March – week 1

Mid February to early March tulip mania comes to Pier 39 to greet the tourists during  President’s Day week with a bonanza of colors.  The best time to capture images of the tulips in the beds and barrels is at sunrise when it is likely to be less windy.  They often have water drops on them from the rain, fog or sprinkler system.

I especially enjoy using a 400 mm lens with selective focus so that the background area is narrow and can be easily thrown out of focus to give you just the hint of the background tulips as revealed in the colors.  At f/5.6 without any tulips close the main subject I was able to get enough focus on the one tulip and throw the background out of focus so it is not competing with the subject.  Don’t forget to use your tripod and remote.  Also use your mirror lock-up to avoid the he vibration of the shutters.

I moved around until I found red colors at the bottom and green at the top to mimic the opposites of the tulip which has a green steam at the bottom and some red in the flower toward the top of the image.  The water drops also help you focus on your subject, since it is easier to tell if they are in focus then the edges of the flower itself.  The sun can often be garish on flowers but this was just at sunrise so the low angle of the sun nicely lit this tulip.

Later in the month the tulips should be abundantly blooming at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.  Cemeteries are often wonderful places to photograph mushrooms, wild flowers and seasonal planting.  And if you get bored with that you can scope out interesting tombstones as an additional subject.

The second image from this week is from Nicasio Reservoir in Marin on the Lucas Valley Road.  Early in the  morning the water is often very still and mirror like.  I used a very simple and old version of ArcSoft Panorama software to stitch these 7 images together.  The Green grass on the hills in the middle section scream – the winter rains are here.

Obviously getting out at dawn and sunrise is a must!

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