Point Reyes National Seashore Workshop August 11, 2012

Yesterday I held a one day photography workshop at Point Reyes National Seashore. The five of us visited several locations and even though the fog was heavy we were able to capture some great images. Along the way we saw elk, deer, elephant seals, raptors and an elusive bobcat.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

We started our journey with a brief meeting at the park headquarters then off to our first shoot, the old wreck of the “Point Reyes”, probably the most photographed boat in northern California. The old boat is definitely showing deterioration as compared to my first images from 10 years ago. Still the photographic learning opportunities abound. We took a bunch shots and discussed the various aspects the “Old Girl” has to offer in artistry.

It was then off to the lighthouse. The fog provided almost zero visibility. Although this lighthouse is now automated it stands as tribute to its own history. Inside the apparatus room there are remnants of the machinery needed to “keep the light”. Outside the harsh climate is evident in the rust and lichen growing on the sides of the building. All providing great opportunities for camera work.

Our group then moved on to the old RCA radio station which has an old growth row of cypress trees that have formed a tunnel effect over the driveway leading to the building. There was such a magnificent overcast/fog layer which gave us near perfect lighting conditions and we got some wonderful images. This location is a great place to discuss HDR (high-dynamic range) when it’s a bright sunny day. The hot spots and shadows provide a great range light and challenges on how to capture it.

Next we headed to Pierce Point to see if we could get some images of the elk herd. The fog was getting thicker. While driving, Menno our friend from the Netherlands, spotted a bobcat. He jumped out of the car and ran back a ways and was able to get an image of the elusive cat staring right at him in the fog. Definitely a cool shot.

We poked around the barn area, shot a few trees in the fog, but the light was starting wane and we decided to head back to Drakes beach for some tranquil surf shots on the level beach. Of course right there on the side of the road was a herd of elk. The males “bugling” loudly, rounding up their harems on a Saturday night. We finished on the beach using longer exposures and got some nice images of the low “silky” surf rolling up the beach.

All in all a nice day to shoot. Weather wasn’t perfect but in a way it’s was. The fog gave us some mood to the images, and of course the overcast is natures perfect neutral density filter.

Thank you, Sarah, Menno, Glenn, and Ash for allowing me the opportunity share my thoughts and techniques in a great location with great company!

Next up: Mini Workshop August 18th 3-10pm San Francisco More info…

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SF Zoo Camera Walk August 3 2012

Flamingos

A nice day with an old friend…

I met Glenn, an old friend and compatriot at the gate. We hadn’t seen each other in years so it was great to catch up and spend the day shooting.

After setting our cameras we were ready to see what we could find.

First stop was the large primate exhibit. The Gorillas were in their yard and they knew the routine. Sometimes posing and at other times acting quite shy and turning their backs in us. The girls were in the “yard” and the kid was running around as kids do. It wasn’t long before the big silverback came out to check over his brood. After his ’rounds’ he went back into the house. Maybe he had the Olympics on or something. I love tying to capture the various expressions the gorillas exhibits. I’m a sucker for applying humanistic attributes to animals and the gorillas didn’t disappoint.

We moved on to the big cat section and saw a Siberian Tiger and a couple of Lions. I was able to catch a pretty good portrait of the “Old Man” just hanging out.

We strolled around leisurely taking a shot here and there. The zoo wasn’t too crowded and with a bit of high fog we had pretty good conditions. After visiting the aviary where Glenn got an eyeful of a rather large Anaconda (he doesn’t like snakes) we finished off at the Lion house.

Before we realized it, the afternoon was upon us and it was time to hit the road and head home.

What a nice day.

Next up: Mini Workshop – August 11th at Point Reyes (click here for more info)