Category Archives: Lighthouse

A Look Down San Francisco’s Market Street

Market Street - San Francisco - 2014

Doug Kaye and I were photowalking in downtown San Francisco on Friday – exploring some old familiar areas as well as a few new ones. At one point we crossed Market Street and I snapped this view heading to the Ferry Building. I was shooting on this particular day with my Fujifilm X-E2 with the 55-200mm Fujinon zoom lens.

This image was processed in Lightroom and VSCO Film before being touched a bit in Photoshop CC with the oil paint filter. I like how the oil paint filter (as well as Topaz Simplify) help remove some detail – decluttering the image just a bit.

The iPhone 5s Camera along the Pacific Coast of California

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

I headed for the coast this morning – taking along three cameras: a Fujifilm X100S, a Nikon D600 DSLR, and my trusty iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 5s takes some amazing pictures – here are two quick examples. Up above the beautiful lighthouse at Pigeon Point. And down below the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse in Santa Cruz. Both shot with my iPhone 5s and edited in the iPhone using Snapseed.


Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse

All Aglow at Pigeon Point Light

All A Glow - Pigeon Point Lighthouse - 2012

In mid-January 2012, my friend Doug Kaye and I were shooting on the San Mateo County coast. We started at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, then headed to Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor and, finally, down the coast a bit further to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

The light on this early afternoon was quite special – as light in January can be – coming in from a low angle. This particular shot is an abstract closeup of one of the windows in the lighthouse – showing the beautiful gradient of light around the circumference and the gorgeous blue sky behind.

Shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens – handheld. Post-processed tonight using Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film.

The Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse – Santa Cruz

Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse - Santa Cruz - 2012

Here’s another iPhone 5 images – this one from late December 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. The iPhone 5 (and now the iPhone 5s) has a great camera – I’ve put together a special set on Flickr with some examples of my iPhone 5 photos – and a new one where I’m collecting iPhone 5s photos.

This is the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse built by Abbott’s parents following his death in 1965 while surfing near the point.

This version was adjusted in Lightroom 5 using VSCO Film presets.

Point Montara Light Station

Point Montara Light Station - Montara - 2012

Late this afternoon, I headed over to Half Moon Bay – specifically to Montara and the Point Montara Light Station – to join up with a small group of Google+ photographers. I tried several HDR shots – none of which worked very well given the continuous movement in the ocean. But this image grabbed me – primarily because of the vanishing point effect of the clouds merging at the lighthouse.

I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod – using a Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 lens. I shot it at f/11 at 1/50 of a second and post-processed it in PhotoShop CS5 using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 filters. I particularly like the wide tonal contrast around the lighthouse in this image.

Coasting in 2012 – Pigeon Point Lighthouse

The Lighthouse - Pigeon Point - 2012

This morning I met up with Doug Kaye over on the coast – for a morning of shooting – of the photography kind. We started at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and then headed south to Pigeon Point Lighthouse before heading to Pescadero and Duarte’s Tavern (DOO-arts they say!) for a great cracked Dungeness crab lunch.

I’ve really come to appreciate these photo shoots with a friend – especially one who, like Doug, is pushing new frontiers and trying new techniques. As we explore a venue, we see through each other’s eyes – and see things we otherwise wouldn’t see. Try it sometime. It’s great fun!

This image is of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse on the San Mateo County coastline south of Pescadero. The light this morning was beautiful – and this black and white treatment features it!

This image was shot as a 3 image handheld HDR with my Canon 5D Mark II. I post-processed it first with Photomatix Pro (using undeveloped JPEGs exported from Lightroom 3 and Photomatix alignment by features), and then opened in Photoshop CS5. In Photoshop, I first adjusted with Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 – specifically, tonal contrast and detail extractor. Then I brought the image into Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 before finally bringing back into Lightroom for final tweaking, noise reduction, and uploading.

I’ll always remember this day and our time coasting the San Mateo coast! Beautiful!

The Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse in Santa Cruz

Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse

The Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse in Santa Cruz is a memorial built by Abbott’s family following his death in a surfing accident in 1965. It’s a beautiful lighthouse and sits up high above the Santa Cruz surfing channel. Reading a bit of the history about this lighthouse, it turns out that Esther and Chuck Abbott, Mark’s parents and builders of this memorial, also were photographers.

