Purple & Gold

Location: Santa Teresa Park, San Jose
Time: Sunrise
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | Canon EF-s 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM | 12mm | f/8 | 1/3s | ISO 100

Escaype predictions for Sunrise on Friday were pretty high, especially for Inland areas. The app predicated good burn and colors for Gilroy as well as Morgan Hill. I checked with the group for possible locations and Calero County Park came up as a potential option. I was warned that the park is closed but there are lot of lone trees that can be shot from the nearby roads.

I have driven past Calero County Park while going to Uvas Canyon. I knew that even if the park was closed, I could park right outside the gate and walk a bit. I didn’t think it would be an issue in the wee hours of the morning. Even though numbers for Santa Cruz was pretty high, I really didn’t want to go there as it was mentioned that coastal areas could get blue holed.

I set my alarm and hit the bed. I woke up about an 40 minutes ahead of when my alarm was set to go off. I thought about heading to Santa Cruz but I had to head out within 5 minutes to arrive on time to see the rising Sun. I didn’t want to risk it. I checked my message and then as planned, headed out to Calero. The drive took less than 25 minutes from home.

When I got there, it was pitch dark. There was still quite a bit of time before Sunrise. I waited for a few minutes and then decided to get out of the car and start walking a bit. I put on my headlamp and opened the car door. With limited line of sight, I really didn’t want to venture too far. I didn’t find any good comp nearby. I decided to not risk it as I did see a Coyote on the way in not too far from where I parked.

I was debating if I should head back home or if I should check out Santa Teresa Park, which is on the way home. Predictions for San Jose weren’t that high so I was double minded. I thought of checking it out anyway.

When I got on top of the Santa Teresa Hills, I could see the beautiful colors appearing. I wanted to use this lone tree (oak?) but wasn’t sure how to get there as the tree was fenced. I took the trail up the hill and saw that there was an opening so I went in and started claiming the hills off-trail. The grass was knee high and pretty wet. As usual, my shoes and socks got wet. When I got up the hill, I realized that there was no good comp where I was standing. However, if I walked another 200 yards, I’d get to this tree, which I can use as Foreground and shoot the rising Sun.

I decided to go for it. I got there without any issues. I setup my trip and started firing away. This was one of the first shots I got. This is a 3 shot HDR blend. I stayed there for a bit until all the colors disappeared. I was about the head back and saw the Sun appearing behind the hills. So stayed to try getting some starburst. I haven’t looked at those photos yet so not sure how they turned out.

I was hiking down with my tripod (extended) in my hand. I saw a couple of PG&E guys on the trail trying to fix something. As I got closer, one of the guys asks me this (all scared) – ‘hello sir, is that a gun?’. I told him ‘no, it’s a tripod’. Then he says ‘oh, thank god! I was scared for a bit. I thought you were carrying a rifle. Don’t get me wrong, I love guns but didn’t expect to see someone carrying this early in the morning.’ All three of us laughed out loud.

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