Gracelynd in California

The shapes of the hills of California are odd and impossible by the standards of the Northeast. In spite of my time spent there, my brain has still not adjusted to the angles—either in the distance or under my own feet when I’m there. On a charming horse farm that might be at home in the early twentieth century, the sunbaked scene is too real to be real.

Gracelynd in California

Kentucky Horse Farm

The grassy, rolling, limestone-based Kentucky countryside looks too perfect. Precise fencing geometries and gently rippling ponds are just too much. I’m reminded of the famous Microsoft Windows XP default wallpaper, “Bliss.” The key to making both images work, I think, is an overall very clean image with just enough small details and imperfections at the edges to show you that it must be real.

Kentucky Horse Farm

Secret Francisco Path

That the hills of San Francisco are so steep that sidewalks become stairs is fantastic. (In literal sense of being fantastical.) Traversing the city feels less like plotting out positions on a grid than navigating a mountain labyrinth. Climbing Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower in the light of the setting sun only serves to amplify the sense of strange magic that San Francisco offers.

Secret Francisco Path

Back Yard at Dusk

Along Canton’s Grasse River are all kinds of back yards. This particular one is so small and idyllic in the evening that I just had to capture it when I was out with my f/1.8 prime lens. I think the narrow depth of field it provides produces a nice miniature/diorama-like effect. Is it a real back yard, or is it a part of someone’s model train set?

Back Yard at Dusk

Japanese Garden Fence

In the already quiet and calming Nitobe Memorial Garden, this particular corner is the quietest and most calming of them all. At the back of the garden, where few other visitors go, is this tiny fenced-off area. Though this yard is actually adjacent to the ceremonial tea house, I much prefer imagining that an elderly couple lives here, and will be out to tend the garden shortly.

Japanese Garden Fence

Golden Grid

Here’s the exciting secret of photographing the Golden Gate Bridge: because of the cruel nature of geography, there is exactly one bluff from which to get reasonable pictures of the bridge. Greater than 80% of all Golden Gate Bridge photographs in existence are from the same place (with another 10% coming from the city side.) On any given evening, you’ll see dozens of photographers clustered in the Marin Headlands, set apart only by small differences in compositional preference.

The most interesting thing I discovered in taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, however, was that there is an enormous fence corralling the area. Just as most pictures use a similar angle to incorporate most of the bridge, most pictures also carefully crop away this fence. There are also myriad holes in the fence where rebellious souls have cut spots to poke their lenses through. I was most interested by the interplay of the curving fence links with the solid, glowing form of the bridge. In a way, I think today’s shot paints a truer picture of the sometimes compromised (but always gorgeous) experience of photographing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Grid