Downward Trail, Overhanging Branches

Lands End, San Francisco, CA

Of all the scenic spots in San Francisco I have been at, and yes, there are many more I have not visited, I can cross off Lands End from the list.  Lands End is actually the name of an area as well as the name of the trail that connects China Beach (with all the multi-million dollar homes — in fact, here are some >>home listings<<) and the area around the Legion of Honor to the Sutro Baths Ruins, the Cliff House and Ocean Beach.  The area is the northwest corner of San Francisco.

We arrived in the early afternoon after a morning of shooting at Marin Headlands and chowing down for a late breakfast at “Lighthouse Breakfast and Lunch” in Sausalito, then a midday shoot at Crissy Field and Fort Point.  Unfortunately the clouds/fog (which we decided to call either clog or flouds since we couldn’t agree on which we had at midday) started to burn off by the time hiking on this trail started.  There is definitely a potential for great photographs when there is soupy fog in the area.

Hedging my bets, I shot bracketed exposures of various compositions due to the very dark shadow areas to the left.  Once back home in post, I attempted various HDR combinations, but none were to my satisfaction.  I had a feeling an HDR just wouldn’t do because it would illuminate the entire shot and eliminate focal points in the photograph.  I ended up using the very last photograph I shot that day and doing post in Adobe Lightroom.

Obviously the main attraction was the s-curve of the stairs, but what I started really enjoying were the criss-crossed branches in the center of the photograph.  There is just something about them trying to frame the path and reaching up out of nowhere to “light up” the dark shadow areas while providing a line of separation between the green of the tree and the green of the grass below.

Posts from the other shots of the day:

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, patterned metering mode, 24mm, ISO 100, 1/3 sec, f/11

Downward Trail, Overhanging Branches.  Lands End, San Francisco, California. April 15, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

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7 thoughts on “Downward Trail, Overhanging Branches

    1. Glad you like it as a single shot. When I was there shooting, I was concerned about the contrast between the sunlit right side and the dark left side, so I took bracket shots just in case. But once processed as an HDR, the area in the shadow was not very interesting. Like you said, the dark area is a bit mysterious and even inviting. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. I have been to the Sutro/Cliff House side many times and the Baker Beach/Legion of Honor area on the other side many times, just never in the middle!

      I have never been to Twin Peaks, but will have to some day to get a different view over the city. Another spot for my checklist!

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  1. It’s one of the few times I haven’t sharpened the details in post processing. In fact, I went the other way and decreased the clarity. It really affected areas such as the posts and wooden steps by softening the details.

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