Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Mistakes... A Panorama of The Gold Gate Bridge

I was recently invited to go watch/photograph the Berkeley Kite Festival with family and was overjoyed, as I was wanting to capture images with bright colors. I also wanted to try capturing some panoramas with kites... However, for some reason, I got turned around and thought the event was happening over in Crissy Field. Yes, I realize the event is called The _Berkeley_ Kite Festival. It was a face palm moment for sure.

However, I'm a big believer in making lemonade out of lemons, and here is my lemonade from my lemon moment:

Golden Gate Bridge - shot from Crissy Field
(click for larger image)

Different Crops

The image above is a 12"x36" crop of the full panorama that I created. I chose this crop because it would better fit SmugMug/BayPhoto's widest crop size. While it fits and looks nice, I kinda preferred the origin wider version:

Golden Gate Bridge - shot from Crissy Field, original crop
(click for larger image)
I much prefer this version, since it contains foreground elements in the left side of the image. However, it  is wider than what is available via SmugMug/BayPhoto's normal print sizes. :( I might make prints of this available personally, if there are people interested.

Shooting The Panorama

Alcatraz - Shot from Crissy Field
(click on image to see bigger version)

For those who are interested in how I shot this, settings/setup follows:

  • Sony Alpha DSLR A700 w/Tamron 17-50m/2.8
    • ISO 200
    • 1/320 seconds
    • f/11
    • 17mm
  • Manfrotto tripod and panning ballhead (see my equipment page)
Because I was using the vertical grip on the head, I shot the image sequence horizontally. I had shot some 40 images, shooting multiples per slice, so I can pick cleaner images to choose from. I ultimately ended up stitching together 18 images in Photoshop CS5's PhotoMerge. Post processing of the 165MB TIFF file in Lightroom 3.
Golden Gate Bridge - Shot from Crissy Field
(Click on image to see bigger version)

What pleasantly surprises me every time, is how much detail I can get out of this camera. In the original, there is no part of the image that you cannot zoom in and make out details. It's just amazing, and I'm falling in love with tripod mounted landscape photography, especially panoramas.

I was in a rush, so I headed back to the car with my family, who were VERY patient with my indulging in some opportunistic panorama shooting, as we raced off to the Berkeley Marina to catch the kite festival. :) Too bad, since I had wanted to re-shoot the sequence using the 70-200, in vertical orientation, to get a closer and more detailed shot of the bridge itself. Maybe next time.

Unsafe Cyclists At Crissy Field

The one major annoyance with Crissy Field were the pro cyclists. I understand that they like to cycle fast and are very precise bikers. However, zipping through a PARKING LOT with cars backing out of stalls in excess of 35mph is a recipe for tragedy. While leaving, I was backing out, glanced back, saw it was all clear, looked around and looked back while starting to back out again, only to be treated to a near hear attack, as a cyclist literally zipped past my rear bumper with inches to spare. This was NOT an open road or a street parking spot. This was a PARKING LOT with gates around it. Cyclists were cutting through the parking lot as a short cut. All the casual cyclists were much more cautious and taking things slow through the parking lots. I've heard of the animosity between cyclists and drivers. Incidents like this makes that situation worse. Had the cyclist actually made contact with my car at the speeds that he was travelling at, he would have been severely injured.  

As a driver, I work hard to make sure I am driving responsibly to ensure my own safety as well as the safety of those around me and my car. When people act irresponsibly, like that cyclist, it makes the situation unsafe for all involved.

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