Pieces of April

It’s funny how inspiration happens! Recently I was listening to an oldies playlist when Three Dog Night’s song Pieces of April began playing. It’s one of my old favorites but I hadn’t heard it in a long time.

The song got me inspired to take a look back through my images doing a search for all that had been taken during the month of April. I came across this image from south of Market in San Francisco that was shot during one of my regular photo walks with my friend Doug Kaye. It’s on a walkway between Mission and Stevenson Streets by Golden Gate University. On this particular morning the sun was bright and relatively low making for a very high contrast and shadows. Somehow the title of the song stuck and this this image inherited the title!

Image taken April 24, 2015 with Fujifilm X100T.

Early Spring along Sand Hill Road

It’s early spring here in Menlo Park and the drive west into Woodside and Portola Valley along Sand Hill Road is one of my favorites. Along the way there are several wonderful old trees – including this one, perhaps my favorite! Shot with my iPhone Xs Max.

Early Spring

Magic at Stanford

I took advantage of yesterday’s Presidents’ Day parking enforcement holiday to take a walk around the campus. As I was coming into the Quad, I happened across what appeared to be a model shoot underway – with a lady in a red dress standing in the sunlight under columns.

I captured the image with my iPhone Xs Max and edited it on my iPhone using Adobe’s Photoshop Express – which includes a wonderful variety of tools to get creative with images – including adding reflections. Fun!

Monday afternoon in early December

Monday Afternoon – Portola Valley Town Center, California

One of my favorite local destinations is the Portola Valley Library. Near the parking area is a beautiful field of trees leading up to the hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

As I arrived yesterday afternoon, this tree was glowing in the afternoon sun – at a low angle in the sky on this day in early December. Image shot with iPhone Xs Max and tweaked in Snapseed.

Seeing the Future: Amazon Go

On Friday, while walking up California Street in San Francisco enjoying a morning of street photography, my friend Doug and I happened across the new Amazon Go store at 300 California Street. Neither of us had been in a Go Store before so we went in to check it out.

Turns out I had months ago downloaded the Amazon Go app to my iPhone – so I was enabled for the Store. I needed to login to the app to complete my setup. Once logged in, the app displays a diamond-shaped bar code which is scanned by the gate turnstiles to let you into the store – a process just like using a boarding pass to get on the airplane. 

I had a guest with me – so the helpful Amazon person by the door explained how I could take my guest with me into the store: let him walk in first, scan using my code, followed by me and a second scan of my code.

Once inside, we were surprised by the range of items available in a space that seemed a bit larger than most 7-Eleven convenience stores but smaller than the usual supermarket (Whole Foods?) store. There were lots of prepared food items – but many other things as well. Very nice assortment!

While in the store, I noticed one guy come in who must be a local regular – as he breezed through the turnstile, went to pickup his item (lunch) and then walked out.

One of the sections in the store has Amazon Go “merchandise” where I found a dark chocolate bar that would be my sole item purchased on this initial visit. I picked up the bar, turned around, browsed another aisle, and then headed for and walked through the exit gate. That was it – I was done.

My friend was curious about the technology being used – wondering if RFID on the items was involved. He asked and was told that basically a combination of overhead cameras along with weight sensitive shelves were used to identify the items we picked up to purchase.

All in all a very cool shopping experience! Having had to tolerate checkout lines many times at a 7-Eleven near my former office, I can see how this new future would quickly win me over!

Note that this Go Store at 300 California Street is open Mon–Fri, 7AM–9PM. Closed Sat–Sun. Amazon says it stocks: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Grocery Essentials

A favorite spot: San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Whenever I meet up with my photo buddy Doug Kaye for a few hours of San Francisco street photography, we almost always meet at San Francisco’s Ferry Building. I find it convenient to drive to BART and then take it to the Embarcadero station which is just across from the Ferry Building – a quick 5 minute walk and I’m there. 

This time of year, the sun angle (both low in the sky and the direction it is casting shadows) make for interesting photos outside the Ferry Building. Here are three examples – two were taken out the window on the Bay side of the building adjacent to Peet’s Coffee. The third was taken outside in front of the Ferry Building shooting directly into the sun.

There are a couple of other great photography locations here – especially the indoor marketplace area with its superb indirect overhead light – I’ll share a few examples of images taken there in a future post.

All three of these images were taken with an iPhone Xs Max and it’s superb camera! All of these images were also shared previously on my Instagram account.

Happy Seventeen!

Today is the 17th anniversary of the start of my personal blog here using the sjl.us domain. It all began on November 25, 2001.

In my first post, I wrote about Amazon having free U.S. shipping on orders over $99 (that’s changed since then!). In a second post that day, I wrote about an article in the San Francisco Chronicle talking about why writers enjoy living in the San Francisco Bay Area (I wonder whether that’s changed – given the current cost of living, etc. in this area!).

I had played around earlier creating a personal web page (using an early Microsoft web page editor named Front Page) but when I started this edition on November 25, 2001 I was using Radio Userland. Sometime later I migrated it to TypePad and later again to WordPress.