping at the mall near hotel circle. On the way out we headed over to Lolita's for some carne asada fries.

Still a koo spot, but maybe next time we will try one of the other highly rated Mexican joints in the area for their carne asada fries.

We stopped by the Carlsbad outlets and had some Menchie's and called it a trip. No recent trips on the horizon. We have been wanting to go back to Seattle tho for some Serious Pie and Salumi and I want to retake city pics at twilight. Who knows, maybe in the near future.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

N-photo feature

Earlier this year I contacted N-Photo Magazine to see if they could incorporate some of my pictures into their magazine. They wrote back and wanted me to do a Photo Story on Panoramics and include a few of my photos so I wrote up a small blurb on myself and a few tips on creating panoramic images. They finalized it and told me it would be coming out in the May 2014 issue. Wasn't quite sure how the final layout was going to look, but once I received a copy of the magazine I was pleased with it.

I contacted In The News to have it framed as I did with my last feature in Nature's Best.

Writing this small article has opened up my mind to writing other articles to accompany my photographs.

I recently wrote an article on some aspects of astrophotography that will be featured along with some of my Milky Way photos in a 2015 issue of Landscape Photo Magazine which hopefully will be the first of many more to come.

We'll be in SD this weekend. I've been wanting to head down to capture some shots of the skyline for a while now. Hopefully come back with a few good ones.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Saturday, May 10, 2014

San Francisco

It has been a while since we were both back in San Francisco so we decided to take a weekend trip up to eat, take some pictures, and visit Andrea.

We had an early flight out Friday am. Once we got there we noticed low fog hanging over the city so after getting the rental car we headed straight for Hawk Hill over the Golden Gate Bridge to see if we could see the bridge and city under the fog. I've always wanted to see this and as we climbed up the road we were treated with a spectacular view. The fog moves fast, and both the city and bridge were going in and out of view.

After these shots, the fog from behind rolled in completely. We drove down a bit and made the short trek up to Slacker Ridge because we have never been there and it was my sunrise location for the next day. The visibility was poor and we couldn't see anything when we reached the viewpoint, but at least I knew how to get back.

As we headed further down the road I stopped at Battery Spencer to get a closer view of the bridge. I had to wait a while but occasionally there would be clear patches that I could get the closer tower in view while the rest was still covered in fog.

After taking pictures, we headed back into town for lunch. I read about Tony's Pizza Napoletana on Yelp, and how his Margherita Pizza won the world pizza cup in Italy. We ordered the Margherita and the Quail Egg, White Rose Potato, and Guanciale.

Both were alright, definitely not the best we've had. I've read about a handful of other good pizza places so we'll have to try the others next time.

After lunch, I had a few more spots to scope out across the Bay bridge. We headed over to Yerba Buena island to check them out for my sunset locations. Tough island to scope out as there is no parking anywhere and the spots aren't the easiest to get to. Jaime had to drop me off at one location and come back and pick me up. But at least now I know where everything is for the next visit.

We had a few hours to relax before we headed out to dinner at Nopalito, which we saw on Triple D a while back.

We ordered and shared 4 of their appetizer type dishes:

Ceviche Verde de Pescado y Calamar - good

Tamal de Birria con Pollo - excellent (no pic because J started eating it right away)

Tacos de Pescado al Pastor - excellent

Quesadilla Roja con Chicharron - excellent...probably the best dish of the night

We will definitely come back to this place. I heard the mole is good, so maybe next time.

We headed back over the Golden Gate Bridge for sunset. Fog over the city was pretty much gone and the view towards the city wasn't great. So I headed over to the outlook in the back that looks out to Rodeo Beach. The fog blanketed the water and the view was amazing. I snapped a few as the sun was going down. I decided to keep the shot below. I am usually not a fan of sun flare, but I kind of like this one as the sun to my right produced some rays in my frame.

I was up at 4:30 for sunrise the next day to head back to the same area. I was hoping for low fog again but as everyone says its never 2 days in a row. When I got to Slacker ridge the fog was heavy. I put on my headlamp and hiked up to the ridge anyway and probably sat up there for a good 15 minutes before some of it started to burn off enough to even see the Golden Gate Bridge. I snapped a few during the morning blue hour and sunrise, but decided that I liked the morning blue hour shot the best.

The twilight hours produce some great colors even with overcast or foggy conditions. It's my favorite time to shoot city shots. I hung around and watched the sun rise and headed back to the hotel.

We were going to go hiking at Land's End but decided not to. Instead we headed over to Ike's Place for some sandwiches to take to the Ferry Farmer's Market. I read about this place on Yelp too, and we ended up deciding on the Hot Momma Huda (Buffalo Wing Sauce, Halal Chicken, Provolone, Ranch) and Matt Cain (Godfather Sauce, Provolone, Roast Beef, Salami, Turkey). Both were tasty, but Salumi in Seattle is still our favorite sandwich place so far.

We met up with Andrea at the Ferry building and spent the day at the Saturday Market and shopping downtown....well J shopped and I sat. We had early dinner reservations at La Mar. They also have a location in Lima, Peru so we wanted to check it out and see how good it was.

They start you off with some sweet potato/potato chips with dipping sauce. We also ordered the empanada sampler that had a trio of their beef, chicken, and mushroom empenadas.

J ordered the Lomo Saltado and I got the grilled seafood with aji and chimichurri. Both were very good. The Lomo was similar to the version we had in peru, more soy based and the beef was really tender and flavorful. The seafood was also amazing and real fresh.

After dinner we headed over to Yerba Buena Island for blue hour shots. The location I decided on was off a small pullout up near the housing on the island. I had to hop over a fence to get a good vantage point of the Bay Bridge head on. There was still a small bit of sunset color left in the fog as the sky turned blue for twilight.

Next time we visit, I am going to go to a location down to the left under the bridge where the bridge frames the city. I've seen quite a few shots from the location so have to get my own take on it.

I didn't wake up for sunrise on Sunday am as I was already exhausted so we spent the day at Fisherman's Wharf. We took the cable cars there and stopped off to eat at The Codmother for some fish n chips. I got the fish n chips and J got the fish tacos. Tacos were pretty good, maybe a bit too much tapatio as they use it to make it spicy. The fish n chips were bomb tho, real light and flaky. Some of the best we had was still in New Zealand but these topped all the others that we have tried recently.

We just killed time at Fisherman's Wharf until it was time to head to the airport. As always, we did way too much eating. We'll have to find another excuse to head back up north sometime in the near future.

On a final note, I wrote an article for Landscape Photo Mag which will be in the January 2015 issue. I'm working on another article as well which I will pitch to other mags once finalized.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography