San Francisco at dusk
I promised to write this within a week of my return but it’s been nearly two months, so I apologise for the delay but I’m sure you haven’t been hanging on with bated breath. So why the delay? Work, mostly – as I work for Sony, the run up to Christmas is a very busy time. 6-day weeks, training away from home in Newcastle and Bristol, illness (just a very bad cold), preparing for Christmas with friends and family. You know, life.
There’s a lot of photos in this final post taken from the whole trip. All of them are new to the site, too.
Yosemite in the snow
I’d always intended to write a postscript to my blog and a little time to reflect on my trip helps. Put simply, the trip was amazing. I saw some of the most beautiful sights I have witnessed in my entire life. More than once, I would round the corner in my car and have to pull over and give myself more time to drink in the staggering beauty of what lay before me. The vistas simply stunned the senses, the scale of beautiful landscapes completely unimaginable and impossible to convey in a photograph. I left my heart, not in San Francisco but in Death Valley, a compelling and haunting landscape that seems like a dream on recollection. Peaceful and beautiful, a place so vast but which never felt empty, I was hypnotised from the moment I arrived. It’s given me a hunger to return and visit the places I never got to while I was there, then to head further east into Nevada and Arizona, to see their deserts.
Mesquite sand dunes in Death Valley
The fabulous light and landscapes of Death Valley
Yosemite ran Death Valley a very close second. On my return, a good friend of mine asked me what was the ‘best bit’ of the trip. It wasn’t that hard to answer, strangely, even though I was blessed with many, many highlights and very few lows. It was in Yosemite that my favourite few hours occurred and all because of a freak weather spell. It snowed, unusually for the time of year and the roads surrounding the hotel were closed or impassable. You can read about the day itself and see the pictures taken on the day in my blog entry here; but why was it the best? Because for 3-4 hours, when the snow stopped and before the light faded, I was presented with views of the most stunning beauty. I had a camera, a bagful of lenses, plenty of batteries and decent light. I was like a pig in sh*t, if you’ll pardon the expression. I also had this place to myself, although I would have been delighted to share it with others. It was like being given a perfect gift. It was also significant for another reason.
Yosemite National Park
I mentioned in my last posting that I wanted to reveal something that might surprise those who know me well, so here it is. I used to travel every year to take photographs, going somewhere in Europe on my own for a week, returning and then exhibiting and selling my work. I made money, got some recognition for my work and it made me very happy. Before this trip to California, however, I hadn’t been away to do that for about four years. I did visit Iceland two years ago and I did take some decent photos there but I’ve never seen fit to exhibit them. I was beginning to wonder if I still could take the sort of photos I’d be proud to exhibit again. Without wishing to sound immodest, I think the photos I took on this trip contain some of the best I’ve ever taken and I am immensely proud of them.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
The response from others has been positive, too, with people saying some very kind and flattering things about my images. One of the highlights though, has been the response of my employers, Sony. They want to buy my photos to use in an advertising campaign for the camera I used. So, as of right now, I think I can say I’ve rediscovered my photographic mojo.
If you’ve been reading this, THANK YOU. I really do appreciate it and all the kind comments I’ve received. There’s no doubt I’ll be back out to the States again. I’d like to start at San Francisco and head North into wine country and photograph there as well as in the deserts to the east.
Lots of people ask what equipment I used and so I’ve listed it below. It’s all Sony gear, naturally, as I work for them. The most innovative photographic equipment is being made by this company but I’m not saying that because I work for them. And in case you’re wondering, they didn’t pay for the trip! In any case, I’d like to think the quality of my images does the talking. Dig around the internet and you’ll see.
So once again, many thanks for your interest and support.
Until the next time…
The kit I used on my trip. I used a Sony NEX 6 with 16-50mm zoom camera for the vast majority if these shots. I had a NEX 5 body as a spare which I took a few shots with. I used the following lenses with the camera:
55-210mm zoom; 16mm prime; VCL-ECU1 wide angle adapter for 16mm prime.
I used the Snapseed app on my Sony Xperia Z tablet for some modest post-production work. I also used the tablet, along with the Microsoft wedge bluetooth keyboard and mouse to post to my WordPress blog.
I shot in RAW and Jpeg formats, the jpegs being the images used on the blog.
The cost of the Nex 6 camera and lenses is £1062 on Amazon.
I used a circular polarising filter and some ND grads on some of the shots, approximately £50.