Search Results for: tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais from Corte Madera Creek

Mount Tamalpais from Corte Madera Creek

Mount Tamalpais from Corte Madera Creek, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

A long, happy, tiring, and exciting day began for me with a visit with my three boys to Katie in the NICU. I then spent the afternoon giving a digital landscape photography workshop to full house of enthusiastic photographers under the auspices of the Point Reyes National Seashore Association.

If you are interested, I’ll be giving this one-day digital landscape photography seminar again on October 26 in the Red Barn at the Point Reyes visitor center. I’ll post more information once a registration link is available.

Afterwards, as darkness covered the landscape, Mark and I wandered around taking pictures.

This image is from the tidal flats near Larkspur, by the banks of the Corte Madera Creek, looking back towards Mount Tamalpais. I was trying for a frontal view of San Quentin prison at night from the mud flats, but saw this neat night vista behind me.

While it was pretty much night, there was plenty of ambient light from the Marin cities, as well as a half moon. The interest for me in this photo was the way the various kinds of light mix to make an interesting melange of colorful night.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR zoom lens at 32mm (48mm in 35mm terms), 30 seconds at f/4.2 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography

Cataract below Mt Tamalpais

There was a break today in the rainy weather that has hit the Bay area recently. I thought the waterfalls on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais would be running strongly, so I grabbed Julian and we hiked down to Cataract Falls. It was an adventure-filled journey, with wet crossings, a ranger to help to clear a blocked stream, and logs to clamber over. We had a great time, and it was good to get outside after days of cabin fever.

For this image of Cataract Falls, I bracketed shutter speeds, using a base exposure that was long enough to soften the water, and super-imposing a much shorter exposure that shows some of the frothy detail of the flowing water.

Related image: Cataract Falls in February 2007.

[Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR Zoom lens at 19mm (27mm in 35mm terms), 3/5 of a second at f/22 and 1/40 of a second at f/4.0; both exposures ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

Mount Tamalpais Sunset

As I watched the clouds swirl through the Golden Gate, I turned and saw the setting sun beside Mount Tamalpais. This time the sun wasn’t entirely blown out.

[600mm in 35mm equivalent terms, 1/20 of a second and f/32 at ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Some of my related photos of Mt Tamalpais: Mt Tamalpais from Euclid Avenue, Mt Tamalpais from Diablo, Tamalpais from Mission Peak, Fog Rolling in Across the Bay. As you can see, I like Mt Tam a lot!

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Mt Tamalpais from Berkeley Marina

We left the Berkeley Pier and I drove down to the breakwater in front of the channel leading to the Berkeley marina. In this twenty second exposure, I was pleased to capture the moon along side Mount Tamalpais, and a red sail gliding by in the dusk.

Posted in Digital Night, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Tamalpais from Mission Peak

This view looks north from the summit of Mission Peak. Mission Boulevard points in a straight line towards Mount Tamalpais, which sticks out of the fog bank like an island in the sea of clouds.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Mount Tamalpais at Night

With the shutter open for five minutes, my sensor picks up all kinds of ambient light on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. Cars snaking their way up and down Panoramic Highway, houses on the ridge leading up to the peak, a red light on the summit, and the glow of ambient light from Mill Valley and other Marin cities reflecting on the mountain.

How different the landscape looks under the daytime sun.

Related stories: Mount Tamalpais from Euclid Avenue; Maserati and Mount Diablo; Digital Darkness; On Night Photography.

Posted in Digital Night, Photography, San Francisco Area

Mount Tamalpais from Euclid Avenue

The other evening Julian (my nine year old) said, “Dad, please take me to Indian Rock.”

So, I did. Grabbing a camera, of course.

After we’d clambered around for a while on Indian Rock, we decided to go somewhere else.

