Category: Photography

Monday’s Suck

After work I took the scenic route home that ran through Alice’s and dropped me off at Crystal Spring’s Reservoir. Before hoping onto the freeway home, I made time for a quick time lapse.

The Unicorn!

Finally got the unicorn!

Now as to what a unicorn is varies to each person. Yes, a unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a horse but with a horn that protrudes from its forehead, however for urban lore a unicorn is something or someone that is unattainable. Unattainable such as your dream car, your crush, a far off destination, super rare limited edition Jordan, and so on. Sometimes one can obtain their unicorn, once one catches a unicorn they can have a new unicorn in place of the former.

As for myself, my unicorn is to take a photograph of Lil Green Monster (my motorcycle) at the Pacific Overlook with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background during sunset. As simple as it sounds, it is not.

Pacific Overlook via Google Map
Pacific Overlook via Google Map

The Pacific Lookout is located on Lincoln Boulevard on the west part of the Presidio in San Francisco. The lookout is only accessible by a dirt trail that has a barricade that separates it from the street to protect pedestrians and cyclist from cars. The closest opening to the street of the barricade is over 150 feet from the lookout. With the Pacific Lookout having westward-facing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge in the periphery makes the lookout point well visited by tourists, runners, and cyclists. To the east of the lookout are trees that blocks views to the east however provide shade from the sun early in the day.

What makes a simple shot so challenging, asides from accessing the site, are three reasons: people, timing, and the fact that vehicles are prohibited on the site. The lookout also is connected to a trail that many runners and bikers use, therefore the lookout provides a great spot for one to take a break and catch their breath. With a great view of the Pacific and GGB, there are people on the lookout at any given time of the day.

With views facing west and trees to the east, taking a photo at sunset during the golden hour is the ideal time to take a photo. However summer in San Francisco, the fog (aka Karl the Fog) rolls in from the coast right before sunset. Having fog block the view of the Pacific and GGB adds to the challenge to taking this simple photo.

Lastly, it only seems obvious that vehicles are prohibited on the lookout. There are no signs nearby that reads vehicles are prohibited but the fact that I had to ride onto a dirt trial that seems to be meant for pedestrians and bikers only for over 150ft to reach the lookout platform is what makes me believe that vehicles are prohibited. Since I do not want to get in trouble or get cited for ‘trespassing’, I’m weary to ride up onto the lookout since Lincoln blvd. is patrolled on a regular basis by the State Park Police.

Well, over the weekend after work and riding through traffic caused by the Doyle Drive closure, I was frustrated and needed to relax. With the sun starting to set, no fog but some clouds in the sky, and no one on the trail it was a perfect time to take the shot that I’ve wanted to take for months, time to get my unicorn! A quick drive by the lookout to make sure that there were no State Park Police nearby then went back around to the closest entrance and rode onto the dirt. Honestly don’t like riding on dirt since my bike was meant for asphalt, I slowly rode on the dirt and carefully maneuvered onto the lookout then positioned my bike to where I thought would capitalize on the view. Once the motor was dead, I quickly hopped off the bike and got to my knees to get a good perspective of the bike with the GGB in the background. Not satisfied with the way the bike was positioned I got up off my knees where I change the angle of the bike. Then back on my knees, takes photos, get up and readjust bike, then repeat two more times.

Taking all the photos took no more than three minutes; I was rushing and not thinking much about the composition, lighting, or other options (cell phone pics, I do need to invest in a DSLR). With my focus really on the trail to make sure that no one would walk up on me and on the road to make sure that there were no police rolling up. Now that I look back, if a police officer were to had rolled up on me, there wouldn’t be anything that I could do, so I should had taken a deep breath and make the most of the opportunity.

Below are a few shots that I was somewhat pleased with.

Pano from Pacific Lookout

Out of all the photos that I took, only two of them turned out decent. Biggest disappointment from many of the photos taken was that the front tire was turned to the left; out of habit that is position of that the handle bar is placed to lock the handle bar. Below is a photo with the tire turned to better understand what I am babbling about.

Angled tire that makes the bike look odd.
Angled front tire that makes the bike look odd.

However after some cropping (a suggestion from a new friend), removing some sky and the ground, the composition looks better. As a photographer that is still mastering the craft, I am always open to feedback. The idea of cropping was brilliant because I had tunnel vision at the time and could not see other solutions to making the photo to work for me.

Cropped version of the angled tire.
Cropped version of the angled front tire.

Here is another photo of the bike with the front tire less angled and straighter, and the photo already cropped.

Less angled tire, better?
Less Angle for the front tire.

