Yosemite in Black and White

Yosemite in April, and the weather was perfect. The waterfalls were raging and making rainbows in the mist. There was a half moon hanging in the clear blue sky in the afternoon. The rockface was shining in the sun, melting snow sending water pouring down. There were faces in the rocks.

I’d never been to Yosemite before, and I saw the famous landmarks and hiked up the side of a giant waterfall. Tonight I edited some of my photos from the first day in black and white, like Ansel Adams. I thought Ansel Adams was a woman until not that long ago. I never knew anyone named Ansel and it struck me as a woman’s name for some reason. Even though I have now seen photos of him and I know he was a man, I still have this residual feeling in my head that the photos were taken by a woman.

Well, a woman did take these photos:


2017 Photo Review and Top 10

It’s been about 2 years now that I’ve been seriously taking photos with something other than my phone. I consider the photography year over, because I already sent off my order for my 2017 photobook. I did the same last year, so 2018 photography starts now for me.

In 2017, I took 8,545 photos. I edited about 900 of them. From that 900 I chose 30 of my favorites to have printed.

I went shooting 72 times this year.

Lately I’ve discovered a love of black and white landscape photos. Even though that was something that really only developed in the last few months, I chose it as a theme for my book this year. I also took many photos of flowers. For awhile there, I was taking photos at San Mateo Central Park several times a week.

My photography improves, and my artwork, which is based on my photography improves. I realized this year that light is the most important thing. I think I already knew that, but I changed my priorities to really looking at the light and I think my photos and art got much better because of that. Now I am drawn to birds and want to get a longer zoom than my 250mm for bird photos. I was also surprised to find out this year what a great lens that is for flowers. Maybe 400mm flowers too?

I went through my edited photos and chose my 10 favorites for this post. Happy New Photo Year!


Point Reyes Woodward Valley Loop

Continuing the traditional Thanksgiving hike, this year we went to Pt Reyes National Seashore and completed a 14 mile loop that climbs up Mt Wittenberg, down to the coast, along the ocean with two jaunts to beaches, and back up Bear Creek. I had a turkey cranberry sandwich while sitting on a deserted secluded rocky beach.


Artistic Windy Hill

I find that I think of my hiking photos two ways, both when I am taking them and when I am deciding what to edit and post. The first is the obvious desire to document a beautiful place. The second is making artistic compositions. Of course, I do the second while taking the first.

The second kind of photo may not show off the beauty of the place, but rather captures, usually small, details or interesting light that catch my eye. I think of the second type of photos as the more artistic, but I like looking at both. Yesterday’s post was the first type of photo. Today’s is the second.


Land’s End, SF

Perhaps the last weekend of the year before the first rain, which they tell us could come as soon as Thursday. I hope it is true for the sake of the victims of the fires, as well as for all of us breathing the smoke that has been blown down here on the wind.

There’s a thin coating of ash on everything, from plants to cars. I am amazed at how far the smoke and ash can travel. There has been plenty where I live, a good 60 miles away. The wind turned and we had good air again this weekend. But it does make you think about what the world would be like if we allowed as much pollution as can be spewed into the atmosphere unchecked. I read that the air quality here was on par with Beijing. I can’t imagine having to live with it all the time.

I also can’t imagine why anybody would oppose steps to stop us from destroying the earth. It seems like such a basic thing to me. Without air to breathe, what is the point of anything? Even those who don’t claim to care about nature, animals- what about themselves? Surely everyone is selfish enough to want air to breathe.

I recently finished a book, Death’s End, the third in Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem trilogy, and one of the passages described the symbiotic relationship between life (plants, animals, etc) and atmosphere and water on planets. Without an atmosphere, the water evaporates or freezes. Without water, no life (as we understand it). But without life (plants balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide) there can be no atmosphere. So it is like a closed circle- no life without atmosphere, no atmosphere without life.

Everywhere else we have looked in space, there is nothing. Only dark cold death. So what the heck people? Are we really this short sighted?

Hurricanes, flooding, fires, there will only be more and more as the ocean and air temperatures rise.

I guess I went off on a tangent. It’s just really nice to be able to walk around outside, you know? I didn’t like being trapped inside because the air is deemed unhealthy to breathe. Of course this is nothing compared to actually being in the fire itself and losing one’s life or property.

Anyway, pictures.


Morning Fall Forest

A few more pictures from yesterday’s hike in Wunderlich park. That fall morning light is just so nice. For these photos I decided not to edit them aside from a tiny bit of cropping. Usually I do edit my photos in Camera Raw, just adjusting the contrast, color correction, etc. Sometimes they look so nice straight out of the camera, I don’t feel it’s needed.



A little more than a year ago I posted photos from a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern art. I took a completely different approach to photographing the museum this time, with an eye toward my current obsession with black and white photo-editing. Last year I took only a 100 mm lens, meaning I took a lot of close shots. Today, I brought only my 10-18 mm ultra wide lens, resulting in expansive shots. I brought a similar philosophy about taking photos at a museum however- rather than taking pictures of artwork, I try to compose shots that are interesting on their own, which may contain artwork but are also about the building itself, or a compelling juxtaposition between multiple elements. Or the crazy color of the completely red bathrooms. Couldn’t resist.