52 Magic Mondays...
Above is my favorite photo from Saturday, January 27, 2018. More about that photo below.
Welcome to Day 3, the final day of my San Francisco adventure with the Olympus Superfans & Visionaries. I was brought out to San Francisco along with 9 other "Super Fans" (courtesy of Olympus) to shoot photos, try out new equipment and interact with the Visionary team. I'm humbled to now be a part of the Olympus Superfan program.
I got up at 4:30am to join fellow Olympus Superfans Jeff Sweet and Nam Ing for a sunrise shoot at Hawk Hill. This is the same location the entire group went the day before when the bridge was totally fogged in (which was actually pretty awesome). On Day 3, there was zero fog. We were hoping for some fog, believe it or not. Still, it was definitely worth getting up super early to experience sunrise.
Onward to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise, Alcatraz, and Baker Beach. It was a full day of shooting...every photographers dream!
Miles walked: 3.8
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Markii
Lenses: m.Zuiko 12-100mm PRO, 25mm f1.2 PRO
Before we got to Hawk Hill, we pulled off just after crossing the bridge. I took this Live Composite shot of the bridge. Fun!
The Live Composite feature on Olympus cameras lets you do long exposures a bit differently. Taking this photo with a regular DSLR camera is virtually impossible. You would have to take many images and bring them into Photoshop. This is a single image in my camera. I've known people to buy an Olympus camera just for the Live Composite feature!
Much like sunset, sunrise colors change every few minutes.
More golden now. Ridiculous view, right? And to think this is what was underneath all that fog in yesterday's photos.
The sunrise had peaked after this shot.
Sunrise over, we headed back to the hotel. Took this one out Jeff's car window. Photography stops for nothing.
Took this out Jeff's sunroof! Sitting in my seat holding the camera over my head and shooting blind, this one came out pretty well.
Onward to Alcatraz.
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco. The island had a military prison (1868) and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. Today the island's facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
I decided I didn't want to shoot Alcatraz as a whole, meaning landscape shots of buildings and rooms. I took more of a macro / minimalist approach with most of my shots. Here are a few favorites:
This image is really starting to grow on me! Took some cropping and editing but I think it's reached its full potential. Of course in a year I could come back and totally edit it differently. I've been taking some new classes on editing and have been going back to old photos and re-editing. Interesting exercise. I may do a blog post on that subject sometime. Photography is a never ending learning process.
Water tower at Alcatraz.
There are advantages to shooting around noon! Great shadows.
I liked the juxtaposition of the laptop being in a room with so much dark history and primitive accomodations.
I cannot imagine having a view like this behind bars.
One of my favorites. Took advantage of a puddle on the floor.
This image is straight out of the camera. Zero cropping or editing. I used the E-M1 Markii with m.Zuiko 12-100mm PRO lens at 100mm. If you're on a phone or tablet, zoom in on the eye. It's so amazingly crisp and clear I want to cry.
When I got home from this trip I ordered the 12-100mm lens.
I call this one "The Franks". Olympus Visionary Frank Smith is on the right, and Olympus Superfan Frank Kendralla is on the left. :)
Held my camera above my head to shoot this because the hallway was crowded with people...so I shot over their heads. Problem solved. At the bottom left corner of the image you can see a mirror with people reflecting.
"Shitter's Full" (a favorite line from the movie Christmas Vacation which we watch every year on Thanksgiving night)
"Footsteps of Light"
A FAVORITE image from this day! Shot with the m.Zuiko 25mm f1.2 PRO lens at f1.2. The fall off of focus is spectacular.
I also ordered the 25mm lens when I got home. Love it!
Superfan Victoria Diaz on the right being a light stand.
Playing with the 25mm at our lunch destination. Wanted to see what it could do indoors. Olympus Visionary Mike Boening on the left. Shooting at f1.2 the focus falls off right away so Visionary Peter Baumgarten is out of focus as he should be at f1.2!
Olympus Visionary Scott Bourne (well known bird photographer and a recent addition to the Visionary team) chatting with Victoria. Again, shooting wide open I had the focus on Scott, Victoria ends up blurred but this is what I want.
My friend's drink.
I loved that they had special menus printed for us at several of the restaurants on the trip! Of course I took mine home. :)
Olympus Visionary Jamie Macdonald.
