Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park Amusement Park | HDR Images

Spent a little time on the Santa Monica Pier while visiting some friends in Culver City in Los Angeles this summer. I love this pier because not only is a classic boardwalk with a great history, but it’s got the fantastic family amusement park, Pacific Park, right on the pier.

 (Niall David)

Since we hit the place in broad summertime 12-noon sunlight I decided to make 3-7 captures 1-stop apart for each photo I wanted to make as we wandered the pier. There’s so much character in the buildings, structures, art, and people on the pier, it’s hard not to want to photograph all kinds of things going on in front of you. We only had an hour out there, but it was an hour well spent.

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

I came to really enjoy learning how to use Nik Software‘s HDR Efex Pro a few months ago, and this was the perfect place to make the scenes come alive in ways I otherwise couldn’t have done with traditional digital photography. HDR Efex Pro is my favorite HDR software due to it’s slick interface and ease of intuitive adjustments. I started out using one of the pretty awesome presets the software comes equipped with and then tweaking to my liking, but the more I got familiar with the interface (and HDR photography in general), the more I’d start from scratch and develop the scenes to my liking. My goal is usually realistic, but sometimes it’s really fun to go for vintage, black and white or surreal.

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

 

See the full gallery here.

A Foggy Evening at Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge | HDR Images

 

On a lonely foggy eve, I stumbled into Fort Point National Historic Site and the archway truss of the Golden Gate Bridge. From Fort Point you get an original view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. It’s pretty unreal down there, and very easy to get to. I wish the building at the point was open, and it’d be cool to wander closer to the bridge, but it’s gated off pretty well (the first shot here is actually taken with the camera lens poking through the hole in the fence). I’ve seen some photogs get deeper access and I only wonder what their secrets are…

 (Niall David)

 

I definitely plan to go back and venture through the area beneath the bridge and the roadways there a bit more. It’s a cool industrial urban lattice of somewhat creepy proportion begging to be explored!

Industrial Urban Decay | San Francisco – Central Waterfront, Dogpatch, Bayview, Hunter’s Point

A few images from a recent jaunt and scouting trip in San Francisco’s Central Waterfront, Dogpatch, Bayview, and Hunter’s Point neighborhoods. I love the industrial feel of these places and definitely expect to use every little nook and cranny at some point for some really cool gritty photoshoot locations. Broken down rusty truck trailers, decommissioned factories, rotting buildings and shipyards abound. It’s a treat for the urban/industrial decay connoisseur.

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

 (Niall David)

 

See the full gallery here.

San Francisco Skyline – Nighttime Views from Treasure Island

I don’t often go to Treasure Island, but today I just wanted to get out for a drive, and it seemed like the place to visit. A short jaunt from San Francisco, and dramatically placed right in the middle of the San Francisco Bay is the site of one of the most awe inspiring views of the city in the entire area. Second to only the Berkeley hills, this can’t be beat. Plus, if you’re already in SF, you can get there and back sans toll. I highly recommend this trip, worth it’s weight in unforgettable scenery of the City by the Bay.

I didn’t get out of the house until close to 4pm, but it was just enough time to get out there to catch the last few rays of sunset. I decided I wanted to get there for sunset, but once I arrived, I decided I’d stick around until after dark to catch some nighttime shots of the skyline. It was worth the wait, and the battering winds and extreme windchill… to capture some views on one of the first weekends with the holiday lights on.

I totally froze my butt off, but it was a nice way to spend some time semi-alone just working the long exposures. My tripod is crap and hopefully someday soon I can upgrade. I’d likely need to sandbag  50 pound scaffolding to withstand these winds without blur at 30 seconds +, but for now it’s cheapo Focal tripod to the rescue. Was cool to get out there at night again. This is also one of the few galleries where I include multiple versions of the same capture. I had a little fun with the post-processing on a few of these so included a few versions of a couple of them. Hope you enjoy 🙂

See the full gallery here.

Photographer’s notes: Nikon D700; ISO 100; Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens; F/8; Exposures between 2 seconds and 20 seconds.

Update – 1/5/2011 : A lesson in SEO. Set your filenames, headers/titles, keywords/tags, and categories (in that order of priority) and search engines will find you. Search Google for “best place to see sf skyline by night.” Yesterday I was the top hit. http://www.google.com/search?q=best+place+to+see+san+francisco+skyline+at+night&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=. Very cool.

World Trade Center, New York City – October 23, 2010

It’s a powerful place to visit. Having grown up in New York and now living under western skies, I don’t often get back to NYC. This particular trip lead to a ride up to the 86th and 102nd floors of the Empire State Building (they have a very cool sustainability exhibit on display), as well as a subway ride down to The World Trade Center and Ground Zero.

I took the trip by myself, friends having been too pooped to make it out of the apt that day, and I’m kinda glad I did. Gave me time to sit and reflect, to soak in the scene and wander, to really pay homage to this place. I stopped by the 9-11 Memorial for Firefighters, Policeman and Rescue Workers and the WTC.  If you have the opportunity, you should make the trip.

See the full gallery here.

Sunrise View over the San Francisco Bay at NDP

The sun rises over the San Francisco Bay on October 14, 2010. Air moves fast by the coast, and the clouds are often wispy and long. They don’t ever quite get this pillowy and cottonbally, so even though there were still a few hours of bedtime to be had before heading into this day, I just had to jump out of bed, grab my camera and make a few images of the sun rising over the city. I don’t quite expect that we shall see these puffy clouds again any time soon…

Fantastic day to be alive.

The Portable Sun Workshop with Raul Touzon – September 2010

Images from The Portable Sun Workshop with National Geographic photographer Raul Touzon. Had a great 4 days hanging out with Raul and the rest of the students while we sat in on classroom lectures and photographed models by the Sutro Baths and Clarion Alley in the Mission. Thanks Raul, I am a new photographer again! Thanks to Christine Zona for producing the event.

See the full gallery here.