Monthly Archives: November 2006

Jasmine’s Shadow

This jasmine flower “dances” with its shadow in the early morning light. Tough to get a low enough angle using a tripod, but it can be done.

Family



Family, photo by Harold Davis.

Mostly, I write about (and photograph) my kids. Here are some other members of my family, photographed using a self-timer with the camera on a tripod, over Thanksgiving.

Davis family members, rear row, from left to right: Elise (sister in law), Nathan (brother), Virginia (mother), Martin (father)
Front: moi
See also: Turkey Day Sunset

Estero Crossing

The Estero Trail crosses Drakes Estero on the causeway and bridge shown here.

Papaver Birth

It’s tough to catch a poppy in the moment of birth: turn around and the poppy has breached its pod and is a newborn flower. Not only that, poppies are low to the ground on a stalk that is extremely sensitive to any breeze. Fortunately, this Papaver nudicaule cooperated. The only cost: a little laughter from my kids who thought I looked silly hugging the ground with the camera low on a tripod.

Drakes Estero

Sunset lit the waters of Drakes Estero, making the tidal marshes seem like a spiral. Quickly the light was gone, and we headed for the car and trailhead, trying to outpace the oncoming night.

Night for Day

On Sunday we went for a hike on Point Reyes with our friends Mark and Amy. This was a get-away-from-the-kids that we’d been looking forward to, with Rachel prepared to babysit all three boys until whenever we got back.

Unfortunately, the weather was sloppy. By the time we got out to Inverness on the Point Reyes peninsula, the rain was coming down steadily. We had a long lunch, and by the time lunch was over it looked like the rain was letting up.

What was a little rain, anyway? We decided to go for our hike even in the wet weather. Luckily, by the time we reached the trailhead parking lot for the Estero Trail, the rain had stopped completely.

We had a nice hike, with some good photo opportunities. By the time we got back to the parking lot it was dark. This was my last photo of the day, taken in almost complete night. As I released the shutter, a few drops of rain had started to fall. By the time I packed camera and tripod up, and ran to the parking lot, cold rain was coming down hard.

If you look at the Exif data for this image, you can verify for yourself that this was a long exposure, thirty seconds, with the 10.5mm digital fisheye lens wide open at f/2.8. But it really doesn’t look like a long exposure in almost complete darkness should look. In fact, I bet if you were shown this photo and didn’t know any better, you would think it was taken in the daytime, perhaps the late afternoon (with the incoming storm).

In cinematography, there’s a technique called Day for night, which uses lighting and filtration to make a scene shot during the day appear to take place at night. The effect shown in this image, of converting night to apparent day, strikes me as a kind of opposite Night for Day (hence the title of this story).

The fact is that digital sensors are far more sensitive to light beyond the visible spectrum than we are (and far more so than film). Do long exposures when IR and UV radiation is bouncing around, and weird things start to happen as in the image that illustrates this story, this moonlight vista of the Golden Gate, and this photo by star light in the High Sierras.

Related story: Xrays, Photograms, and Cross-Processing, Oh My!

Labyrinth

On Saturday I photographed sunset from Land’s End in Golden Gate Park. The Labyrinth is an art installation (that’s the best term I can think of) by Eduardo Aguilera shown here with the Golden Gate behind.

As I watched the sunset I saw people come and walk the labyrinth slowly and reflectively, almost as if it was a religious ritual. Later, on my computer, I walked the labyrinth myself: using the Paintbrush Tool in Photoshop to draw the outlines that put together the layer masks I used to delineate the paths in the maze.

Pine Mountain

On Wednesday, Julian and I hiked to Pine Mountain, which is officially part of the Marin Municipal Water District and topographically part of the ridge that circles round and up Mount Tamalpais.

The weather was cloudy, drizzly, and frankly–for the Bay area–somewhat chilly. It’s about a five mile hike (round trip) with close to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. As you can see in the photo, we had some breaks in the grey weather.

This view is looking northwards, you can see the beginnings of Tamales Bay and Point Reyes in the upper center. We saw one other walker during our hike. The astounding thing is that so much solitude in such a vast and apparently empty landscape is to be found so near to a major city.

Turkey Day Sunset

Captured from the roof of my parents’ house…while the turkey was roasting. I used layers and masking in Photoshop to combine several exposures to render the lights of East Bay as well as the bridge and sunset.

Wall of Fire

The sunset colors of the clouds behind the Golden Gate Bridge make it look to me like the bridge is positioned against a wall of fire. The bridge and clouds are isolated in this capture (and the one below) by a telephoto lens; here’s what the scene looked like from further back!

Red Bridge Sunset

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Glad in Pink

This is a photogram, cross-processed in two different ways (above and below) from the original capture. Clearly, the bulk of the work is in Photoshop, not the camera. (Here’s an earlier capture of a gladiolus, post-processed but not a photogram.)

With Julian doing well, we have a great deal to be thankful this year. And I’d like to wish everyone reading my blog a very, very happy Thanksgiving as well!

Pink Gladiolus 1

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Catching the Sunset

Saturday was a pleasant afternoon, but the light didn’t look to be anything special. In fact, it was a bit overcast. So I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood with Mathew (below) who, at two years old, is in the first flush of the age of exploration. Everything is new, everything is fun, and to walk around the block with Mathew is to see the world with new eyes and is great fun (except crossing streets, he is at the rubber-chicken-legs, let’s try to bite the hand that is holding us safe stage).

Mathew

By the time I was back home with Mathew, the cloudy sky had started to glow. Phyllis pushed me out the door with my kit and tripod, and I headed up to the porch at Michigan and Kentucky for a glorious sunset. How vast the sky looked in this landscape of water, Golden Gate, and coastal mountains! (Check out the airplane in the upper right of the sky of the photo below, easier to see in the larger version.)

By 5:45 the show was over. So it goes this time of year.

Bay and Sky

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Beauty and the Beast

Here are water drops caught in a spider web poised over a succulent flower. The flower is refracted and reflected in the drop hovering right over the flower. That is surely beauty. Is the beast the hairy thing caught in the drop in the lower-left middle? Or is it yours truly caught within many of the drops? (You may need to check it out in a larger size to see Harold in the water drops!)

Popping

I fancy that poppies have their name because they pop out of their pods, like the Papaver nudicaule (Icelandic poppy) shown here.

Photographed with my 200mm macro lens, lit by the morning sun. The poppy buds were in a pot on our front porch. The white background is our house. I was able to get the low-to-the-ground-looking-up-at-the-flower angle using my Low Pad.

This image and these images also show poppies and their pods.

Bamboo for You

For who?
These bamboo are for you…

It’s nice to turn my digital photogram technique on something that is a little muted in its colors, like this bamboo found off Shattuck Ave in Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto.”

Below in black, above on white…
Isn’t that right?

Bamboo 1

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