Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bay area

Bay Bridge at Sunset

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/18 ISO200 5.0 seconds, No Post Process

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/18 ISO200 5.0 seconds, No Post Process

Finally found some time to head out and photograph this great city I live in this Saturday evening. I’ve been wanting to take this very iconic and classic shot of the Bay Bridge from Treasure Island for a long time now. I stuck around at this spot for about an hour and a half, so I could capture the sunset as well as the dusk. I was pretty much entirely alone here, except for this one tourist whose family stopped their car in the middle of the road so he could run out and set up by my spot, attempting to shoot the same scene with his flash turned on. Yes, his flash…because the city lights and falling sun do not produce enough light I guess. One more tiny strobe fired from several miles away should do the trick!

The image above is a little different from the one I posted on my flickr site. For one thing, it’s a SOOC shot, straight out of the camera. Yep, I had so much time on my hands waiting for the sun to drop that I figured I’d play with the D300s’s own processing engine a bit, and I came away pretty impressed with the JPEGs it produces. That being said, I still shoot RAW when I shoot at night. Why?

Simply because it allows me the option to interpret an image in more than one way. I could be perfectly happy with the white balance as I set it in the field while I’m shooting, but when I get home and upload my images to Lightroom, I often like to make further adjustments on a nice big computer monitor, and then compare a few color interpretations before deciding on my favorite image. I sometimes hear JPEG-exclusive photographers say that those who shoot RAW should “get it right the first time.” Well, people don’t necessarily shoot RAW because they can’t use a camera effectively. They do so because it allows more creative flexibility. That being said, I’m not a RAW snob either. I’ll happily shoot in either format depending on the situation.

The image below was shot in RAW and then output to JPEG in Lightroom using the white balance I set in my camera at the time of recording. I wanted to get that really blue dusky sky in the shot at the time. When I got home and got the image into the computer, I decided I wanted to try a warmer look, and I ended up with the photo I finally posted to flickr.

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/11 ISO200 6.0 Seconds

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 48mm f/11 ISO200 6.0 Seconds

Getting to this location was tough. I drove around the island for a long time trying to find the right angle for this shot. After parking in one spot and then hiking around for about 20 minutes, I got a visual on where I needed to be (on a lower spot on the island), and of course, it’s not directly accessible on foot, and there’s nowhere to legally park your car for miles there. It’s right off a two way rode leading to and from the bay bridge.

I had the wife drop me off quickly at the spot and drive off to another location with the dog, giving me all the time I needed to get this shot. Thanks honey!

I was really hoping to get some dramatic colored clouds in the sky in this shot. There were clouds in the sky that night, and in fact, when I first arrived at this site, there was a huge cloud right over the skyline that I was thrilled about. Unfortunately, before the sun started casting golden and red color into the sky, the clouds had moved east and completely out of the frame. Just to the left and outside of the frame in the first shot you see above is an amazing, red cloud formation. Oh well.

So in the end, I didn’t get the exact shot I was looking for, but I’ll definitely return to this location for another try.

UPDATE: See a reworked version of this image on my flickr page.

Autumn’s First Storm

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 40mm f/16, ISO 200 15.0 Seconds

Today, northern California was pounded by a powerful tropical storm that came from Japan, wreaking havoc on the morning commute in the city, knocking out power in several areas, and causing some flooding problems. As I write this the rain has stopped. But over the course of the day, winds of up to 55 mph and heavy rainfall battered the city.

I took the shot above at Baker Beach last night. The clouds were dark and dramatic, and diffused the dusky light from the sky, allowing me to take some long exposures shortly after sunset. It was a long walk down the beach and back with all my gear, but the trek was well worth it.

I realized after shooting here last night that I haven’t actually been to Baker Beach in a long time. In fact, the last time I was here was nearly six years ago. Not too far from the spot where I took this shot is where I proposed to my wife of five years, and that is the last memory I have of this beach.

After getting some great images out on the Beach, I headed to the Palace of Fine Arts on my way home for a few more photos. I’m still tired from all of it!

Dream up a Storm, originally uploaded by kaoni701.

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Written by Jonathan

October 14, 2009 at 1:01 am

Back to Pier 14

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Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 @ 11mm f/11, ISO200 45.0 Seconds

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 @ 11mm f/11, ISO200 45.0 Seconds

I took this photo this morning, after deciding to roll out of bed at 4:30am to catch the magic hour before dawn here in San Francisco. This is the black and white version of the same photo I’ll be posting on my flickr page. I set up out here at about 6:15am and waited for the sky to start changing color, which happened very suddenly at about 6:35am. I really wanted to stay longer, but I was parked at a metered parking spot that started at 7am. I also had to be at work by 8am, so I was long gone before the sun moved passed the eastern horizon. I really love shooting at dawn. It’s so peaceful and serene in the city before rush hour.

Portrait of a Friend, and Goodbye Summer Night Shooting

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6, ISO900 1/8 Second

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6, ISO900 1/8 Second

This is Snowflake Bear, and we take him everywhere! He’s even been to Japan and back with us last year (where our friends called him kuma-san, or Mr. Bear). I usually shoot in RAW, but this shot was processed by and imported directly from of the camera. The D300s produces some beautiful JPEGs I think. I took this photo to test out my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8′s VC effectiveness in an indoor, low-light setting. This scene was actually much darker than it looks here, with natural light hitting him softly from the edges of a dark curtain over a window to my right. The VC allowed a super-low 1/8 second shutter speed at a reasonable ISO setting and at the longest (75mm equivalent) focal length for this lens, hand-held. Of course, this wouldn’t have worked if he was moving around though. ;)

In other news, the shot I took below was a quick one I took on the way to go grocery shopping over the weekend. It’s getting harder and harder to take the cityscape shots at dusk that I’ve been enjoying taking over the summer. The sun is setting sooner and sooner as Autumn sets in, and there isn’t much time lately to run out after work and capture the wonderful, deep blue sky color that lasts only 20-30 minutes after the sun sets.

A street light to my left was causing major flare issues for me that ruined my first couple of shots at this spot (using my Tokina 11-16 ultra wide). Since my wife was along, I actually had her stand to the left of the camera to shade the lens. Not only is she blocking light with her body here, but her hand is actually held very close (in fact just barely out of the frame) to the left of the lens to further reduce the glare.

We were only there for a few minutes and the dusky blue sky was gone. I noticed though, during this very quick shooting session, that the shutter speeds I needed to expose the shot the way I wanted seemed too short. After getting home I realized why: I had the camera set to ISO800 from some hand-held test shots I was taking earlier. Doh! Fortunately, ISO800 is very clean on the D300s, but it just goes to show, always double check your settings!

To prevent this from happening later, I’ve set up two custom shooting banks in my D300s, one for the tripod mounted night shots I love taking, where I shoot RAW with D-Lighting off and ISO set to base with Auto ISO off (among other things), and one for hand-held shooting, activating D-Lighting and Auto ISO etc.

Anyways, back to being sad about the seasons changing. I know that soon, as winter comes, I’ll be getting off work with the sun already below or close to being below the horizon, giving me no time for the shots I’ve been taking lately. There is hope, however. I’ve noticed lately that on my drive to work in the morning, the dawn’s blue sky here in San Francisco is simply incredible. I’m gonna have to start waking up earlier!

Wow, this post is full of my rambling. Oh well!