Tag Archives: photography

The Saguaro And The Deep Blue Sky

The Saguaro And The Deep Blue Sky is a color photograph of a red rock outcropping and a Saguaro cactus. The setting is Tortilla Flats located east of Phoenix, Arizona in the Superstition Mountains. The day was obviously a clear day, but more importantly to capture a shot like this, the direction you are taking the picture has to be lined up in such a way (referencing the sun) for the sky to resonate with this deep color. I did a series of shots that day, this one being the perfectly framed capture with that deep blue sky as a back drop.

The Saguaro And The Deep Sky

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Sepia Tone For the Old West

As I have talked about before with sepia tone photography, the subject matter needs to fit the historic tone of this type of photograph. This week I am featuring four prints from the “Wild West”.

Tombstone Stagecoach


The setting is Tombstone, Arizona. The old stagecoach is now a tourist attraction for rides through historic Tombstone.

Old Mining Tracks

The setting here is Tortilla Flats, located east of the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area up in the Superstitious Mountains. Once a stage coach stop, Tortilla Flats is more of a tourist attraction with a great restaurant, small museum and gift shop all looking like an old west town including old wagons, wagon wheels and a replica of an entrance to a mine.

Old West Wagon

I used a sepia tone finish on these last two photographs, but then I pulled the original colors out through the brown hue. I then added a slight hint of texture to complete the old west look and feel to the photographs. The setting for these two old west wagons is Cave Creek, Arizona. Tourist shops are set up as an old west town. Throughout the town are actual old wagons, wheels, carriages and other western vintage items from the 1800’s.

Red Wagon Wheel

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Northern California Coastline

In continuing with my series of our road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, this week I am sharing some of the photographs I took on the Northern California Coastline. The shots are from the Mendocino area of the coastline. That would be about halfway between Eureka (on the very northern California coastline and San Francisco).

The drive that day (Pacific Coast Highway) took us slightly inland for awhile and then rejoined the coastline. The slightly inland part was stunning as it took us through Redwood Forests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and grab pics of that experience as the shots I would have liked to have taken occurred while we were driving without the ability to pull over. It was fascinating to see that you’re driving on this nice wide two lane (sometimes four) highway with broad shoulders, then suddenly the speed limit goes way down and you round a curve to the road narrowing down to just two lanes without shoulders. That was to protect the existing redwoods where their trunks are literally right next to the pavement. The road would wind between the trunks and I must say it was stunning.

When we were able to rejoin the coastline, I was able to get the attached shots.

Northern California Coastal 1

I loved the rock structures along the coastline similar to what you see along the coastline in Oregon. You can tell from the white tips of the protruding rock structures in the water that birds spend a fair amount of time gathering there.

Northern California Coastal 2

The other thing that is different along the northern California coastline versus the southern or central coastlines are the trees (similar to Oregon, but not as lush) that come right up to the coast.

Northern California Coastal 3

It was a beautiful fall day for strolling the beach.

Northern California Coastal 4

I love the different color shades of the ocean as the depth changes. Notice how clear the water is in the little bay.

Northern California Coastal 5

We hit the weather perfectly along the entire drive. The prior day we had left Seattle very early and made it all the way to Arcata, California just north of Eureka along the coastline. On this day our destination was Santa Cruz along the northern portion of Monterrey Bay, which is south of San Francisco. The next day we drove the final leg home exactly two weeks after we left.

Because of the current pandemic I did want to touch base on how we handled that issue. We were diligent with our masks whenever we were out of the car. We brought sanitary wipes for pumping gas and hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were an issue we researched ahead of time and found that the Hilton chain of hotels seemed to have the best programs. We were able to do remote check-in prior to arrival so we just went to our room and keyed in the code we were given. The rooms had tags sealing the door to verify the room had been disinfected. To protect our family here in Los Angeles and in Seattle we got tests done before heading up and after returning just to verify we were ok.

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The Rock, Lighthouse and a Rose in Black and White

For those of you that have been following me, this post won’t be a surprise. I periodically post different captures from my black and white photography gallery with the reasons I think they stand out more using the black and white motif.

We’ll start with “The Rock”. I love this shot and showing it this way allows the detail of the rock itself to be highlighted.  The scene is unique unto itself with this huge rock structure, but it also emphasizes the white surf of the waves coming ashore.

Next is “Admiralty Head Lighthouse 2” which is located north of Seattle, Washington. By showing this in black and white, the architectural details stand out as the center of focus. The subtle lines along the lower level of the first and second floor become more obvious along with the same type of lines along the top of the tower and second floor. The window framing actually pops because it contrasts with the white stucco of the building itself, as does the roof and top of the lighthouse itself.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse 2

“The Unfolding Of Petals” is a perfect example of detail that “pops” out with the absence of color. The color photograph of this rose is stunning and no getting away from the brilliance of the color. Having said that,  I did this in black and white because the amount of detail that pops with the petals is intense,  from the actual shaping of the petals to the veining that shows on each petal.

