Wednesday, December 26, 2018

SpaceX rocket launch - Fireworks over Aspendell

As promised, here is the final shot of the past SpaceX launch from Aspendell. This one took on the form of a firework so I saved it as we move into 2019. With Christmas over the countdown begins. I consider myself super lucky and fortunate to have been able to see this launch from such a great area. Hope to catch the next launch over LA. All versions of this launch are under the nightscapes section of my website. As I (hopefully) snag more launch shots I may create a new category for them. As with all of the shots, this is 2 exposures; one for the land and one for the sky without moving the camera at all. This is another 50mm view. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Snowy Mt. Baldy with low fog in Los Angeles

With this shot becoming so popular nowadays the unique aspect of the shot is getting those unusual conditions. In terms of sky burns here it’s not all that common but it happens. In terms of low fog, this is the only time I’ve seen it under the skyline but not covering the snow caps. I still prefer a sunset here as the sunrise light gets quite hazy here as the sun hits the shot from the side but sunrise brings those rare opportunities such as this. This is a slightly different comp with Baldy offset of the city taken the morning after a fresh storm. You can see the sidelight starting to pour in which gave the fog a nice warm glow. That payoff of seeing the conditions unfold in front of me is worth it even if it means getting skunked more often than not. I have some pre-sunrise burns from this shoot that I’ll post later but I like the warmth of this one. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200 + 1.4tc, f/11, 1/25 sec, ISO-50

Thursday, December 13, 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch and Milky Way from Aspendell

I have two versions of the SpaceX launch from this past October that I haven’t shown so rather than repost one here is the wide angle version of that sexy exhaust plume. If you recall, I had two cameras setup side by side one with my 14-24 and one with my 50mm both shooting the same thing. My 50mm version of this was the one I posted the night of the actual launch. This version has a bit more sky allowing some of that MW detail to shine above the plume. I was fortunate to be in a dark location to where I was able to catch star detail along with the launch as I feel it gives the shot another element that adds to the composition. The MW was pretty washed out but it was pretty much the same as shooting while the moon is up. Light pollution no matter if its natural or manmade has serious adverse effects on dark skies hence my number one tip for shooting the MW is always to get to an area that has minimal light pollution. I’ll throw up the last comp of this launch on my feed before the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mt. Tam fog flow

Still got a ton of variations of this tam fog so here’s an unseen tele version of the wave. From the time I got here about 2 hours before sunset to the time I left around an hour after sunset the fog changed so much. The tip of the salesforce tower was visible upon arrival but disappeared into the fog shortly after. The height of the fog kept changing constantly just like watching the tide of the ocean. I swear I could have sat here all night and probably would have stayed longer but didn’t want to risk a ticket from the ranger. Hope to catch some more of this goondness next summer. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/11, 25 sec, ISO-50

Monday, December 10, 2018

Los Angeles and Mt. Baldy twilight

Hit up Kenneth Hahn state park for sunset this past Friday night. There were some epic low clouds that hung around and got kinda thick at sunset but dropped down to a nice level by twilight. Super clear air after the storm, probably one of the cleanest shots I have from here yet. Best day to get this money twilight shot is the day right after the storm. Decided on a vertical as most if not all of my shots here are horizontal. This is a single shot in the earlier stages of twilight when there was still some afterglow on Baldy. Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm f4, f/14, 3 sec, ISO-50

Friday, December 7, 2018

Los Angeles and San Gabriel mountains from Palos Verdes

This scene as a whole does not exist so don’t go looking for it. The way LA lines up from this spot in PV, you get mountains behind just not the snow caps. I went up to a local spot last night to check the snow levels for this morning’s sesh. That storm cleared super fast and by sunset most of the San Gabriel’s were visible. I snapped a shot of the last light hitting the mountains and firing up the clouds, and a separate shot of the city and some lingering fog and merged the two. Both were shot from the same spot and both with the 300mm, LA is just way to the left of these peaks. So I had some fun with this one. I’ll end up editing some true shots from last night and show you what actually does line up from here. In this shot you can see Del Amo mall in the foreground all the way out to LA in the back. The city was super clear after the rain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

