Tuesday, May 31, 2016

desert sunsets - Joshua Tree national Park

I’ve seen plenty of sunsets but some of the best I’ve seen are in the desert. This was the case on this particular day. We had some awesome clouds that first lit up like gold, turned pink for the afterburn then blew away allowing us to watch the Perseid meteor shower. I call that a trifecta sky and haven’t had the pleasure of seeing too many but I’ll always remember the one witnessed at JTNP.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Milky Way Arch Rock - Joshua Tree National Park

Arch Rock is one of the more popular attractions and just a short hike from the White Tank Campground. Fun to climb on but even more fun to shoot under the stars. No light painting, no props, no human element, just Arch Rock lined up perfectly with the Milky Way with clouds providing a mystique-like aura over the arch. Sometimes being at the right place at the right time is all you need for a great photo opp.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Second Beach - Olympic National Park

This photo popped into my head the other day as my wife and I were coordinating schedules to make a trip up to Seattle sometime in September. Would love to get back out here but don’t think we will have time so I’ll probably just try and get as many cityscape shots as I can. The seastacks along the coast there are second to none. I wish I was into astro back then. That just guarantees that I’ll have to make a trip back in the near future. 

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 18-200, f/11, 1/5 sec, ISO-100


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Joshua Tree windmill and water tank sunset

The lone windmill in JTNP is another cool subject to shoot. I framed this shot alongside what looks to be an old water tank. It is said that this was a mill site intended to be used for one of the mines in the area. Great subject against a nice fire sunset with the crescent moon making an appearance to the left of the windmill. Not a bad subject to shoot under the stars either. Just another artifact that you can find at JTNP that makes this park special.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Convict Lake Eastern Sierras

Dwelling on the past usually keeps you from progressing forward. Reflecting on the other hand helps you learn to grow for the future. I find that true in all aspects of life including photography. I’m constantly learning (mostly from my mistakes) and trying to make sure the next photo is better. Better exposure, composition, light, edit, and the list goes on. For this reason I don’t mind re-visiting old locations as it forces me to try and improve on my last visit. No doubt I’ll be back up here later this year working both old and new locations. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/2, 15 sec, ISO-6400


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Joshua Trees - sunset at JTNP

What can you find all around JTNP? Joshua Trees of course. There are reports, however, that climate change is affecting the growth of these trees and they are gradually dying out. How different would this park look without any Joshua Trees? To me, it is the essence of this park and this shot symbolizes that. Hopefully the population is able to adapt and thrive for centuries to come. 


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cars and Stars - Joshua Tree National park

The broken down cars along the Wall Street Mill Hike are definitely a must see and surprisingly still fairly intact for being there for so long against the elements. Who drove them? What were they used for? Tons of questions that just make it more interesting that these rusty cars are just sitting out in the desert. The startrails represent time in terms of the earth’s rotation to complement the test of time that these cars have endured. A must see when you visit JTNP. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Joshua Tree National Park - Wall Street Mill Wonderland Ranch window

Joshua Tree National Park has a ton of history, a lot dating back to the 19th century Gold Mining days. The Wonderland Ranch was built by a family who came here searching for gold and now all that is left are the ruins of what look to be a toppled over house. The pink structure is quite unique though and I wanted to incorporate it into a shot. I used it as a frame looking through towards the setting sun and some classic Joshua Trees along the Wall Street Mill hike. There is quite a bit of history that is unique to this park and is what makes this park special. 


Monday, May 23, 2016

New Life - Joshua Tree National Park

  This shot was from the first time I actually visited Joshua Tree National Park, and it may be the one that gets cemented in my brain even for years to come. The conditions lined up as it rained all day on the way up and the forecast had clouds through the night. But as we were sitting at our campsite at the White Tank campground we saw a potential patch of clear sky so we made the quick hike to Arch Rock to capture this without any other people there, just us the arch and the Milky Way. 

