My HDR World

Transcending Photography One Picture At a Time

The Romance of the Golden Gate Bridge

When you think of San Francisco, what is the first image that pops into your mind? If you’re like most people, you immediately picture the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s no secret that visiting the bridge sits on top of pretty much every San Francisco “must do” list.

Having lived in San Francisco for quite a few years, I always took the bridge for granted.  I’d get there eventually, I’d say.  After all, I’ve driven across it countless times.  In reality, it wasn’t until I moved away from The City that I wanted to spend some time on a photo opp of the bridge.

This photo was taken atop the Marin Headlands, just north of the bridge on the Marin County side.  The hardest part wasn’t even taking the photo, but fighting through traffic, parking, and all the tourists trying to get a glimpse of the bridge at sunset.  To be honest, I had never been at that location before and didn’t know what to expect, then almost made the rookie mistake of leaving too early.  The wind was blowing hard, tipping over my crappy tripod (my new tripod is 10x better, thank goodness) and making life miserable.  After a while, I decided I had enough and headed back to my car, but on my way out I passed by some people carrying full camera gear.  Sensing they weren’t novices, I begrudgingly followed them back up the hill.

Once the sun went down and the bridge lit up, I saw the light.

That’s when I fell in love.


The Trails Above Griffith Observatory

One of the greatest perks of living in LA is definitely the weather.  While the rest of the country get snowstorms  during the winter, we complain about 50 degree cloudy days.  We do, however, pay for this privilege in the form of REALLY high taxes on pretty much everything.

Having been spoiled by the sun for most of the year, I hadn’t hiked much during the “winter” months, so I decided to go up to the Griffith Observatory last week.  For those of you that are not from LA, the Observatory is a very well known destination here.  Not only are its exhibits about the planets and stars well worth checking out, it is also high above the city, which can only mean great views of all of Los Angeles.  The only variable is the smog that seems to hover above at all times.

I took this picture on Tuesday, when the Observatory was closed, and there were still loads of people there hiking, picnicking and enjoying the sunset.  If you go on a weekend afternoon, expect to spend more than a few minutes trying to find a parking spot.  I’ll take a picture next time right after a shower or windstorm.  It’ll be interesting to see if downtown LA in the background clears up.

Downtown LA in the background on a smoggy / cloudy day

Downtown LA in the background on a smoggy / cloudy day

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts sits conveniently next to the Golden Gate Bridge, an easy trek for tourists. Every time I go there, I see tour buses, couples taking engagement photos, and groups sitting on the lawn and having a cold one. The Palace’s beauty is magnetic, and is a must-see for people from all walks of life.

I hadn’t visited San Francisco much since I moved out of The City a few years ago. As chance would have it, I was in SF and had some time to take some photos and went straight to the Palace. I had taken some photos here before, but was never really satisfied with the end result. This time I decided to do something different and set up the sun right behind the dome, giving it a nice glow. I’m happy to share my favorite Palace photo here with everyone.


The “holy f***ing crap” Beauty of Yosemite

Yosemite. Most of the time, it’s all that’s necessary to tell a story. A single word that gets your attention just like that. When I think of Yosemite, I think of waterfalls, half dome, and the numerous trails that interconnect. And each experience is unique and special. I can’t believe that it took me this long to make this special trip. All I know is that I can’t wait to make a return journey to this national treasure.

This photo was taken at Tunnel View, appropriately name for a viewpoint into Yosemite valley right after exiting a tunnel. I remember driving into the tunnel not knowing what to expect on the other side, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw this spectacular landscape right after I exited.  It reminded me of when I visited the Colosseum in Rome. I had just taken the metro to the Colosseo stop, thinking that I’d walk outside for a little while before I would see the ancient amphitheater. To my surprise (and I’m still surprised to this day, years after this happened), the Colosseum was literally right outside the metro stop. All I could think of was “holy f*&#ing crap”. Now THIS is what I’m talking about.

The Quiet Waves at Malibu Pier

Malibu is a great place to just go for a drive. Whenever I feel a little down, I’d take the drive up PCH and just admire the sun, the ocean, and the vast number of surfers enjoying their waves. The serenity of the scenery simply cannot be duplicated.

I had wanted to take pictures of the Malibu pier for the longest time, but never went for it because of  the parking situation, especially heading North bound. Anyone who has driven on PCH can vouch for this. The lanes are narrow, the cars go fast, and traffic lights are few and far in between. But this time I made a last minute decision to go for it and drove up to the pier after the sun was dipping below the horizon. I got lucky and found a parking spot pretty easily. I was racing against the sunset, and thought I was too late. It ended up turning out pretty good, I gotta say. It was a worthwhile drive, after all.

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