First light over Los Angeles

Cleaner version of this shot is now up on the website. All the conditions aligned this morning. Great sunrise light hitting the low fog, clear air from the storm, and a nice fresh coat of snow on the San Gabriel Mountains and Mt. Baldy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Los Angeles with low fog and snow capped San Gabriel Mountains

Sometimes all the conditions line up just right. I snapped this at sunrise as the sun hit the scene from the side.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Top of Snow Capped Baldy, Los Angeles

I always love seeing different conditions unfold from here as it makes each shot unique. I have a handful edited from my sunrise sesh on Thursday but here is one from last night. I came here with the entire fam to take some shots of the kids and we hung around on the grass for sunset. The tip of Baldy was playing peek-a-boo all day and it peaked out at the perfect time to catch the last light hitting it before setting behind me. Forgot how much I miss seeing the sunset reflect off the skyline from here. Got some nice Christmas colors on the US Bank tower as well. Winter Hahn season is starting off right…a good make up from last year when I didn’t get anything good from here. I’ll be back after the next storm rolls through again.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Manhattan Beach pier sunset and Christmas lights

Tuesday night had serious potential to be epic but a lot of the higher clouds thinned out towards sunset. The horizon burn however, lasted till about 6pm through the twilight stage. I’ll post some shots of that down the road but this one is a time blend. One for the sunset as it was peaking and one for the pier lights. Still not the exact shot I want but getting closer. Probably the best one from the MB pier from this year for me. Perfect shot to roll into December with.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Full thanksgiving moon rise over Los Angeles

Here’s the stack to show the sequence of the thanksgiving moonrise. This one was cool because it played peek-a-boo during the early stages of the rise but then didn’t pop back out until it got a bit higher above the clouds. I always look for the rise times that happen a little bit after sunset. This is the best time to balance the brightness of the moon with the city. When it rises too late, it gets a lot harder to expose correctly for both the moon and the city lights. When it rises too early you don’t get the prominent city lights. I’ve gotten to shoot quite a few this year (and got skunked by quite a few as well) and it’s cool how each has its own mood given the clouds/smog/etc that day. The city was super clean in this sequence due to the storm from the day prior. Taken with the Nikon D750 and Nikkor 300mm f/4.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fall aspens at McGee Creek

One thing I like to shoot almost as much as fall colors and the Milky Way are fall colors and flowing water. McGee will usually deliver on getting some nice fall colors lined up with the creek. The parking area was still early so I hiked up a bit into the canyon and bushwhacked through some trees to find a nice creek curve and a brilliant display of yellows in the background. The air is definitely getting crisp around here while autumn transitions to winter.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Aspendell milky way and aspens, Inyo National Forest

This was the main MW shot I was eyeing on my recent trip up to the Sierras. The Aspens along the ridge had nice color and the recent storm gave me the snowy backdrop I needed to seal off a nice landscape. Knowing the MW lined up here perfectly I had my shot. Then the SpaceX rocket shot up and all that changed. Regardless, I still like this photo in its own right as my goal was to come back with some Fall Milk. I just came back with some rocket milk too…and FYI I still have a few variations of the launch that I haven’t shown yet so I’ll throw those up down the road.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Winter sunrise burn with fog in Yosemite

Fall in Yosemite may be beautiful, but winter in Yosemite is on another level. This is one of those scenes that had so many elements line up; low fog with partially obscured trees poking out, some higher fog partially obscuring half dome, a ton of snow on the granite cliffs, and a nice sunrise burn to boot. This was totally unexpected as there was heavy snow the day prior. Always nice to be treated to this kind of surprise.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Santa Monica pier with Woolsey fire glow from Malibu

Here are two pics of the Santa Monica pier with the Woolsey fire glow burning behind.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, San Francisco

Here’s some detailed work of the GGB at twilight. Caught this one as the thin fog was creepin in giving the bridge a nice glow. I didn’t realize how sweet the street light patterns were until I caught one side of the bridge empty. They compliment the vertical lines of the bridge well. Now just gotta try and get this shot with no cars. Does that ever happen? Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm, f/11, 15 sec, ISO-100