Here's the photo that was at the top of the page. Amazing, right? It's also not real. This is a double exposure. The moon was actually to my right, over the mountain. I took a shot of the moon and then I did an in-camera double exposure using the moon as an overlay as I framed the bridge. For technical reason (I won't bore you) I had to make the image black & white. Another favorite of the day, even if it didn't exist.
I include this only because there is an adorable little black dog in midair on the right. :)
A lot of foam on this beach. We don't see puffs of foam like this in Connecticut. (at least I never have)
Smoking a cigar. Even the dogs are super laid back in Cali.
I was kidding about the dog smoking the cigar of course.
Yup. He's naked! Legal at this end of the beach. You've never seen so many men with a need to stretch excessively and jog until you put them on the beach with no clothes.
Olympus Visionaries Jay Dickman and Larry Price. Between them I believe they have 6 or 7 Pulitzers for photography!
Seemed to be an engagement photo shoot. I love photographing other people's shoots. :)
Our final ride as a group. Unfortunately Jay Dickman got cut off on the left - if only someone had a super wide angle lens on this bus. LOL
I'm scrunched down in the middle because I was sitting in the front seat so I moved back for the shot. In color, this photo is very very blue because they had blue lights all around the windows of the bus, perhaps to add to the rockin' party atmosphere. There was a lot of blue light on me so when I turned this to black & white it looks like I have a major tan. Alas, it wasn't that type of trip.
An amazing experience was had by everyone on this trip. It's been a month since I've been back and the chatter and posts are still going on Facebook. Lifelong new friendships were made. We may even create a collective photo book together.
Come meet me in Milford, CT on April 28, 2018!
I will be giving a presentation and leading a photowalk on April 28th at Milford Photo in Milford, CT. My presentation is at 10am followed by a photowalk around Milford at 11am. Bring your camera and come shoot with me! All levels of photographers and camera brands welcome. The event is free and is sponsored by Olympus and Milford Photo.
View the Meetup invite here: https://www.meetup.com/milfordphotography/events/248376616/
I've been working on the 52 Magic Metros area of the blog. Gives me an excuse to write and share a few thoughts. Take a peek! There's an adorable pizza place I photographed a couple of weeks ago.
Until the next Magic day with camera in hand...
Visited PizzaCo in Stratford, CT recently. It was an old Texaco gas station that was renovated into a pizza place in 2017. Food and decor were great! Their dough takes 3 days to make. On the first day, the flour and water are mixed and left to rise, creating a "mother" dough. On the second day, fresh dough is mixed with the starter dough from a previously finished batch. By the third day, the dough is ready for the oven. Complicated! I would have no patience for that. They hired world champion chef Bruno DiFabio to create their "Garage Fired" pizza. Great care also went into their branding and labeling. It's truly worth a visit to see, and taste, what owner Jordan Bochanis has created.
Above is my favorite image from Friday, January 26, 2018
Welcome to Day 2 of my San Francisco adventure with the Olympus Super Fans & Visionaries. There were 10 of us chosen as Olympus Super Fans and we were flown in from all over the country to shoot, try new gear and interact with the Olympus Visionary team.
There wasn't a lot of time for chatting at the hotel before we were picked up for dinner on our first night. Olympus and Mullen-Lowe staff were there to coordinate all of our meals and transportation. I was really spoiled on this trip (they even sent a limo to my house to take me to the airport!). After a terrific dinner, we headed back to the hotel where Olympus staff handed out cameras and lenses on loan during the trip. I chose the Olympus O-MD E-M1 Markii, m.Zuiko 12-100mm PRO lens, and the 25mm f1.2 PRO lens. I loved both lenses and they are now on order from Olympus. I joke that this was the most expensive free trip I've ever taken. But hey, I have free will and didn't have to buy a thing. However, well worth every post-trip penny!
Onward to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods...
Miles walked: 4.1
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark ii with m.Zuiko 12-100mm PRO, 8mm Fisheye f1.8 PRO
We headed out around 9am to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from Hawk Hill at the Marin Headlands. We crossed the bridge to get here. Always a treat to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.
I spy with my little eyes...
Ta da! There it is! The Golden Gate Bridge in all its splendor! Oh wait...maybe not (you can see it poking out of the fog just under the sun on the left). Certainly this fog won't last too long, right?
