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

Glacier View, Sutton: Leica SL 601. Leica 90-280 mm SL Vario lens. Focal Length 95mm. Aperture: f3.5. Exposure Time: 1/500th of a second.

Chris Michel, a good friend, and a photography mentor, recently told me that he is editing photos if he is not doing anything. He is always looking to make sure his library is not clogged with unfinished files. Given the daily frequency with which he captures photos, it makes perfect sense.

I should listen to him. I go on landscape journeys, come back and forget about the photos. Sure, I like to sit on the images, but maybe it is not such a good idea. I was thinking about Chris this morning when I was cleaning my office space and came across many old memory cards that were chock-full of photos from a 2018 visit to Alaska.

Three and a half years later, I can tell these images don’t fit into what I seek in my images today. Still, I feel I was taking steps in the right direction. And that is why I should have edited these images. Instead, I never downloaded any of those photos onto my computer. I did find three negatives that were worth an edit. I used Adobe Photoshop to “enhance the originals,” and then cropped them to give them a bit more balance. They are a good reminder of why I love Alaska so much.

Chris is so right — if you don’t get to editing sooner, you leave many moments behind — forgotten, gathering dust. I hope you enjoy these three images. Have a good week ahead, everyone!

July 5, 2021. San Francisco

Glacier View, Sutton: Leica SL 601. Leica 90-280mm SL Vario lens. Focal Length 198mm. Aperture: f8. Exposure Time: 1/10th of a second.
Knik River, Palmer: Leica SL 601. Leica 24-90 mm SL Vario lens. Focal Length 75mm. Aperture: f22. Exposure Time: 30 seconds.

Mallmann, Oh Man!

For over a decade, long before Netflix’s Chef Table made him even more popular, Argentinian chef, dandy and raconteur, Francis Mallmann had been on my bucket list of people to meet before I kick the mortal coil. It was not for any particular reason other than just meeting, chatting, and simply enjoying their magnificence. Earlier … Continue reading Mallmann, Oh Man!