With the front tire straighter the bike appears more familiar and what people imagine when they think of a sport bike.

Which photos do you like best?

Below is a video of me rambling after capturing my unicorn. From capturing my unicorn I am going through a roller coaster of emotions from glad that I took the opportunity to take the shot when it presented it self to a bit deflated when seeing that the photos taken were not that great; but no worries as I am planning on redoing this shot when the opportunity is right.

As for what is the next unicorn for me to capture? Well… let’s just say that I will be placing myself in danger to take the photo. Is risking my life worth taking a picture?

Yes. Why go through life when one is not willing to take the risks.

Cheers!

Haight Ashbury Street Fair

Haight and Ashbury is one of many iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco, widely known as the birthplace of the hippie movement. This past weekend San Francisco held the Haight Ashbury Street Fair, one of many street fairs and festivals that happens in the City (Fillmore Jazz FestivalHow Weird Street Fair, Cherry Blossom Festival, and Folsom Street Fair to name a few), a street fair that has been happening for over 30 years.

Surprisingly this was my first time going the street fair after living in the City for several years, not because I feared being surrounded by hippies but rather cause of laziness and the ‘living in the area and can go when ever I want’ mentality. For the record I don’t have a fear of hippies or have a disdain of hippies, I’ve been to Haight Street many times for food, shopping, and people watching. The neighborhood itself reminds me of Berkeley and consists more of yuccies, transients, and tourists rather than hippies.

From the few street fairs and festivals that I have attended in the City, it felt that the Haight Ashbury Street Fair seemed small. I haven’t been to all the street fairs and festivals in the City (click here for a list to all the street fairs and festivals in SF) but a few things great about this fair were that it was well organized, clean, and family friendly. Many businesses stayed open during the event, which is a great way for tourist to experience both the street fair and the unique stores that reside in the neighborhood. There were a couple stages that featured bands that I was unfamiliar with, but even away from the stages there were artists playing music at different corners of the streets with people dancing to their beat. As for food, one can smell all sorts of delicious flavors floating in the air since the fair was filled with a plethora of food vendors; food vendors that offered a range of food from shawarmas to turkey legs and deserts such as funnel cakes and ice cream. 

Overall I thought that the Haight Ashbury Street Fair was a great event to experience. Even though I felt that the event seemed more of a novelty, honestly not my scene, the fair was a good representation of the neighborhood and good for the City. I would go back again if a friend asked me to go with them or if I had a friend/family that was visiting the same time the event was happening. If I wanted to go to Haight, I’d go when the street fair wasn’t happening just to have less of a crowd to fight.  

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Haight Street Festival

Scouting and Plotting

With a camera in my back pocket and transportation via two wheels, there are a few sites around San Francisco that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of with my muse, aka the Lil Green Monster. The main two sites that I’m planning on shooting are the Mission Creek Sport Park’s Kayak House and Maintenance Pavilion, and Soma at Pier 14.

Kayak House & Maintenance Pavillion
Mission Creek Sport Park’s Kayak House & Maintenance Pavilion (photo: MKThink)

Over at Mission Creek Sports Park, a park that lays under the cold underbelly of the 280 freeway, there are two amazing architecture structures where one houses kayaks while the other is an 850 square feet of interior space to host events. Both structures resonates a unique blue glow at night that is anything but boring. MKThink are the brilliant architects that over came the challenges of the odd neglected location to create a wonderful park that the community can enjoy from various aspects whether it be playing basket ball on the court or launching a kayak into the bay.

Soma at Pier 14
Soma at Pier 14 (photo by Tex Allen via burningman.org)

Soma is a large interactive sculpture that once shot flames into the air at Burning Man but now illuminates the Bay with over 70 LED lights as it rests on Pier 14. The Flaming Lotus Girls are the creative minds that volunteered their time to create. Soma is a temporary art exhibit that will be on display until August of this year, after August Soma will find a new home while another exhibit will take it’s place.

In the next or two I plan on visiting each of these sites and taking pictures of these wonderful structures at night with the Lil Green Monster posing next to them. I’m planning on taking the shots late at night when most people are asleep and the least amount of traffic going by. Stay tuned!

Bike Porn

So…. Still riding and taking more pics with my muse while I can, from Napa to South Bay and all around San Francisco.

Legion of Honor at sunset
Legion of Honor at sunrise
Road trip to Napa
Seeing double
Sunset at Rodeo Beach

Happy Daylight Savings!

With the eve of Day Light Savings here, I’m looking forward and planning on maximizing all the daylight that I can by getting up early to exercise, capture some pictures, and catch more sunsets.

