Standing Strong!

Location: Sierra Open Preserve, San Jose
Time: Sunset
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 | 17mm | f/8 | 1/1250s | ISO 100

I have lived in the Bay Area for long time and this place is well within striking distance from home. It’ll probably take just 45 minutes to get up the winding roads to the top of the hill. Even though this place is so close, I haven’t really explored it. Definitely not for Photography. I have been there once or twice with friends before but those are what I call ‘drive-by’s. We basically drove up there, saw the city lights, spent a few minutes and drove back.

I’ve been thinking about going here during Sunrise or Sunset for a Photo Shoot; or, just to hike. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do it until recently. When Escaype forecasted high potential for inland areas, the usual back & forth started as to where we should go for Sunset. A friend and I were supposed to go to Sierra the previous day but because the forecast changed last minute, we decided to skip.

I checked on the Escaype forum and Sierra Open Preserve came up as a very good option for Sunset. So, we decided to check it out. My friend came to pick me up and we headed to Sierra. Another friend wanted to join as well so we went to his place and picked him up. The drive to the Open Preserve was smooth. When we got there, we had an hour or so before Sunset so we decided to explore one of the trails.

As we were walking the trail, all of us are thinking about comp ideas. We decided to go to one of the high spots so we can get a panoramic view. The view from the top was simply spectacular. On one side, we have the busy Silicon Valley buzzing and on the other side, the calm & serene rolling green hills. I took some shots trying to see what will work for Sunset. I took a couple of panoramic shots of the rolling green hills.

We all saw this lone tree, which was on the hill that we were standing but not on the top of the hill. So, I hiked down to see if I can get to the other side of the tree and use that as foreground during Sunset. As soon as I got there, I realized that’s not gonna work as the Sun was already going behind the hill. I decided to materialize the setting Sun and moved around to get a sunstar. It wasn’t easy but I got lucky. I was able to get a good Starburst and keep the image sharp.



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