Blazing Glow!

Location: Almaden Lake Park, San Jose
Time: Sunset
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM | 10mm | f/8 | 1s | ISO 100

Almaden Lake Park is my go-to location for Sunset if there’s no other plan. As a matter of fact, one of the first locations that I went to when I wanted to get serious about Landscape Photography was Almaden Lake Park. Another one of those locations that’s minutes away from home but didn’t even know about.

Even when I used to do a lot of bird photography, Almaden Lake Park never came up in my research. I primarily went to Palo Alto Baylands, Charlston Slough, Lake Elizabeth, among other places. When I went to Almaden Lake Park, there were so many birds – Night Heron, Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, etc. Why I didn’t know about this lake, I’ll never know.

Anyways, this was one of those days where inland areas had decent prediction. My first thought was to head to Santa Teresa Park and hike up the hill to the lone tree I have shot before or find another lone tree. Sowmya didn’t like that idea as there were reports of rattle snake in the park and she didn’t want me to go off-trail. We heard in the news that a guy got bit by rattlesnake at Fremont Peak; luckily, medics came in few minutes and saved his life.

So, Santa Teresa Park was out of question. I went to Hellyer Park a few weeks back and due to the amount of water, I wasn’t able to get a good comp. We decided to go to our ‘go-to’ place, Almaden Lake Park. As I mentioned, it’s a place I’ve been to plenty of times and have shot both Sunrise and Sunset. There’s always something new at Almaden Lake Park. As a matter of fact, that’s how I feel about any location. I don’t understand when some of my non-Photography friends ask me why I go to take photos of Sunrise or Sunset as they say – ‘it’s the same Sunrise’ or ‘haven’t you been there before?’.

To me, Photography gives me the opportunity and pleasure to visit so many places and experience so many things. While I enjoy capturing moments through my viewfinder, I have learned to take some time to enjoy the scene that unfolds in front of me. So, even though I’ve been to Almaden Lake so many times, I will always go whenever I get an opportunity. Even if I don’t take any photos, I’ll happily enjoy the Sunset with Sowmya. We’ve been to the park so many times just to take a walk and enjoy the nature.

When I got to the Lake, I knew the location I wanted to go to and the type of shot I wanted to try. I have seen a lot of driftwood in one location so I wanted to see if I can use that as part of my comp. There lot of bugs everywhere so I was a bit hesitant to go to the lake shore but I decided to go ahead anyway. Sowmya was sitting on one of the park benches and started talking to her mom & sis.

I found the comp (or I should say, I created) that I liked. I sat down on the floor and setup my tripod. I started firing away. I put a ND Filter and tried some Long Exposure shots. In terms of colors, there definitely were colors but I wouldn’t say it was a spectacular burn. It was beautiful, nevertheless.

In terms of processing, I just followed my normal workflow in Lightroom and cleaned up some unwanted items in Photoshop.

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Calm before the Storm!

Location: Almaden Lake Park, San Jose
Time: Sunset
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM| 10mm | f/8 | 1/50s | ISO 100

Another spectacular Sunset from Almaden Lake Park. This is one of my go-to spots near home. For a while, this used to be ‘the’ go-to spot but now I have discovered a few more. I love Almaden Lake Park. It’s scenic, beautiful, and has lot of trails that Sowmya and I love to walk around. They also have picnic areas that Sowmy and I go to often. We pack lunch or dinner and go to the Lake and sit at the picnic tables by the water and enjoy our meal. The Lake also is home to a wide variety of birds. Even though I don’t do that much bird Photography anymore, I always love watching birds.

Anyways, it was Sunday afternoon and Sowmya wanted to finish some errands. I thought I’d go check out a farm about 20 minutes from home as I heard that they have Sunflowers. We finished our errands and I decided to not check out the Farm as I didn’t feel like dragging Sowmya with me.

When I got home, I checked Escaype add San Jose came up with very high potential. I wasn’t sure if the numbers were accurate. I was debating if I should go out or not. Then, I decided I will go but wasn’t sure where to go. I thought I’d checkout Sierra but by the time I decided to head out it was pretty late so I wouldn’t have made it on time.

I was under the impression that Almaden Lake Park was closed so I set my mind on Santa Teresa Park. I thought I’ll hike up the hill on one of the trails to see if I can find a lone tree or some interesting foreground. I asked Sowmya not to come as I didn’t want her to hike a lot. She agreed for a second but changed her mind. So, the two of us headed out. I asked Sowmya to call Alamaden Lake Park to see if it’s open and it actually was so we decided to go there instead.

When I got there, the colors were already starting to show. I had a feeling it’ll be a good Sunset. Sowmya sat on one of the park benches and started taking to her niece. As usual, I walked up and down to find a good comp. I went down to the lake bank and took a few shots. While coming up, I was looking at Sowmya and didn’t pay attention to where I was going. I took a fall! I didn’t get hurt or anything but my camera hit the ground. Sowmya came running to me to make sure I was ok. I was more worried about the camera than anything else. My knees did hurt a bit but I wasn’t bleeding. The camera and lens were just fine. The ND Filter did get a couple of small scratches so I did a couple of test shots. Seems to be ok but time will tell.

Sowmya and I had a good laugh and I went to different side of the lake to take a few shots. I was trying to go down to the lake bank again and as Sowmya was trying to prevent me, I stumbled. I almost fell again but I was able to keep my balance. We laughed out loud for several minutes. We both sat on the bench for a few minutes laughing.

Sowmya then continued her call telling her sister, her niece, and her mom about my fall. I decided to walk around to see if I find any good comp ideas. I saw this drift wood and immediately thought about using it in my comp.

I sat down on the floor in the lake bank, put my tripod as low as it would go and started taking shots. I was waiting for the sky to get lit up. A small portion of the sky in the horizon did light up and it reflected very well on the lake. This is a blend of 3 bracketed shots. After processing the photo, I see a lot of triangles which I think add to the composition.

Literally, minutes after taking this photo, I packed my gear and met up with Sowmya who was sitting in the picnic area. We started walking toward our car and it started raining. Before we could even say it was raining, it started pouring and we got drenched.