Monday, November 5, 2018

Piuma ridge fog sunset, Malibu CA

When all the cards…I mean clouds…line up just right you get a spectacular view at cloudfall. Got the last hint of sun on the low fog just before it dipped behind the mountains while the high clouds put on a nice show. Blended a few exposures as the dynamic range of this shot was very high.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Hunter's full moon sequence

Here's what the full moon sequence looked like as it rose out from behind Los Angeles at 420mm.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Skull Rock and Milky Way, Joshua Tree National Park

Happy Halloween! Here’s some skull rock madness from JTNP for your spooky viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fog flow and alpenglow, Mt. Tam

Here’s some creamy fog flow from Tam while the alpenglow was the strongest. The fog waves died down quite a bit and the LE really smoothed this one out but I love the ethereal mood this one gave. Single exposure with the Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/8, 20 sec, ISO-50.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trona Pinnacles Meteor Shower

What it looks like when nature puts on a firework show.

Monday, October 15, 2018

SpaceX Falcon9 rocket vapor trail

These 3 of the SpaceX rocket launch were my faves of the sequence. I have a few more but the two I already posted and this one today stood out to me. I liked this one because it looked like a flower. Would have been cool if the trail was fully attached but the colors and textures of this one was amazing to see. All in all it was an incredible display…probably a once in a lifetime kind of shot. For those who asked about settings for the rocket, the sky exposure on my 50mm was taken with the Nikon D750, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, f/8, 5 sec, ISO-1600.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

SpaceX and Milky Way near Bishop CA

My annual fall trip is my last Milky Sesh of the year and boy what a way to end it. I had my wide angle on my second body shooting this comp. From where I was positioned the rocket launched directly in front of the MW. My 50mm comp only framed in the dark horse nebula which was covered by the launch. My wide was able to get more sky so you can see the MW details above the latter stages of the launch. This is a couple of exposures to obtain detail in various parts of the scene but all blended and shot with the same camera position. I probably said “wow” several times out loud while this was happening…but no worries I was standing there all by myself.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Spacex Falcon9 launch

Here is the full final shot of the launch from last night.

Friday, October 5, 2018

June Lake aspens and Milky Way

Heading out to catch some fall goodness this Sunday through the middle of next week. Weather looks clear so hoping I can also squeeze in my last Milky Way sesh of the year as well. I took a re-edit to this one last night as this was the first taste I got of that Fall Milk a few seasons ago. 2 of my favorite things to shoot in a single shot…can’t beat that. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Full moonrise above Mt. Tam fog

Originally had plans to catch the moonrise over SF but being fogged in every day changed those plans and pushed me up to Tam pretty much every night. I came to the East side because the fog flow was good but also because I knew the moon would rise from this vantage. I had my 300mm + 1.4tc ready for when the moon popped out of the layer of smoke/haze near the bottom and I snapped this one as it rose into the nice pink alpenglow. The fog wasn’t doing anything special out in this direction but it was still cool to catch it over a bed of fog. Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm f/4 + 1.4tc, f/8, 1/20 sec, ISO-50

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Eagle Rock Milky Way Pano

Huge vertical pano of Eagle Rock and the Milky Way in Warner Springs.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Arch Rock Milky Way pano, Joshua Tree National Park

The Milky Way rises over Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fog and Trees on Mt. Tam

Here’s a close up of some fog and trees from Tam. I had my 300mm and 1.4tc on shooting the full moon above the fog and after I took some telephoto shots at 420mm. I flattened the fog out on this one with a longer exposure and kept the WB a bit cooler. It’s hard to appreciate a scene like this unless you zoom in. Standing there just looking out towards the fog you cant really see this kind of shot which is why I usually scan through my viewfinder when I have my long lens on. Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm + 1.4tc, f/22, 13 sec, ISO-50

Monday, September 24, 2018

Moonrise over Los Angeles

Gonna go see if I can catch the full moon rising behind LA tonight. This one rises about 15 mins after sunset so it should pop up about 30 mins after sunset which should be good timing. Hopefully the air is clear enough to see it. Here is a single from my last full moon sesh. Caught this one just as it fully peaked out from behind the skyline. Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm f/4, F/11, ½ sec, ISO-250