Nothing to see here, except the other photographers. :)
Ahhh, so there is a bridge out there. LOL
I'm actually loving the fog now. It's so surreal.
It was crazy clear but just to the left of this photo the bridge was in a total fog bank.
Some people enjoying their birdseye view of the Golden Gate Bridge from a helicopter. I can only imagine what their pictures look like.
The conditions made for some nice silhouettes.
And there's a lovely view of the water below the bridge. ;)
Jaclyn with Olympus modeling some swag on the mountain.
In the middle of the photo you can just make out the parked limo-bus that drove us all over San Fran. The driver was fantastic, it was no joke navigating the twists and turns of the roads here. ESPECIALLY Muir Woods...coming up next.
Some of our group admiring the fog.
So the fog never cleared but I have zero complaints. I come back to this area the next day for sunrise. Those photos will be in the Day 3 blog post. No fog the next morning...
Onward to the Muir Woods!
Muir Woods National Monument is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco. It’s known for its towering old-growth redwood trees. Trails wind among the trees to Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove, and along Redwood Creek. It's quiet, moist and haunting.
I love the twist in the tree. This place is dramatic to say the least. Decided to pull out my own m.Zuiko 8mm fisheye lens for many of my shots. It distorts the trees at times but I loved the wide captures.
Playing with backlighting. This is with the 12-100mm PRO lens.
No one home.
Love the bokeh with this lens.
The tall gentleman is Derrick Story. He was with us for the day to document the event and write a story for his blog. With Derrick are Jerry and Dehan, part of the Olympus Super Fan group.
You can read Derrick's story here: https://derrickstory.smugmug.com/Events/n-hDkXr/Olympus-SF-Event-2018/i-7PVsPqj/A
The Enchanted Forest. Needs a fairy.
Rectangular drop of water between two leaves. This is a very small branch and I'm able to focus extremely close with the 12-100mm lens. Almost macro like closeness. And the background is so creamy. It's cropped a little.
Same photo cropped even more - OMG the quality of this camera and lens is incredible! Usually when you crop this closely you start to see a graininess. Still sharp!
Had to snap this. They were coming out of a hole in the tree, right next to the sign that says don't go off the path and near the trees, you will damage the habitat. They were not with our group.
This one and the next one are favorites.
The light really looked like this, dramatically streaming in from the left.
And that ends my time in the Muir Woods. Beautiful place, I would go back, maybe with my macro lens. There are only so many tall tree photos I can handle. Doing some close-up work was fun.
Our group on the ferry back to Sausalito. Photo courtesy of Derrick Story.
We ate lunch at The Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito. This is a view of it from the ferry as we were leaving Sausalito to go back to San Francisco. It was originally the ferry building.
I call this one Peek-a-Boo! You can see that bridge from almost everywhere. Weather was a bit droopy so the color in the next few photos is not overly cheerful.
Ah ha! This is Jeffery, he's part of our Olympus group. And I believe this is the moment that he captured a very fun picture of me. It's now my Facebook profile pic.
Jeffery's photo of me...
Alcatraz from the ferry. We visit Alcatraz the next day...photos to come! All those black speckles just above the prison are birds.
Katie from Mullen-Lowe, the firm that worked with Olympus to arrange the trip. Katie was amazing! There were a ton of logistics for this trip, over 2 dozen people, transporation issues, tickets for ferry rides, restaurants, special diet restrictions, etc. I don't know how they pulled it off because there were no problems during the entire trip. Kudos to Katie, Colin, Jaclyn, Jennifer and Eric!
Used the Olympus E-M1 Markii "dramatic tones" filter and then switched it to black & white in Lightroom.
Minimalist shot. Starting to love to take those.
We got back to the hotel and then a smaller group of us headed out for sunset. No rest for the weary. I'm not so much of a landscape photographer and don't own fancy filters. Filters help take a better sunset shot. But here are a few favorites.
At sunset the light changes every few minutes. And the sky can get really pretty AFTER the sun has set. It was windy and freezing so I didn't last super long.
There's that triangle building again. I shared a few images of the Transamerica building in my Day 1 post from this trip!
Love the silhouette of the city here.
Bay Bridge. Light is getting more blue.
And that concludes Day 2 of this trip of a lifetime. The next day I get up at 4:30am to shoot sunrise from Hawk Hill.
