The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘headlands’ tag

On the Road……Coastal Sunset & Digital Metering w/ Sony RX100

with 2 comments

Geotag Icon Show on map

Here’s the sunset at 8:04pm from Thursday’s ride in the Marin Headlands.

The light was tricky. It was well into twilight, and there was a sharp contrast between the lightest and darkest areas in the scene.

(Note: roll your mouse over the image to see the extreme difference in the unprocessed camera file.)

For a landscape scene like this a serious photographer would typically use a large-sensor DSLR camera plus:

  • a tripod (to allow for a long exposure to let in more light without introducing blur from inadvertent camera movements) and
  • a graduated neutral-density filter (to control the scene’s dynamic range by reducing the brightness of the sky — but not the foreground).

However, my little Sony RX100 (reviewed here by NY Times tech writer David Pogue) handled the scene fairly well.

Here is the processing technique I recommend for this — or really any — digital photograph:

  1. Choose an exposure that preserves the brightest areas in the scene. That is, “expose for the highlights” to retain the vivid color and detail which might otherwise get “blown out”.  Metering the scene like this will render the rest of the image too dark, but that’s okay. When mousing over the above image, you can see how everything — except the sky, the bike’s shiny metal parts, and the clear water bottle — is way (and I mean way) underexposed.
  2. Tweak the shadow areas in post-processing according to taste.  Here is where we adjust areas that are too dark. When I opened-up the shadow areas in Photoshop using a curves adjustment layer there was surprisingly still enough detail hidden in the file to create a decent image (at least for viewing on the web). In most images the before/after differences will be less extreme, but the technique will be the same.

By the way, this is the exact opposite of what Ansel Adams did in his black and white film photography. He would “expose for the shadows“, that is, meter the darkest area of the scene to preserve wanted detail, then in the darkroom develop the highlights to taste.

The difference in technique is a function of how digital sensors and film emulsions handle highlight rendering. For a good discussion of Adams’ technique and his Zone System, see this article.


Written by fridaycyclotouriste

May 5th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

On the Road……Sunset over the San Francisco Bay

with 2 comments


Geotag Icon Show on map

April-May and Sept-Oct can always be counted on for balmy weather in the Bay Area. Today, it was 80+ degrees in downtown San Francisco!

The wind was gusting a bit in Sausalito when I arrived home from work, but around 7pm the wind just stopped.

Even at this hour the air was still warm. So I couldn’t resist a short climb up to the Golden Gate Bridge and then further up into the Marin Headlands to watch the sunset.

Even on the long descent coming home (as it was getting dark) I was completely comfortable in just a short-sleeve, cotton t-shirt.

These pictures were made at 7:53pm.

It’s not fair to extrapolate anything from a single picture, but it’s kind of funny that the guy is checking his phone, while the girl is totally digging the moment.

I’m not casting judgement because I’ve been that dude — maybe we all have.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

May 2nd, 2013 at 10:04 pm

On the Road……Fort Cronkite calla lilies

with 2 comments

I find the calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) a very elegant and photogenic specimen. They’re native to southern Africa, but have made their way around the world to places such as California and Australia. Australia classifies them as pests and toxic weeds. Hey Australia, that’s no way to treat a visitor!

This bunch of lilies is growing against one of the old, military buildings in Fort Baker. (Note the red-roof: it’s a signature architectural feature of the structures inside this park).

Geotag Icon Show on map

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

April 18th, 2013 at 9:41 pm


Tagged with ,

On the Road……Coastal Trail near Rodeo Beach

without comments

Geotag Icon Show on map

Sometimes when you’re exploring by bicycle you discover little things you never noticed before. On Saturday, I discovered this section of the Coastal Trail.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

April 15th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

On the Road……Conzelman Road, Marin Headlands

without comments

Geotag Icon Show on map

In case it’s not clear — this is supposed to be an ironic photograph. (hint: There’s nothing to see, beyond the sign except a dense bank of fog.)

Although it’s typically foggy and there can be inconceivably fierce crosswinds (going up Alexander Ave. from Sausalito), the ride up to and out Conzelman Road is quickly becoming my favorite way to get a little exercise in during the week.

It’s a relatively short ride, but has significant climbing, and there are different options and loops one can take.

It has some of the characteristics of the ride to Alpine Lake, which I loved so much when I lived in Fairfax.


Written by fridaycyclotouriste

October 1st, 2012 at 12:00 pm

On the Road……Marin Headlands toward Pt. Bonita

without comments

Headlands-NPSGeotag Icon Show on map

It’s not obvious from the picture, but this fellow is chatting away on his mobile phone while taking in this awesome view.

To get to this spot I went through an old WWII tunnel off of Conzelman Rd. heading toward the southwestern tip of Pt. Reyes. Then, I scampered up a ridge going to the summit of Hawk Hill (where volunteer bird watchers tally an average of more than 9,000 turkey vulture, 9,000 red-tailed hawk, and 4 bald eagle sightings each year). But before the ridge turns toward the summit, through a stand of trees, there’s this awesome view looking toward the lighthouse.

In the middle of the tunnel, on the way up to this spot, is some graffiti suggestive of the famous cave art of Lascaux. Lightning was awful (about 80 percent darkness), but I used a tripod and a 25-second exposure to make this image.


Finally, here’s an example of some of the new road work on the way to the lighthouse (the view is looking back to the east — with the guardrail shielding a precipitous drop-off to the ocean).


I’m taking a leave from my National Park Service (NPS) photography duties. So these three images will likely be the last I’ll post from this gig.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

February 10th, 2011 at 7:51 pm