Big Leaf Maple

Another Leaf
We just don’t colors like this where I live, so to me the color of this leaf is impressive. Our maple trees turn sort of yellow-brown, then the leaves fall off. At higher elevations, like Yosemite where this was taken, it gets much colder much faster so the colors get more vibrant. I can’t image what the Fall colors must look like in New England.

When it’s 82 degrees F, it’s hard to imagine it’s really Fall.

Hanging On

Hanging On
Well, Fall may have come but it seems Summer is trying to hang on a little longer. Today was beautiful – clear, sunny and warm. It could not have been a more perfect day in mid October. With the recent rains grasses have started growing, so in addition to the changing color we have new growth. That refreshing after a long, dry summer. The leaves on the trees are still turning and dropping, but this week will be warm so I expect Fall will drag out a little longer. We have yet to get our first frost, but the nights are getting downright cold.

This is one of two ash trees in my backyard. They both have a range of color from green to red, but are mostly red. In a couple of weeks the leaves will probably be gone, especially if we get a frost.

Until, I’m going to enjoy the warm weather. This shot is part of the Fall Series.

Don’t Waste This Chance

Don't waste this chance
Big Leaf Maple turning colors. Taken in Yosemite, October 2007

Yosemite isn’t really known for its Fall colors, but I thought they added some contrast to the landscapes. Yosemite has a lot of conifers that don’t change colors, but there are enough Black Oaks, Maples and Pacific Dogwood’s to mix in a splash of yellow and red. The colors make up for the lack of water at this time of year. The meadows with Black Oaks are really beautiful.

Another thing that makes up for the lack of water is the bears. We saw bears in broad daylight foraging for food to fatten up for the winter. Fortunately they are pretty tame and if you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you. But it’s good to keep your distance. I tried to get a picture, but wasn’t fast enough.

The Coming Storm

It's gonna rain - Fall Series

Vineyard photos in Sonoma County, California are a little cliché, but they do make for great landscapes. I took this yesterday at lunch. A storm was heading in, creating some dramatic cloudscapes. I used a graduated filter to help bring out the clouds and keep the vineyard visible. I did some tweaking in Lightroom to add more contrast to the clouds and bring out the blue in the sky. Lightroom makes it very easy to adjust colors and contrast in subtle ways. The flexibility of that program is astounding. When my trial runs out I’m going to be sad. Hopefully in the next few months I can buy it.

The sun was just out of the frame, at the top of the picture, making the exposure a little tricky. I used manual exposure and according to the meter, overexposed the shot. I think it worked better because you can still see some detail in the vineyard and the sky is not blown out. Since I started this blog, I learned to read the light of a given shot much better than I used to. I know when the meter isn’t getting the exposure I want. I’ve taken many shots that if I had used Program mode would not have come out the way I wanted. If the light is even the meter is right on, but sometimes you have make adjustments based on what you see. I do need to experiment more with metering modes in my camera to see how the different modes impact a picture. Some test shots may be in order.

This photo is part of the Fall Series I started this week. I specifically drove to this vineyard to take some photos of the vines changing colors. The clouds ended up being the focal point of my images because they looked so amazing. This photo is on Zooomr with a geotag if you want to see the location and EXIF information. Here’s another shot I took yesterday:
Fall Vineyard - Fall Series

I copied the settings from the main shot and applied them to this image as well. I also used the “Heal” tool to remove a bird from this photo. It looked like a black speck in the sky. I don’t normally retouch images in that way, but this bird just bugged me, so I had to remove it.

Also, I won’t be posting anything for a few days. This weekend is a busy one for my family, and with all the activities and commitments, I know I won’t have time to blog anything. I’ll still take some pictures, but won’t have time until early next week to post anything to the blog, or even to Zooomr.

Fall Series

Fall Photography Series 3

The first real rain of the season came last night, the days are getting short, and the leaves are changing, so I guess I can say Fall has come. Northern California doesn’t get the dramatic colors like other parts of the country during the Fall, but there are enough non-native trees and plants to give some bright colors. I’ve been thinking of doing a series of photos on a particular subject, and decided today to do a Fall Series. It’s not the most original idea, but it gives me something to focus on.

