Sounds of the City – San Francisco, CA

Are there any web sharpening gurus out there? It’s really nice to be able to share photos online and have them look exactly like they do on your computer screen at home. Unfortunately most sites compress your uploaded photos down to a maximum size which in turn really degrades the image. Due to this fact I find myself uploading to most social media sites at a maximum of 900 pixels wide lately, although I would really like to upload much bigger, say 2048 pixels wide.

The only place I really upload full size anymore is to Smugmug which holds my photo portfolio. They have some pretty good web functionality that sharpens your picture depending on the size at which it’s being viewed. This allows me to upload my full resolution image and still get pretty good results no matter what size I view it at. I have noticed even Smugmug’s sharpening is not quite as sharp as the real thing as viewed on my computers screen. If you have Smugmug you can turn on this functionality by going into your gallery settings and changing the sharpening amount from 0.200 to 0.400. That seems to do the trick, at least for me. That being said, if you really want to view my pictures in full detail instead of viewing them on this page, go ahead and click the picture below to see it over in my portfolio.

I personally love using TK Actions Web Sharpening Tools ( select “Special Offers” upon clicking the link to pick up a copy of your own ) to get my photos ready to post online. I recently found a video Sean Bagshaw posted about using these actions that’s really informative for anyone that wants to give it a shot.

The Shot
This is one of those iconic locations that everyone seems to have a shot of. Usually I stray away from this sort of location, but once in a while it’s fun to give them a run. We had a tricky time getting down there and encountered some signs and warnings along the way, but none the less here is one of the shots I came away with…

Synesthesia – San Francisco, California

I am excited to announce that is now up and running!

Michael and I just got done recording a new set of video tutorials that will cover both of our complete star photography workflows and provide a picture for you to work along with us at home. You can buy both video tutorials in our Star Photography Post Processing Master Class and get my Under the Stars Lightroom Presets as a free and added bonus. These video tutorials include Lightroom and Photoshop skill sets such as RAW file adjustment, digital blending and a full section dedicated entirely to luminosity masking.

Thanks for checking out the new website, we really hope you enjoy it:)

The Shot

On a recent trip up the California Coast we decided to gun it from Big Sur to San Francisco hoping to catch a nice sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge. Thankfully we did because this sunrise was one of the best I’ve seen. As we waited for the sun to come up the crescent moon sat right over the top of the bridge and brought some amazing shots in the twilight hours. About 30 minutes before sunrise the sky started to get extremely colorful and that’s when I captured this image. Click here for a quick video I recorded right before sunrise:)from
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Wires – San Francisco, California

I play this game once in a while when scouting for new spots to shoot that involves finding random pictures that I like then trying to pin down the exact location where they were taken. Obviously this isn’t very hard if you’ve been to the city or location before, but it becomes much more interesting when the location you’re looking for is on the other side of the world. There are obviously lots of clue like time, day, location of the sun, moon or stars, along with other man made clues that you may see in the image. Using Google Maps / World makes this task infinity easier, but at times I think I nailed the location, then show up to the actually spot where I though the picture was snapped and find it to be way off.

That scenario was just the case when trying to nail down the spot in the picture below. I had everything mapped out, but on arrival found there were a bunch of different locations within that same area in which to shoot. Needless to say, it always pays off to arrive an hour+ before sunrise or sunset to do some scouting. I always pack a few beers and a book just in case:)

Just after sunset in San Francisco / / Nexus 5

The Shot 
After a long night of shooting Milky Way / star trails in Big Sur, we decided it was a good idea to drive through the night and catch sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. We arrived around 4 AM to get some nice night / blue hour scenes with the moon rising over the bridge. Once the sun started to rise it became apparent that this was going to be an amazing morning. The fog level on the bay was near perfect, and over the next 2 hours I captured some of my favorite shots from the trip. I really wanted to grab some lesser known compositions so I pushed myself to do so through out the morning, grabbing an “iconic” shot here and there for good measure.

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