Surrounded

A few weeks ago, I was at Sutro Baths in San Francisco for the sunset. I headed there from my work place along with two other photographers after the California-based weather forecasting service Escaype estimated a good cloud burn along the coast. Our initial target was to reach Rodeo Beach, but we were caught in the heavy evening traffic and realized we wouldn’t be able to get there before sunset. So we drove to Sutro Baths instead, reaching the spot well before the sunset.

Sutro Baths were a privately owned public swimming pool complex in the Lands End area of San Francisco. It once stood as the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, but was burned down in the 60s and is now in ruins. The ruins are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation AreaWalking along the ruins, we reached the rocky beach, joining another photographer, all looking for a good composition of the sea stacks

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Curtain Raiser

We traveled to Alaska along with three other friends during the Labor Day weekend. I was really excited for this one because this trip’s been long overdue. I had booked my tickets twice before to Alaska, but had to cancel them due to unavoidable circumstances. There has not been a day I passed over the last 2 years without liking an image share from Alaska on social networks. I seriously think if I had a dime everytime I liked an image from Alaska, by now I would be a millionaire (still less money though when compared to Iceland which would have made me a billionaire). We landed in the city of Anchorage past midnight and crashed at a nearby budget hotel for the night. After hiking the Matanuska glacier the next afternoon, we headed to Denali National Park to spend two and half days in the wilderness.

Park Accommodation

I booked a campground inside the park two months earlier, but decided to cancel them due to heavy rain and damp weather predicted on both the nights. Searching for an alternative, I thought the lodges within the park were too expensive while those near the entrance were not worth it if we were going to spend the whole time being out in the wild. Thanks to Tripadvisor’s discussion forums, I found a town named Healy that was roughly 10 miles North of the park’s entrance. I would strongly recommend this town for booking your accommodation if you are not planning for camping or backpacking inside the park. I booked this great place for 3 nights which also served a very good breakfast with no extra charge. Be informed that you will have to call this place to book your reservations. Many places in Alaska do not support online reservations, but there was never a trouble whenever I had to make mine.

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The Sea Guard

Another weekend along the ocean waters! Weather’s been real good here in the SF bay the whole of July. My wife and I wanted to get outdoors badly on one of the Sundays after spending the previous couple of beautiful days indoors with my family. I googled for public webcams around SF to look for points with the best cloud cover and fixed Santa Cruz to be our destination. Although, I have had little luck checking for cloudscapes using webcams, mainly because of their low image resolution, it still is a handy way to look for clear skies. I like the drama that the clouds bring into an image, so I generally avoid shooting seascapes or landscapes with a clear sky. But for someone who wants to shoot with a clear sky, such as for startrails or milkyway, checking the available webcams can be useful.

A better way is to understand the weather maps which provide updated information on the current cloud cover and visibility level. I use ClearDarkSky service which provides weather maps for USA and Canada along with some coverage of Mexico. It is updated twice daily and also gives a 48-hour forecast. Look for similar services within your areas. By using weather maps along with the local webcam images, one could come up with a roughly apt prediction for a good shooting spot.

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