Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge

Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

With the top floor deck of Fort Point repaired and open to the public, it’s now possible to worm one’s way out on a fortified tower that sits directly under the Golden Gate Bridge.

On a recent clear, windy, and cold day I explored the place with Julian and Nicky (who have a love of all things fortress and castle).

The underparts of the Golden Gate Bridge span looked like a giant erector set. I used a wide angle lens fully stopped-down for maximum depth of field to get both the “erector set” girders and the distant parts of the bridge in focus.

Related story: X Marks the Spot.

[Nikon D300, 12-24 zoom lens at 14mm (21mm in 35mm terms), 1/25 of a second at f/22, ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Photography, San Francisco Area

So It Begins

So It Begins

So It Begins, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

The lunar eclipse a few nights ago was already beginning when I got to Inspiration Point. Later, as the eclipse got fuller, it would be an issue of finding gaps in the cloud coverage.

But to start with, the issue was to avoid overexposing the moon, surprisingly bright and still glowing with reflected sunlight, in a sky that wasn’t fully dark. Fortunately, I’ve had enough bad experience with washed out and overexposed moons to know to stop this one way down compared to the camera’s light reading.

[Nikon D300, 600mm in 35mm terms, 1/15 second at f/8 and ISO 100, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Digital Night, Photography

Lunar Eclipse

A full lunar eclipse was scheduled just after moon rise in the early evening in the Bay area. My hope, foiled by roiling cloud cover blowing in through the Golden Gate, was to photograph from Marin Headlands with San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as background.

Instead I headed east to Inspiration Point in Tilden Park in the coastal range. Parking the car, I hiked in a mile or so to a ridge with a great view of the show. As the evening got dark it grew cold, and the clouds covered the moon. Even so, I got in a shot or two and enjoyed the spectacle and solitude.

[Nikon D300, 600mm in 35mm terms, 1 second at f/5.6 and ISO 400, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Digital Night, Photography

Blowing in the Golden Gate

When the clouds blow in the Golden Gate (which is often) and when there’s also a blue sky over the Bay (which is sometimes), then there will be a spectacular show at sunset.

To witness yesterday’s show, I started at the Inspiration Point parking lot at about 5PM and hiked to Wildcat Peak. I had a book with me, and read for a while until the performance started to move quickly. Within minutes after this shot, the sun had set and the Golden Gate was hidden in an inpenetrable layer of fog.

[130mm, 195mm in 35mm equivalent terms, 1/320 of a second at f/9 and ISO 100, handheld.]

Posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area


This is a reflection of a white iceberg rose bud, photographed on a mirror. I used a spray bottle to make the water drops, and lit the reflection with natural afternoon sunlight.

[85mm PC Micro-Nikkor, 127.5mm in 35mm equivalent terms, 2 seconds at f/51 and ISO 100.]

Posted in Photography, Water Drops

Naming the Wilderness

Certain names come up over and over again in the wilderness. In my experience, there are numerous Inspiration Points and Inpiration Point Trails besides the one in Yosemite Valley. (Nicky is shown in this story on the Inspiration Point trail near Tilden Park’s Inspiration Point.)

Other names that I’ve seen repeated in parks and wilderness are Mirror Lake, Bear Valley, and (oddly) Horse Heaven.

Of course, some names are absolutely unique like Hell For Sure Pass in the High Sierras near Goddard Canyon and Evolution Valley on the Mount Henry topo.

Whether a wilderness name is common or unusual, the entire process of giving a topographic feature an English identifier is as artificial as the image above from the Inspiration Point trail. In other words, the mountains were there before us, will likely be there after us, and are not altered by our conceits, just as adding curvature to the boundaries of Yosemite Valley does not actually change the spaces of the valley.

Posted in Landscape, Photography, Yosemite