Category: Photographs – Southern California

Leaf, Water, Pattern

Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Another leaf in stream photograph from the Getty Museum.  This leaf seems to defy physics by resisting the force of the water.

The circular polarizer helped in reducing the reflection from the surface of the water and allowing the leaf to be more visible.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 55mm, ISO 400, 1/20 sec, f/5.6

Leaf, Water, Pattern.  Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 04, 2010. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

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Travertine Lookouts, Patrons

Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

If only I had used a high ISO and thus a faster shutter speed! Then the lady on the right probably wouldn’t have been blurry.

I still like the composition here with two lookout locations, both with museum patron staring off into the Los Angeles late afternoon.  This is another of those photographs that I stumbled upon while walking around the Getty.  Now that I know it’s there, I will try this composition again and try a variety of techniques under various conditions.  Whether it’s when more natural light is available or waiting until it’s darker, or even intentionally going with an even slower shutter speed and making sure the patrons are even more blurry or ghost-like.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 70mm, ISO 200, 0.6 sec, f/8

Travertine Lookouts, Patrons. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 03, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze– all rights reserved.

Surfers, Beach, Derricks

Huntington Beach, CA

It’s not the endless summer poster, it’s not even close, but this was the shot that was available to me yesterday while taking my dog out to the Huntington Beach Dog Park.  If I had turned to the left, I would have the well-known pier as the backdrop, but the composition would be even more stereotypical.  Oil derricks are seen starting north from this point at Huntington Beach and all the way up to Santa Barbara.  There are 3 in Long Beach that are well disguised as islands.

This photograph was impromptu.  I was letting my dog rest after we had walked up and down the beach.  We were enjoying the view in front when the surfers started coming out of the water.  I hurriedly pulled my camera out, adjusted for correct exposure, and snapped a few frames.

Yes, it’s the end of December here in Southern California, I was in shorts, the temperature was in the 70s, dogs were playing in the water, and surfers were enjoying another perfect afternoon.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec, f/11

Surfers, Beach, Derricks.  Huntington Beach, California. December 27, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Hallway, Light, Peek

Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

While it takes experience to be able to put together a composition for a photograph where a non-photog might not find one, it is a whole other scenario when the location just keeps throwing shot after shot for you to take.  This is exactly the scenario at the Getty Museum near Westwood and the UCLA Campus.

I am a huge fan of lines and patterns in photography even though I mostly shoot landscapes and nature, where they do occur but just not as frequently as in buildings and architecture.  It also reminds me of my need to head into San Francisco and shoot buildings and architecture for a day and night.

Anyhow, this was early on in my visit to the Getty and I was looking to shoot anything that caught my fancy.  At first glance, I had noticed this hallway but had also noticed the patrons sitting on the bench at the end of the hallway.  They were engaged in a conversation and didn’t seem like they were about to leave anytime soon.  Not wanting to waste time waiting and deciding it might be a slightly better photograph with people in it, I snapped an exposure and moved on.

Upon arriving home and processing, I’ve come to like this photograph more and more.  It gives the feeling of seeing something we are not supposed to.  The fact that we can barely make out the people down the hallway makes it feel as though we are eavesdropping or spying on them.  This is definitely a photograph that is better for having people in it.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 34mm, ISO 125, 1/20 sec, f/11

Hallway, Light, Peek. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 03, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze– all rights reserved.

Staircase, Lines, Blur

Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Since I’m down in Southern California for the holidays (while I’m on holiday), I’ve gone through and picked out a few more photographs from my last trip down here in September.  The was from the interior of one of the buildings in the Getty Center.  Night had already fallen so natural exterior light was no longer a source.  The interior lights were relatively bright but certainly not industrial or clinical in nature.

What I wanted to capture was the motion of people going up and down the stairs, which isn’t too difficult as long as the shutter speed isn’t too fast.  Conversely, I was handholding this camera and wasn’t afforded the use of a tripod (rules of the Getty that I read up on and knew in advance).  So using the guideline of shooting faster than the inverse of your focal length (to get relatively sharp exposures), I pumped my ISO from the standard 100 on my D7000 to ISO 200, otherwise I’d need to bring the shutter speed down to 1/15 second.  At 1/15, that’s slightly under the guideline and I might have still taken a good shot with even more blurring or the people on the stairs, but I was in a snap and go mood at the time.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 18mm, ISO 200, 1/3 sec, f/3.5

Staircase, Lines, Blur.  Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 04, 2010. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Reflecting Pool, Cubic Building

So what drew me to this composition was how the lines are all in perfect angles, even the lines in the reflection.

Not much more to say here.  A bit odd since I usually have tons to say about a photograph.

Tip for the thrifty: (Yes, I said this the last time I had a post about the Getty.) Normally parking is $15.  On Saturdays after 5:00pm, parking is free and the museum is open until 9:00pm.  Not only are you saving money (to pay for coffee or lattes at the end of your shoot), but you’ll get a chance to catch the golden hour.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 25mm, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, f/8

Reflecting Pool, Cubic Building. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 03, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze– all rights reserved.

Leaf, Stream, Blur

Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Leaf, Stream, Blur.  Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 04, 2010. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

This photograph came about from being both prepared and a little lucky.  Taken at the Getty Museum during the photography “shoot-out” with my dad, I did some research on the protocol of what was allowed and not allowed as it pertains to cameras and equipment.  Tripods and monopods are forbidden, though my dad said he managed to use a monopod at the old Getty Museum Villa in Malibu, CA in the past.

With the equipment information in hand, I packed two beanbags with me.  These were not the photo-centric bags you can buy from a number of online photo suppliers, but rather some leather bags filled with sand that are used by frame shops as paperweights to hold down unrolled posters and artwork.  I hoped they would work for as I intended.

Spotting this channel of water flowing into and over a stuck maple leaf, I setup the beanbags on the ground with my lens resting on them.  Using the Live View mode on the Nikon D7000, I was able to compose the shot and make adjustments by shaping the beanbags as needed.  Without a tripod, hand holding the camera at an 0.4 sec would have caused the entire photo to be blurry throughout.  Remember, the rule of thumb is that without a tripod and vibration reduction (VR) or image stabilization (IS), a handheld photo can be reasonably sharp at a shutter speed the inverse of the focal length.  In the case of this photograph shot with a 55mm focal length, a shutter speed of 1/55 sec or faster.  I believe my the nearest shutter speed on my camera is 1/60 sec.  At that speed, the white water would be more of a freeze frame than a slight blur that I wanted.

I pumped up to ISO400 over my usual preference of ISO100, so that I could reduce the shutter speed needed.  At ISO100, a 2-stop reduction, I would have needed an exposure of 0.1 sec to technically have the same amount of light hitting my camera sensor.  The only difference would be a longer exposure would would have rendered the white water as a more solid and less textured appearance.  It is entirely a matter of personal preference on how much or less of white water blurring you want in a photo.  It can be anywhere from fast freeze-frame to slow “cotton candy” blur.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 55mm, ISO 400, 0.4 sec, f/10