Yesterday, I drove on Route 1 to Pebble Beach, which is part of the Bean Hollow State Beach. In the late afternoon I got lucky when a few clouds appeared. The image below is my favorite from yesterday. Click here to see a larger version. You may send this image as a free e-card, or you can buy a print. 😉

See Pebble Beach on a map here.


Crissy Field is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and former airfield. It is part of the Presidio Army Bases and is situated right along San Francisco Bay. Crissy Field Beach is popular with wind and kite surfers. The former airfield is essentially a two miles long meadow and a promenade. There are also dunes and a stretch of restored wetlands. Views include the city, the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, the Bay and Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands across the Bay. This is a nice shooting location in the late afternoon light. Nearby attractions include the Marina DistrictSan Francisco Yacht Club, and the Wave Organ.

Crissy Field Beach, the promenade, the marsh and the former airfield, as seen from Lincoln Boulevard

The new and temporary Crissy Field Center. There is also a coffee shop and an office of the Park Service.

Crissy Field is popular with locals, dog owners, tourists and people who just want to walk or jog. You can rent a bike or pedal car, or you can just hang out at the beach.

The Marina District in the background

Glen Canyon Park is an unexpected surprise in the Diamond Heights neighborhood. A refuge from the city noise, this canyon has sloping meadows, steep rocky outcrops, a creek and woods. If you are looking for a nature retreat right in the city, this place offers a lot to see from wild flowers to animals. Hiking trials follow the contours of the landscape. The light is very good on the east side of the canyon in the late afternoon.

See Glen Canyon Park on a map here.

You can see the Sutro Tower in the background

Outcrops of sedimentary rock

I saw this wildflower next to the creek at the bottom of the glen

People do some rock climbing here

A meadow…

… and spring flowers

The Wave Organ is located at the end of the breakwater past the end of Yacht Road across from Marina Greens. This organ consists of a system of tubes that go into the water at one end while they are open at the other end. You can sit there and listen to all sorts of moaning and rumbling noises coming out of those pipes. Do you speak Whale?

The area around the wave organ resembles a little bit ancient ruins. It is an interesting shooting location with good light in the late afternoon.

Locate the wave organ on the map here.

Have I found the remains of Atlantis in SF Bay? 😉

The Gear? KISS!

March 14, 2010

I used to shoot with Canon and Nikon 35 mm cameras and Mamiya and Fuji medium format cameras. I also used a 4×5 large format Sinar. I still own several Nikon 35 mm professional bodies and an arsenal of lenses. Lugging around 20 pounds of gear has never really been fun. I also found it limiting my flexibility and joy in going out and taking pictures. Very specialized gear is of course necessary for some types of photography. Over the years I began shooting with less and less heavy gear. It was liberating. Instead of hauling around three bodies and six lenses, I carried maybe one camera and two lenses, or two cameras on professional shoots, because you couldn’t afford not having a backup body. Once I used to haul a large photo bag around all day on vacation, but eventually I took only one small 35 mm compact camera (Ricoh GR-1, if you must know) along. I got outstanding images and I had more fun than when shooting with my heavy professional kit!

I like to keep my photo gear simple now. I don’t need to carry a lot of gear for my kind of photography. Being unencumbered by weight and bulk, I remain flexible and can focus on creating imagery instead of dealing with the gear. As long as the equipment allows me to make a 16×20 inch print in photographic quality, the camera brand does not matter. My DSLR is pretty small and it’s black. I use mostly two lenses, both of which are optically excellent. If an image looks bad, it’s my fault! I am a fan of natural light, but I will use flash to augment available light if needed. Especially when doing Photo Illustration images I tend to use flash with colored gels. I use wireless remote flash, and sometimes I use a tripod. As I said, I like to keep it simple. A big production just isn’t my cup of tea.

A Wookie?

March 13, 2010

It could be an Ewok or a Wookie pup for all I know. I saw this little fellow on Ocean Beach today. If you have a cute pet, and if you want his or her picture taken, I am available. Please, no biters!  😉


The very colorful Mosaic Stairs start at the intersection Moraga Street and 16th Ave and lead up to 15th Ave. Many tile steps lead up to Grand View Park, also known as Turtle Hill. You can see many native plants in this area, and the view from up here is spectacular. You can see most of San Francisco from the Sunset District to Lands End to Downtown. You can see Golden Gate Park in its full size. You can see the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can see the Marin Headlands, and you can see the Sutro Tower which isn’t very far. It’s windy up here all year! This hill is the remnant of an ancient dune and you can still find lots of sand up here. The bedrock on which this dune rests is in many areas exposed due to erosion.

This is a great shooting location! Especially during the late afternoon and around sunset, the light around the mosaic stairs at the foot of the hill and on Turtle Hill itself is fantastic.

Access is easiest via 19th Ave. Turn onto Moraga Street and park near the stairs. See the map here.

Moraga Street and 16th Ave: the Mosaic Stairs start here

163 steps. Fascinating, desu ne?

Along the way you will see native plants, for example California Poppy

Turtle Hill (Grand View Park) above the stairs

More stairs!

And yet more stairs to climb! In the background the Sunset District and the Pacific

The hill is the remnant of an ancient dune


The Sutro Tower

Golden Gate Park is visible in its entire length from up here (but not in the photo)