Getty Museum Jan12

Getty Museum

This is an old shot that was taken at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. I have been going through some older pictures that I haven’t posted since I haven’t been able to take any new pictures recently. I still have a few more up my sleeve but my stash is running low so hopefully I will be able to get some new photos soon. Once I get off this deployment I will finally go back to getting pictures all the time. If you live in California or are visiting and interested in museums, then I definitely suggest visiting the Getty Center. This has some of the nicest modern architecture and outdoor facilities that I have seen of this kind. From the cool white rounded buildings to the cement and solid stone structures, this place is a modern architecture photographers paradise. I’m not even big in to photographing modern architecture but I couldn’t help myself here. There are all kinds of awesome exhibits to visit and nice gardens to view on the outside as well. I took this shot inside one of the museum buildings while I was wandering around. I loved how minimal and pure this area looked and the light lit the area up with a nice clean white. It was a little dark so I used a tripod for this shot. People probably thought I was a weirdo considering everyone else was taking pictures of the actual art in the museum and I was taking picture of a staircase. O well. The best part about the place is that it is free! You can check out there Plan a Visit area of their site to find their hours, and location. This shot was a RAW image file that was edited...

Path to Hell

Salk Institute in La Jolla, California is an awesome display of some superb architecture. Louis Kahn is the architect behind the structure shown in the photo below and I’m not too familiar with architecture but from people I have talked to it seems that his building all have pretty interesting looks like this one. The Salk institute is one of the leading institutions in the world for biological research and I was constantly seeing various people in and out of this place. Considering all that is far above my head, what my focus was on was photography. I had wanted to photograph this spot for a while but it is always locked up and a keycard is needed for entry. There are tours that are given except they only ran on weekdays and at times that weren’t late enough for me to get the pictures around sunset that I had wanted. I ended up calling ahead through a reference number and asked for entry and I was fortunate enough to be allowed in. I took as many shots as I could before the sun went down and was even fortunate enough to have an amazing sunset. I picked the name “Path to Hell” because I thought that the real void and futuristic architecture in the foreground leading up to the fiery sky in the center of the image really makes it seems like it is leading to some mysterious unknown place. My favorite part about the image are the subtle hints that were picked up, like the reflection of the sky off the ripples in the water going down the center. This is a 3 exposure shot made up of -2, 0, +2. I masked through the better parts of the photo in Photoshop CS6 where...

Sun and Steel

If you don’t recognize this building already, this is the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, California. It was designed by Frank Ghery and claims to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. (that’s right, I said world) As cool as that sounds I have never heard a concert from inside it, I’m more interested with taking picture of the place because I think it looks real cool. It is nice to know that all that wild architecture and cool shapes do serve a useful purpose as well. When I took this shot I had come the Los Angeles with other intentions for photographs besides this building. I went about my day taking pictures I had wanted because it was somewhat cloudy which helped with some pictures. Soon enough, the sun ended up coming between the clouds and didn’t seem like it wasn’t going away. That was when I had remember this building and how I had wanted to take a picture of it in the direct sunlight for a while, since all the previous times I have visited it was real cloudy. Upon seeing this building with the sun shining off it, I realized what I had been missing. I wondered around the place and couldn’t keep my eye out of the viewfinder as I constantly saw new interesting spots to photograph. This shot in particular was actually taken from one of the surrounding street corners with a zoom lens. I wanted to get as many points and edges in one picture and found this shot to be pretty successful in that aspect. The processing of this shot was really easy because all I had to do was a few curves and levels adjustments and correct some white balance...

Golden Gate Bridge

In 2012 during the fall I decided to venture to San Francisco for the first time. It was about a 10 hour trip from the San Diego area taking the Pacific Coast Highway all the way with all the stop that I made included. That ride up was definitely the most beautiful right thus far in my life and definitely worth the extra few hours and gas in my opinion. I got to San Francisco and immediately noticed the temperature difference. It was a lot colder this far North at the time and I definitely hadn’t expected it. Poor planning on my part I guess. One of my first stops in San Francisco was of course the Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge was amazing to see. It was almost surreal because I have constantly seen it in other peoples pictures and magazines and have never seen it in real life. I guess it’s like seeing a famous person if that makes sense. I was glad that there was at least some fog around it for the picture because it is iconic in a way. I found this awesome vantage point pretty early on so I stayed there for a little while to get this shot. I didn’t want to over-process this shot either so I just used the original RAW image file and did some basic adjustments. Once I brought the image into Photoshop CS6 I decided to use a filter that gave it an almost cross-processing effect because I thought that it brought out the color in the bridge really well and gave it a nice blue hue while keeping the fog visible. For the filter I used Nik Color Effex Pro which is an awesome program that has a lot of cool...

Golden Gate Underbelly...

The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most photographed bridge there is and if you have looked at enough photos of it then you probably have seen a few of the same angles more than once, to include one of my shots as well. This is why I decided to scour around the area to try to find some new inspiration for different angles that I haven’t seen that much of and cool spots to see in general. That’s how I came upon this little hidden gem of an area. This is right near Fort Point, or… on top of it actually. If you go up the stairwell in Fort Point to the top you will get to the roof where you can get the unusual view of the Golden Gate Bridge pictured here. I loved the architecture and detail of this bridge. I find it really cool to look at and loved the rich red color of the paint that contrasted against everything else around it. I decided that it was best to take this picture as symmetrical as possible because I found that balance and structure were some of the key characteristics of the bridge itself. I also liked that you can see the water between the pillars and across to the other side underneath. I shot this picture on a tripod because there was no way that I was going to be able to hold it steady enough to get the symmetry that I wanted. In the end, I still had to do some corrections in post processing in order to fix a few off balance areas but overall it worked out pretty well. I used a filter from Nik Color Effex Pro to give it a little bit more of a...

