Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fort Point


Now and then a place you had no expectations of surprises you. Such was the case with Fort Point in San Francisco. Having visited Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts earlier in the day, I had already been presented with great subject material. But nothing inspired me as much as Fort Point. This Civil War era structure contained unexpected beauty in light and form. Other photographers appeared to appreciate its beauty as  well. Wedding and engagement photos were being shot the whole time I was there. I appeared to be the only one shooting HDR images of the fort itself. I have included a couple of my favorites from the day.


As with any image or any subject, it is still the light that makes or breaks the image and the light streaming through the windows and arches make this place a photographer’s paradise.


Blog Images:

  1. This was the first thing that grabbed my attention as I stepped onto the 3rd floor. Created from 5 1-fstop exposures. Processed with Photomatix 4.0 with Nik Color Efx Pro Color Contrast Filter plus local adjustments using Viveza.
  2. Just before I shot this image a bride and groom were posed to the left of these windows. What a great setting. 9 1-fstop exposures. Processed same as 1.
  3. I usually look for red doors, but a blue one surrounded by orange brick pops just as well. 5 1-fstop exposures. Processed same as 1.
Posted in HDR Photography, Uncategorized

Tripods – Who needs them?


If you have been capturing nature or landscape photography for any period of time, I am sure you have encountered the admonition to use a tripod. Generally the arguments for using a tripod are:

  1. It slows you down and makes you think about the composition and framing (what you include in the frame) more carefully.
  2. You will get sharper and more stable images (no hand shake, etc.)

While both of these statments are true, I would like to come at it from a little different perspective. You probably paid a few $$$ for a nice camera and lenses. If you really want to be able to fully use what you paid for, you need a tripod (more $$$). Why do I say that?  Do you…

  1. Want to really use the full range of f-stops on your camera as your personal vision requires? You need a tripod. If you want a nice bokeh in the background but want the tip of the stamen of the flower in sharp focus, you need a tripod so you can get that focus dead on. Or maybe you want everything sharp from front to back when the sun is not full and bright -you need a tripod so you can go to f16+ and not get blur due to shake.
  2. Want to use those slower shutter speeds to maximum advantage? You need a tripod. Do you like the look of a still calm ocean or a soft flowing waterfall? Then you need a tripod to let you shoot those long exposures.
  3. Want to get the crisp sharp images your expensive telephoto can provide? You need a tripod. Even with image stabilization you are typically limited on the shutter speed/f-stop combination you can use without some loss of sharpness. The more you zoom in, the more you need that tripod.
  4. Want to create images with a wide dynamic range? You need a tripod. If you want to participate in the world of HDR photography, you really need a tripod to make sure all those multiple exposure shots are perfectly aligned. While software can help a lot with the alignment, it isn’t perfect and the edges may not be clean as you enlarge the image.

But maybe you say a tripod cramps your style. To that I would say two things. One, not being able to fully use your camera’s capabilities should be cramping your style. Two, take that camera off the tripod when you are deciding how to compose the image. Walk all around, move in, move out, up and down. Once you find the shot, set up the tripod and capture the image.

Blog image: This shot of a pier in the ocean required a very long exposure, 20 sec, plus great depth of field, f22. Something you just can’t do without something like a tripod.

Posted in Uncategorized

Exploring Where You Are


With my temporary relocation to California, I ended up in the heart of Silicon Valley. An area covered with hundreds of buildings and myriads of industrial parks. While I used weekends to explore areas outside of the valley, I also captured images within.

One of the first things I noticed in my immediate surroundings were all the various textures and stone work on many of the buildings. There was also a wide variety of trees around the buildings (some not native to the NW). As a result I started collecting images of the unique textures and those textures juxtaposed with the trees. Will this become a new body of work in time? Maybe.


Challenge yourself to see the common threads in the area you live. What characteristics make your area unique?  – ones that identify where you are. Look at the flora, trees, buildings, homes, sky, land, industry, etc. This is typically easier when you first arrive in a new area so it will take some effort to put on new eyes where you live. Is there a body of work you could create or put together unique to your area?

Posted in Uncategorized