Grizzly Peak is a summit in the Berkeley Hills. It’s located between the county borders of Alameda and Contra Costa. The peak was named after the California grizzly bear which inhabited the area until the late 1800s.
These photos were shot during the golden hour but the view is incredible no matter what time of day. The drive along Grizzly Peak Blvd is short with selective parking. But there’s plenty of vista stops along the way. You’ll see views of the San Francisco cityscape, the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, Treasure Island, and the East Bay.
Over the years I’ve discovered many places to photograph San Francisco, the Golden Gate as a key focus. But Grizzly Peak is a special one, offering a completely new perspective of the Bay Area. Watching the fog roll over the Golden Gate and Marin county is a peaceful experience. The way the colors gradate through the sky and clouds down to the San Francisco skyline is breathtaking.
The Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands
Views of the North Bay a place I call home, from Grizzly Peak.
San Francisco dreaming
These shots were photographed with a Lensbaby Composter Pro with Sweet 50 Optic lens.
A few more views of the San Francisco Bay Area through the eyes of a Polaroid.
Looking for a little inspiration to get you out there shooting and improving your photography skills?
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Ocean Beach is unlike any other beach in California. San Francisco is the perfect sweater weather. It rarely gets too hot and it’s usually breezy enough for wearing layers. This makes walking along Ocean Beach a unique experience just like this foggy, overcast day. The moody sky, the crisp cool air, and the bonfire flames crackling in the distance, it’s not your average picture of sunny California.
The perfect escape from city life
Ocean Beach is a 3.5 miles of white sand stretched along the entire west coast of San Francisco, the widest and most expansive beach in the city. Seagulls fly over as the waves of the Pacific ocean flow in and out in a rhythm.It’s the perfect escape from the busyness of the city. There’s plenty of space to sit and admire the view, a must see for sunsets. The Great Highway runs along the beach joining Sutro Baths and the Cliff House from the north end to the San Francisco Zoo on the south end.
Usually you’ll catch a few surfers in the distance. If you’re a swimmer avoid getting into the water for its dangerous rip currents. The coldness of the water will numb you immediately with its cold temperatures ranging from 53-57°F year round.
The chilled weather of typical San Francisco adds to the cool tones in this Instax mini exposure of Ocean Beach.
Looking for a little inspiration to get you out there shooting and improving your photography skills? Check out Fall in Love with Photography, a free 7 day photo challenge to kickstart your photography! Every day for one week you’ll receive a new photo challenge right to your inbox. Each challenge features a theme with plenty of tips and ideas to get your creativity flowing. Enter your name and email below to get started!
Bodega Bay is a small town in Sonoma County, California. Just off Highway 1, it lives on the great Pacific coast. Most people associate the infamous palm trees and beaches with Southern California but we have plenty of gems here in Northern California too.
Famous film locations
Little known fact: Did you know Bodega Bay was the filming location for several major feature films? The most well-known is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds from 1963. You can see the newspaper clippings and advertisements in The Tides Wharf restaurant where you can enjoy the local seafood specials (I always recommend the salmon).
But there are several other films with scenes shot in Bodega Bay including: The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; The Pack; The Fog; The Goonies; Puppet Master; Sleepwalkers; Hart to Hart: Home is Where the Hart Is; and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
P.S. Did you you know all the photos in this post were shot on an iPhone and edited with one photo editing app? I’ve created a guide on all the editing features in VSCO Cam (my go to editing app) to help you with your photo editing. Fill out the form below to download the guide!
As my trip to Southern California came to an end, I made my way over to Newport Beach for one last hour. This was my first visit but it won’t be my last. I remember this afternoon as the windiest! Sand was flying around and the waves were crashing like crazy. I walked out onto this pier and it actually was a little scary, it didn’t feel stable! Seagulls flew around
Welcome to Newport Pier
This is the pier I walked out on and if you ever visit, I’m warning you now it’s a little scary looking down when you reach the end (again, crazy waves).
Newport Beach is definitely one of the lesser populated beaches I’ve visited.
Disappearing into the horizon
Something about the ocean disappearing into the horizon brings peace and calms me.
Those crazy, windy waves
The view that’s worth it all
There are beautiful beaches all over the world each with their own incredible views. What are some of your favorite beaches?
This is part two of a photo series for Downtown Hollywood (check out part 1 here). I love photographing city streets but I love it most when the sun starts to dip into the horizon and a layer of golden light hits the city. This is called the golden hour.
The golden hour in photography
The golden hour is one of the best secrets and easiest ways to shoot great photography on location. I explain more about what the golden hour is and how to use an app to help you figure when it is in this tutorial post. But here’s the key points. Golden light happens twice a day everyday (before sunrise and before sunset). Golden light is soft with less intensity than the direct light in the afternoon, especially high noon. It’s dimensional, it’s flattering for just about any type of photography especially portraits.
Golden light and signage
Another reason the golden hour is the best time to shoot in cities is this is when the lights begin to shine and add bold color to your photos. Take note of how the light transitions on the photos below until it’s completely dark and all you see are the bokeh effects of neon signage. Interested in learning more about capturing cities through street photography? Click here to see the 16 shots you need to capture in your city.
Hard Rock Cafe signage
The work “bokeh” comes from the Japanese language and means “blur”. Bokeh is the quality of out of focus or blurred parts of a photo rendered by a camera lens. Here are some examples of how to get creative with bokeh style photography using colorful city signage as your subject.
Have you tried shooting during the golden hour? And what about bokeh, have you experimented with this style of photography?
Hollywood streets are deep. I found these words written in white on a dark, graffiti painted wall: “I know you untied me, but you’re still deep inside me.”
There’s no shortage of sparkling lights in Hollywood.
The voice of a city
No matter where I travel, near or far, I love to get the feel for a city and compare it to what I know. My city will always be San Francisco and therefore every city afterward is in the shadows.
I recall Chicago as huge with the cleanest streets, in wonder of snowflakes falling one evening, and getting stuck in revolving doors. Vancouver, BC streets were like another world to me. I found parts of myself I didn’t know were lost. Seattle was brief but the views were amazing (and cold)!
I’m still trying to summarize my feelings for Southern California (Bay Area native here), maybe I’ll find them somewhere along these photographs.
Love the vintage touch in Hollwood’s street signage.
This has to be one of my favorite signs I spotted in Hollywood, it’s even better in black and white.
Another similarity of San Francisco’s Pier 39 and Hollywood is the Wax Museum.
The crowds. Like most tourist areas of cities, Hollywood Blvd. is full of people coming and going.
Similar to Pier 39 in San Francisco, there’s plenty of entertainers performing on Hollywood Blvd. This one in particular had a parrot, I didn’t see that one coming.
I’m in love with old theatre signage. They have so much character to them from the typography of the name, the colors of the bright lights, and the occasional marquee. On this evening El Capitan wished Mariam a happy birthday.
I’d love to know, what city have you found as your soul mate?