P52 43/52: Golden Gate Sunrise

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I rose this morning at 2:40am to be on time to meet with a group of Photographers at 5:00am in Marin County to photograph the Sunrise over San Francisco Bay, and Golden Gate Bridge. We hoped for fog on the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge, but it looked like there wouldn’t be any fog rolling into the city when we met, but as we waited for others in the group to arrive the fog began to creep in.

Once the group assembled we drove over to Battery Spencer in the Marin Headlands to shoot. Then several of us broke off from the group to move higher. We drove up to Hawk Hill and photographed the rest of Blue Hour, Dawn, and the Sunrise from there.

Golden Gate Sunrise_4310

The fog never did make it to the bridge, but the colors, and light of the sunrise this morning was glorious. Well worth the O’Dark Thirty wake up call.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8@f/11 | 0.3s| ISO 100| Singh Ray 2 stop REV Grad| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6| Tripod

More to come…

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Happy Summer Solstice

Copyright © 2014-2015 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

This was taken on the Summer Solstice last year (2014).

Sunrise over San Francisco CaliforniaI really wanted to meet my friend Anne and go back to this area and make another Summer Solstice image from

here, but I’ve been swamped moving out of two of our 3 bdrms. We’re down to 1 bdrm now. I fell into bed last night exhausted, and slept until 7:30 this morning!  So, I didn’t go out with my camera for sunrise this morning and am reposting the image I made last Summer Solstice.

UPDATE on our Remodel: The construction crew are planning to break into the interior walls of the Master bdrm, front bdrm, and entry hall tomorrow (Monday June 22,2015), and demolition of our Master bathroom begins tomorrow as well. He-Man and I are almost completely moved out of our room and will be using the Living room as our room. Only our bed, and a few things in the closet need to be moved out today.

Baby Girl, and #1 Grandson have moved to the back bdrm that I’ve been using as my retreat for years.

The roof of the house was extended and roofers finished laying on the new roof yesterday, two of the new windows are in, but the door they’re waiting until this week to install. It’s really pretty, has glass, and they didn’t want to risk any damage to it while framing and putting on the roof. YEAH!

Here’s how the house looked on the 18th of June.

Rabbit Hollow Exterior Remodel

…and this is where it came from. Day of Phase II back on April 30, 2015

Staking out the new foundation
Staking out the new foundation day 1 phase II of remodel and addition

My Summer will be largely spent in disarray, and chaos with this remodel and addition, but it will be worth all the inconvenience when it’s finished I have no doubt. Today I’m excited because we’re entering the final phases of the construction, and getting closer to having the house done.

Happy Summer Solstice Everyone!

Nikon Df| Lumix DMC-Fz200| Hand-held

More to come…

Golden Gate Bridge after Dark from Battery Spenser

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Golden Gate Bridge after Dark from Battery SpenserThis is the view from Battery Spenser in the Marin Headlands looking south at the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s skyline sparkling like jewels in the night.

Nikon Df| AF-D Nikkor 28-1-5mm Micro lens| Tripod| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film

Total Lunar Eclipse over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I had a fun night of imaging with my friends Dali, and Andy.

We had a few venues planned because there was a possibility of fog, and a partly cloudy sky.
Our Plan A was to shoot the April 4th Total Lunar Eclipse over St. Ignatius Cathedral in San Francisco since this Eclipse fell on Passover and Easter Week-end it would tie in perfectly.

Starting with Plan A. We arrived just before 2AM, set up, and began shooting our images. I had planned my shooting position so that I could capture the reflection of the Cathedral in the little pond, and the glass wall of the library, but they had left the Library lights on so the reflection wasn’t good, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get the Moon reflection, but one can always hope.   We were well into our series, and talking then shortly before 4AM the lights on the Cathedral shut off. We were disappointed when that happened so, we decided to move to our Plan B position for Totality since we still had an hour to go.

We figured we would be making  at least one composite image from all we had shot already so, if we shot Totality at our Plan B location we could composite it in to an earlier image(s) from St. Ignatius for our “What If we stayed” image.

So, we moved to Plan B:  The Palace of Fine Arts. To make this image I used my Nikon Wide Angle 17-35mm lens for the foreground, and just before Maximum I quickly switched lenses to my Nikon 80-200mm lens and made several images of just the Moon in Totality with it. This image is a composite with one frame from each lens. I resized the Moon from 200mm to look the same size it did to my eye at Totality or Maximum.

Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San FranciscShooting with the Wide Angle lens the magnification is so little that the Moon looks tiny. For this 3rd Lunar Eclipse in the Tetrad I wanted to have a nice foreground interest along with the Moon at Totality becasue the two prior Eclipses I focused on the Moon and used only my Telephoto lens.

Earlier I mentioned that this was the 3rd Lunar Eclipse in the Tetrad. What is a “Tetrad” you may be asking?
Lunar Tetrad
“Total lunar eclipses are rare – only about one in three lunar eclipses are total. About four to five total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade.

