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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Green Bay

Aloha Au la `Oe Maui !

It means ‘I love you Maui’ in the Hawaiian language. One can’t stop falling in love with this incredible natural beauty. The island consistently offers you so much, be it the weather or the waters or the people or the vistas or the drives, that you inevitably curse yourself for not getting here sooner. And if you are on it for the second or the third or the tenth time, you still might curse yourself for not being an Aloha islander. It’s a place that lives up two notches more than what you expect.

The best time to visit Maui would be the shoulder seasons (Feb-Apr or Sep-Nov). That’s when you can avoid the large crowds and the prices are not super crazy. Keep in mind that even in these months you will still be paying more for your entire trip to Maui than Bali or Philippines. The airfare and room rates shoot up during summer and holiday season and surely will leave you with a huge bill. We went there two weeks before the Thanksgiving break in November, which I think is a great time to visit Maui. The weather was gorgeous, the prices were reasonable and we found plenty of beaches with no crowd. Even the popular tourist spots had very less people 😀

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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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Sea Elephant

I have been experimenting with seascapes for a few months now and it is something you will see here more often. I think they make a super cool subject to click.

Seen here is the famous Natural Bridges rock in Santa Cruz which, to my poetic eyes, resembles a giant sea elephant. Lots of sea weed gets deposited on this beach with each incoming wave making it tricky to keep the tripod steady.

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