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sunset on Mauna Kea

Amazing light on the summit of Mauna Kea. After the sun dipped below the high clouds, the rays through the low clouds intensified and shot out like beams. Was lucky to get some nice golden hour and sunset light before the clouds parted making way for the brilliant MW to shine brightly. Want some scale? Check out those people on the right who are on the same plane as the observatories from where I was standing. It was quite crowded up here during sunset, but that all changed as it got dark. Nikon D750, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, f/16, 1/200 sec, ISO-50

Monday, September 17, 2018

Eagle Rock Milky Way Composite

Here’s some composite fun I had with my last MW outing. I got down low with my 50mm to get the eagle from ground level. I slapped on a 50mm MW from a much darker place as the MW in Warner Springs will never be this dark nor will it line up in this direction. You can shoot this from the right side to get a more slanted MW line up but the eagle feature is really prominent from the left. This granite formation was too cool not to have some fun with it. How many of you are done shooting the MW this season?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mt. Tam fog flow at golden hour

Here’s a golden hour shot of the fog flow on east Tam. The setting sun behind us was illuminating the fog tips as the hazy sky started to produce some nice colors. Got quite a few variations of this so will post more down the road. Probably throw up more of an abstract next time. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/14, 15 sec, ISO-50.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Eagle Rock milky way, Warner Springs

Here is the first edited shot of my outing Sat night. This is a 50mm version with the foreground shot at twilight using a few frames for various light painting on the eagle along with myself up on top. The light on the underside helps show the textures as it is a bit flat without any ambient light. The sky was then shot once the MW aligned around 10pm. This is a better spot to shoot during the latter part of the MW season as the best view faces out SW. Not the darkest spot but one of the coolest rock formations I’ve shot under the stars. By the time the core aligns in this direction, it starts to get washed out by the light pollution coming up on the horizon but it was still awesome to put this one together. Foreground: 3 frames at f/8, 25 sec, ISO-250. Sky: 12 frames stacked at f/2, 5 sec, ISO-10,000. All taken with the Nikon D750 and 50mm 1.8.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Palos Verdes sea cave seascape

Happy Friday from one of my favorite local sea caves. This spot can get dicey quickly and if the tide creeps up on you good luck getting out. The echoing sound from the receding waves rumbling the rocks on the ground is incredible which is what’s going on in the foreground of this shot. Caught a nice golden hour burn in here with some great cloud textures and light on the cave. Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Happy bday Los Angeles

Dang LA you old….like 237 years old! Hope the city celebrations were as good as they were this past New Year when things popped off all night. This is a horizontal version of my blended firework shot. The city celebrations had been over for a while but the residents continued strong through the night. The fireworks seemed to surround downtown providing a nice frame to the city. Hope to make it back up here, maybe after we get some rain.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Convict Lake Fall panorama

Here's a pano from Convict Lake during peak colors and a windless morning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fog flow under a full moon, Mt Tam

A good problem to have is to take waaaayyyyy to many variations of a shot and then can’t decide which to edit. This is my issue from the east side fog flow as I shot for about 2.5 hours in the same spot just watching the fog morph while the sun set. Therefore I decided to edit one of the twilight shots first as I only took a handful of these since I didn’t want to hang around long enough for a ticket. The full moon in the air along with the city glow gave this one some great light variations. Good times in SF, plenty more fog shots to come. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/8, 30 sec, ISO-50

Monday, August 20, 2018

Trona Milky Way over Pinnacles

And just like that the end of MW season is drawing near. I’ll probably get out two more times, once locally in Sep then up in the Sierras on my annual fall trip in October to try to catch more fall milk. You can still kind of shoot it in Nov, but a good part of the core is already below the horizon by the time it gets dark enough to see. I think Hawaii was my most memorable MW sesh this season, being able to see the arch over the lava glow was unreal. There are still a few months left…make them count.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Palos Verdes sunset sunrays

