Monday, January 31, 2011

California’s Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge-2

This post continues my recent theme of photography from Northern California.  Today’s photographs feature the Golden Gate Bridge taken from the Marin Headlands. 

Golden Gate Bridge-3

My timing for these photographs was about as good as it gets…by coincidence.  My wife and I had just spent the day driving the coastline from well north in Mendocino county and arrived to beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco just moments before sunset.

Golden Gate Bridge-1

With the sun low on the horizon, I was treated to beautifully saturated colors, a dramatic sky, and wonderfully formed shadows.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate bridge is a beautiful structure and draws tremendous crowds to the Marin Headlands.  I have some more shots from the San Francisco side, but will save those for another time.

All photographs are hand held three exposure HDR images taken on a Canon 5D, 24-105mm f/4.0L, various focal lengths, f 8.0, ISO 100, and various shutter speeds.

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Northern California Seascapes

Point Arena Lighthouse

Just add water and you get a better photograph.  I am particularly drawn to seascapes, nautical photography, and water in general.  The shots featured in this post were taken on my recent visit to California and range from Point Arenas to the north and south to the Golden Gate Strait.  For each of the four photographs featured here, I provide a related tip for improving your seascape photography.

Tip 1:  Get the lighthouse off center.  This is a basic compositional point, but how many shots have you seen of lighthouses centered in the photograph.  As you can see from the example in the first photograph (Point Arena Light), by composing the shot with the lighthouse in the upper right corner, there is greater context and room for some interesting foreground.

Point Reyes

Tip 2:  Use the coast as a leading line.  The photograph above of the coastline heading out toward Point Reyes naturally leads the eye through the photograph.  Use the natural lines of the coast to draw the observer through the composition.

Golden Gate Strait

Tip 3:  Use HDR for sunrise/set shots on the water.  The wonderful colors your eye sees during those dramatic sunsets on the water is difficult to reproduce in the camera.  Shooting in HDR gives you the opportunity to come closer to what you saw when you took the shot.


Tip 4:  Include objects that provide a sense of scale.  Seascapes can be confusing when there is lack of a reference point for scale.  Scale references help the mind understand relationships, distance, and size.  In the photograph of San Francisco taken from the Marin headlands, there are several scale references; the two people in the foreground, the sailboat at the left edge, and the faint rows of houses mid-frame on the left.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

California Cows are Happy Cows

Happy Cows-2

While visiting northern California last week, my wife and I drove quite a few miles through wine country as well as the surrounding agricultural areas of Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.  As we were driving, we both commented that the cows looked happy…just as the commercial for California dairy claims.

Happy Cows

Before you get two wound around the axle, I will admit that I have no idea what differentiates a happy cow from one with a bad attitude.  However, if I were able to show you a scenes of cows laying on a sloping hill leading to a Pacific sunset…all cow eyes glued on the sunset…you might get a sense of the happy cow feelings flowing from the California pastures.

Happy Cows-3

Happy or not, the cows added some interest to these beautiful landscapes…and I thanked them all personally for the wonderful truffle cheese I was enjoying.  With respect to the photography, there is nothing particularly special to mention.  All shots were taken on a hand held Canon 5D with a 24-105mm f/4.0L.  Each of the photographs is a three shot HDR.

Happy Cows-1

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Monday, January 24, 2011

California Wine Country in the Fog Part II–Black and White

Hill in the fog

As promised, I am back with more California wine country photography featuring some black and white compositions.  I am happy with the color shots featured in the predecessor to this post, but am particularly drawn to several of the black and white photographs – particularly the first two which represent a minimalist approach which I favor.

Trees on the Hill

The next two photographs tend increasingly away from minimalism, yet remain simple, contemplative photographs.

Old Vines

The last in the series is certainly the busiest of the four with some added tension as the spikes and vines contrast against the smooth rolling tones of the clouds above.

Vineyard rows

I have not decided on the subject of the next several posts, but you can be sure we will be revisiting Northern California at some point.  I was lucky enough to spend a little time in San Francisco, Mendocino County, and Muir Woods.  I am very excited about the shots from Muir Woods National Monument, but have a lot of sorting, selecting, and processing to do.  In other words, I may not get to this right away.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

California Wine Country in the Fog

Vineyard Shack

I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in California wine country (Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley) with my wife…and my camera.  Notice I said “wife” first, and “camera” second.  We had a wonderful time visiting some boutique wineries (those that either do not distribute, or have a very limited distribution and low case production) and were fortunate enough to be blessed by fog.

Flowers and Windmill

From a photographic point of view, fog is very exciting.  Follow this link to see some of the previous entries I posted featuring fog.  Generally, fog is another great excuse to process photos in black and white; a clear preference of mine.  However, I wanted to share these photos because they run counter to my black and white predisposition.  In each of the photos, my opinion was that the color added an important dimension to the final product.

Moss Covered Trees

I am a bit short on time at the moment, so my commentary will be similarly limited.  Check back in a couple of days to see another set of California wine country photography in black and white.

Vineyard Road


Winery in the Fog

Have fun and go make some great photography.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Reader’s Choice for 2010–Craig Corl Photography

Grenada after Hurricane Ivan  (31 of 53)

I was just reminiscing about 2010 and how this blog has evolved.  Thanks to you, readership grew dramatically and the response was resolutely positive.  Thanks!  As I was reviewing the year, I was interested to see the posts that get the most visits.  For 2010, here are the top 4:

  1. The Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square – Black and White
  2. Abandoned Buildings in Tarif, Abu Dhabi
  3. Christmas in Washington DC – Library of Congress
  4. Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Filling out the top ten of all time (including 2009) are:

  1. Hurricane Ivan Devastation of Grenada in 2004
  2. Repeating Patterns
  3. Blog Post #50!
  4. Moko Jumbies of Trinidad
  5. Minimalism Part II – More Water Photographs
  6. Night Shots of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, Abu Dhabi

So if you missed any of these, you now know what the rest of your fellow readers have voted for with their clicks.


Grenada after Hurricane Ivan  (53 of 53)

The feature photos for today come from the posting with the most views to date; Hurricane Ivan Devastation of Grenada in 2004.

Have fun, and make 2011 a great photographic year!