This weekend, I was reviewing some old film scans, and this specific image made me pause. I made this in 2018 with my Mamiya 6 (with a 50mm equivalent lens.) I used Kodak Portra 400 film.

It was around this time, my photographic eye started to develop. I started eliminating the excess from my frames and using the negative space as an element of the image itself.

Still, I have not been back to this location — Lake Merced — for morning photography in a while. It might be time for another visit. I wonder how I will treat this location after three years. I might also want to use a longer lens this time around.

November 15, 2021. San Francisco

This past weekend, along with my friend Naveen and his family, we drove up to the Point Reyes region. We wanted to enjoy the nice fall weather and have lunch at Saltwater in Inverness, one of my favorite restaurants. I love this part of Northern California. One of my favorite photographs I ever took was about a mile away from Saltwater.

Whenever I visit that area, I visit this beached boat introduced to me by Cole Rise, one of my photographer friends. I have been taking a photo of this boat called Point Reyes since. It is one of the most photographed marine wrecks on Instagram. It is no surprise that I took another photo this past weekend — this time with iPhone 13 Pro. I used the ProRaw format and later edited it on Lightroom CC and Photoshop. I am pretty pleased by the quality of the camera on this new phone.

This boat, built-in 1944, has been sitting on the sandbar in Tomales Bay for nearly 25 years now. It has been vandalized and, as a result, lost some of its visual appeal. It was in danger of being removed, but the fuss created by local photographers saved it from being moved from its final resting place.

This shipwreck is a reminder that in time nature consumes everything that came from it. All that is left are memories. I am glad there will be millions of images of this boat saved for posterity.

PS: AtlasObscura has a short write-up on this boat if you are interested in knowing more.

There is nothing quite as good as starting your day next to the bay, listening to the slow and rhythmic break of waves on the shore. And it is even better when the fog hugs the distant hills and lingers over the bridge that has been Instagrammed maybe a billion times. The beauty of the morning inspired me to make some photos — and test out the technical mettle of the new iPhone 13 Pro’s various cameras.

….powered by the new image signal processor (ISP) in A15 Bionic for improved noise reduction and tone mapping, the iPhone 13 Pro lineup features the best camera system ever on iPhone. The all-new Wide camera has a larger sensor with 1.9 µm pixels, the largest ever on iPhone, for less noise and faster shutter speeds needed across lighting conditions, producing even more detailed photos. Coupled with the larger ƒ/1.5 aperture, the Wide camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offers a massive improvement in low-light situations, up to 2.2x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro, and nearly 1.5x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro Max. Sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) — unique to iPhone — is available on both models

The new Ultra Wide camera features a much wider ƒ/1.8 aperture and a new autofocus system, bringing a 92 percent improvement for low-light environments, producing images that are brighter and sharper. iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also boast a new 77 mm Telephoto camera, offering 3x optical zoom for a total 6x optical zoom range on the camera system.

Apple iPhone News Announcement.

Apple’s claims check out. Most landscape photographers judge the camera by its ability to capture details and colors, for a good camera is the one that can produce files that transition from shadows to highlights with a minimum of fuss. And the iPhone 13 Pro cameras pass with top grades.

Later, upon returning home and looking at these images on an XDR display, I could easily see the impact of the bigger pixels giving the images smoother transitions between shadows and highlights. I also like that the colors are naturally deeper. I appreciated the lower noise in the new sensor — giving me the courage to make the fog a bit whiter during the editing process.

As I usually do with my mobile photography, I used the Halide Camera to capture images in RAW and used the Darkroom App to edit them on the phone. The edited set is a mixture of color and monochromatic images. I hope they convey the sense of calm and peace I felt this wonderful morning.

September 26, 2021. San Francisco

GLASS’ Tom Watson

“We’re no longer a photosharing app,” Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, a division of Facebook.  Let’s face it: everything Facebook touches eventually turns into an engagement honeypot behind which lies an algorithmic whirlpool designed to suck attention that can be packaged and eventually sold to advertisers. And that is why I am not surprised that … Continue reading GLASS’ Tom Watson

I am mulling on a post about Leica & its history of innovation. As part of my research, I have spent time with one of their more innovative yet underrated cameras — the Leica TL-2. It is essentially a camera made for those of us who have learned photography using the iPhone.

A friend loaned me her camera, and I decided to use it. However, for some odd reason, I wanted to couple it with a vintage lens. I have quite a few vintage lenses, though I rarely use them. I am a creature of habit, I suppose. However, for TL2, I picked the Helios 44 58mm/f2. It is an old lens made in the Soviet Union. I paid about $25 for a pre-owned version. I needed a lens adapter — a well-made and affordable Urth M42-to-L-Mount adapter is all I needed.

I have been out and about with this setup. I am shooting exclusively in JPEG, making it easy to get the Leica-Look on the photos. Of all the photos I made, I really liked the close-up of this leaf, which fell on my head when sitting on my favorite bench in South Park. I just wanted to share it with you.