Chair, Torn Wallpaper

Bodie State Historical Park, CA

Peering into another window at Bodie and this is what I saw, a monochromatic view of an old chair framed perfectly in the middle of a door frame with matching colored torn wallpaper.

Upon closer inspection of this photograph, I see that chair being a little less than sharp, probably due to my impatience of wanting to see what’s in the next window.

Note: I’m still away from my home base, so I’m stuck using these less than perfect exports from Lightroom.  Even though I increased the max pixels of each photo to 700×700, I think WordPress enlarges the photo a little more once uploaded to their site or something since every picture this past week looks a little fuzzy or soft.  Sorry about that.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/8 sec, f/5.6

Chair, Torn Wallpaper.  Bodie State Historical Park, California. October 16, 2010. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


Tufa, Sunlight on Fog, Hills

Mono Lake, CA

During one of the three trips I made out to the Eastern Sierras this year for the annual Fall Colors display, I planned on an early morning visit to the Mono Lake South Tufa area.  Again hoping for some semblance of storm clouds, I was given nothing.  Though on the drive home down the western slope of the Sierras late that afternoon, I did see an hour long display of brilliant sunset clouds that will be hard to rival.  There were even comments on it from friends that lived in the Sacramento Valley.

As the sun rose and the light becoming stronger, I started looking other subjects to photograph.  The increasing harsh light just doesn’t do the tufa any justice and start to become washed out.  Looking from the South Tufa area, I looked down the shoreline, past Navy Beach, to an area that had 4 tufas in the middle of the lake.  Note: At some point, all tufas are under the water, once they become exposed to the air, they stop “growing”.  What caught my attention was the low lake fog catching the sunlight with the blue lake foreground and the dark shadowed hills in the back.

It does help to look around you and focus on something other than what you’ve been intently photographing by looking around, either checking out the small details or looking in the distance.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 200mm, ISO 100, 1/30 sec, f/11

Tufa, Sunlight on Fog, Hills.  Mono Lake, California. October 14, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Upper Yosemite Falls, Merced River, Reflection, HDR

Yosemite Valley, CA

Photograph from the Swinging Bridge area of Upper Yosemite Falls using a 3 exposure HDR.  While most people including photographers were setup and taking shots from the actual bridge itself, there were quite a few more composition possibilities walking to the right of the bridge and down to the river’s edge.  From the center of the bridge, the Upper Fall was close to or being intruded upon by the trees on the left bank.  From the right of the bridge, the Fall was clear of trees, but you were pretty set on the composition that everyone else has.

HDR was used since the sunlit granite walls and Upper Yosemite Fall was exceedingly bright while the shadowed trees were quite the opposite.  The HDR blend and final Lightroom adjustments brought the two extremes closer together into one image.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 22mm, ISO 200, 1/10 sec, f/16

Upper Yosemite Falls, Merced River, Reflection, HDR.  Yosemite Valley, California. March 31, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Golden Gate Bridge Tower, Transamerica Building

Marin Headlands, CA

Obviously I’m not the first photographer, nor the last to take this composition, but sometimes a photograph like this is just too cool not to take.  To find this exact location, drive on Upper Conzelman Road about 1/8 mile above the roundabout.  When you find the location on the other side of the guardrail, you’ll see the dirt is strangely smooth from all the previous photographers taking this exact same photo.

If you’re ever in the Marin Headlands, have a little fun and shot this photograph!

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 175mm, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, f/16

Golden Gate Bridge Tower, Transamerica Building.  Marin Headlands, California. February 28, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Range Grass

Sutter Creek, CA

A quick post in a rather hectic day.  The photograph here is a very tight crop from one of my stop somewhere after work and shot for an hour adventures.  As most of the undeveloped area in the county is still filled with oaks, rolling hills, and grazing land for cattle, it’s not hard to wander to the edge of a road or development and find picturesque scenes.  The purpose for this adventure was two-fold.  One was to hopefully find some pleasing compositions of the countryside.  Ehh, didn’t work out to well.  The second was to focus on the grasses by shooting the details like this photograph or by capturing the motion of the swaying grasses.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/40 sec, f/5.6

Range Grass.  Sutter Creek, California. May 09, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Signage, Wall Colors

Locke, CA

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the States and most families are hurrying about to put together a larger than normal meal or rushing to the grocery stores and supermarkets to pick up last minute items.  In the spirit of this day, I have for you a vintage grocery store sign in Locke, CA.

Never heard of Locke?  It’s not surprising.  Locke is a unincorporated city on the Sacramento River Delta that was built entirely by Chinese and inhabited by the Chinese starting in 1913.  By the 1940’s and 1950’s the population started to decline leaving behind a dwindling Chinese population of only 10 according to recent census data.

While most of the stores are now antique shops, art galleries, kitsch stores, or just vacant, the storefronts have mostly gone unchanged.  The building in this photograph was constructed in 1915 as a grocery store for the Foon Hop family until closing in 1935.  Now a gift shop, the grocery signage remains.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 28mm, ISO 200, 1/8 sec, f/8 

Signage, Wall Colors.  Locke, California. May 15, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

Sunflower, Bee

Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA

At the time of this photograph, I had just started using my new camera, the Nikon D7000.  Even though I had been shooting with the Nikon D50, purchased 5-6 years before, the new features and additional dials and buttons on this camera had me slightly confused.  What I didn’t realize until later was that the “new” front dial adjusted exposure compensation.  So while I was busy trying to use the dial to adjust shutter speed (back dial I eventually remembered), I fiddled with the front dial and had in some negative exposure compensation and everything came out darker than intended.  Fortunately, since I shoot in RAW format, not all was lost as compared to shooting in JPG with most point-and-shoot cameras.  While you can recover some dark areas in JPG file photos in post, some data is lost and cannot be recovered as the photo has already been compressed and some data “thrown away” in the process.

I had planned on skipping this year’s California State Fair because the fair just feels like a giant As-Seen-on-TV convention.  The parts of the fair that I enjoy, such as checking out the livestock (especially the llamas!), trying to gauge when my photography will stack up to the jury-accepted photographs in the Fine Art competition, and being intrigued by the orderly rows of agriculture on display, are usually not as appreciated by the people I go with.  I feel bad wasting their time spending what seems to be an inordinate amount of time staring at and photographing rows of lettuce, for instance.

Anyhow, this sunflower and bee photograph was too dark when shot due to my accidental setting of negative compensation.  I was able to bring back the exposure in post.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted avg metering mode, 135mm, ISO 800, 1/200 sec, f/5.6

Sunflower, Bee.  California State Fair, Cal Expo, Sacramento, California. July 30, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.