Unnaturally Natural.


Rounding the bend, this is your welcoming scene!

It was almost too perfect. Clear blue skies. Mild gusts of wind – enough to stir about the Pacific Ocean. Low tides. Somewhere in the coastal Sea Cliff shores looking back at the Golden Gate Bridge, is a chaotic yet peaceful roaring of the mighty Pacific. The sounds of waves crashing against each other as they make their way inland. At the shoreline, large sea pebbles chatter loudly in their resistance to be taken back out to sea.


Evidence of Man’s intrusive nature within nature.

The surrounding natural beauty is broken up by these strange large manmade structures that line the shoreline in sporadic fashion and finished off with another one of man’s skilled handiwork … graffiti. Huge rebar infused cement blocks are scattered here and there and begs the question … where did they come from? With no explanation kiosks, I can only imagine that they were once some sort of lookout structure used long ago to protect the mouth of the SF Bay some 80 or 100+ years ago. Some hate them. I used to. But, it’s evidence of man’s existence and how it lives within the natural world – good and bad. Although they largely resisted the relentless pounding from the ocean, their slow decay will likely take a few lifetimes to bring back this pristine coastline. But for now, I actually think it enhances the area in some strange way … I guess I like the juxtaposition of the two extremes of the natural vs. unnatural. A contrast of sorts. The more I explore these parts, the more evidence of human intervention sadly presents itself.


With the cloud quick rolling eastward, blue skies disappear and the scene turns almost monochromatic


Tidal changes reveal the underbelly of the shoreline.

Having been to these general location a number of times, I thought to capture moments in slow motion. Being a bright sunny day (before the clouds started to roll in), stopping down all the way, I had to twist on my trusty 10-stop ND filter as was still limited to a maxed out shutter w/o going into Bulb mode! But, this was my goal … full well knowing that what the outcome of the ocean will look like – pushing it down to a virtual mist.

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Sun going down. ND filters off … it was time for a little nighttime fun. Play with fire! Even with my pyromaniac tendencies, I couldn’t do what these folks do. Leave it to the professionals, right? Here’s the scene … location: Palace of Fine Arts, SF with winds gusting and swirling about. Temperatures dropping quickly to around the high-40’s (f), and of course fire! Spells disaster in my book. Four fire dancing artists perform for 40+ crazed photographers with cameras, flashes and tripods capturing flashes of brilliance (no pun intended) as they wowed the senses for 2+ hours. Think fire circus and Rock Horror Picture Show combined into one! It was awesome! Silly me, I failed to bring along a flash as I was stricken with blinders syndrome and didn’t think to tote it along to capture and freeze motion. So, I suffered through it having to only capture slow-mo movements of the flames themselves. Nonetheless, I was fairly satisfied with what I was able to come up with given my limitations. I bounced back and forth in fiddling with ISO, f-stops and shutter speeds to capture these flaming moments.


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