I went down to the beach this evening to test out a new lens I rented. I ended up not using it in favor of bringing out the beloved 100-400mm again to shoot some of the crazy atmosphere action around the pier. The backlighting was really fantastic and I kept shooting until the sun disappeared behind the Santa Monica Mountains.
Yesterday I took a bike ride along the coast of Santa Monica Bay. While this was mostly just a recreational trip, I found that the gloomy marine layer that extended from Santa Monica to El Segundo had opened a hole over Malibu, and that this provided a stunning backdrop to some surfers that I happened to notice as I rode by on my bike. Had I not looked up at this moment I would have missed it. I hauled my bike into the sand and shot a series of pictures as the light faded. I had taken my entire photo kit sans tripod with me and was glad I did as I whipped up my new 100-400mm zoom lens to frame up these shots. This was quite a magic hour!
The waves crashing over the edge of this break wall in Venice is what caught my eye in the first place. The waves were splashing 20 feet into the air.
I don’t know what it was about the air – perhaps moisture content – but looking towards Malibu revealed this mirage like image of an island. The island is of course not an island, but rather the ancient rock of Point Dume at the far west end of Santa Monica Bay.
Not all the shots from the trip were at the one spot. Here are a few others from different parts of the coast.
This boat was right at the edge of the massive marine layer cloud, with the water in front in direct sunlight while the boat was in shadow.
These two photos are from a fenced off area that allows these birds to hang out without human and pet disturbance. I believe they are Great Blue Herons and there were four of them when I went by in Marina Del Rey. They are big, pretty birds.
Finally here is a little time lapse I did showing the movement of the marine layer cloud taken from the edge. This is approximately 10 minutes sped up to last only 38 seconds.
I paid a quick visit to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society yesterday. Their locomotive, Nickel Plate 765, traveled by my house when I was growing up and I always like to see it when I can. On this day they were working on the frames that support the wheels of the locomotive’s tender. I walked away with two shots that I really liked of the work being done, although the depth of field could have been bigger. It’s always challenging to shoot pictures in their shop since it is very dark. You can see some of my other shots of 765 and other trains by clicking here.
These two gentleman were grinding bits of steel that they had welded onto the trailer trucks. The steel they were adding was of greater strength than the original steel in the trucks. This will hopefully be more resistant to wear and tear. In these pictures they are grinding down the welded on pieces.
Recently I was up in the area near Redmond, Washington for a friend’s wedding. On the last day of the trip, we stopped in on Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery to walk around the grounds and take a tour of the bottling facility. Fortunately I had my camera with me and took some shots of the beautiful surroundings as well as inside the winery itself.
The tour mentioned that the original owners of the winery had a fondness for planting exotic plants and trees on the grounds. This tree caught my eye almost immediately.
The tree is a European copper beech.
I loved the views looking up at its trunk and branches.
And here’s a quick not very exciting look at the tree from afar:
This tree was not the only sight that caught my eye.
Soon it was time to go on the tour of the winery. Since we were there on a holiday, no one was working to bottle any wine that day. This made for some fun shots of the empty industrial apparatus that makes up the winery’s bottling operations.
We later encountered a series of tanks which I think were steel but reflected the copper colored lighting and maroon walls in spectacular fashion. The rivets made really awesome patterns.
It was a really fun diversion.
Three years ago a fire swept through parts of Griffith Park in the heart of Los Angeles. On this day for whatever reason I had brought my camera in to work. I was glad I did. From the rooftop of my workplace, we could see this during the day:
This looked big, and it was the first time I had seen a fire this close. Usually area fires had been far away in the San Gabriel Mountains or elsewhere away from the center of the city. Borrowing a telephoto lens for the night, the view became much more dramatic. Tragically the buildings and smoke are slightly out of focus in the series of shots I took from the rooftop at night.
Having seen this, and knowing that the park was surrounded by the city, I decided that this would probably be the safest fire I could chase with my camera that I’ll probably ever see. So, with a friend of mine along for the ride, we set out to check out this crazy sight.
What we saw blew our minds. I had seen fires in the past on TV but to see one with my own eyes was something else. It was insane. Whole hillsides right behind residential neighborhoods were black with glowing red embers. It looked like a mountain of lava with dark alien trees growing from it (where there were some left).
It was just surreal.
Our last stop was on the bridge of Los Feliz blvd over the 5 freeway. Here thousands of people were just driving on by the burning hillsides going about their business. Dozens of local Angelino’s were hanging out on the bridge under a rain of ash watching the action unfold and taking pictures. Everyone was super friendly. In fact, I noticed during the Station Fire last year that everyone I encountered was super friendly and helpful, giving me tips on where to shoot from safely.
As we get into the hot summer months I am sincerely hoping that we don’t have a repeat of last years devastating fire season.