Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Tag Archives: Flickr

Shooting at ‘The Gate’

The Golden Gate Bridge has to be one of the most photographed bridges in the world. It’s shape, it’s color, it’s backdrop (the beautiful city of San Francisco) just cry out to be captured.

It is such a prominent landmark that it can be seen for miles in the greater San Francisco Bay area, but there are a few places where you can take really spectacular pictures of this iconic bridge.

San Francisco from Mount Diablo

If you want to see the city of San Francisco in the background, you have to cross the bridge and almost immediately head west onto the Marin Headlands, up Conzelman Road. There are a number of stops up the road (each with allocated parking) where you can get out of your car and admire the view, and the further up the road you go the more your viewing angle of the bridge will change.

The Golden Gate Bridge at night 2007-03-31_San_Francisco (27)

If you want to get a different perspective on the bridge, you need to exit highway 101 just before you cross the bridge and head down Long Avenue to Marine Drive and get to Fort Point. From there you can see the bridge from sea level looking north with the beautiful hills of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the background. This is a fantastic place to get a shot of the bridge as the sun sets as the setting sunlight will make the twin towers of the bridge glow golden red.

Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge

For yet another interesting perspective, get onto the bridge itself. The towers that support the span look spectacular as they reach to the sky when photographed from close to their base. For fans of detail there are many interesting “bits” of the bridge that can be photographed when on it – for example the huge bolts that hold the bridge together or the cables that suspend the bridge.

Supported Strength Suspended

Another aspect that makes the bridge such an interesting subject is the climate in the San Francisco Bay. In the warmer months the bridge is often partially shrouded in fog, and it is possible to get some beautiful and visually stunning shots of the towers as they emerge proudly from it.

Another option is to take one of the many short cruises that will take visitors around the sights of the San Francisco Bay. From these frequent sailings you can get to view and shoot the bridge from underneath and from many different angles.

However you get to see it, the bridge makes for some beautiful pictures that will capture forever the beauty of this spectacular landmark.

I’ve put some of my shots of this beautiful bridge into a photo-set on Flickr. You can view it here.


Lunar Eclipse, 12/20/2010

Some early images from last night’s lunar eclipse. I’ll be uploading more to Flickr as time permits…

Thankfully the really heavy cloud held off for most of the event, but we had to view most of the eclipse through a thin layer of cloud that made the viewing experience a little hazy.

Lunar Eclipse: 12/20/2010

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse: 12/20/2010

Lunar Eclipse

This shot was from the last lunar eclipse we got to see from California, on Feb 20, 2008. We’re in for another one tonight…

Unlike a total eclipse of the sun, which is only visible to those in the path of totality, eclipses of the moon can usually be observed from one’s own backyard. The passage of the moon through the Earth’s shadow is equally visible from all places within the hemisphere where the moon is above the horizon.

The total phase of the upcoming event will be visible across all of North and South America, as well as the northern and western part of Europe, and a small part of northeast Asia, including Korea and much of Japan. Totality will also be visible in its entirety from the North Island of New Zealand and Hawaii — a potential viewing audience of about 1.5 billion people. This will be the first opportunity from any place on earth to see the moon undergo a total eclipse in 34 months.

There is nothing complicated about viewing this celestial spectacle. Unlike an eclipse of the sun, which necessitates special viewing precautions in order to avoid eye damage, an eclipse of the moon is perfectly safe to watch. All you’ll need to watch are your eyes, but binoculars or a telescope will give a much nicer view.

The eclipse will actually begin when the moon enters the faint outer portion, or penumbra, of the Earth’s shadow a little over an hour before it begins moving into the umbra. The penumbra, however, is all but invisible to the eye until the moon becomes deeply immersed in it. Sharp-eyed viewers may get their first glimpse of the penumbra as a faint smudge on the left part of the moon’s disk at or around 6:15 UT (on Dec. 21) which corresponds to 1:15 a.m. Eastern Time or 10:15 p.m. Pacific Time (on Dec. 20).

The most noticeable part of this eclipse will come when the moon begins to enter the Earth’s dark inner shadow (called the umbra). A small scallop of darkness will begin to appear on the moon’s left edge at 6:33 UT (on Dec. 21) corresponding to 1:33 a.m. EST or 10:33 p.m. PST (on Dec. 20).

The moon is expected to take 3 hours and 28 minutes to pass completely through the umbra.

The total phase of the eclipse will last 72 minutes beginning at 7:41 UT (on Dec. 21), corresponding to 2:41 a.m. EST or 11:41 p.m. PST (on Dec. 20).

Don’t Panic

Don’t…, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

It’s funny how things you love lodge themselves in your head and shape what you do, often unconsciously.

I’m traveling on business this week, and as always I’ve brought my camera with me even through there are few opportunities to use it during the day. So sat in my hotel room after a fun meal with colleagues yesterday evening I was bored and was looking for something to inspire me to take a photo of. I took the key from my rental car and looked at it and thought a macro shot that fixated on the panic button could be fun, so I attached my 50mm prime F/1.8 lens to my D5000, stuck a magnifying filer on the end of the lens and took the shot.

After a quick play in Photoshop Elements 9 I had the image looking how I wanted and so posted it to Flickr. Job done.

Looking at a few of the comments that people had left on the image this morning, two people thought they could see a sad face in this, and now I look again, I can see it too. It immediately made me think of Marvin, the paranoid android from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I LOVE his work, those books, and am a big fan of the cult TV series based on the books, and sure enough there is a passing resemblance between the “face” in this and Marvin.

Compare for yourselves. Here’s a shot of Marvin, courtesy of the BBC.



One of the things I love about photo hosting sites like Flickr is the opportunity to have your photography seen by others – to share your vision of the world and its beauty with other people in the hope that people get the chance to see things they might otherwise not see, and also to inspire others to look a bit more closely at the things around them.

With that in mind, while some people on Flickr hate it when others take their images and post them on blogs, I am honored to have my work chosen by someone else to illustrate a theme or help make a point (so long as the blogger links back to my original post on Flickr). My view of my photography is that it’s a hobby that brings me pleasure, and if that pleasure can be shared with others who also get enjoyment from my images, then that’s just a big bonus – the cherry on top as it were.

I’ve had my work used by a number of non profit groups, many with themes close to my heart for a variety of reasons – if my hobby can help them, I’m more than happy to play a small part. It’s rewarding and gratifying to have my images used in this way, but at the end of the day I know they’re looking to do something on a low budget and the fact that I’m happy to have them use my images or nothing more than a name credit probably plays a large part in their selection criteria.

Where I start to feel a little humbled though (because I don’t think my stuff is that good) is where people have included one of my photos in a “best of” blog collection. Typically the only way I see this has happened is when all of a sudden my Flickr usage stats show an image I posted some time ago has started to attract fresh attention. Often I’ll look at what the blogger has chosen and think “but I have better examples of this theme than the shot you chose”, but clearly they chose what they did for a reason, so who am I to argue? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

A few examples of where this has happened can be found at the following pages…

Every time I see one of these kinds of posts use one of my shots I find myself thinking “with the huge number of excellent shots out there from so many talented photographers, why on earth are you picking one of my images?”, but then I step back and realise that I’ve been picked by someone else with the same eye for things that I have (as I won’t share a shot if I don’t like it myself), and the more this happens the more I feel that I’m not so different from the other people out there after all…