A Day Off with Suki

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.2 ISO200 1/100 Second

This shot is among my favorite photographs of Suki ever. The saturated color, the way the elements in the frame seem to converge right on Suki’s head, her pose, the lighting: I’m so happy with the way it turned out! I took this last week on a day off. It was early in the morning, since Suki and I headed out to the Marin Headlands at around 5:00am to try to capture some pre-sunrise images of the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew exactly what I wanted to shoot: fog rolling in over the city and through the Golden Gate during sunrise. Well, there was fog alright…so much fog that it reached over the highest peaks of the Marin Headlands. When I arrived in Marin, I could barely see 20 feet in front of my car. The images I wanted to capture? Weren’t gonna happen.

Suki! Get off the driver seat! Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G + SB-900 Camera left through windshield

That’s the thing with landscape photography. For the most part, you’re at the mercy of nature. You have to keep going back to the spot where you want your shot to happen over and over until the conditions are right. Maybe I’ll have more success next time!

Retreating from the fog in the headlands, Suki and I headed down to a small harbor on the other side of the Golden Gate. We walked together for a while, and as the sun rose, I decided set up my tripod right at the water’s edge and see what if I could come up with some nice images of the Bridge from below the fog. I set up, pulled my tripod mounting plate out of my camera bag to attach it to my camera, and whoops! Dropped the little guy on to a rock, helplessly watching it bounce, bounce again, and again, and then plop! Right into the water. Gone was my support system. Foiled again!

Here's my tripod...utterly useless without the mounting plate, which I lost in the San Francisco Bay minutes before taking this photo

After sulking for a little bit from being defeated by first the fog and then my own clumsiness, we headed out to Sausalito for coffee and a stroll through the neighborhood. The dense fog and cloud cover meant beautiful, even light for the rest of the morning, perfect for shots like the one of Suki above! The colors from fallen leaves, flowers, and other plants were rich and saturated.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2 ISO200 1/125 Second

Suki waited impatiently with me at a cafe while I phoned a few local camera shops to see if they sold the replacement quick-release mounting plate for my tripod head. I was fortunate to find one in stock, and Suki and I drove back over the bridge to San Francisco to pick it up.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.8 ISO400 1/160 Second

Over the course of the day, I really fell in love with the 35mm f/1.8G all over again. It’s a pretty sharp lens wide open, but stop it down even a little and things get super sharp. It’s the least expensive lens in my kit, but it’s lightweight and performs great! Plus, I noticed that in using a prime as my sole lens in the morning, I seemed to put more thought into composition than I normally do. I tried more angles and moved around my subjects more. Until now, I haven’t really used the 35 all that much since I bought it. What was I thinking!?

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.8 ISO200 1/320 Second

In the early afternoon I took Suki to the dog park, her favorite place in the world. Doesn’t she look happy?

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 185mm f/8 ISO200 1/640

Every time I’d kneel down to take a shot, this dog (below) would run up to me and check me out. I think he took quite a liking to me!

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 VR at 220mm f/9 ISO200 1/640 Second
Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 70mm f/4.5 ISO250 1/640 Second

This is how the day ended: back at a cafe with Suki, sipping on coffee. I need more days off!

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2 ISO200 1/640 Second

8 thoughts on “A Day Off with Suki

  1. About the mount, 大変でしたね!But after all you had a great morning with Suki-chan, right?;)) Suki-chan really looks happy the way she skips and smiles in the dog park!
    I love the photo on the top, too. I like the framing and colors. And 35mm is my favorite.
    My 35mm for CONTAX Aria is a very big & heavy lens, but still I love it. I haven’t taken it our for my travel abroad, because it’s such a big lens, but I will definitely take it next chance:)

    1. Yup! She cheered me up for sure. I bet your 35mm is a beautiful lens! Of course, on my camera a 35mm lens gives me more of a 50mm angle of view. Another thing you have to think of when using digital! =P


  2. Thank you Melissa! =)

    I actually never have Suki off-leash unless it’s in a fenced area like a dog park. In the first photo, you can see her leash tied to the fence if you look really close 😉

    Shibas in general aren’t very good off-leash as they are generally fearless and very hunt-driven. We learned our lesson the hard way at a un-fenced dog park. Suki was having a blast playing with other dogs when suddenly she took off down the street after a cyclist! That was the last time we ever had her off-leash hehe

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    Have you tried removing the leash (with PS for instance) and see if that doesn’t look (even) better ?

    And I love this white dog running towards you at the Dog Park. Looks like a tiger on the hunt 🙂

    Seems like you had a great day ! And thanks to your post, mine starts with a smile. And believe me, on a freezing Monday morning as we have here, it was not easy !

    Take care,

    1. Thank you Nicolas!

      I just started getting comfortable with photoshop. Now that you mention it, removing that leash should be pretty easy! =)

      By the way I really really enjoyed your photos from Japan, they are gorgeous! I’m going there soon, too. I’ll have to get some info from you on the locations you visited. Thanks again!

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