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Visiting San Diego

I just got home from a trip to San Diego to visit friends and family. There were many photo opportunities on this vacation. Here are some of my favorites.

Ocean Beach:

Cabrillo National Monument:

Balboa Park:

Marina/San Diego:

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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!

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Black and White by the Bay

I have discovered that if I want to be not early for something, or even, gasp!, late, I need to plan it. Planned lateness probably sounds weird to most people, but honestly left to my own devices I will arrive early to everything all the time, unless there is some real crazy emergency or twice as much traffic as I could have imagined. I thought for sure the traffic around here would cure me of my earliness, but it didn’t. Apparently I just rolled it right into my mental calculation of when I need to leave to be wherever I am going on time (which is what makes me early in the first place, because if you really want to be on time, you have to leave extra time for things that often don’t happen.)

Being early for things is usually good or neutral, but in some cases it’s not. When it would be better to be late than early, I decide to purposefully do something I know I don’t have time for- like stopping to take pictures on the way to a party last night.

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Edgewood Park

Another old haunt I haven’t been to in years, dating back to before I started dslr photography. Edgewood Park is across the street from my usual Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. My main complaint about this park is the traffic noise from 280. It’s audible from parts of Pulgas too, but it’s just really loud on the whole northern side of Edgewood. However, I seem to be in a mood for variety in hiking, so I decided to give it another chance. It does have its charms. The twisty creepy branches of Pulgas seem to have multiplied here, on the other side of Edgewood Road. I saw a lot of deer and several bunnies. I also noticed that they have really added a lot to the educational center and they now have a labeled wildflower garden. I need to check this out when wildflower season comes.

I took these pictures yesterday, on Halloween, and seem to have captured a bit of a Halloween spirit with the long shadows and twisty tree silhouettes.

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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.

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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.

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Wunderlich Park b&w

I have an order of difficulty ranking in my head for the hikes near me. Pulgas Ridge is the easiest. This I can do pretty much any time even if I feel out of shape. But it will be tiring if I am actually out of shape.

Next on the list is Wunderlich, which is a much bigger park with longer hike options, but still nicely graded trails so it’s pretty much the easiest 10 mile hike with 2000 ft of elevation change you’ll find anywhere. Or so it was. Apparently after last winter’s crazy rain, there was a landslide that cut off one of the usual trails. The current work-around is a (thankfully brief) steep slog that cuts off one of the switchbacks. Which wasn’t exactly what I signed up for today, but it was fine. I disliked going back down it more than up.

So, that tells me I am ready for my third level hike- Purisima Creek. I will check the trail conditions before I go. Live and learn.

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Ocean Birds

I went to Pacifica this morning for a walk and photos. The heat has been nuts the last few days and it was just too hot to be outside. It finally broke last night, but it’s still hazy out there. There’s something kind of beautiful about it, if apocalyptic in a way. I’ll have another post later or tomorrow for some of my other photos.

For now here are some birds. The pelicans were out in droves this morning. It was fun standing by the edge of the water trying to catch them in their antics.

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Morning Light

I have been meaning to go to the park in the morning, just to see what kind of photos I might get of my flowers in different light than what I typically see in the afternoon. I want to work on a larger colored pencil drawing soon, but so far the right photo hasn’t presented itself. It has to definitely be the right one, because a larger colored pencil piece is going to be a big time commitment. Did I get the photo today? Maybe. I will have to see how I feel about it going forward.

I did get some very nice light photos though. You can feel the atmosphere- early, sun low in the sky, summer, it’s going to be a hot day.