Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some Magical Light

This little tree resides in the community park near my house, where I walk most days near sunset after hard hours at the computer. Normally, this would be nothing to even turn my head for, but one day a few weeks ago, for a few fleeting moments as I was walking by, this beautiful light from the setting sun illuminated the tree against the colorful, wintery sky. This also was caught with my phone.. I truly regret I didn't have a "real" camera with me.. but hey, I think this is a lot better than nothing, even though it will be forever relegated to greeting card size prints.
Funny how it works.. sometimes you can travel a long distance, wait for hours for something to happen and then maybe it does, maybe it doesn't; other times you're just walking by and see something really incredible.. how often have YOU been in that situation and wanted to kick yourself for being unprepared?

Check out other beautiful skies from around the world or post your own at the SkyWatch home page.

Monday, January 25, 2010

No Go for the Snow Show

My effort to find some pristine, fresh snow-covered landscapes last weekend was basically a bust. I've been wanting to work on some wide angle, white-on-white winter scenes, a la Andrew Wyeth's watercolors of Pennsylvania's woods and fields. I should have realized that half of the residents of San Diego would be heading out with their kids and dogs to play in the snow, all on the same day and to approximately the same spot. One of the two main roads was closed to anyone without chains (I lived half my life in New England where it snows 5 months of the year and never once used chains!), so the other road was so congested with cars and people that it became pretty hopeless for my purposes. Oh well, try again on a weekday and get there really early, I guess. Anyway, I didn't even pull my gear out of the car, just snagged a few quickies near the end of the day with my trusty iPhone, this being the most interesting. Never leave home without it.
From this spot, the ocean would be found beneath that little break in the clouds just at the horizon.. about 50 miles to the west and 4500ft. in elevation below. The peaks in this area can be easily seen on a clear day from where I live in the city. Believe it or not, the following day we were taking a pleasant, sunny walk on the beach.. we really do have it all around here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Roiling Sea

Southern California is being pummeled this week with wind, huge waves, torrential rain... and snow in the mountains. As it starts to clear for the weekend I will of course hope to find some great photographic opportunities:) It's almost always interesting during that transitional, post-storm period and I've been wanting for some time to get at some fresh snow for a change of subject, so a trip up to the mountains is probably in order for the weekend (if I can get there). 15-20 ft. waves at the shore will be around for a few more days, too... can't go wrong with that. Some of the local piers are closed for safety because the waves are actually breaking over them.
Meantime, another in my recent glut of winter-season seascapes for today's SkyWatch. Check out other beautiful skies from around the world or post your own at the SkyWatch home page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fire in the Sky

A photographer's dream day.. what else can I say?
It's such an advantage to be really familiar with a place before you try to photograph it. Whenever I travel, I have to rely largely on luck and instinct to be there when the conditions are right... it can be a frustrating experience as many of you know well, especially if a lot of time and expense were involved in getting somewhere. Here at home, however, I can watch the weather and the sky every day and just know when it's going to be happening. Occasionally it's a bust, other times like this, it's way better than expected.
Virtually no processing on this (yet)... just a slight exposure tweak and a bit of levels in the sky.
Be sure to visit the SkyWatch home page for other awesome skies from around the world.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Weather is Swell... and a Winter Swell

At last an interesting day.. actually, an absolutely EPIC day, with huge waves from a winter storm far out to sea, combined with some perfect, beautiful light this past Saturday. This is the kind of day that happens once or twice a year; a situation to be out there with lots of time and all my photo gear ready at hand.
You'd better be a pretty competent surfer/swimmer to handle this stuff (even so, the lifeguards were busy all weekend)... they are the only ones that really get to experience the thrill and the power of these conditions first hand, but it's still lots of fun for the rest of us observing from shore, if nothing else.
Anyway, this day started out great and got even better, so I hope everyone is up for some ocean images:) I shot enough exposures in 3 hours to keep me busy for quite a while (the light after sunset was a jaw-dropper)... this is just a little teaser. I'll be back later in the week for SkyWatch, if not sooner.
A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, leaves the viewer
a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective. - Irving Penn

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Quick Look Back

I had a bit too much time on my hands for the first weekend of the year; my wife was not feeling well with a cold and we cancelled our plans to travel up the coast for a few days, where I might have had a chance for some new work; so instead, I put together this little retrospective of some personal favorites from the past year's blog posts. I've been debating whether to actually put this up or not, but finally decided that although a few of you may have been around from the beginning and have seen all of these images, many more probably have not. Not all were created in 2009 of course, but they were all posted here at some point during the year. I know I don't often dig back into the older posts on most of the blogs I frequent, so I assume other people don't do a lot of that either:) Hopefully they are worth another quick look, anyway.
I borrowed this idea from one of the photo blogs that I always read by Patrick Morand of French Landscapes, who posted his own 15 favorites of the past year last week, so I thought would give it a go also. BTW, Patrick lives in the south of France, near St. Tropez and makes really awesome seascapes and pastoral landscape images of his home area... be sure to give his work a look.