Morning in Cusco Peru

I was very comfortable with my Lightroom, Photoshop, and Nik Collection workflow until High Sierra disrupted matters. I know the workaround, but I’m experimenting with Luminar just in case.

Cusco Peru

0 comments

Paris – City of Light

I was browsing through my photo collection when I found two from Paris. In one, a 0.6 second exposure captured the beam from the illuminated Eiffel Tower. The second was a 25 second exposure for the light trails from the nearby cars.

Fortunately, both were taken on a tripod from the same location. It was only in later in reflection that I realized that I could blend the best of both into one photo.

0 comments

Parisian Sunset

Paris at sunset from Sacre Coeur. Too many people to set-up a tripod, but a better shot would have been to wait an hour for the city lights to come on and blend those into this frame. Maybe next time.

Blue Hour View of Paris from Sacre Coeur

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

ISO: 100
Focal Length: 70mm
Shutter: 1/80s
Aperture: f/2.8
0 comments

Mid-Autumn Festival 2017

Tonight was the Mid-Autumn Festival. I grabbed the older, but higher resolution D800, but regretted it immediately. When mounting a DSLR to a telescope, having a tilting screen makes all the difference in terms of comfort. Crouching down to view the screen is no fun.

Full Moon

The other hiccup of the night was discovering that once again, Nik Collection no longer works in Photoshop. This time, it was the High Sierra MacOS 10.13 upgrade that killed it. I’m testing out Luminar right now.

0 comments

Sun Spots

In the weeks before the solar eclipse, I practiced taking photos of the sun. The first question was whether to use a telescope or a camera lens. While the telescope provided greater magnification, it was incredibly difficult to target the sun for two reasons. First, the solar filter rendered everything except the sun as pitch black. Without any contextual background, I had no idea whether the telescope was pointed too far left, right, up or down. The second issue was that the finder could not be used. Obviously, I could not look directly at the sun through the finder. Additionally, if I wore solar glasses, I couldn’t even see the telescope. Eventually, I was able to target the sun by looking at the direction of the shadows cast on the telescope.

However, this approach was too unreliable so I resorted to using a wider camera lens for the big day.

0 comments

2017 Solar Eclipse

I was a bit late in preparing for the 2017 solar eclipse. I didn’t start shopping until a few weeks before the event, and at that point many retailers were already out of stock on solar filters and glasses. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a BAADER solar filter and solar glasses in time.

Since Northern California was outside the path of totality, some of the more exciting photographic opportunities were not available. The more pressing issue was the persistent morning cloud cover. I started noticing this about two weeks before the eclipse, and really got worried as the pattern repeated each passing morning.

The night before, I was looking at weather reports on ClearDarkSky. I was also scouting locations on the PhotoPills, which showed the direction of the sun during the critical morning hours. I had a couple locations in mind, but headed south to Shoreline Lake in Mountain View after some morning recon. The sky looked the clearest and brightest in that direction.

While a telescope would provide the greatest degree of magnification, I opted for a long camera lens and a 2x teleconverter. During the week before the eclipse, I practiced photographing the sun with a solar filter. Trying to find the sun with the telescope was exceedingly difficult because only the sun was visible through the solar filter. Everything else was black. With the wider camera lens, the process was much more forgiving.

So, on the morning of the eclipse, the sky was severely overcast. As I recall, Mountain View was supposed to have 60% cloud cover at 9 a.m when the eclipse started. I could see the sun for a few seconds as the clouds traveled through. The clouds did eventually clear as predicted, and I was able to see the entire second half of the eclipse.

0 comments

San Francisco

San Francisco was a touch hazy, and all too drab. That’s what happens when the skies above are absolutely overcast. The wonderful dehaze function helped. However, what really recovered the city colors was adjusting the RGB levels. Works wonders when fixing old photos that have shifted orange. Tried it here and it worked as well.

Of course, 1/250s is not the standard shutter speed at 300mm. However, I was using a tripod with a shutter release.

Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 300mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/250s

0 comments

Sutro Tower

From Seal Point Park in San Mateo, I had a relatively clear view of San Francisco that was free of rain and fog. Usually, from this vantage point, I will focus on the planes flying over the San Mateo Bridge and landing at San Francisco airport.

However, I spotted Sutro Tower off in the distance and wanted to see how well the lens performed. This lens is certainly capable of producing crisp images, but the Sutro Tower located almost 20 miles away proved to be quite challenging. The mountain range behind Sutro Tower is Mount Tamalpais.


Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 300mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/500s

This United Airlines airplane flying over the San Francisco bay was more within its zone of competence.

United Airlines

0 comments

Morro Bay

When I arrived at Morro Bay, not too many people were around. I headed straight to the water’s edge and found an unobstructed view of Morro Rock. Around the harbor, I could hear the morning chatter coming from the birds and sea lions that called Morro Bay home.

I was excited to see the sliver of blue sky emerging from behind Morro Rock. However, the promise of good weather did not materialize as the sky darkened later in the day and turned light sprinkles into pouring rain.


Morro Bay

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
ISO: 50
Focal Length: 52mm
Shutter: 1/60s
Aperture: f/2.8





0 comments

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Old Mission Santa Barbara

I arrived at Old Mission Santa Barbara at sunset. The last golden rays of the sun showered the church in a warm glow. The fountain attracted some attention from people looking to make a wish or seeking a place to plant themselves for a few minutes of rest. The church stairs was another popular location with two Christmas tree on each side of the church doors. Took a lot of patience to get a clear photo.

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/40s

0 comments