Things change – and boy do they ever !  This journal will stick to weather transitions and not political ones- Though a case can made those two are closely related…..  Anyhow Meteorological Autumn just ended and along with it my hopes of capturing a number of locations. This was to be the season that I would return to wine country, a place I’ve photographed extensively in years past but have not seen much of in recent fall seasons.  I made a meager total of only two trips up to Sonoma County – specifically Sonoma Valley and Carneros, and was fortunate enough to at least capture some good sunsets- better than nothing. I was also planning to make several trips to the eastern sierra in search of fall color but alas- only one trip was had.  As the days have become shorter and the amount of time to get out during the week and photograph slowly disappears – I have been force to focus locally for inspiration.  Even hoping to catch the fall color locally – which is sparse but no less beautiful- can be a bit of a battle in futility and indeed I failed to capture much this year.  Most of the local color exists within developed areas, such as subdivisions and downtown sidewalks- courtesy of the exotic/non-native species developers like to plant.  Some substantial early season rain has conjured up visions of grandeur and a hopeful twinkle in the eyes of photographers.  Several repeated trips up and down area streams looking for colorful compositions and waterfalls have led much to be desired for me- though I have seen a few great captures shared on social media – glad some have been getting lucky even though I have not.

Aside from fall color – the changing of seasons brings moody skies, big waves, and one of the two annual series of extreme low tides. November and December both have a series of negative tides – in addition to May June and July which is the other series.  There are plenty of low tides throughout the year but, many places – such as sea caves, are safest and most accessible during a negative tide- some are only accessible during these lowest of low tides.

September 30th – Carneros – quite a ridiculous sky over wine country.  This is a panorama made from several vertical shots. I

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October 7th – Sonoma Valley – another nice sky and another panorama made from a few horizontal frames.

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November 16th  – Marinwood

_99A0536Back in late September I made my way out to fort baker during my lunch break – it was hot and I want to cool off a little.  I randomly drove out to the marina parking and walked to the edge of the cliffs.  I was just looking around when I noticed the rocks below me.  The water was sloshing around in an interesting manner so I noted the tide- took a photo for reference and ate my lunch.   After studying the tide charts later that evening I was happy to see the next similar tide would be happening during sunset just a few days later.  Photography has always been a solitary pursuit for me.  Living in rural Sonoma County for so many years – and living under a rock in terms of photography on social media-  I never really bumped into other people with cameras and I don’t exactly study the work of other people – it can be inspirational, but there is a fine line between being inspired by someones work and being cursed by it.  Originality is the most desirable quality in a landscape photograph (IMO) – even if the subject is a common one such as the Golden Gate Bridge.  If anything, finding a unique way to photograph something like the GGB is impossible.   There are hundreds of extremely talented photographer in the bay area all shooting the same things – nearly every imaginable angle has been covered  many times over.  I can be a bit idealistic and I suppose a little naive when I got my hopes up that no one had shot the bridge from this location.  I had not seen any shots from here- but as someone who doesn’t go out of there way to find images I am often blissfully ignorant to the popularity of any given location- I think its more fun that way and if nothing else preserves the “fresh perspective” you need to be original, again that fine line between inspiration and imitation.

_99A7317-2Conditions were nice and clear though a more interesting sky would be needed.   I enjoyed approaching the location with no idea how I would shoot it.

I made a few more visits in the following weeks

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on my third or fourth visit another couple photographers showed up – shattering my little bubble of originality.  As always It was nice to meet some friendly people and fellow instagrammers – they had been coming here for a while you can find their work @letsnotgetcocky and @gigglegiver2.   Here is my only decent image from that night – courtesy of some bigger than expected waves from a passing cargo ship.

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More visits –  finally got a warm sky …

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I could stand here in the water – catching water motion all day ..

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another couple visits later I bumped into Larry – who you can find on instagram @twixfunsize.  Larry was already down on the rocks when I arrived and could easily have been a jerk about it – thankfully there was no argument necessary and he even snapped a shot of me doing my thing- Ive used the photo as my pages personal profile image on Facebook.  We had a decent sky- most colorful yet for me at this spot- there was even greater action happening slightly further north – just beyond the framing of the bridge.

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Finally on November 7th things were shaping up to be really good – and we had a really nice long burn in the sky – casting color on the water.

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My personal favorite …..

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One last shot – driving back to highway I just had to stop and try to snap the bridge with these boats in the foreground

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An absolutely beautiful night – glad to get some great conditions and just as happy not to be shooting sunset at Rodeo Beach or Marshall Beach – its nice to have somewhere else to go in a pinch.

Speaking of Rodeo and Marshall beaches – I still found myself at both of those locations recently …..

– October 29th –

This is a blend of two images combining the wave action on the distant rocks.  Every 5 or 6 minutes a set would slap against those enormous boulders with a thunderous boom

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Flocks of bird passing by overhead – traveling south for winter I assume – gave a nice addition to the scene .

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It was nice to see a fog high based fog bank roll on shore over the headlands – eventually eclipsing the north tower of the bridge.

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– October 30th –

My canon 17-40 creates a lousy sunstar – occasionally it gives me random blades of light as well…

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I had spent the afternoon hiking along lagunitas creek – looking for fall color scenes with the streams flowing – nothing was working so I made a last minute dash for the coast

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My girlfriend and I ended up getting hosed by the rain cloud in the background below… beautiful way to end the day…

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With fall off the agenda Its time to shift gears and start focusing on urban scenes.  The best time to shoot cityscapes and highways is when all the lights are on and the roads are packed. Adding some good light to the equation makes winter the ideal time as the evening rush hour occurs during sunset and more office building lights are on after the sun goes down.  I hope to add a number of city shots to my collection this year- last year was a bust so Im hoping for a departure from my recent experience with fall color. Here is a couple shots taken not far from my house – looking down at highway 101 and san rafael – with Mt Tamalpais and the hills of the GGNRA.  This is one of a number of locations around Marin that I hope to include in a future post focusing on the neighborhoods of Marin County.

November 17th

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November 29th

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