San Francisco Bay Area Photography - John Harrison Photography www.jharrisonphoto.com
This is my blog for John Harrison Photography, www.jharrisonphoto.com that my Yosemite, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, Kauai and other things I like to photograph in the San Francisco Bay Area. Random fun things about places I have shot, want to shoot, upcoming photography shows, or my website will also be included!
Saturday, February 8, 2014
"Winter Sunset at Valley View in Yosemite National Park" Copyright John Harrison Photography
"Winter Sunset at Valley View in Yosemite National Park"
I captured this image in February a few years ago in similar conditions as the weather is there currently in Yosemite - rain and clouds down in the valley with snow at the higher elevations. This day we headed out thinking that it was raining and no chance of a sunset. As we headed out the clouds started to clear with the sun poking through. Each minute just started to get better and better! Like a symphony unfolding in mother nature's concert hall - the drama and excitement changing each minute in Yosemite. El Capitan totally covered in clouds one minute, wide open the next. No sun one minute, orange, pink and blue the next! What an amazing time. Hoping to head up to Yosemite and catch another clearing storm! The great thing about taking photographs in Yosemite is the weather, clouds and lighting creates totally conditions so that image you capture won't look like anyone else! Go to Yosemite and take lots of pictures!
"Russian Blue at Christmas" Looking for a
gift for a photographer?! Consider a 'nifty fifty' - a 50mm Lens that
has a f1/8 or f/1.4 aperture. There are four great things about these
f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses 1) They let LOTS more light in allowing
you to take pictures indoors without a flash. Kit lenses are usually
f/3.5 to f/5.6!!! The f/1.8 lens lets in considerably more light
allowing pictures to be captured indoors without a flash. 2) If you are
using a kit lens, you have quickly figured out your pictures still may
not have that soft blur, or bokeh, in the background like the attached
image. The face of the cat is nice and sharp and the lights from the
Christmas tree are all blurry. You will get this with a 50mm f/1.8
lens. - One note - this is called a shallow depth of field and shooting
at f/1.8 can cause subjects eyes to be in focus but their ears and
everything else are out of focus! Experiment and understand what these
can do before you are shooting those once in a lifetime images! 3)
These lenses can be very inexpensive. The f/1.8 can be found for ~$100
new or used. The f/1.4 runs from $250 to 400. You can find them here:
f/1.8 http://amzn.to/JoNYMs (Nikon) http://amzn.to/1ffEfm4 (Canon) or f/1.4 http://amzn.to/1kN5UvY (Nikon) or http://amzn.to/18Pbvj8
(Canon). You can also pick them up used on Craigslist quote often. 4)
The last benefit of these lenses is they are super sharp! - especially
for the $$. You will really be amazed what you can do with one of these
lenses! One other option is to get a 35mm lens. With the crop factor
on the sensors - the 'zoom factor' of 1.4x or 1.5x may bring you closer
than you want. Nikon has this great 35mm f/1.8 lens that is very
reasonably priced! http://amzn.to/19LXsIi (Nikon) or http://amzn.to/1bIMYMP
for the Canon 35mm f/2 lens. Give them a try and consider it a great
holiday present for yourself, a budding photographer or person with only
the kit lens for their DSLR.
Fall Colors! While there is snow and ice in many places in the country,
we still have some fall colors around here. This is from last weekend
amongst the Redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains near Boulder Creek/Big
Basin and Castle Rock State Park. The marble treatment on this image
gives a holiday ornament feel to it imho. Let me know if you like it!
Kudos to Claudia Welsh for turning me onto the MarbleCam app! Free for
iphone here! http://bit.ly/1d3MO1B — at Redwoods near Big Basin and Castle Rock State Park
"San Francisco Transamerica Pyramid and Mandarin Oriental Hotel at
Sunset" One of those clear days from Alcatraz Island with the sun
lighting up the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Transamerica Pyramid. It
took me three trips over to Alcatraz to get a clear view of the city.
One trip was so fogged in you could not even see the city! Nothing like
weather in San Francisco, California. Copyright John Harrison
— in San Francisco, CA.
