One of my favorite hikes in LA is up the Hollyridge Trail to the Hollywood Sign. There's a great view from the top of Mount Lee, and on a clear day, you can see Griffith Observatory, Downtown, Lake Hollywood, Palos Verdes, Catalina Island, and all of the San Fernando Valley.
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The trail we took, framed in the Hollywood "O": Walt Disney Studios is at the bottom right in this photo: Griffith Observatory:
One of my favorite cityscape techniques is using a telephoto lens to juxtapose buildings or landmarks in ways that are not usually seen. Several weeks ago, I wondered if there were a vantage point from which I could juxtapose two of Los Angeles's most famous landmarks, the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign.
This past Saturday was a glorious, clear, warm day in Los Angeles, so I went out in search of the view. I was so happy to find it! In reality, the Sign and the Observatory are more than a mile apart, but from far away and with a long lens, they look like they are right next to each other.
Now that I know where the location is, I plan to go back when the season (spring) and light (likely early morning) are better.
While visiting family in Pebble Beach over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I escaped for a few minutes before sunset to take a few photos. There was a fine, hazy mist near the water which created these beautiful rays of light through the cypresses. The first shot is almost straight out of the camera -- just a little warming and sharpening. Best viewed large.
[Click images to view larger.] Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4, f/6.3 at iso50
I grew up in Marin County, California and I took these panoramas over Easter weekend this year when I was home visiting my family. One of my favorite places in the world is the Marin Headlands, where these images were shot from. I liked the symmetry of these two together.
I'll be heading home for Thanksgiving and am hoping to get some photography in while I'm home.
I first discovered infrared film as a high school photography student and loved its surreal, beautiful, and unpredictable effects. As a digital photographer, one can't use infrared film, but there are a few other options to recreate the effect digitally.
(1) You can recreate the effect in Photoshop, though I have yet to see the effect recreated perfectly using this method. Generally this involves converting your image to black and white using mostly the 'red' channel and applying glow and grain to the image.
(2) You can replace your dSLR's sensor with an infrared sensor; however, this is expensive since you need another camera body and have its sensor swapped out. You can learn more about this process here.
(3) You can use an infrared filter. This is the method that I decided to try out, and I purchased a Hoya 72 Infrared Filter. I've tried it out a few times and haven't been too impressed with the results, but I'll keep trying to iron out the kinks. I shot the image below of the LA skyline.
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For comparison, here is an image I shot with real infrared film on a manual SLR back in the 1990s. The filter seems to create very grainy images without the lovely soft glow of the infrared film. I'll work on recreating the true effect in Photoshop and keep you posted :)
Christy was a gorgeous bride, and I felt so lucky to photograph her. Here are a few of my favorite images from her wedding and the day after.
You can see more of Christy and Scott's wedding photos in my post here.
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Believe it or not, this was pretty much candid. Christy was dressed and waiting for the ceremony to begin in a few minutes. A couple of quick, simple portraits before the ceremony began: Hello, Vogue model! I love her sweet expression in this one: I love these next two, taken in the cactus garden in Balboa Park.
The full moon is one of my favorite subjects. However, it's actually pretty boring on its own, so I always try to juxtapose it with an interesting landscape or cityscape. Here's last night's full moon rising behind Griffith Observatory. The sky was a bit hazy last night, so I was lucky to get beautiful pink sunset light.
This morning I was listening to NPR on my way to work and heard about an interesting study by a NASA scientist. Using satellite imagery, Nalani Nadkarni estimated that there are approximately 400 billion trees on Earth, or about 61 trees per person. The conversation that followed was about whether this was a lot of trees per person, or few? I think it's too few, especially at the rate that we consume wood-based products -- lumber for our homes, furniture, disposable chopsticks by the billions, and especially paper. As they pointed out on the show, though, trees are not like oil; they are a renewable resource. We'll have to be very careful to ensure proper conservation of the Earth's trees. Even though they are renewable, they are an invaluable resource.
Here are a couple of my very favorite trees: Sequoiadendron giganteum, or Giant Sequoias. These were taken in June in Sequoia National Park. I was there as part of a habitat restoration project so I didn't have much time for photography. When I go back, I'll look forward to shooting early in the morning or late in the day for the best light; exposure is tricky in the forest with bright shafts of light and dark shadows from the trees.
I really enjoy shooting familiar landmarks in unconventional ways -- such as from a new angle, with a unique juxtaposition, a different time of year, or interesting light. With these images, my goal is for the viewer to think, "Wow! I haven't seen a photo quite like that one before!"
Here are a few of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Click on the images to view them larger.
With wispy clouds in summer:
Did you know that there's a vineyard in the Hollywood Hills?
Framed by wildflowers in summer. Up close and personal.
Looking down on LA from behind the sign.
Bathed in sunrise light from Griffith Observatory.
"OHLLYWODO" - A strange optical illusion from the Hollyridge Trail.