Lunar eclipses usually do not occur in any specific order. However, every once in a while, four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart. There are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad.~ TimeandDate.com

Here’s my “What if we had stayed” composite image from St. Ignatius. 2 frames Nikon Df one frame for the foreground and one for the moon. The Moon has been resized to look how it would have looked.
What If I had Stayed Total Lunar Eclipse over St Ignatius Cathed

Here’s a partial sequence of how the Eclipse looked over the Palace of Fine Arts- This is 8 frames of the The Total Lunar Eclipse from partial to a minute until Maximum. All 8 frames were shot with the same camera, lens, and settings. I was manually timing the frames at 2 minute intervals except the last one which is about a minute from the frame before.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8@ f8| 8 seconds| ISO 400| Tripod.

You can see how small the Moon is when shooting this close to the foreground interest with a wide angle lens. This was shot at 17mm.  Knowing how tiny the Moon would be is why I wanted to use my Telephoto lens to shoot the Moon at Maxium and composite it in in development.  The way our eyes can see a scene like this is pretty amazing. My eye saw the Moon much larger than my lens can.

Total Eclipse partial sequence over The Palace of Fine ArtsOne last image of the Moon/Eclipse at Maximum- Nikon Df| 80-200mm @200mm| f8| 0.8 sec| ISO 1250

Totality Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015 at 200mm

Not only was it a fun night, but we were really lucky with the weather. It was windy, and chilly, but the fog stayed at sea, and there were no clouds, and I learned some things too…

-I wish I hadn’t switched lenses  just before Totality and stuck to my original thought of taking at least one image with my wide angle lens  of Totality before switching lenses so, I would have had a complete sequence to stack at the Palace of Fine Arts.

-If possible take 2 rigs and shoot long and telephoto, and/or a time-lapse.

-The lights finally clicked in my brain about focal length, and distance and how it effects the size of the Moon in the image. This knowledge will be used again, and again when I make images of the Moon in the future.

-Determine my shooting position at the venue and don’t move unless absolutely necessary. ( I moved while at St. Ignatius which messed up my sequence)

…and last but not least …we could have stayed at St. Ignatius. Our lighter images in the beginning of the series would have kept the image from being too dark once stacked into the final image.

I’m hoping we can turn all these lessons into something good in September for the fourth and last Total Lunar Eclipse in this Tetrad. That date is September 28, 2015, but for me on the West Coast (California) it’s September 27, 2015.

You can see Andy’s images from the night here, here, and here.  Dali hasn’t posted his images from Saturday night yet, but you can find his other work here. 

More to come…

Dia de Muertos

Copyright © 2011-2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved

In remembrance of those we love.

Dia de los Muertos 2011

I hope you are able to spend some time with family and friends today.

Nikon D700| AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D| Hand-held| Nov. 2011

More to come…

5-Day Black and White Photography Challenge

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

A friend of mine Alex Baranda  challenged me to a 5-Day Black and White Photography challenge. I’ll be posting a black and white image each day for 5 days, and I’m supposed to challenge another photographer to do the same. Right now I’m thinking I’ll skip that part and just work on the challenge. For me it’s outside my box. I rarely process images in Black & White. I love color, and I haven’t found a recipe that says, ” That’s Deborah Zajac’s work.” yet.

I’m excited about this challenge. Hopefully I’ll grow as a photographer and learn something new too.

Thanks Alex for the push!

Here’s my image for Day 1- This is from my archives. The Legion of Honor in San Francisco, CA. Taken in July 2011.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8| Tripod | Developed in CS 6

History of the Palace of the Legion of Honor is here.

More to come…

The Legion of Honor San Francisco CA

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”~ Henry David Thoreau

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I thought of this quote of Thoreau’s while out birding yesterday. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

A friend and I had gone up to San Francisco Golden Gate Park hoping to see a Porthonotary Warbler. We knew it was being seen in the mornings, and late afternoons, but we both had obligations in the morning and  couldn’t get up there, so we left late hoping for an afternoon sighting.

While we were in the area where the Porthonotary Warbler was sighted I spied some movement in the foliage of a huge Cypress tree. I thought it might be a Nuthatch, but it turned out to be a Black-throated Gray Warbler! A first sighting for me!

It was in the foliage so I kicked up the ISO.  I used my Nik Plug-in Dfine to help some with the noise. I wish there was a highlight in its eye. This is the best of the images I took of it. It’s such a busy, flittly little bird that most of my images were soft or blurry. One day I hope I get another crack at one.

Black and White Warbler

While hanging around the area where the Porthonotary Warbler was most likely to show up I was noticing the flowers,

and plants around me so I switched my 300mm f4 Nikkor lens for the LensBaby Composer Pro II with the Soft Focus Optic and made quite a few images. Most of which I don’t have names for. Here are several images,

Star

Fuschia Blossoms

An Iris?

Succulent Rosette

Stow Lake Bridge

Natural Texture

Japanese Cast Iron Garden Bells and Books

Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park

We didn’t see the Porthonotary Warbler, but it was a good day out filled with a lot of beautiful flowers, plants,

nice weather, and good company.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 w/ AF-S Nikkor 14eII, and LensBaby Composer Pro II w/soft focus optic

More to come…