Tag Archives: san francisco

Our BART Photo Tour

Turntable - San Francisco - 2012

Yesterday, Doug Kaye and I headed out for another one of our duo photo walks. These are always great fun – as we get to catch up and chat while having a fun time photographing things that we see. We usually pick a venue and work it pretty thoroughly – but this time we tried something different.

The weather forecast looked like it might be a nasty day to be out and about – so Doug suggested we try hopping on BART and then getting off at a couple of the more interesting stations to just see what we could find that might be interesting.

Sounded like a plan – we agreed to meet at the Powell St. BART station – me arriving from Daly City and Doug from North Berkeley. We both got there within 5 minutes of each other and could see some blue sky up through the exit. So, instead of staying underground, we headed outside to Market Street and began taking pictures.

The one above is of the Muni cable car turntable at Powell and Market Streets. This image was shot with my Canon PowerShot S100 and post processed using Adobe Lightroom 4. Because of the weather and our original plan of mostly being underground, we both left our big cameras behind and just brought along small cameras – the S100 in my case and a brand new Fujifilm X-Pro 1 that Doug had rented for the weekend.

From there, we walked down Yerba Buena Lane to Yerba Buena Center where we explored “puddle photography” – taking pictures of reflections in puddles of water, glass reflections, the kids’ carousel, and more such as this game board.

Game Board - San Francisco - 2012

After lunch at Mel’s, we walked back to BART and headed toward the Glen Park station – apparently known for its architecture.

After that, on to SFO Airport and the Aviation Museum there. I’ve been to that airport hundreds of times – but never to the museum! We had fun talking with the curators there and were able to have some fun taking photos of an Italian motorcycle exhibit in the large International terminal. From there, we headed home – to begin looking at what we had captured during the day – some 115 images in my case!

It’s always fun to see what we each captured and what (and how) we choose to interpret our images in post-processing. You can see some more examples on our respective Google+ pages (Doug’s and mine)!

Fun in San Francisco’s Chinatown and North Beach

Home Delivery - North Beach - 2012

I took a day off from work today to join my good friend Doug Kaye for a delightful photo walk in San Francisco’s Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods.

Doug Kaye - San Francisco

We met at the Portsmouth Square Park/Garage – with handy underground parking that launches you right into the heart of Chinatown. It’s pretty amazing how your senses are soon overwhelmed when you emerge from the underground parking elevator into the park’s plaza. This park teems with energy – lots of folks, kids, etc just having a great time – even on a workday Thursday morning!

After exploring the park a bit, we headed out – up to Grant Avenue, over to Stockton St. and then across Broadway to Washington Square Park and North Beach. We stopped for a great lunch at Cafe Divine before heading back – up to Grant Avenue, back across Columbus and down Kearney to Portsmouth Square. That’s Doug out in the middle of Columbus Avenue shooting the Transamerica Pyramid!

Total mileage for our loop was 1.4 miles. We spent about 3-1/2 hours exploring, absorbing the many neighborhood smells, and having a great time shooting some fun images. Below is the map of our loop.

Gmap pedometer chinatown northbeach 29mar2011 600px

Water Jugs Revisited

Water Jugs 2 - San Francisco - 2011

Back in September, I posted a black and white image of three water jugs that I took earlier at one of the restaurants at the Ferry Building in San Francisco using my tiny Canon PowerShot S95. I loved the black and white treatment I was able to create with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

This afternoon I played around a bit more with this image – basing my new treatment on that earlier post-processed black and white. I wanted to try some selective color enhancements to add some glow and depth to the image. Above is the result. Not sure why this image came to mind – but there’s something about it that I particularly enjoy and it drew me back to post-processing it again using some new techniques and new tools that I’ve been learning this fall.

This afternoon’s image certainly isn’t perfect – for example, I don’t like the subtle glow around the jugs or the bright lines on the bottle edges – but you get the idea of what’s possible from this version. In particular, the filters I used to enhance the image included Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 – especially detail enhancer to pull up the details of the condensation on the jugs – along with two Solid Color adjustment layers to add the tonality to the image and a final Selective Color adjustment layer to tweak the final colors.

For easy reference, below is the earlier black and white version. Click on either image to see the large version. Which do you prefer?

