california

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Another one from my California sunset photo editing spree. I love the way this one turned out and I remember like yesterday how it happened too.

Andrew had made plans to meet up with one of our friends for dinner and asked if I wanted to join them. I distinctly remember saying, “only if we can go shoot sunset first and then meet up with Sean.” He agreed and we ended up bringing our cousin, Vincent, and the cuddle pup, Frankie along. Since they were going to meet up in the Ocean Beach area, we ended up waiting for sunset around the pier.

All of a sudden the sky exploded! I don’t think any of us were expecting all this color and it was amazing. I remember trying to get more water in the foreground by getting close to the sand but since I wasn’t expecting this awesome sunset, I, unfortunately, did not bring my tripod. Some of those shots turned out well but it was this one that really caught my attention. Sometimes the best shots are when you take a step back.

Seriously, everyone on the beach and pier just stopped. It was like someone hit the pause button cuz everyone was just staring at the sky. This guy on the pier was no exception. I do remember there being a lot more people on the pier, but I tried to zoom in and crop the image so there was just that single silhouette.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I was in a photo editing mood so I went back to earlier this year and found some images from San Diego, California that I’ve never looked at. Somehow I ended up editing all sunset images. I suppose sunsets are a bit better on the west coast than sunrises. LOL

This image was taken during a visit to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. It’s definitely on my must-photograph list when visiting America’s Finest City. Trust me, the place is mind-blowing and on this trip to Salk, I planned to be there to watch the sunset. I did not expect to see some gliders riding by. It was so cool because I did not realize just how close Torrey Pines Gliderport is. I kinda saw them out of the corner of my eye (cuz there was more than one glider out at this time) and then when I finally turned around to see what was really going on, I was mesmerized.

How cool would it be to be on one of those at sunset? I bet the view must be amazing. Perfect for a little GoPro video.

I love how simple this image turned out. I think my favorite part is that you can see a little peek of the sun as it’s going down behind the clouds but I purposely left a little bit of the ground showing in the image just to give it some context. Also, that may or may not be a ship in the background.

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/2000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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Yesterday my friend, Geoff Livingston launched his podcast Show Me. In each of the episodes he discusses famous photographs and why they worked.. or did not work. Then he asks each one of his guests to give their opinion on their own photographs.

I’m so honored and grateful to have been a guest on his show and to have been one of the first 4 people he sat down and talked to. We discussed a few Ansel Adams’ pieces before talking about some of my own images of the cherry blossoms, US Capitol and more. It’s always a good time to hang out with Geoff. I’m just glad there is actual documentation of it now. LOL.

There’s also a video recording of the podcast so you can see each of the images we’re discussing as we’re talking about them. You also get to see how much I talk with my hands when I speak so there’s that too!

PS At the end, I call him Gerry. That’s totally an inside joke. LOL I definietly know his name is Geoff.

So I figured the most appropriate image to post to honor Geoff and I’s conversation is to post my version of Half Dome. It’s been almost 10 years since I first visited Yosemite but it was such an amazing experience that I still remember it like it was yesterday. To this day whenever anyone asks me about my favorite national park, I always say Yosemite (besides the National Mall of course). I would go back in a heartbeat. I never doubted why Ansel Adams spent so much time photographing this extraordinary place. Props to him for doing it with a medium format camera and wooden tripods though!

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/320th sec and ISO 100 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm lens.

 

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This was captured on the same day after this image. Probably just 1 or 2 hours after the sunrise image was captured,

You know it’s so funny when you visit a place for the first time before the sun actually rises, everything is so dark and you can barely make out what’s in front of you. Neither Andrew or I had ever been to Joshua Tree and we had no idea what’s was really going on. But once the sun came out and you can actually see, it’s always so shocking and beautiful. Like, “I missed out on all this?”

So this image was taken on our way out of the park. I know we drove down this road during sunrise, but didn’t really know what it looked like. It just took my breath away once I could actually see it. I love the way the shadows are crossing the road. I believe they were created by some Joshua Trees but I am not completely sure. It mimics the clouds in the sky so well, almost as if it were a reflection. And nothing more says the American Southwest to me than those huge wide open spaces. I made Andrew pull over so I could capture it really quickly. Luckily we visited during the government shutdown and in the middle of winter when there weren’t as many people around. It made it really easy to just pull over and hop out real quick for the picture. Looking at this image definitely makes me want to go back soon but I’m not sure which is better, the extreme cold (wind) or the extreme heat that Joshua Tree experiences.

My camera settings for this image is F 4.0 at 1/5000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I haven’t been taking as many pictures around DC lately. Mostly due the fact that it’s been raining so much. Also I feel like I still have so many images to go through from this year. When I come home from travel, I get really excited and look at all my images. I’ll pick a few that I like the best and spend some time editing those. But for the most part, I’ll leave most of the other images just sitting there.

Sometimes I feel like I just need a break from them or I’ll end up getting really excited about a photowalk I did at home and those images will distract me for a bit.  Either way I always find it better after I have spent a little time apart from the images that I’ll be really happy with the edits. Now that I think of it, when I go back to look at those travel images after some time, it instantly brings me back to all these great memories and I think it’s easier to edit them after I can figure out how these places and experiences made me feel.

For example, this image was taken on our very first morning in Joshua Tree at the very end of December 2018. It was the best sunrise we had the entire trip but for some reason I was never extremely happy with the way I edited them. 5 months later, I had some time over the weekend and looked through a lot of my Joshua Tree images. I almost forgot about this sunrise and I can’t believe it. It reminds me of the morning when we woke up really early, even without alarm clocks because we were still on east coast time and hoping into the car. Since we were on our way to Joshua Tree, I felt like the only appropriate thing to do was to listen to all the U2 songs I could think of off of the top of my head. It ended up being so fun and we were cracking up over the littlest things. Aww so fun!

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/250th sec and ISO 2000 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 16-35mm.

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If you had asked me last year, I would have said no to anything that had to do with getting in the Pacific Ocean in the winter time. There’s something about really cold water that scares me and I didn’t even want to put my toes in it. Seriously.

But this past trip was different. Our cousin, Vincent actually signed up for surf lessons while we were in San Diego and asked Andrew and I if we wanted to join him. We both immediately said no. I don’t know what Andrew’s reasons were, but mine was definitely because of the cold. I mean, it was cold enough at night time in the regular, above water air I can’t imagine what the water was like swimming in it.

Well Vincent finished his lesson and I asked him about the temperatures. He said it wasn’t even cold at all and I didn’t believe him. He kept on going on about how fun it was and that he wanted to do it again. I must admit that I wanted to surf but it really was the cold water that was holding me back.

So it turned out that the next morning I was out photographing the sunrise at Windansea beach in La Jolla and I got splashed by a huggggeee wave. I wasn’t paying attention and I got soaked. I packed up all my gear and went immediately back to the car. But before I got back to our airbnb realized that Vincent was right. The water wasn’t that cold. LOL. So Andrew and I ended up taking a surf lesson and it was so fun. LOL. I would totally do it again but only if the water is warm.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/4000th sec at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II with my 70-200mm.