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Down On The Farm – Sepia Tone

I go from bright colored hot air balloons last week to sepia tones this week. I like the age a sepia tone creates visually in photography. With the right subject, you see a very old vintage look making the photograph appear to have been taken around the turn of the century. The subject of this post is farms and farm buildings.

I’m starting with a farm I came across in Oregon one year. It’s nestled in a valley and the morning fog was just lifting creating a somewhat eerie look

The rest of these captures are in Iowa southwest of Cedar Rapids in and around the Amana Colonies (for those of you that are familiar with the area). This next shot is part of a large old stable.

From here we go to two different hay barns.

And end with an old abandoned farm…

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Descanso Gardens Part 2

Descanso Gardens is a 150-acre botanical garden located in La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles County, California. If you’re not sure where that is in the Los Angeles Metro area, it’s in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains northwest of Pasadena. Descanso has a fascinating history dating back to 1937, more information here.

Summarizing from last weeks post: I was not prepared to take professional photographs of the surreal beauty of the Enchanted Forest of Lights we encountered at the Descanso Botanical Gardens just before Christmas. My son-in-law has the new I phone 11 which handles night photography really well. Last weeks photos were his and this week are the better ones I took that weren’t duplicates of his!! Enjoy!!

Descanso Gardens 10

Descanso Gardens 11

Descanso Gardens 12

Descanso Gardens 13

Descanso Gardens 14

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Descanso Gardens Part 1

Descanso Gardens is a 150-acre botanical garden located in La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles County, California. If you’re not sure where that is in the Los Angeles Metro area, it’s in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains northwest of Pasadena. Descanso has a fascinating history dating back to 1937, more information here.

Every holiday season, as do  many botanical gardens, they have a beautiful light show at night for guests. I have been lucky enough to see a number of botanical garden light shows, but I have to say this is the most incredible night show of lights I have personally seen. I have heard about this over the years, but until this year never went to experience it. Our daughter and her husband took their daughter to see it last year and all they could talk about was having us go this year with them. Our oldest daughter and her husband were flying down from Seattle to spend Christmas with us, so opening night (Monday before Christmas) our LA daughter, her husband and our granddaughter (plus a new grandson born this year) hosted all of us to a night at Enchanted Forest of Lights in Descanso Gardens.

I was absolutely not prepared for the incredible beauty of the evening. I loved their use of fog machines throughout to enhance the look and experience. I took some photos, but not on a professional level. Using just my I-phone I wasn’t able to get truly great night photos. Having said that, my son-in-law had his new I-phone 11, which does do night photography quite well. All of that being said, I wanted to share a taste of what we experienced. The photos I am sharing in part 1 are his (with his permission).  Part 2 (next week) are a few of my better ones that weren’t duplicates of his. I hope you enjoy!!!

Descanso Gardens 1

Descanso Gardens 2

Descanso Gardens 3

Descanso Gardens 4

Descanso Gardens 5

Descanso gardens 6

Descanso Gardens 7

Descanso Gardens 8

Descanso Gardens 9

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Lighting Changes – Sailboats on San Diego Bay

I wanted to share some captures I took of sailboats on San Diego Bay last October. What the pictures show is a change in look of the same subject matter in the same location by the lighting in the sky.

These pictures were all taken from an area near downtown looking across the bay at Coronado Island. There is always some type of craft movement in the bay be it small sailboats, larger yachts, military air carriers or cruise ships. This particular day I was focused on sailboats and the sky. I noticed the cloud structures were changing as the day went from morning to afternoon. There was a remnant of a tropical storm coming from the Baja of Mexico just south of San Diego.

San Diego Bay Sailboat

In this first capture, the sun is out and the fluffy clouds from that system make a great backdrop.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 2

This shot was taken within about an hour of the first one. The sun is still out, but notice the change in the clouds. There is a high level of gray coming in on top of the fluffy clouds.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 3

I added this shot for a couple of reasons. The first reason was I love the look of this restaurant sitting on peers jutting out into the bay and the second reason is because at this point it was lunch time. I want to point out that this shot was taken very shortly after the last shot and notice the change in color of the bay. The sun was beginning to go under the approaching high level clouds…see the difference .

In the time I took for lunch and came back to capturing some sailboats, the last capture is what I took.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 4

Same area as the first shots, but see the difference in the color of the bay? It goes from a deep blue to more of a gray color. Even in the sails, the brilliant white of the sails is subdued. I thought this would be a great example of how important lighting is to the final outcome of a picture when shooting outdoors. There are subject matters that look better in indirect lighting and some landscapes look better with horizontal lighting (sunrise or sunset timeframes).

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Central California Coast – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

I wanted to share a couple of shots I captured last weekend on a drive my wife and I took along the Central California Coastline. There are a number of “pull-offs” scattered along the coastline and these captures were from one of those.

California Central Coast 1

 

California Central Coast 2

 

California Central Coast 4

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