Thanks for taking the time to look through my images. Leave me a comment below and I'll write you back!
Hello! I'm so happy to connect with everyone here again. I have 3 days of San Francisco photos to share with you over 3 posts. This is Day 1.
Let me briefly explain how this all came about...
The adventure of 52 Magic Mondays was certainly life changing and I appreciated everyone who took the photographic journey with me through this blog. I thought I would share where these magical Mondays took me in January of this year and let you know that I plan to blog again in 2018! I miss writing and sharing.
If you followed 52 Magic Mondays regularly, you may remember that during Week 50 I had a strange occurence. It was my birthday and the Universe was chatting with me that day, oddly enough through a woman carrying a Happy Birthday gift bag. Look back at Week 50 to read more about the coincidence that made me cry on the subway (in a good way!).
Fast forward a year to December 19th, 2017 (my birthday) and the Universe (and Olympus Corporation...the maker of my camera equipemnt) gave me the gift of a lifetime. After exploring a chilly beach in Stratford, CT to photograph the visiting Snowy Owls that are currently gracing the Connecticut Shoreline (I photographed one!), I came home to find a life changing email. Here's a snippet of the email I received from an agency in New York City that represents Olympus.
On behalf of Olympus America Inc., I’m pleased to invite you to a once-in-a-lifetime experience to personally connect with the brand! Through an action-packed few days in picturesque San Francisco, CA, you will capture stunning content, all while exploring some of Olympus’ latest and greatest gear.
We will provide amazing opportunities for networking. Olympus staff will be on-hand to demonstrate product features, shooting techniques and provide inside access to the brand. You’ll also spend a day shooting side-by-side with all of the members of the acclaimed Olympus Visionary Program.
Olympus will cover all travel expenses (i.e. flights, car service), hotels, meals with the Olympus team, and will offer some great shooting activities.
Of course my first reaction was disbelief. An all expenses paid trip to San Francisco courtesy of Olympus? Shirley you can't be serious. (ok, that's a movie reference from Airplane - best movie ever)
I messaged my photography friends, Olympus Visionaries Jamie MacDonald and Mike Boening, to attempt to confirm this email and indeed it was legitimate. Jamie said he was dying for me to hear the news, he had known for several weeks that this offer was being extended to me.
What I learned is that my regular sharing of images did not go unnoticed by Olympus. I always shared camera and lens info on my 52 Magic Mondays blog posts. When I share on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, I always tag Olympus in my posts. I knew they liked seeing what people were doing with their equipment and I quietly hoped they might share a photo I shared with their broader audience one day. Olympus had bigger plans. I was being asked to join their Olympus Super Fan program, a brand ambassador type program that includes photographers who were not necessarily professional, but had a love for the activity and enjoyed sharing and talking about their Olympus gear.
A few short weeks later, I was on a plane to San Francisco. I left a day early to let myself get adjusted to the time change. I also wanted some time on my own to take a Magic Monday walk around San Francisco. It was an interesting feeling stepping out of the hotel that Thursday morning, my trusty old Eddie Bauer green backpack on my back, the same one that went on all 52 Magic Mondays. Camera in hand, I headed out to explore the area around the wharf near my hotel. I would never have felt comfortable and confident to do something like this a couple of years ago. The idea of walking around a city I don't know with a camera in hand would have been terrifying to me. Not anymore. I learned so much during my project, about myself, about navigating cities, and allowing the Universe to let a day unfold as it wanted to go. I took all of that with me to San Francisco. I didn't have to overplan or overthink anything on this trip and it unfolded beautifully.
I'm going to break up this adventure into 3 posts to not overwhelm you with images and stories, and to separate the images by day. Below are images from my first day when I was on my own in the city for a few hours and my comments along the way. In my two other blog posts, I will share photos from the Golden Gate Bridge shoot, Muir Woods, Alcatraz and Baker Beach. Stay tuned for those.
Thanks for sharing the journey with me.
Miles walked: 5.6
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Markii, m.Zuiko 12-40mm PRO
I was out of practice and did not think to take a photo of the sign that told me what this was. I framed it so Coit Tower was on her left and the Transamerica Building on her right. How symmetrical of me.
You can rent these little cars to tour the city. Wouldn't these be funny in New York City! In NYC they would need a slogan like "We're proud to say that 73% of people who rent these survive."
