Photo Location Guide: Hidden Gem in the San Francisco Bay Area – Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

Most of the time when I travel to the San Francisco Bay area I stay near Palo Alto, since this is where I have most of my engagements. One spring I went to the Bay area and I knew that I would have to visit Berkeley on multiple occasions. I decided to stay in the Oakland area for an easy reach to San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Berkeley.

Travel Photography Blog: California. View of San Francisco

California. Oakland. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park
Loc: 37.80018, -122.32910

One afternoon I had a couple hours to kill so I was looking for some new and interesting travel photography locations around Oakland on Google Maps. At that time I was pretty familiar with the San Francisco side of the Bay, but it was my first encounter with the East Bay. Right away I spotted a tiny green dot labeled “Sunset View”, since it was surrounded by a flat grey color of blankness with a wide access to the waterfront. I could see it had potential for interesting travel photography shots.
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Deconstructing Photo: Delivery Boat in Venice (Italy)

While visiting Italy I had very little time to explore Venice, spending only two half-days there. I was staying in Trieste and had to ride the trains to travel to Venice, and as a result I did not have a chance to photograph the city during sunsets or sunrises. Plus, the weather was not great for travel photography. It was hot and hazy, and there was not even one cloud in the sky for two full days.

HDR Photography - Processed in Photomatix

Italy. Venice. Grand Canal
Loc: 45.44128, 12.32262

From the very beginning I knew I would have to experiment with HDR processing to achieve something decent. I took all my photos in Venice as bracketed shots, making sure I had an option to process them as HDR if I wanted. Also, all my photos were taken without tripod – hand-held; it was almost impossible to use tripod in such busy and crowded city.

I am definitely planning to go back to Venice, this time staying in the city making sure I can capture its beauty during the golden hours and at night.

One featured photo is Venice’s version of a delivery track.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 3 Bracketed Shots (-1; 0; +1)
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Deconstructing Photo: San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley from Above

This is the view near the San Francisco Bay from State Route 35, better known as Skyline Boulevard. A narrow two-lane road that runs almost 90 km along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Skyline Boulevard has some incredible views of the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Bay Area to the east.

HDR Photography - Processed in Photomatix

California
Loc: 37.49207, -122.36452

This drive was recommended to me by one of the locals, who mentioned that they always take this road when driving to San Francisco on the weekend for the sole reason of the amazing views.

The Skyline Boulevard drive has become one of my travel photography rituals when I am in the San Francisco Bay area. I always try to make the trip in the afternoon hours as the light from the sunset illuminates the famous landmarks such as Silicon Valley, Stanford University, and the Bay Area, with its bridges and the mountains across the bay.

You can practically see from the top how the new startups of Silicon Valley appear from nowhere and then burst into nothingness :-)

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley from Above
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Photo Extract Weekly – 32 Useful Photography Links from Around the Web

This is my weekly post; collection of the best photo related resources I came across in the last 7 day. I hope you can find something useful and interesting in different fields of photography.

I included resources relates to: travel photography, landscape photography, HDR photography, history of photography, inspirational resources, humour and photo equipment. Please let me know if find my collection useful.

My Favorite Resources of the Week

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Deconstructing Photo: Fog Over Rocky Bridge (California)

This photo was an unplanned and unexpected accident. It was late afternoon at the end of a Big Sur coastal drive along the California Route 1, and I was in a hurry to get to Point Lobos before the sunset.

HDR Photography - Processed in Photomatix

California. Big Sur. Palo Colorado Canyon
Loc: 36.40134, -121.90672

Initially, I had stopped at Rocky Bridge and snapped few shots, but I did not see any amazing landscape photography opportunities. At that point the fog had not yet descended and the sky and the light were just ordinary, with nothing to be excited about.

After a brief stop at Rocky Bridge I drove directly to Point Lobos, and 40 minutes later while walking around Point Lobos I looked toward the south and this is what I saw. The fog had changed everything completely. It had even diffused some of the sunlight, making it softer.

I rushed to my car and drove above the speed limit back to the bridge, in order to take this shot before the fluffy fog was transformed into heavy, dark clouds, canceling sunset and my travel photography aspirations.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Post Processing: HDR Processed inPhotomatix
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Deconstructing Photo: Sunset at the River 2 Years Apart (Montreal)

This is an interesting exercise / study on photography and post processing.

I took both photos from exactly the same spot (slightly different focal length 16mm vs 17mm), in the middle of the winter, at the same time of the day, but two years apart. The big difference in the landscape appearance is that two years ago we could hardly see any snow, but this year it was frozen solid from the middle of November until the very end of March.

HDR Photography - Canada. Montreal

Canada. Montreal. Lachine
Loc: 45.42907, -73.68791

Also, I used two very different processing methods for each photograph. For this year’s photo I used an HDR Photography workflow, using Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop. As you can see, I processed it heavily in Photomatix; the colors are vibrant, and the details in foreground are prominent.

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Photo Location Guide: An Unconventional Way to Photograph New York

Living in Eastern Canada (Montreal) near the US border has a big advantage for any travel photographer or photo enthusiast; it puts you within driving distance of two beautiful and extremely photogenic cities; Boston, and New York

Travel Photography Blog: New York Manhattan. Midtown

New York. Manhattan. Midtown
Loc: 40.76254, -73.97306

I have a tradition where I visit New York at least once a year. Even if I have happened to visit during my business trips, I still try to find time to return on my own. Since I am not a winter person, and I do not enjoy outdoor photography in wintertime, most of my visits to New York have been in the summer. [Read more...]

Deconstructing Photo: Dunes, Beach and Morro Rock (California)

As you drive along California Route 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco the most interesting landscape photography landmarks start around Morro Bay, with Morro Rock as the main travel photography attraction.

HDR Photography - Processed in Photomatix

California. Morro Bay. Montaña Oro State Park
Loc: 35.2974, -120.8688

I love to photograph Morro Rock. It is so distinctive and unique to its surroundings. I have visited on multiple occasions and taken photos from different spots. When you photograph it from the north you have the Morro Creek beach with its many surfers in the ocean as your foreground, with the Rock serving as the backdrop.  When photographing it from the town you can really appreciate the magnitude of the Rock, and the many fishing boats on the bay will help you to create better composition in your photos.

But my favorite perspective of the Morro Bay area is from the south, from the hills of Montaña Oro State Park. The reason I love this view is because, besides the Rock itself, you can see two other famous landmarks in the frame; the Spooner’s Cove beach, and the Montaña de Oro dunes.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Post Processing: HDR Processed inPhotomatix
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Deconstructing Photo: Winter Wonderland in Montreal

This photo is my first experiment shooting for HDR with more than 3 exposures. As you may know, my primary camera is Canon 60D, which allows me to bracket exposures up to 3 shots. I have never felt limited since I could always choose from the following bracket configurations: -1; 0; +1 or -2; 0; +2 or even -3; 0; +3.

HDR Photography - Processed in Photomatix

Canada. Montreal. Lachine
Loc: 45.428246, -73.676774

But a few months back I read an interesting review on HDRshooter.com about the Magic Lantern custom firmware for Canon cameras. What Magic Lantern does is extend the functionality of Canon cameras by installing additional firmware on top of the original Canon firmware. Also, Magic Lantern is an open source project, which means it is free, and you pay as much as you want, and only if you like it.

While taking this photo I was experimenting with 7 frame brackets, but that was one too many and for final processing (check my free tutorial HDR Photography with Photomatix) I used only 6. After using Magic Lantern for few days, I cannot live without it. I love it.

Thanks, Miroslav!

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Post Processing: HDR Processed inPhotomatix
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