Tag Archives: sonoma

Fort Ross and Salt Point

Mid August of 2014, I went with a meetup group from Fairfield to do an all day shoot first at Fort Ross State Park (SP) and then to Salt Point State Park both on the Sonoma Coast. I’ve been to both places numerous times and each has its moods and beauty. As it turned out the coastal weather was its usual gray overcast which made for somewhat less than exciting photography. However, the landscape photographer has quite often the task of making the best of the conditions and pulling out the images from it. Regardless, off we went to see what we could see. Here are some selected images from Fort Ross SP.

#1 – Cute seal on the rocks
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Petaluma Photowalk and Lightpainting

Been awhile since I posted some of my photo activities. I do get out and shoot very often but, as it takes more time to process, arrange, and display my images, I do tend to be behind in sharing them here. Let’s go back to August 15, 2014. I attended a meetup of the West County Photo Group. The plan was to do a late afternoon shoot of downtown Petaluma culminating in a brief bit of lightpainting near the Petaluma River footbridge. The late afternoon light was hard and bright and my HDR tendencies came out in full force. Here are some of the better images.

#1 – The classic Petaluma downtown building
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#2 – Another view of the same building – although the lens has made the building look a bit weird, I like this one that way just for fun.
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Balloon Madness 2014

Every year or so. I try to attend the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. When I can get up early enough, I try to get to the launch of the ‘dawn patrol’ group (around ‘O’ dark 5am something or other) because the flames from the balloons and lighting (blue hour stuff) of the balloons is – to me – the best photography this event has to offer. Fog and wind can screw up this event but fortunately I’ve been luck more often than not. Here are a few image from the event.

Dawn Patrol with running lights.
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Sunrise over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Got up early today to try to catch sunrise and some clouds over the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve shot here a few times before and really like this location because of it’s open sky view for almost 360 degrees of the north bay marshes and distant hills. Through in a view clouds and some ground fog and voila! instant landscape photography. I will say though that the air temps were in the low 30’s and it felt like it.

So Sharon and I headed out about 6:30am this morning for the 30 minute drive over to Ramal Road off of Highway 12. The sky almost too cloudy and I could see that the fog might close in for periods of time but…the pink and blue colors to the east and bit of water in the wetlands, looked very promising. Here’s a couple of early shots.
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Photo Shoot at Sturgeon’s Mill

Recently, we attended the last demonstration day of 2013 at Sturgeon’s Mill for a photo shoot. Sturgeon’s Mill is located between Sebastopol and Graton in western Sonoma County and is a restoration project being undertaken by a local nonprofit group. Their goal is to restore this historic steam powered sawmill. Here is a bit of background info from their website:

Considered one of the last great mills of its kind, this mill has survived since 1914. It was originally built in the 1880s on the Korbel property near the Russian River. It was passed to Mr. Michael Sugarman, of the hardware store on 4th Street in Santa Rosa, and later to Mr. Meeker, for whom Camp Meeker is named.

It was purchased from Meeker by Wade Sturgeon in 1913 and was dismantled and moved to Sturgeon’s Coleman Valley site where Sturgeon began his lumber business in 1914. The mill was moved again to its current site in Occidental in 1924 where it has since remained. In 1943 Wade’s son Ralph Sturgeon and his friend James Henningsen bought and ran the mill. Now, in an effort to preserve this wonderful piece of history, this restoration project has been born.

I first learned of this mill last year when a photo group I follow did a similar shoot there. Somehow this facility had completely missed my attention and as I tend to like old rusty things, this seemed like a great place to have some photographic fun. We arrived just after opening time at 10am and were greeted with this view:
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A day (or two) at the Tin Can Rally

Recently, I visited once again the Tin Can Rally held in Petaluma at the local KOA.
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My visit to this event last year had impressed me with several facts: 1. old trailers can be fun, 2. people who fix them up are weird but also fun, and 3. one can get great photos from one of these deals. It’s all a bit of Americana and hobbyist coming together. The exhibitors are proud of their restorations and love to dress up in the period (usually 1950’s or 1960’s).
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Civil War Days

On July 20th, I attended the Civil War Days event at Duncans Mills in west Sonoma County. This is a two day event in its 15th(?) year or so that usually has between 500-1000 reenactors and 3,000 to 4,000 attendees per day. I had attended this once before in 2011 and been very pleased with my images of the event and well, it was fun too! So back I went with one of my photo meet up groups. I spent the entire day there and staid until the evening to have dinner with a friend who is one of the reenactors at the event.

I will say that as a photographer, playing with these images to try to create that 19th century photo look is part of the fun of this for me. At times I used a pinhole lens and/or a creative lens called a Lensbaby to distort some of the images. You will see some of these in these few images from the event.

A familiar figure was seen roaming the event.
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A blacksmith’s forge heating up some iron.
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Saturday Shooting – Gardens and Jazz

This Saturday as is not uncommon for me, I got out for a morning photo shoot at Quarryhill Botanical Gardens in Glenn Ellen and had some bonus time at house concert in Oakland. My subjects ranged from bees, butterflies, flowers, and jazz performers. Quite a range of lighting too from bright sun, shade, and spotlights. So I though I’d share a few images from both shoots.

First of a bit about Quarryhill – Founded in 1987, Quarryhill is one of the pre-eminent Asian botanical gardens globally, featuring one of the largest collections of documented, wild-collected Asian plants in the world. It is centrally located for Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties as well as greater Northern California. If you’d like to learn more check out their website: Quarryhill Botanical Gardens

Saturday was a very hot day but there was plenty of shade at the gardens. Here are a few of my images from this shoot.

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Entry Plack

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A Playful Butterfly

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Dogwoods
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My Pursuit of Wild Mustard

Several years ago, as part of my rediscovery of photography, I began to watch the color of the seasons here in Sonoma County a lot more. The practical reason is that, well, I need subjects to shoot images of, and the artistic reason is that the seasons here are lovely each in their own way. Beginning in late January and running in to April the colors green (grasses), yellow (wild mustard), and blue (sky) are very prevalent in the Sonoma County country side. Toss in some bright sun and a cloud or two, a cow perhaps, and you have the basis for some good landscape images. Over the past few weeks, in between other interests, I’ve been looking for good to great images of wild mustard, green grass, and blue sky. Here are my recent efforts. Comments, as always, are welcome.

The season is not over yet and I still on my pursuit of that perfect wild mustard shot.

Another ESA Photo Contest Win

Wohler Bridge – HDR – November 2012
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Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200 @ 160mm, f/16, 5 image HDR series starting at 0.7sec. on a tripod.
This image won the December company photo contest. I really like this and have printed it on metal.
The warmth of this image and the repeated patterns just set up for me in the fading light of the late afternoon.