I’ve struggled lately with finding good subjects and thought a series would help inspire me. I’ve been running through ideas, but nothing has really jumped out at me. Fall colors don’t last long, which means my first series will have a definite end, and soon. It will sort of force me outside to take pictures, and force me to try to be a little creative with the limited subject matter.

This wall is on a street I don’t normally drive on, but construction forced me onto side streets. The colors and textures jumped out at me so I stopped and took a bunch pictures. Most days I have to struggle to find a good picture to post, but today I took several that I liked for various reasons. The vines growing on the wall had such a variety of colors and were growing in such cool patterns that I couldn’t pass it by. In a couple of days it will look different. This series will be a little challenging because I will pretty much have to take pictures as I see things. If I try to come back the colors may look very different, even the next day as temperatures drop.

Here are the others I posted on Zooomr:
Fall Photography Series 5

Fall Photography Series 4

Fall Photography Series 2

Fall Photography Series 1

The Climber

The Climber
Yesterday when I went out to my car after work, I saw the fire department next door practicing with their big ladder truck. Fortunately I had my camera, so I took a few quick pictures. Also, fortunately, there was no fire. I’ve thought about walking over to the fire station at lunch sometime and taking pictures, but never have. I took this one from the parking lot at work, so got a little lucky with the timing. I don’t the name of the fireman, but the photo was taken at the Petaluma Fire Station. The geotag is on Zooomr.

I have to give a bit of public thanks to the Petaluma Fire Department. About 10 years ago my daughter fell off a slide and was knocked unconscious. The fire department responded quickly and rushed her to the hospital. She was fine, but they really treated her great and even gave her a little stuffed animal bear. Most importantly they knew how to handle two frantic parents. A long belated thanks.

I took this with my 70-300 IS zoom lens. It’s great to have a lens that lets me get up close from far away. All the shot info is on Zooomr. You can view the large version of this photo as well.

Many Mini Pumpkins

Many Mini Pumpkins

For lunch yesterday I went to the pumpkin patch with my wife and youngest daughter. I just wanted to get out for a little while and the pumpkin patch is just up the road from where I work, so it made for a nice break from the cubicle. It turned out to be a good time to go because there weren’t a lot of people, almost none. My daughter got a pumpkin and got to run around the little kid’s corn maze, and I got to take a few photos. I now want to go there in the evening to shoot the activity when it’s dark.

The weather
is really turning to Fall now. Not surprising since it is October, but October in California can be pretty warm. There were a lot of clouds blowing through that would have made for some impressive landscape photos, but I was hanging out with my family. There’s a photo of a cloud below.

Here are a few other images from the pumpkin patch:
That time of year



Fall Clouds

The other side of the road

Today I took a little drive a lunch, looking for something to shoot. I’ve been a little slow the past couple of days, so wanted to at least take a few shots.

The weather cooperated today and blew in a great mix of upper and lower atmosphere clouds. This was taken right outside town, by the side of the road. I was actually shooting barns on the other side of the road from this shot, but when I turned to walk back the car, I saw these great clouds. This photo is on Zooomr with a geotag so you can see the location. EXIF data is also there.

I did the processing in Lightroom. My trial has 23 more days, so I need to get busy and take a lot of pictures. I really like Lightroom. It makes processing easy, without making pictures look too processed.

I also want to share a site I found out about a couple of days ago – 365 Portraits. A real photographer is posting a new portrait everyday. These are incredible portraits. Very inspiring.

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon
The moon coming up last night was just amazing. Our family was out on a walk when it came up, so I missed the best part of the moon rise, but I hurried home (dragging the poor dog behind me) to grab my camera. I got a few shots before the moon got too high. Good thing I did, the fog came in tonight completely hiding the moon.

I used my new Manfrotto 190XPORB tripod with a 804RC2 head. The tripod is great. I had tried a couple of cheap tripods and finally decided to spend the money on a good one. I have not regretted it in the least. This is a great tripod and head

Shot Details

Shooting Date/: 9/26/2007 19:28:17
Shutter Speed: 1/500Sec.
Aperture Value:7.1
ISO Speed: 400
Lens: EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Focal Length: 300.0 mm