But all that gets overshadowed by the fact that our planned weekend trip got cut short to one night. After shooting the Milky Way and sunrise we were back resting at our campsite. I awoke to my friends and a park ranger looking at me babbling something that I couldn’t comprehend as I was still half asleep. Once I heard “you’re wife’s in labor” my brain flipped on and I was wide awake. My wife’s water had broken 6 weeks early and since we had no signal they couldn’t reach me overnight. She ended up calling the central dispatch office not knowing what campground we were at or my license plate, just the make, model and color of my car. Luckily we were at one of the main campgrounds and actually there at the time but it only took a few hours for them to send a ranger and for him to track me down and deliver the message. I drove out to get signal, confirm everything was ok, and we packed up and I headed straight to the hospital. The rest is history.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Fog City - Los Angeles cityscape

Here’s a shot of the classic 4th street split. The clouds were coming in pretty thick and starting to engulf the US Bank sign so I had to get a shot. Most of my nighttime city shots consist of one longer exposure and then a few shorter exposures to manually bring down some of the highlights in the signs. The amount I control them varies by scene. In this scene the two framing buildings were controlled a lot as well as the US Bank sign as that was the focal point in the background.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, /14, ISO-250


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Urban Garden - Los Angeles

Here’s a different take on a classic location at the DWP building. 2 things that can help enhance a composition are leading lines and using elements to frame your subject. In the scene here the nice pathway winds out towards the city and the arch frames it. This was taken before the clouds took on any real color but there was some nice side light shining on the city from the west. Can you spot the plane? 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/11, 1/100 sec, ISO-200 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Capturing the Moment - Long Beach CA


This was from Signal hill in Long Beach as the sunset colors lingered around long enough for the city lights below to come on. Therefore I snapped on my telephoto to capture a shot of this couple taking a shot of the sunset. The scene is split nicely with the burn up top and the city bokeh below. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/2.8, 1/20 sec, ISO-1000. VR helped me out here quite a bit and these are the situations when I always use it, especially handholding a low light telephoto shot. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Light Portal - Palos Verdes seascape

I call this spot little sur. It has the same effect as the sun portal at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur but on a smaller scale. There’s a cave down in PV that you can get behind and when the tide is low enough and the sun is in the right position you can get beams of light through the opening. Tide was a bit too high and waves were a bit too big to get real close, but I setup on the safety of a higher rock and snapped this as a wave came crashing through the opening. I’ll try my luck here again when the sun realigns. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/11, 0.4 sec, ISO-50


Friday, May 13, 2016

Explosion over Los Angeles

I love these types of cloud formations and we were lucky to catch them behind the city looking north. We arrived just in time to snap a few shots before the light disappeared. The reedit focused on bringing more shadows up from the city as it was a tad dark before. The sky also has a bit more warmer tone to enhance those nice oranges. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/14, 1 sec, ISO-50


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Anza Borrego milky way sculptures

This was the other dino we shot while out in Anza Borrego. I took a few exposures using my iPhone to light the subject and then one for the sky as we were fairly close to the dino so a single exposure would mean the stars wouldn’t be as sharp as they could be. I then stacked the dino exposures in photoshop using the stack mode mean feature to reduce the noise on the dino. I then layered the dino shot onto the sky shot for the final image. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/2.5, 15 sec, ISO-6400


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Palos Verdes sunset seascape

This was taken on a day when tide was low enough to get way out on the rocks out at Golden Cove. There was this nice area where the tide would fill up and occasionally overspill onto the rocks I was standing on. I waited for another big set and captured the foreground as the tide was receding back out. Sky had a nice mood to it during golden hour which ended up being too thick for any real burn at sunset so I was glad to capture this scene. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, 0.5 sec and 1/20 sec blended, ISO-50


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ARTIC circle - Anaheim metro station

A shot from the Artic metro station. The symmetry and lights here are awesome. I used the reflection of the lights on the ground to create a full circle surrounding him. The lights reflect off the opposite building as well. Since the lights keep changing I had a few color combos to choose from but these two seemed to work well. Not the best handheld shooter as I use a tripod 99% of the time. Therefore I’d rather bump my ISO up a bit higher to help ensure a sharper shot. You can reduce noise in post but you can’t fix a blurry photo. Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/6.3, 1/125 sec, ISO-3200