The sun was setting as we parked near one of my favorite view spots on upper Euclid Ave in the Berkeley Hills. I waiting for the setting sun to fit just between the trees, and snapped this photo.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Outrageous Orange

Oranges, Marrakech © Harold Davis

Orange juice on the Cinque Terre Trail © Harold Davis

Orange Dahlia © Harold Davis

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange

Pom Pom Chrysanthemum Orange © Harold Davis

Orange Peppers © Harold Davis

Orange Peppers © Harold Davis

Orange Triad © Harold Davis

Orange Triad © Harold Davis

Sunset and Waves © Harold Davis

Sunset in Winter © Harold Davis

Sunset A © Harold Davis

Setting Sun and Cherry Blossoms © Harold Davis

Sunflower © Harold Davis

San Francisco Sunset © Harold Davis

Sunset over the Nekkar River © Harold Davis

Dead Tree, Seascape, and Sunset © Harold Davis

Eye of the Tower © Harold Davis

Eye of the Tower © Harold Davis

Reflections at Giverny © Harold Davis

Ponte Vecchio Night Reflections © Harold Davis

Window in Bourges © Harold Davis

Alabama Hills Sunset © Harold Davis

Architectonica Spiral 1 © Harold Davis

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion on Black © Harold Davis

Puente Bacunayagua © Harold Davis

Mount Tamalpais Sunset © Harold Davis

Sunset © Harold Davis

Golden Gate Sunset © Harold Davis

There Goes the Sun © Harold Davis

Sun Koan © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

Steep Ravine

The past several years during the great California drought the waterfalls on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais have been fairly dry, even in the rainy season. So what a wonderful joy to hike up the Steep Ravine trail yesterday on the western slope of Mt Tam in a break in the El Nino wet weather to see the torrents flowing down the mountain’s flanks!

Steep Ravine © Harold Davis

Steep Ravine © Harold Davis

Special thanks to my friend Mark, who put up with me, my camera, and tripod along the muddy trail.

Posted in San Francisco Area

Falling Water

Recent winter rainstorms have battered the San Francisco area in Northern California with much needed rain. In a break in the weather I decided to hike to Cataract Falls on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. Usually when I visit this area following a heavy downpour the creek is running muddy and is heavy with run-off. This time, the rain had been persistent and long-lasting enough over many days that all the mud had run its course, and the creek was clear, with pure white cataracts. The lighting was bright and overcast, and made no significant shadows.

Falling Water #5 © Harold Davis

Falling Water #5 © Harold Davis

I set my tripod up beside the creek, on a spot where I could look up at the primary falls, and took a few establishing shots up the creek and down the creek. Then I stopped to simply be present in the magic of moment of time and place.

Falling Water #4 © Harold Davis

Falling Water #4 © Harold Davis

It came to me that I didn’t need to make another image of this waterfall as it stood in the reality of the world. Instead, I became interested in the ever-changed gesture of water that I saw, very simple, and always in black and white.

Falling Water #3 © Harold Davis

Falling Water #3 © Harold Davis

This kind of image is about the poetry of water in motion reduced to a minimum. Lengthening the exposure time—to a five to ten second duration—softens the water and allows the gesture the water is making to become the subject of the photo.

Falling Water #2 © Harold Davis

Falling Water #2 © Harold Davis

It’s not about a place, but is discovery of an archetype and an abstraction. As such, there’s a commonality in approach and technique to Photographing Waves.

Falling Water #1 © Harold Davis

Falling Water #1 © Harold Davis

Posted in Monochrome, Photography

The end of the Berkeley Pier

The Berkeley Municipal Pier stretches almost a half a mile out into San Francisco Bay. Along the way out to the end there are views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and Mt Tamalpais. The pier used to go even further, so the end is boarded up with the slats you see here, which look decorative in the sunset light. By the way, the view from under the Berkeley Pier is also pretty cool!

