Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Golden Gate Bridge!

The Golden Gate Bridge, now the icon of the west and named one of the “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, was built during the challenging times of the Great Depression between 1933 and 1937.
After the completion of what many considered a mission impossible, spanning the Golden Gate Strait, the bridge opened exactly 75 years ago, on May 27, 1937

Thanks to consulting Architect Irving Morrow, the bridge got it's distinctive orange color, called "International Orange".
Other colors considered were carbon black and steel grey. The navy even opted for yellow and black stripes for better visibility.

Why visibility is a major factor is easy to see...the infamous fog, worst during the summer months, forms when the frigid Pacific clashes with the warmer inland, causing the air to rise, thus drawing in the fog from the sea.
International Orange also protects the bridge from the high salt content in the air which rusts and corrodes the steel.

My favorite spots to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge are Kirby Cove, Battery Spencer


 and Baker Beach

Walking the bridge is also an option, the entry to the walkway greets you with a sign that explains everything you need to know.....

...but I will leave that for the tourists in the future. I ventured out there, to get some different photographs for this blog, but it wasn't pleasant.
Cold and windy to start with, but worse was the tremendous noise coming from the passing cars together with their exhaust fumes, arrg, just ugly....

I think my favorite time to photograph is at dusk or night, when the lights go on and give the bridge it's magical glow!

  Photographed from Fort Point

Kirby Cove

   Battery Spencer


    and with the "Super Moon" from the Berkeley Marina!

May Conservation Tip


Bake Your Own 

Baking bread can be a whole day affair. But this potato bread is not only quick and easy, it also tastes better than every store bought toast, promise! With the added benefit, that you know exactly what's in it and what not.

 Potato Bread 

1 cup milk
1 cup water
4 1/2 cup flour (for a healthier alternative substitute 2 cups of the flour with whole grain flour)
6 oz, or three small cooked potatoes, smashed
2 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon oil
optional: a ladle of sourdough

If you don't have already any left over cooked potatoes, put the potatoes on a plate, poke the skin a couple of times and put them in the microwave for a few minutes.

If you have a bread machine put all the ingredients in the order your machine demands it and let it run on a basic dough setting. If you are mixing with hand, pour the liquids in a bowl first and then add the solid ingredients. The dough will be rather sticky but that's what gives you the great texture in the finished bread. Once you have a nice dough, cover and let rest.

The "whole wheat version" is a bit denser than the "white version" but still nice and airy. 

After the dough cycle is finished or after the dough had a hour of rest, grease two loaf pans and set aside.
Pour out the dough on a floured surface and give it a few kneads, then divide into two equal pieces.
Give each piece in one of the prepared pans, cover and let rest for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the oven has reached the temperature, put both pans in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Take the breads out of the oven, let cool them for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Then remove from the pan to let cool completely. It's important to get the bread out of the pan rather quickly, if you allow the bread to cool in the pan, it might get soggy.

Now enjoy, fresh or toasted, best with fresh strawberry jam...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Epson International Photographic Pano Awards

I'm happy to announce that four out of four submitted images earned a bronze award at the third Epson International Photographic Pano Awards.

 "The Epson International Pano Awards showcases the work of panoramic photographers worldwide and is the largest and most important competition for panoramic photography. "

There are two entry classes, one for amateurs (amateur) and one for professional photographers and amateurs (open), with two categories each, Nature and The Built Environment.
The awarded images were entered in the open competition Nature category.

Magellanic Penguins coming on land on the Falkland Islands 

Full Moon over the Golden gate Bridge 

Setting "Super" Moon 

McWay Falls, Carmel

Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching the Moon

Just before the hype about the "super moon" started, I stumbled upon a very interesting website, the Star Circle Academy Meet Up, hosted, amongst others, by Steven Christenson.
Fascinated by his photography and the prospect of "catching" the moon right where I want it, let me sign up for last months "Huge Moon Effect" workshop.
Together with other "moonatics" or maybe rather lunatics, if you consider that I had to get up at 3.30 am, we met in Berkley to photograph the setting moon over the Golden Gate Bridge. The following three images are from that outing:

Unfortunately it was rather windy and it was really hard to get a sharp image with the long (400mmm) lens...

...and of course the fog rolled in...

But it was nevertheless a great experience and well worth the early rise. Steven had calculated the spot to be with an accuracy that was amazing. And not only that, included in the workshop also was a webinar about how one can figure out these places.
Needless to say that it is highly mathematical, but with the directions given in the webinar and a wonderful program called "The Photographers Ephemeris", even I could figure out where to be this month for the moon set of the "super moon", well with a bit of help from Steven that is...;-)
So I tried again, this time without the wind:

And it wouldn't be San Francisco without at least a tiny bit of fog,

which lets the Golden Gate Bridge almost hover over the bay.

Inspired by the success of the early morning and with another good location tip in my photo bag, I went out again in the evening to catch the rising moon.

Again it was a bit hazy, in fact we almost missed the rising, as all of a sudden it became apparent, that it wasn't the haze behind the skyline, but a huge emerging moon.

To enlarge an image, just click on the image.

On the long and steep way back to our hard-fought for parking spot, I caught this last image.