This image was originally shot in RAW using my Canon 5D Mark II with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens on March 29, 2009, a beautifully clear bright sunny day. It was post-processed using Photoshop with Nik’s Color Efex 2 and Silver Efex 2. I loved the light angle on the lighthouse – and decided to use a red filter in post-processing to darken the sky and make the lighthouse “pop”. Hope you like it!

A Lazy Sunday in Santa Cruz

It’s been a rough few days. I’ve been grinding away on some research and pulling a presentation together and, feeling sorry for myself, I just HAD to get out of the house this morning for some R&R! It looked like a beautiful day at the beach – so I gave Lily a quick walk around Sharon Park and then headed south on 280 to Santa Cruz. My attitude was sort of summed up in today’s Harley-Davidson ad in the New York Times: Screw it! Let’s ride! (All I was lacking was that Harley!)
Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, California

This photo is of the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz – taken with my iPhone 3G. The lighthouse is part of the Lighthouse Field State Beach and overlooks the Steamer Lane surfing hotspot. Note that the flag is at half mast – in honor of the four Oakland Policemen?

After shooting some surfer photos, I headed south to the Boardwalk, caught some riders on the Giant Dipper, and then headed down Portola past Twin Lakes to Live Oak Library – thinking I’d finish up some work there overlooking its lagoon. Unfortunately, due to library funding cutbacks, it’s closed on Sunday – was any library funding part of Obama’s stimulus package? So I headed home back through Santa Cruz, then up Route 1 over to Pescadero and back on Hwy 84. By the way, AT&T’s network coverage really is very, very poor along Route 1 – like non-existent!

I drove by Harley Farms Goat Dairy but didn’t stop – lots of cars outside, looked like business was booming! As I drove through Pescadero, two photographers were out on foot walking – reminded me of the trip Chris and I did a couple of months ago.

More Coastal Exploring… I mentioned

More Coastal Exploring…

A place named Costanoa.

I mentioned in an earlier posting that we’ve been spending some weekend time exploring the Pacific Coast near our home. Usually, this is just a day trip — but after a long week it’s sometimes nice to plan an overnight getaway just for the change of spirit it brings.

We recently stayed at Costanoa, a wonderful place on the Pacific coast almost exactly halfway in between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Costanoa sits above Highway 1 — on the eastern side of the road — and has wonderful views looking down to the Pacific.

This section of the Pacific Coast is especially rich in sites to see. If you like elephant seals, Costanoa is about a mile north of Ano Nuevo. If you like lighthouses, it’s about a mile south of Pigeon Point Light Station.

Costanoa offers a range of accommodations: campsites up through premier lodge rooms. It was a cool, crisp, late California winter day when we were there so we opted for a room in the Lodge.

Friends have highly recommended the Douglas Fir Cabins.

A picture named 2002-0203-Castanoa 005.jpgThe tent cabins (available in several different price ranges) look like fun also.

Except for the Lodge, all of the other accommodations (cabins, campsites, etc.) have access to a shared Comfort Station. Not having stay there before, we were a little concerned about what the facilities might be liked — but they’re wonderful. Basically, a men’s an women’s locker room with warm floors, etc. In between the two rooms, there’s an outdoor fireplace that the management lights at sundown and when the sun comes back up in the morning. Next time, we’re definitely going to try out one of the cabins!

There’s no full service restaurant on the premises or nearby but the General Store has wonderful deli and take-out dishes as well as breakfasts in the morning. We opted to head to the Davenport Cash Store Restaurant for dinner (about 10 miles south of Costanoa) — although the great food at the General Store was very tempting dinner fare. During warmer weather, there are BBQ’s right outside the Store that would be perfect for grilling.

A picture named halfmoon.jpgI was out early in the morning exploring. The sun was stunning and, even more remarkable, there was a beautiful half moon hanging right over the Pacific! Although probably named for the shape of the coast and not a similar occurence over a hundred years ago, the moonscape nevertheless reminded me of Half Moon Bay!

Costanoa provides an “Adventure Guide” in the Lodge rooms (it’s also available for sale at the front desk). The Guide is something special — it contains an array of coverage of things to do on this stretch of the coast. We bought a copy — even though we know we’ll be back to Castanoa — because of all of the great tips it provides for coastal exploring in this area. The management of Costanoa really should think about making the Guide’s content available online!

Some other Costanoa links: and Fast Company.