Someone's home overnight. There is a huge homeless population in San Francisco because the climate is so moderate year round.
I just thought the reference to Pricess Diana was interesting.
Looking at my map, I saw that the cable car line ended at the wharf area near my hotel. I decided to hop on and ride it to the other end. It doesn't actually take very long, about 15 minutes. It would take me to the downtown part of the city. Turned out it was very New York City in that area.
Off we go! There was just me and a family of four on the cable car. I got to sit in the front and the window was pretty clean which made for some fun shooting ops.
There's that triangular building again (Transamerica) - you can see it all over the city.
You need to have your wits about you riding the cable cars. They pass each other very closely.
There's that building again!
Definitely not New York.
End of the cable car line. This is where they rotate the cable car so it can head back in the other direction. I had no idea they did this, let alone manually! The next 3 images show them turning a car.
It stops on a giant Lazy Susan. No one is allowed on the cable car during this process.
Two men get off the cable car and begin turning it.
And now it's ready to head back in the other direction.
The buses run on electricity which means there are wires and cables above you all over the city. Personally I found it kind of messy looking. But the air quality seemed good and the public transportation was fairly quiet. Also, no one beeps their horns in this city! I asked my friend who lives there and sure enough that's their thing. Horn blowing is a rarity. What a difference from New York.
A faux Flat Iron building. It was nice, but the one in New York takes the prize.
They've got a bunch of vintage cars from different parts of the country that they run throughout San Francisco.
In New York City they are called "Citi Bikes", I guess beause they are sponsored by Citi Bank. It seriously never occurred to me that they were sponsored until I saw the same bikes in San Francisco. Clearly these are sponsored by Ford.
When I lived in Minnesota, they had Snoopy Statues something like these hearts all over the Twin Cities. I saw a few of these hearts during my visit.
Had to do it. Interesting Things lives on!
The famous Lombard Street - twistiest road in the country. I got off the cable car here and walked the rest of the way back to the wharf area.
I'm back to the wharf area after a very steep walk.
A man in a pickup truck stopped me earlier when I was first back at the wharf. He asked if I was a photographer, he had seen me earlier somewhere else in the city. We chatted for a few minutes and he told me that they were offloading fish at the wharf. Totally my thing to photograph the behind the scenes action of the city so I headed over there. This sweet man enjoyed being photographed. Probably doesn't get a whole lot of tourists taking an interest in his work.
He held them up for me!
This is how your tasty fish gets to you in San Francisco. Now you know. :)
I met this beautiful young lady when I was exploring the wharf. I invited her to come along and shoot the fisherman. We walked, photographed and chatted for about 30 minutes. She is from France and was on her own exploring the west coast in a solo mega roadtrip. She was 25 years old. Huh. It took me 47 years to get adventurous in my own life, I can only imagine what this woman will do with her life moving forward.
And this little fellow ends the first part of my day. I went back to my hotel to meet up with my friend, Melissa. Melissa moved from Connecticut to San Francisco about 3 years ago. I haven't seen her since. I was thrilled when she was able to take the day off from work and meet me for lunch and a little expedition through a part of Chinatown.
The Chinese restaurant Melissa chose for us. I think of Chinese restaurants as mostly dark little places for takeout. This was a tad bit nicer.
After a fabulous lunch, Melissa wanted to take me to Chinatown. After this trek, my calve muscles were freaked out and locked up for the rest of my trip...and then some. And I regularly work out! I left my heart, and loose calve muscles, in San Francisco.
I think the garbage can adds a pop of color. LOL
One of my favorites from the day! He was painting.
Awww...Megan and Melissa on the same rack.
I found the area very NYC "SoHo" looking.
Entrance to Chinatown which is what Melissa wanted me to see. Thank you, my friend. Beautiful area.
Do Epic Shit. I love it!
Great store name!
And there ends my first day in San Francisco.
Melissa and I said our goodbyes and she dropped me off at the hotel where the other Super Fans and Visionaries were staying.
In my next post, I share images from our first day shooting as a group. We (attempted to!) photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from Hawk Hill and visited Muir Woods. Some amazing images came from both locations.
Please leave me a comment to say hello. Let me know if you had a favorite image or two.
Until the next Magic day in San Fran,