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

End of the Berkeley Pier © Harold Davis

This image was shot on a tripod, and used three blended exposures. I used a Nikon D810 and Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 set to f/22 and ISO 64 (the native ISO for the D810). The shutter speeds were 2.5 seconds, 8 seconds and 25 seconds. Post-production included HDR blending and minor perspective correction.

Posted in HDR, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

Playing with my boys on Point Reyes

On the Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend I drove out with my boys—Julian, Nicky and Mathew—to Point Reyes. Nicky’s friend Tamen came along too. It was a balmy, almost summer-like day. As I told people on my recent trip to Japan, we are lucky to live so near such a beautiful, spacious and wild park as Point Reyes National Seashore (many of them couldn’t believe my description in terms of the sheer amount of wild land with so few people near a major city like San Francisco).

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

We parked at Drake’s Bay, and walked along the beach under towering bluffs at extreme low tide until we reached the Drakes Estoro inlet to the Pacific. We rested a while, built a fort, and the boys splashed in the cold waters of the ocean.

On the way back, at sunset, I stopped to make the images of waves, camera on tripod for long, slow exposures. Meanwhile, I kept a weather eye out to make sure the boys didn’t kill themselves trying to climb the unstable cliffs, or whack each other too hard with driftwood from the beach.

In other words, a good time was had by all, each of us in our own way!

If you are interested in Point Reyes, you might like the Point Reyes category on my blog and Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands, my postcard book. The postcards in this book show scenes from Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, Mount Tamalpais, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate, and more.

Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands by Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Point Reyes

Swinging under the stars

The world’s best swing is under an old oak tree on the Bolinas plateau facing the Mount Tamalpais ridge line. It is shown here under the oak tree by starlight with the moon rising, in a six minute exposure.

Oak Tree Swing © Harold Davis

Oak Tree Swing © Harold Davis


Posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Point Reyes

Calypso orchid

Hard to see among the debris at the forest floor, the tiny Calypso orchid can be photographed when conditions are right on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais for brief periods in the spring. I have been photographing the Mt Tamalpais Calypso orchid, Calypso bulbosa, also sometimes called a ‘Fairy slipper,’ for years. You can see a couple of my other photos of this marvelous flower, and read a bit about its background, in Close Encounters with Calypso.

Calypso Orchid by Harold Davis

Calypso Orchid © Harold Davis

Yesterday Mark and I headed in search of the elusive Calypso as a dense fog swirled around Mount Tamalpais. By the time we found the first specimens, hiding among old leaves beneath tall trees on a steep and muddy slope, the clouds were intermittently breaking up.

As I got to work I found that I was struggling to get my tripod low enough to the ground. Photographing this flower from above just didn’t work. So I improvised a sling made of my hat, twigs, and some raw earth, and finally got the camera stable enough to make this fairly long exposure (2/5 of a second).

Here’s an iPhone photo Mark snapped of me at work photographing Calypso:

Exposure data: 105mm macro lens, 36mm extension tube, 2/5 of a second at f/18 and ISO 200, improvised earth-and-hat camera platform.

Posted in Flowers

Foundation of all those fables

Wandering on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais, high above Stinson Beach, the Bolinas lagoon, Duxbury Reef, and the open Pacific the seascape below was cloud-covered. As the sun began to set, thermals opened an area offshore and I was reminded of a quote from Thoreau of Walden fame: “Who has not seen in imagination, when looking into the sunset sky…the foundation of all those fables?”

Sunset from Bolinas Ridge by Harold Davis

Sunset from Bolinas Ridge © Harold Davis—Click to view larger

There’s magic in the sunset sky, yet we’re scared to succumb to such a simple infatuation. Beauty can make us grumpy, and put us in mind of postcards. Actor Dustin Hoffman cynically put it this way: “I envy people who can just look at a sunset. I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing more grotesque to me.”

Photography can be many things. I’m here to tell you it is okay to shoot sunsets. Personally, I cannot look at one without being moved, and recognizing  the foundation of fables as day turns to night.

Posted in HDR, Landscape, Photography