I can finally wake up early since I’ll be waking up at my ‘regular time’ and run on the beach on a more consistent basis. With me not being a morning person, getting up early to run outside in the cold before the sun gets up, was a challenge. There were many days I would wake up with my alarm blaring in my ear but once I reach to hit the snooze, I could tell how cold the outside world was; so I’d quickly jump out of the covers, dash to the heater and turn it on, then dash back and jump into bed. I would lay in bed curled up as a log all nice and toasty wide awake but afraid of the cold, so I would start planning out my day in my head, check Facebook and Twitter on my phone, and kick myself for not turning on the morning news. An hour or two goes by in a flash then I would start cursing myself and mentally pumping myself up to get out of bed. Thirty minutes goes by before I can finally peel myself off the bed but once out of the bed I am moving. Get the espresso brewing, iron my clothes, make myself breakfast and lunch, scarf down my food, brush my teeth, kiss my girlfriend good morning/bye, and I’d by out the door flying down stairs, already running ten minutes late to work.

NO MORE!

Thank you to ‘Merica and all those farmers that needs the extra time for farming, I will no longer be a victim to the clock and get up out of bed early!… Well that’s the idea.

Anyway, here’s a short clip of a time lapse I captured yesterday as the sun was setting, just playing around and testing things out. I get off at five most of the day, that should be an ample amount of time for me to shoot down to Slacker Hill as the sunsets for a nice long time lapse video. Will definitely need to purchase the app, Lapse It, so that I can render videos at 1080p.

Cheers!

Welp…

I’m not going to lie and write that I’ve been busy with work and projects as the reason why I haven’t posted anything new on this blog. I just have been busy. Wait, I just wrote that I wouldn’t write that but I just did. Well I have been busy, just not productive.

Right before my birthday (which is in September for those wanting to steal my identity) I discovered mountain biking. Actually it is more like rediscovered mountain biking (mtb). When I was small and 100 pounds lighter, I went on a few mtb trips to Lake Chabot but never really got into mtbing. Playing Gran Turismo peaked my interest more than going out and climbing 800 ft of elevation in the heat. Somehow I got hit with the mtb bug, and that bug has hit me hard.

Why has the mtb bug hit me so hard?

Maybe because I’m having a second round of mid life crisis. No, I am having my second mid life crisis. All of a sudden there is a need to feel alive by feeling physical exhaustion, pain, soreness, and fear. All that physical abuse and negativity reminds me that there is more to life than grinding the working man’s nightmare, that I need to go out there and live! There wont always be a tomorrow so I need to go out there and seize the moment! And for now that moment is mtbing.

Some may view mtbing as an easy task enjoying scenic views and riding through gorgeous forest and parks (which is not a fault) but for myself it is challenging oneself: pedaling up 100’s of feet, staring down a rocky path, overcoming obstacles,and letting go of the brakes to ride down a dirt path over 25 miles per hour.

So even though I haven’t been busy (productive) with: projects, designs, looking for a new job, vlogging, etc. I have been feeling more alive, am lot happier, and less stress. Did I mention that I am also ten pounds lighter, eating healthier, and in better shape? Well I am 🙂

Here are some Instagram pics from a few of my rides. In the future there will be some videos. Enjoy.

On the #SinawikTrail
At #LakeChabot before my chain broke.
A #Quick and #EarlyRide before I start my #Grind
Catching the #Sunset
7.4 mile #mtb ride at #LakeChabot done!
#mtb at #JaquinMillerPark
Having a #CaseOfTheMondays 🙂

Now to figure out how to have my girlfriend go on more rides with me 🙂

 

Full disclaimer. Even though my life isn’t perfect, I do appreciate what I have: friends, family, girlfriend, job, and life. 

Vlog Post 004: Last Minute Sunset Time Lapse

In the past month the marine layer has  had San Francisco under a blanket of fog. However on Tuesday the City had a reprieve from the fog that created the most beautiful summer day that San Francisco has had all year.

With no fog or cloud insight, I took the opportunity to capture a time lapse of sunset. Sadly the sun had begun its descent into the Pacific by the time I arrived at Ocean Beach, leaving about an hour of sunlight left.

A Beautiful Morning Sunrise

Well I was up late Tuesday night, so I decided to play around with my GoPro and film a time lapse video of the sunrise. Sadly the weather wasn’t cooperating so the time lapse didn’t look to spectacular. And to be honest the view from where I was filming wasn’t so great.

 

I’ve  been wanting to do more time lapse with the GoPro but still need to figure out the best formula for capturing good content and getting the right framing of the subject. The best way that I’m going to learn is from experience which means that I need to get out more and go shooting.

Until next time!