Nanjing; My How China Has Grown


One a recent trip to China I had an opportunity to visit Nanjing. China's former capital is rich in history, Chinese culture and photo opportunities. It had been more than a decade since I'd been to China and I was struck by how much it has grown since my last visit. Evidenced by the bullet train we took from Shanghai to Nanjing, something that didn't exist 10 years ago. You can now travel between most major Chinese cities on high-speed rail. Our 180 mile (300 kilometer) trip took about 2 hours (including stops along the way), the train topped out at speeds of around 185 mph and most amazingly a round-trip ticket was $44, not much more than a tank of gas in the U.S. 




Shanghai - night and day, new and old. Complete gallery at Photography -> This Just In - Shanghai


The Vertigo Mission


Mission San Juan Bautista played a starring role in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo as the place where Kim Novak's character supposedly jumped out of a tower plunging to her death. However one of the first things you notice when visiting the mission is that there's no tower. Hitchcock created one for the movie with special effects, he painted a tower on glass. There was a tower once, the rest of the story as told to me by a mission docent ... a tower, albeit a small one, was added to the mission in the 1890s. Hitchcock visited the mission with tower in the 1930s and made a note of the site. However shortly thereafter the tower became infested with termites and was torn down. When Hitchcock returned in the 1950s to film Vertigo the tower was gone, hence the one created on glass.


Always Expect the Unexpected ...


At the Global Winter Wonderland I expected to capture lots of holiday images - Santa, Christmas trees, red and green lights, people bundled up for a chilly Sacramento night. What I never imagined was a barely clothed man playing with fire in an entertaining and somewhat dangerous way. Of all the images I shot that night these of the Hawaiian Fire Dancer turned out to be the only ones of value.

For those who like to read the box scores the above image was shot handheld at f5.6/ 1/30sec ISO 200, the image below handheld at f8.0 1/125sec ISO 400.  



Super Supermoon


I celebrated the first day of 2018 by photographing the Supermoon. Captured images from Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay and got shots of the largest moon this year rising over the Berkeley Hills and adjacent to the Bay Bridge. 


Great American Eclipse


I was initially disappointed after hiking to the top of Fairmont Ridge in Castro Valley to find cloudy skies that were going to hide the solar eclipse. However they cleared enough to catch sufficient glimpses of the event and I think the clouds made for some really unique images. 

Into the Mist

I've been to the Marin Headlands dozens of times. The view of the San Francisco Bay Area is mind-blowing but I like the adventure of never knowing what you're going to get there. I don't think I've experienced the same weather conditions twice. I went up there recently on a brilliant, sparkling morning with nary a cloud nor wisp of fog in the sky. Twenty minutes later, this ....

Pt. Reyes National Seashore

One hour north of San Francisco Pt. Reyes National Seashore is brimming with wildlife, wildflowers and pristine beaches. It also sports a historic lighthouse and iconic shipwreck. The above image of a California Quail was taken with my Nikon 200-500 f/5.6. It's been a great addition to my kit and I've had lots of success with it. For the money I don't believe there's a better long-range lens on the market.



Lights! Camera! Gyoza!

I though I would try my hand at a cooking video. My wife loves to cook and I love to shoot, and eat. It seems like a natural fit. If you want to make pork-garlic chive gyoza (a.k.a. pot stickers) here's how. 

Shoot the Light Fantastic

Took a portrait lighting class with local lighting whisperer Rick Taylor. Studio, outdoor, additive, subtractive, Split, Rembrandt, Loop, Butterfly and Glamour lighting, we examined them all. Great instruction on using natural light (i.e. the sun) allowed me to capture the image below. Most interesting though is his recommendation to shoot portraits with long lenses. Image below was shot at 300mm.


If You Can Throw a Hat on It ...

I recently attended a workshop on the fundamentals of hyperfocus led by local photography guru Wanda Worthington. We learned how to use a cool app (Depth of Field Calc) to calculate settings to achieve maximum depth of field and an old school rule for setting aperture. If your subject is close enough that you can throw a hat on it use f/16 or f/22, if you have to throw a stone to hit it's f/11 and if it's far enough away that you would need to shoot it with a rifle it's f/8. 

Bokeh Is Okay

Fun with Christmas lights, decorations and my Nikon 85mm F/1.4d, truly the Bokeh tensai. Nothing like warm, buttery backgrounds for the holiday season. 


They Move!

Going on a waterfowl shoot yesterday made me realize that most things I've ever photographed have been stationary. Shooting subjects in motion uses a quite different skill set and is very challenging, something I definitely plan to pursue and do more of. Trying to predict wildlife is a whole nother ball of wax. Above an Egret takes wing in a salt marsh near San Francisco Bay. 

Cool Cars & Cool Cats

Had a blast shooting at the Vintage Alley Car Show in Hayward. Vintage cars, vintage music and modern models in vintage attire. Cool cats there even went out of their way to get my iPhone back to me after it slipped out of my pocket. 

Fun in the Hawaiian Sun

Another Hawaiian time lapse, this one of the Big Island's Hapuna Beach. One-half mile of gorgeous white sand, crystal clear water and a ton of fun. One sweet beach brah. 

Hawaiian Sunset

Hawaii does many things well but it may do sunsets best of all. This time lapse was shot on the Big Island's Kona Coast. 


Volcanoes, lava, rain forests, 400-foot waterfalls, beaches, sunsets, pink hotels - the Big Island has everything. Above is an image of Kilauea's caldera at twilight.

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Chinatown San Francisco

Always vibrant, always colorful and always a great place to shoot. Not easy to pick one image to post from all that I shot but I've always had a thing for red lanterns and I like the lines in this one.