God’s Landscape & The Devil’s Slide

Follow the path about 10 stories down. Head to the end, by the rocks. Don’t get crushed by an errant wave. Then, just relax. 

Currently listening to: Them Shoes, by Patrick Sweany.  

Pacifica, CA is amazing. Like, it’s my favorite. Even is the midst of the Norcal rainy season, it’s just too amazing. A recent trip to Gray Whale Cove, The Devil’s Slide, and the accompanying bunker only confirmed this. First - the Devil’s Slide needs it’s own follow-up post - and it’ll eventually get one. But, as a stretch of Highway 1 that “shouldn’t have ever been made” it now serves as coastal roadway designated just for hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and…me. The fact that it’s famous for closures and landslides makes you appreciate the landscape around you, and value your time there. And, as someone who lived in NJ for 35 years, it makes you stop and put the camera down, and just, be. 

Still, our time during this day was dedicated to Gray Whale Cove, and the Bunker. A perfectly foggy, overcast day led us down the trail and to the end of the cove. Expectedly rough waters, a few seals, and a few equally brave surfers filled the water, while we dotted the beach. No matter what type of photos I’m taking, it’s difficult to not turn them into landscape photos here.

All shots with the Canon 5DMkIII, and mostly shot with the Canon 50 1.2L. Generally ISO 100, aperture ranging from F/1.2-F5.6, and shutter adjusted as needed.

Chinatown Hustle

I like San Francisco’s Chinatown. I like the evil eye I often feel. I like the sounds, the crowds, and feeling the slightest bit unwelcome.

Currently listening to: You Worry Me, by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. [Thanks Joe.]

I headed to Grant St. yesterday to do some portrait shooting. February 16th was Lunar New Year (Year of the Dog), so Chinatown was still buzzing, mostly evident from the fireworks still being set off. As is always the case, some great talent showed up; from photographers, to models, to videographers and all-around content creators, it was a good crowd to be in, and yet another loud reminder that I need to start mixing some video in.

On the photo side, lesson learned about shooting at 50mm. I almost always shoot with the Canon 50mm 1.2L, unless I’m shooting landscapes or wide environmental portraits. Chinatown is narrow, crowded, and at times a little tall, so the 50mm was probably a little too tight. I considered switching to the 24-70, but never actually did. Either way, I was happy with the take from the day. Might challenge myself to start shooting at 35mm for a while just to compare the difference. I can either lock the 16-35 or 24-70 at 35mm, and see what I walk away with. Maybe.

All photos shot with Canon 5D MkIII, with Canon 50mm 1.2L, at ISO100, F/1.2, and shutter adjusted as needed. 

Road Trip, 1975.

Well, not really. “Road Trip, 2018” just didn’t do much for me as a title. 

Currently listening to: Joe Blues, by The Moving Sidewalks.

Took a ride to the top of Mt. Diablo. All 3,848’. Not sure if that’s that high, but it felt like it at times. Mt. Diablo looms large for those of us in the East Bay. I see it daily as I pull out of my parking spot. It disappears into the morning fog often, and stands tall in fading golden hour light during the commute home.

Fittingly, I drove it in terrible midday light. It didn’t serve the photos very well. The ride itself was beautiful though, and deserves to be completed a few times to really remember it right. I decided to have some fun with the shots, and dial in a 70s film effect in post. Despite it being a bit of a joke to put this effect on the photos, I like them much more now, and the effect aids the story the set tells. I’d like to reshoot all of them from inside an older car from somewhere between the 50s-70s, and include more details of the car - the steering wheel, instrument cluster, passenger’s feet on the dash, etc. I’ll add this to the growing list of projects.

All shots taken with Canon 5D MkIII and 24-70 2.8L, on manual. ISO 100, F/14, and around 1/250th. Most of them are shot through a dirty windshield.

Time Spent: Battery Spencer

Currently listening to: Going to the Mardi Gras. (It’s Fat Tuesday, afterall.) 

Despite wishing I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I can’t complain too much. I’m surrounded by so many amazing Bay Area views, and interesting people. Last night I somewhat impulsively headed to Battery Spencer, on the Sausalito side of the bridge. It’s a pretty spectacular view, and not “terribly” crowded. But, I think it may be more of a sunrise spot than a sunset spot, since the sun literally disappears behind you. Oops. 

Spent some time attempting timelapses, and threw in a few longish (30”) exposures as well. Unfortunately, I had a semi-boring sky. It’s still too early in the year for the foglapse I’m looking to shoot. Soon. 

All shots taken with the 5D MKIII and 16-35 2.8L, on manual. The timelapse consists of 150 images, at roughly 3 seconds per exposure; ISO 100, F 5.6. 

To be honest, I think these are a touch boring, but it’s still better than a night spent not shooting. 

I Loved the Way She Said LA

Title of this blog comes via a great song from a previous lifetime. 

Anyway, an impromptu road trip led me to LA. I had pretty low expectations, and as is the standard, was proven wrong immediately. Yeah, the 80 degree days in the middle of January might’ve impacted my opinion. The landscape definitely played a positive role. And five days with close, talented friends left a serious impression. I think I’ll see you again, LA.

PS: The Grafton on Sunset in West Hollywood is worth your consideration. 

The trip was highlighted with some live music shooting of Helen Rose, at The Mint. Cozy room with great sound. All of my concert photo experience is limited to one venue in NYC, so, I expected a challenge. Overall, I think the photos look decent; I struggled balancing the skin tones in some shots, especially with red and pink light. I’ll be looking more into that moving forward. 

All shots taken with Canon 5D MKIII on manual, using Canon 24-70 2.8. Generally shot from ISO 3200-5000, with a shutter around 1/320th, at F/2.8.

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