Water Jugs - San Francisco - 2011

Painted Ladies – Victorians in San Francisco

Painted Ladies - San Francisco - 2008

Here’s another view of the Victorian homes across from San Francisco’s Alamo Square known as the Painted Ladies. There are usually several photographers up on this grassy hillside shooting this scene with the combination of the Victorians in the foreground and the San Francisco skyline in the background.

On this particular morning in February 2009, there was a clearing winter store and the sun had just begun lighting part of the city as the clouds remained in the sky. I had been up on Twin Peaks as the clearing began where I saw the opportunity to capture some interesting light and sky in this classic San Francisco shot.

This image was post-processed first as a single image HDR (from my Canon 5D Mark II) using Photomatix Pro and then in Photoshop CS5 using a combination of techniques that accentuate the drama in the sky and the colors and lighting of the Victorians themselves. Click on the image itself to see a larger version.

Stars and Stripes – San Francisco – 2011

Stars and Stripes - San Francisco - 2011

I was out on San Francisco Bay yesterday for the Fleet Week Air Show with the Marin Photography Club. Here’s a shot I took in between the air show flights – this lovely old sailing vessel with a huge American flag flying off the fantail.

This image was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II using the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L lens. It was post-processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 with a bit of selective color on the American flag – and a touch of blue toning overall.

If you ever have the opportunity to get out on the Bay for the Fleet Week events, do so! It was an incredible experience for me – and not just for the airplane pictures!

The Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise

Golden Gate Sunrise - 2007

As I’ve been learning new post-processing techniques (mostly the Nik and Topaz filters in Photoshop), I’ve been having some fun going back and working with older images – mostly not shot in RAW and, as a result, I’m not post-processing them as HDRs.

As I was reviewing my older images, this one caught my eye mostly because of the juxtaposition of the rock in the lower left and the lone tree up on the hill on the right. Plus, the light is lovely too and, in this case, the usual boring blue sky actually works nicely against the International Orange paint of the bridge itself.

This particular sunrise image of the Golden Gate Bridge was taken using my original DSLR, a Canon 30D, in March 2007 – almost five years ago. I used Nik’s Viveza and Topaz’s Adjust and Simplify to create this version. Simplify, in particular, is a new tool I’ve been learning – and, in this case, just a bit of Simplify helped smooth out the dirt and grassy areas of the image very nicely. The result, no surprise, is a bit simpler than the original which seems more pleasing to my eye.

The Rack

The Rack by by Scott Loftesness

I’m heading up to San Francisco this afternoon to meet up with Doug Kaye for an afternoon of exploring and photography. Thinking about it last night, I remember this photo taken at the first photo workshop I attended in 2009 with Chris Honeysett.

During the workshop, Chris had us set our cameras to display our images in black and white – and I remember feeling how different the feedback was when in that mode vs. looking at the usual color display on the back of my DSLR. There’s something about seeing the results in black and white that focuses on the quality of the light and not the noise of the color.

As we were leaving Embarcadero Center, I happened to notice this circular bicycle rack – which had exactly one bicycle in it – you can barely see it at the far end. I loved the symmetry of the circles in this rack – and bent down very low to take this shot. I post-processed it (an original JPEG) using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and added in just a bit of color to set the mood.

The Golden Gate – in Texture

Golden Gate

Here’s another of my experiments in adding textures to an image. This image is a texturized version of this original shot below taken on January 1, 2010 at Baker Beach in San Francisco using my tiny Canon PowerShot S90.

Golden Gate

I also tweaked the image a bit to make the bridge towers more vertical – and then applied the Purple Prose texture from French Kiss Textures. This particular texture has script elements on the left side of the image – and I thought those elements worked well into the sky and mountain area on the left side of the bridge itself.

I love how the texture adds dimension to the image – making it much more interesting to my eye as I want to explore it for longer than just the original image. For me, that’s the power of adding textures – making the image much more interesting and something you want to spend time exploring – similar to how a great painting captures your eye and mind.

For more examples of my texture experiments, see this image of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, this image of the FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness, and these early experiments in blue and gold texturized images of San Francisco taken from Fort Point.

Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco   FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010

If you’re interested in textures, here are some resources I’ve found very helpful:

Are there others? Yourself? Tell me about them in the comments below!