More often than not the fog doesn’t play nice in Palos Verdes. The hills are not high enough to get above it usually. Same case when I came this day but the fog ended up being thin enough to allow for rays to pierce through the trees in an awesome fashion. I got some stronger ones when the sun was a bit higher, but the way the sun set right on top of the palm drew me to this shot. Glad I had my telephoto on me at the time. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/11, 1/1600 sec, ISO-50

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens, Oahu Hawaii

I came here with the fam and passed by this exact spot on the way to another to snap some shots of the kids. The sky was clear so I knew I had to come back for this shot so I came back before the day we headed home. Never seen so many fish in a single spot it was sort of creepy. I used my CPL to cut through the surface reflection and waited for the high sun to peak through the clouds to add some contrast depth to the shot. The Ho'omaluhia Reservoir is in the back along with some of the botanical garden greenery. I spent a few hours here that day and have plenty more shots from here to show. Definitely a gem on Oahu. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Monday, August 6, 2018

Milky Way over Mauna Loa

There were two shots I was looking for on Mauna Kea. One was the horizontal Milky Way over the fissure glow which I got. The second was the vertical milk as it aligned over Mauna Loa. By the time I finished all the takes of the horizontal milk, I had a mean headache from the altitude from being up there well before sunset and hiking around a bit. Couple that with an early flight to Oahu the next day I decided not to hang around past midnight to get the vertical alignment. I did snag the foreground I wanted to use with it tho so for now you get a composite of a50mm milk blended in with my foreground.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Full moonrise sequence over Los Angeles

Here’s what the moonrise sequence looked like at 300mm. The moon stayed nice and orange as it rose through all that haze. This was a little harder to put together than I anticipated because the earlier frames were only a tad after sunset and the later frames were during twilight. This is about 30 minutes the rise using the lighten blend mode to add moon frames to the original base frame.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

winter milky way hot creek landscape

Man this place is like the “tunnel view” of Mammoth. Used to be able to sit here, chill, take some shots and just have a moment to myself. Now you got photo groups here and half naked men all up in the creek. Awesome! Here’s a hot/cold composite from this past winter. Took the MW at night then shot Hot Creek in the early twilight am hours. This line up works, just not in the winter but that THICK coat of powder on the Sierras just couldn’t be ignored.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Laze Plume, Hawaii lava flow into Ocean

Here’s a straight lookdown shot of the laze plume where the lava is entering the ocean. The water patterns interested me and I felt it went with this abstract like shot so I framed it in. You can see glimpses of the lava glow though the plume. Not much time to think/compose shots but glad I snagged this one as we were flying over. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/8, 1/2500 sec, ISO-400

Friday, July 20, 2018

Redondo Beach Pier sunset seascape

Last week’s sunset was the best one so far this summer…possibly the best one of the year. Clouds looked good all day so I already had my gear packed and once the kids went down I rushed out the door to the Redondo pier as it’s close to me. After snapping some golden hour shots I moved to get this comp at the height of the afterburn. The waves were coming in pretty strong so I setup low to get some awesome wave action into my foreground. Been here a few times but the conditions were never great so glad I finally got a shot here with an epic burn. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/8, ISO-50, multiple exposures.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Cholla cactus Milky Way, Joshua Tree National Park

Here’s one from the Cholla cactus garden in JTNP. I scouted this comp in the day and it was close to the trail so I just noted it mentally and left. I came back at the very end of twilight after shooting at arch rock and it took a while to find as the light was fading. Luckily I stumbled upon it and shot the foreground with a slight bit of light left in the sky and then shot the MW as it rose later that night. When I came back to edit this I noticed some wildlife on the right side of the a rabbit or something. Creepy thinking about other more dangerous animals out there that can’t be seen because I always hear coyotes howl in that area.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Crooked Palm, North Shore Oahu

It’s aloha Friday. Here’s the crooked palm from the North Shore that I snapped a handheld shot of after we got done using it as a backdrop for the kids pics. Didn’t stay around for sunset as the kids needed to get home but the golden hour color was still amazing. Giovanni’s, Matsumoto’s, turtle watching, ending it with some time here was a perfect way to spend a day on the North Shore. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO-100