Old Ferry Pier, Candlestick Point


Candlestick Point

Old Ferry Pier, B&W. Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California. June 12, 2011. © Copyright 2011 Steven Tze– all rights reserved.

While this may seem to be a standard black and white photo, a relatively uncommon filter was used.

I had seen some minimalistic photos on Flickr using a 10-stop Neutral Density (ND) filter.  The advantages of using an ND-110 filter are that even in broad daylight, adding this filter forces you to use long exposure for an otherwise quick exposure shot.  If a properly exposed shot without the filter is 1/50 second, the same exposure time with the filter is now 20 seconds.  Slow cloud movements become streaks across the sky.  Water movement is rendered into a glassy or icy feel. Even busy streets can be made to look almost empty as people and cars tend to not remain still long enough to become a solid image.

What didn’t work in this image is the lack of cloud motion.  It wasn’t something I could control.  In fact, I had hoped for fog but to no avail.

As this was my first attempt at using the ND-110 filter, I had read up on other photographers’ experiences and tips.  The most important is that viewing and auto-focusing are impossible with the filter screwed on the lens.  I needed to first compose, auto-focus, carefully switch my camera to manual focus mode, and then finally screw on the filter as carefully as possible so as not to alter the focus.

By the way, this is one of two piers at Candlestick Point in San Francisco.  Aside from being adjacent to where the 49er’s play their home games, the walking trails and picnic areas are not well maintained.

This photo was entered into the Amador County Fair photography competition this year and received an Honorable Mention in the Amateur – Traditional – any subject – B&W category.  I thought it would have maybe placed as high as 2nd, but it wasn’t to be.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, Manual, 52mm, ISO 200, 20 secs, f/11

Maple Leaf, Travertine Slab, Sunset Light

Getty Museum

Maple Leaf, Travertine Slab, Sunset Light. Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. September 03, 2011. © Copyright 2011 Steven Tze– all rights reserved.

Since this particular photo is the banner image and we’re approaching the fall foliage season, I should at least provide its background.

This is the type of photos other photographers take and I always wonder if the leaf (or insert your own item – rock, branch, etc.) was discovered as is or placed there.  In this case, I moved the leaf from a previous photo to this location.  There it is, I admitted it!

The trip to the Getty is my first even though I had lived within its immediate vicinity for the first few years of its existence.  Having scouted out possible locations for a half-day shoot while in So Cal, I narrowed down my choices to either the Getty Museum in Malibu or the new Getty Museum in West Los Angeles.  All other locations I had wanted to visit were in the desert and the 100+ degree F weather forecasts would prevent my dad from joining me.  I left the final choice for my parents and it was my mom that chose the new Getty as our destination.

Tip for the thrifty: 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, Manual, 50mm, ISO 125, 1/50 sec, f/5.6

First blog post!

Welcome to the first post of this blog.

The hope is not just to share photography from my ever growing portfolio, but to also share the good and bad of how each picture comes about.  From the blogs I follow, I’ve been inspired by some of the best photographers, but little is ever discussed about the mistakes and failures of a shoot.

I am meticulous (which at times is a detriment) in planning my photography day trips, above average in compositions, fair in my digital workflow, and an amateur when it comes to post-processing.  It has taken me about 18 months to get this far in my photography journey.