"Yosemite Winter" Photo Workshop 2014! Many of you have been asking - now is your chance! - I'll be assisting on a Photo workshop in February 2014 with a Yosemite workshop from Muench Workshops run by Mark Muench and Andy Williams. This particular workshop will have Dave Porter as the lead pro and I'll be there assisting. Dave and I will have some great things planned! Winter is a fun time to hang out in Yosemite and the best part is there aren't many people there! There are lots of places within Yosemite to shoot during the winter so come up and join us. From El Capitan to Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Gates of the Valley, or shooting along the Merced to attempting to capture Horsetail Falls off of El Capitan at Sunset, there are some great locations! You can find our more about the workshop and signup here: http://bit.ly/16Ymh56
"Night Sky over the Lick Observatory" I was
chasing the Perseid meteor shower, but didn't end up with meteors! I
did come away with some shots of the night sky and Milky Way above the
Lick Observatory! With San Jose and Silicon Valley down
below there is quite a bit of light around as you can see in the bottom
right hand corner of the image. I saw a few super bright meteors but
of course my camera was pointed in wrong place. I kept asking them to
fly in front of me, but they just weren't listening! Wish I was in
Yosemite watching them overhead!
"Americas Cup Oracle USA" The Americas Cup race is coming to SAN FRANCISCO
this summer. I caught one of the yachts out on a practice run shooting
from the helicopter. It was flying! Great to see it closeup from
above! You can find out more about the Americas cup races on their
website here: http://www.americascup.com/en/sanfrancisco Enjoy! — in San Francisco, CA. These
AC72 sailboats just FLY across the water!
"Above the Fog" I love shots of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge
but never had gotten the perfect shot with the Golden Gate Bridge
poking through the fog. I saw the weather report at 11:30pm the evening
before saying "your commute will be slow in the morning with low lying
fog across the Golden Gate Bridge" I thought PERFECT! I'll head up in a
few hours! I set out in the dark for the drive up to San Francisco to
shoot from the Marin Headlands.
The hike up the hill in the dark
and the fog with too much camera gear (30 pounds!) gave me a great early
morning workout! I arrived just as the sky was starting to have an
amazing glow and the fog was swirling beneath the bridge. I decided to
go for a longer exposure to capture the lights of the cars heading to
the Golden Gate Bridge. On the right side of the photo you can see some
cars heading along Conzelman Road. I just love the curves and swirling
fog together with the bumps in the hillside. There were quite a few
other photographers there including +Jim Patterson+Aaron Meyers+Joe Azure+Alan Chan+jared ropelato+Andrew Gilbert as well and I had an awesome time shooting and bonding while shooting! It only took me a month to process my image :-)
glow of the San Francisco lights, Car lights and Golden Gate Bridge and
colors in the sky balanced with the greens of the hill and fog are what
caught my eye. I went for a 1:2 panorama format for this which will
look great above a fireplace, couch or in an executive boardroom printed
30" x 60" or larger!
This a single shot from the Nikon D800,
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 lens (28mm), 30 seconds, f/13 and ISO 200. This is
processed in Lightroom 4 and post processing in Adobe Photoshop CS6. I
did not bring my Singh-ray neutral density filters on this trip but used
the awesome digital ND filters in LR4 - my favorite feature of LR4!
is always a crap shoot as it can be clear in the Southbay down in
Sunnyvale where I live and how the fog is in San Francisco. Sometimes
the fog is higher up and obscures everything and never clears! I
actually met +Jim Goldstein
the first time years ago hoping for a Golden Gate Bridge fog picture
and we waited for hours enveloped in fog!! Both of us were just waiting
and waiting while his dog was hanging out. That is part of the joy,
frustration and chase of great photographs - the weather and lighting
will NEVER be the same!!! (but meeting cool people when you are out is
another great benefit!)
Have you ever had that photo you had taken of a sunset on a beach have the sky all white and washed out? Or maybe the sky is exposed properly but the foreground is all dark. Whether it is a Yosemite sunset, or Lake Tahoe sunrise, there is more 'dynamic range' than your camera can see. Yes, even for those $5000 DSLR cameras, your naked eye can see more range of light than the cameras. You need to learn about using High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography to merge together images.
This is a great source of learning about HDR Photography and blending
those landscape images to make the perfect photos! I use some of these
techniques to process my images and get the best of the skies and and
foreground all in sync. StuckinCustoms has excellent HDR tutorials from Trey Ratliff and will get you up and going. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions about the tutorials ! John
disclaimer: I do make a small commission on the posts in this blog. This helps support my postings and photography and is a small way you can give back to support me and my photo adventures!
Photo gadget of the month - The Hoodman LCD Viewfinder Loupe / Scope. One very useful tools/toys I use is a loupe for looking at the back of the LCD screen on the camera. The scope/loupe covers the screen and magnifies what you see on the LCD so you can better ensure the perfect exposure. This works great for liveview focusing to make sure you have a nice sharp focus and also to make sure you have filled the frame and don't have any distracting elements in your image. It is pretty inexpensive as camera gadgets go and I just wear it around my neck to give a quick check of an image. Getting back home and finding you didn't quite nail the shot or focus can really be frustrating. This tool helps get it right the first time.