Japanese Hut

While on deployment in Okinawa, Japan back in 2012 I did some sightseeing. One of the most memorable places that I visited was here at the Shuri Castle area located in Naha. The little Japanese hut that is pictured here wasn’t actually the main attraction at this area, rather it was the actual castle that is featured in another photo on my website. There was so many awesome places to explore and photograph at this location that I actually have several photographs on my site. This was located a little past the Shuri Castle grounds on an almost hidden trail. I had scene this spot on one of the brochures and had kept my eye out for it the whole time we were visiting here but couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until the end when we were leaving that I had decided to try and venture off to find it. It had rained on and off non-stop all day and at the time of this shot it was just starting to clear up. I figured the sun would be coming out pretty soon and the group I was with was getting a little restless so I tried to work fast. I didn’t have a wide angle lens at the time and really wanted to get the whole scene in one picture so I decided to stitch together a panorama of sorts. I should probably mention that this is also an HDR image. I shot a total of 6 shots; 3 exposures for one side and 3 exposures for the other side. When I edited the photos on my computer I had to make sure a lot of the exif info was the same that way the stitch would be seamless. I did the same adjustments for...

Korean Friendship Bell...

This Korean Friendship Bell is a little hidden gem located in San Pedro, California. It is pretty well known amongst locals but not so much to tourists visiting California for the first time. I had been living in California for a little over two years at the time when I had made my first venture over to this spot. Unfortunately it took me forever to find it the first time because I didn’t have a GPS at the time and was trying to read directions while on my motorcycle (which is definitely not advisable to do), and I didn’t end up arriving until it was pitch black out. I still took pictures here anyway but there were some crazy spotlights on the structure that gave it a crazy color cast and just made the image on a whole unattractive. So, needless to say, I was pretty excited for this visit. I arrived here about an hour before sunset so I could have enough time to explore. There were a few people here but fortunately they came and went pretty quickly and they became increasingly more sparse the closer it got to sunset. I scouted out the area from different vantage points and I hadn’t quiet decided on one perfect spot so I took shot from several. The one pictured here is what I decided on as the best after looking at them on my computer. This is actually two pictures that are vertically stitched together, well…more like 6 because they are two HDR images. I really tried to tone down the HDR in this one so that it only complimented the photo subtly rather than giving it any sort of funky look or oversaturated colors that seems to be prominent among HDR images. Most...

Train Tracks

A popular spot that I always visit while going to Los Angeles is the Union Station located in the heart of downtown. This is one of the main areas of public transportation in the city and I used it quiet frequently up until I had my motorcycle shipped out to me. That is how I cam to know of this place. There is another picture of the interior of the station in my store that you can check out here, which is equally if not more interesting in terms of old architecture and style. I had the idea for this picture in mind before I had visited this spot and thought it would be difficult to do considering I would have to run out in the middle of train tracks and 1. not get arrested 2. not get run over 3. find enough time to get the shot, with the latter being of higher importance. I had come up the walkway onto the platform in order to scout things out and see if there were a lot of people around or security guards but to my surprise there were none of either. This place was, I kid you not, completely empty. Now it was of course about 3:30am so that could have something to do with it, but either way it was a dream come true for what I had wanted. Also, because it was so dark and quiet out, I could hear and see a train coming from a good ways away so the possibility of getting run over became less likely. Fearing that this awesome moment may not last too long, I quickly ran out to the middle of the tracks and set up my tripod. I snapped away as many shots as I...

Los Angeles

An iconic spot in downtown Los Angeles is the Griffith Observatory. Not only were a few awesome movies filmed at this location (one of which is my favorite: A Rebel Without A Cause) but there are also great views of the city and you can even see the Hollywood sign from here. This shot was no easy task to get on this occasion though. This was taken before I had my motorcycle in California, so I was still using public transportation. I had planned on going to this spot and tried to look up some bus routes that went here but couldn’t only find some that came close; there were none that went the whole way. I figured I could find my way once I got out here since I have done this before so I got my things and took off. When I got to the closest bus stop I got of and began looking for signs pointing me in the right direction. At this time it was mid-afternoon and the sun still had a little bit of time before it would set so I wasn’t worried. I found a road I thought to be the right one leading up and I ended up asking a few cops to confirm this. They gave me a funny look after I said I was walking up and confirmed my assumptions on it being the right road. They finished by saying I might want to take a taxi but I waved them off knowing that I had hiked pretty far in the past for shots. With that said, this was a long way up. I figured it would be a straight path but it curves all around the hillside all the way to the top. By the time I had actually reached...

Manhattan Pier Apr18

Manhattan Pier

Since living in California, I have really got into photographing beaches as well as piers since there is such an abundance of them all around me. The pier picture here is located at Manhattan Beach in Southern California. This beach is pretty far North from where I live around so I hadn’t had the chance to visit this spot until recently. I kept seeing other pictures of this spot on 500px.com and they looked interesting enough that I had wanted to check it out. I had taken a trip up North one weekend and decided to check it out because there were other spots I was going to as well so the somewhat long ride would be well spent. When I arriving here my attention was drawn to the pier and the interesting structure at the end of it. I already had formed the idea in my mind at this point that I wanted to include it into my picture. Unfortunately the clouds were not the greatest but they still supplied the sky with some color during the sunset. One of my favorite parts about the photo while I was setting up my tripod, were the reflection in the water of the lights that were along the pier. I always love reflections in water and find that a brings a new level of interestingness to photos. I shot this photo with 3 exposures in order to get the full range of light and I masked through the appropriate parts in order to bring out shadows and blown out areas. For post-processing in Photoshop CS6 I had simply did some color corrections for the sky and brought out the reflections of the lights that are reflecting off the water a bit more. It didn’t take...