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Sunrise on the Grid

Beautiful red sunrise this morning. I showed some of these to a friend and he said “great sunrise, too bad those power lines are there.” But I don’t know, I kind of like them. They have a personality and add contrast to the photos between nature that grew itself and the nature that humans have built.

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Pacific Ocean

Just a few more pictures from yesterday.

First, there was this mesmerizing field of yellow wildflowers.

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And a wildflower that looks like a tiny version of something much bigger that’s growing in the landscaping at my apartment, “bear’s breeches” or Acanthus mollis.

mini bears breeches

And of course, the ocean itself.

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Pacifica – Mori Point

I took a nice early walk by the Pacific ocean this morning, something I don’t do often enough. This place is 15 minutes from my apartment, so I really should visit the ocean more often. You have to get there really early to beat the crowds, and it is totally worth it. There’s something about the ocean early in the morning.

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Early Morning Hiking

I love the way things look early in the morning. Today was just a gorgeous day and I extended my usual Pulgas Ridge hike to make it 6.5 miles instead of 4.5. The trail I usually skip is one of the prettiest parts of the park, I now remember. I will probably start defaulting to the 6.5 mile hike now that I’m getting back in shape. I felt great, could have kept going.

I met a park ranger and had a lovely time chatting with her about wildflowers and favorite parks. She said Pulgas is her favorite too. I wish I was a park ranger.

Started out at 7 am and finished at 10. The light is so much nicer in the morning, not to mention the absence of sun beating on me during the non-shady parts. I took 150 pictures, here are a bunch of them.

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March Sunrise

I know we’re going to change our clocks this weekend, and unlike most people I’m looking forward to it. I’m an early bird and sometimes lately I’ve been waking up at 4:30 am but convincing myself to go back to sleep because it’s just ridiculous to get up then. However, next week, it won’t be quite as ridiculous when 4:30 becomes 5:30 and I will really be able to catch full sunrises. Anyway, I did pop out of bed ready to go at 5:15 this morning and caught a nice sunrise from Seal Point park.

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Ah, super wide angle! This was taken other lens I bought myself. It’s the Canon EFS 10-18mm IS. I wanted a super wide angle for vistas and for hiking photos with lots of trees.

But I also wanted to try out the macro lens on vistas, and I have to say I really like the result. This lens just makes everything look so nice to my eye. Well worth the cost.

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I love the view of the city at sunrise. Such nice warm, golden light and Turneresque skies.

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In the morning at Seal Point, there are a ton of red-winged blackbirds singing their strange song. It sound a little like a digital ringtone to my ears.

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Sunrise City

I realize that when I look around for things to photograph, I want to erase human-made structures and only see things that look like nature (even though, if we’re being honest, most of this “nature” is human-placed too.) Still, I’d rather look at flowers, trees, skies, and landscapes than anything else.

But this is not the reality of the Bay Area. Sure, we have some of the most fantastic nature around and it is accessible to visit. But we are also a place that is overrun with traffic and industry and business. In the future, I want to photograph some of these places where we spend so much time without thinking about the fact of their physical existence, like Facebook HQ, which is less than a mile away from me as I write this.

I digress. This morning, instead of looking away, I looked toward the buildings and high power lines. They are interesting too, and this is the reality of where I live.

Sunrise with High Power Lines

The poles that hold up the high power lines are geometrically visually pleasing. I enjoy the multitude of shapes and spaces they create when you look at them from various angles.

Sunrise with High Power Lines 2

In other news, there was a red wing blackbird singing its song high up on a pole, and I was impressed that the photo came out at all given the lighting conditions and the distance away. They have a sound that is quite easily recognizable. If you’d like to hear it, check the audio files on this site. As you can see, I caught him mid song.

Singing Redwing Blackbird

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San Mateo Sunrise

As I was driving into work today, I saw a spectacular sunrise and I couldn’t resist a little detour to photograph it.

Sunrise over San Mateo Bridge with Plane

So I quickly drove over to Seal Point Park and managed to capture some images I’m really excited about. Usually I miss these sunrise opportunities because they happen so quickly, but today I got lucky.

Dramatic Clouds

Talk about dramatic colors and clouds! I never would have been able to catch this with the right colors on my iPhone.

San Mateo Sunrise Pano

I stitched 3 photos together in Photoshop to make this panorama, already taking advantage of using the manual settings on my camera. If I had shot these in an auto mode, the colors wouldn’t have matched from photo to photo.

Sunrise reflected on SF

I thought I was finished and I got in my car and started to drive away when the reflection of the red light off San Francisco caught my eye. Wow, was it ever cool looking! So I parked again and ran through a wet field of grass to take this last picture. Now my shoes are going to be wet all day, but it was totally worth it.

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Snails

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One morning it was raining and I was almost certain I would not be taking any photos that day, but I brought my camera with me anyway. I have already learned this lesson: Bring your camera anyway.

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While I was driving the 15 miles from my home to work, the rain stopped and the sun started peaking over the horizon. So instead of going straight to the office, I stopped at nearby Bedwell Bayfront park to see what sorts of birds might be congregating there in the early hours.

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There was quite a selection of birds, and I managed a few photos, but the best pictures of the morning featured an unexpected subject: snails. I noticed that there were many snails crawling up some dead stick-like weeds. This was the smallest thing I had attempted to photograph with my DSLR so far. Since I don’t have a macro lens, I had read about how to photograph small things with a zoom lens. I crouched down so that I was at the level of the snails, keeping some distance between myself and them. If I had been using my iPhone, I would have gotten as close as possible.

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From a distance of about 4 feet, I zoomed in on the snails and was able to capture several pleasing images with nice soft backgrounds. Here is another area where using a DSLR shines- the ability to create nice soft backgrounds. Occasionally I would do this with my phone, but it was not something I could reliably replicate.

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Why do snails climb after rain? I guess only snails can know.