Fireworks with a Twist

Thank you to the great group of photographers who joined me last night for the Camera West Fireworks with a Twist Photo Walk at the Oakland Coliseum.

We were there to shoot the fireworks show after the A’s baseball game. But rather than shoot fireworks in the traditional method, we added a twist – as in twisting the focus ring during the exposure. What this gives you is a beautiful bokeh to in-focus fireworks burst painted on your image. We also twisted the focus in the opposite way – in-focus to out-of-focus for the opposite effect.

It was challenging because you had to be quick trying to anticipate where the burst was going to be and then quickly open your shutter and twist the focus ring, all in the span of just 2-3 very short seconds. But when it all came together, you had a unique image unlike any other fireworks photo.

Sunset Photo Walk at Rodeo Beach

Sunset at Rodeo Beach

Landscape photographers have to accept whatever Mother Nature cares to share with us, and on Saturday it was all about wind! But that did not damper the spirits of 13 enthusiastic photographers who joined me on our Camera West photo walk at Rodeo Beach in Marin County.

Rodeo Beach has a picturesque trio of sea stacks just off shore and they were our main focus. We met shortly before sunset, and then keep shooting well into the night increasing our shutter speeds to get that magical look to the water that only long exposures can give you. I love this type of photography where you never know what you’re going to get -just letting the motion of the water paint your image and provide you with visual surprises.

A 5 second exposure just after sunset provides movement to the water.

Aisling sets up a photo on Rodeo Beach.

Rafael photographs the crashing surf.

Rafael and Richard use their hats to shade their lenses from the setting sun.

A 4 minute exposure using a flashlight to paint detail on the rocks.

Next month’s photo walk will be in Oakland where we will photograph the fireworks after an Oakland A’s game. I’ll demonstrate a unique way to shoot them to produce some very unusual affects.

Details here :


Moonrise over Alcatraz Photo Walk

Photo by Michael Maloney

We are pleased to announce that Michael from our Camera West Walnut Creek staff will again start up his series of popular monthly photo walks.  Each month, he picks a different theme, subject or location in the bay area. Photographers of all abilities are always welcome.

The January photo walk will take us to San Francisco where we will photograph the rising full moon over Alcatraz and the east bay hills.

On Sunday, January 4th, conditions should be perfect as the moon rises near the same time as the sun sets. This gives us the ability to capture detail in both the full moon and the landscape. Michael will be on hand to help with proper exposure and offer tips to help you get a photo you will be proud of.

Don’t miss this opportunity! Sign up early, as participation will be limited to just 20 photographers.

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Cost : $25.00

Call or email Michael at Camera West Walnut Creek for more info or to sign up.

Moonrise over the City Photo Walk

Thank you to everyone who joined me last night for the Camera West photo walk out to Kirby Cove in Marin County. Luck was with us as we witnessed a beautiful fog-free full moon rise over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The moon rose right on schedule, between two SF landmarks – the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America building. At one point, the moon appeared to just touch the top of the B of A building, looking like a giant golf ball on a tee.

As twilight faded into night, our shooting wasn’t over. We just swapped our telephotos for wide angles and practiced shooting long exposures of the water, Golden Gate Bridge and the city skyline. We even tried a bit of light painting using ignited steel. More on that technique in a future photo walk I will be leading.

I’ve asked our photo walk participants to share their images from the evening on our Camera West Photo Walk Flickr site so check them out here (soon) :

Bike Racing Photo Walk

John gets a low angle view of the racers.

Thank you to everyone who joined me for the Wente Criterium Photo Walk in Livermore yesterday. We had a good group of shooters and plenty of bike racing action to photograph.

We mostly practiced a technique called panning, which gives you a real sense of movement in your photos. By using a very slow shutter speed and following a bike racer’s movement with your lens, you get a sharp image of the bike racer, against a backdrop of a streaking blur. When you’ve nailed the shot, it works beautifully, but it takes quite a few tries to get one sharp image!

Using a panning technique with a shutter of 1/10th of a second at f32 with a 200mm lens to get motion blur.

James uses his Nikon Speedlites triggered by Pocket Wizards to flash fill his subjects.

Rebecca and Tom focus on the men's pro race.

Using a panning technique with a shutter of 1/10th of a second at f29 with a 200mm lens to get motion blur.

Our next Camera West Photo Walk will be on May 10th where we will photograph a fireworks show with a new method involving focus shift which produces very unique images. There are just a few more spots left so if interested, be sure to sign up soon. Details here :