Tag Archives: golden gate park

Annual dahlia photowalk

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Every year in late summer/early autumn, Sabrina and I head over to Golden Gate Park to photograph the dahlias. It’s a lovely tradition. So many gorgeous flowers.

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It was an explosion of color on the scene.

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My challenge this year was to take some different shots, change it up a bit. I’m not sure I succeeded, but it was fun trying.

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One of these days I’m going to go back through my hard drive and pick out which is my favorite image of these beauties. I wonder if I’ll be drawn to the soft, light and airy images, or something darker and moodier. It’ll probably depend on my mood.

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Can’t wait to see Sabrina’s photos from the day.

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San Francisco in film

Last month I spent a day riding my bike around SF, enjoying the gorgeous weather. I brought along my dad’s old Canon SLR. The camera’s metering system runs on a battery that’s no longer made, so I either have to use a separate light meter (I use an app on my phone) or guesstimate and hope for the best (which I do more often than not).

I used 400 speed film, which was probably too much for the full sun that shone brightly that day. Oh, the limitations of film. Luckily, unlike digital, it’s more forgiving.

When looking at my black and white film prints, I sometimes pretend that the photo was taken a long time ago, and try to imagine what it would be like if I were around in that day and age.

Here’s the Conservatory of Flowers, originally built in the late 1800’s. When I rode by it again that night, it was lit up green.

golden gate park

I ended my bike tour at the Sutro Baths. I sipped on a cappuccino from the new cafe and enjoyed the view before trekking down to explore the ruins. This was my view. Not bad.

sf landscape

It was as crowded as I’d ever seen that place. Everyone lingered for a beautiful sunset. I used those moments to breathe deeply and savor this incredible life I’m lucky enough to find myself experiencing.

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The fluttering of petals and wings

Butterfly on white

A couple months back, Sabrina and I took our annual excursion to Golden Gate Park to photograph the dahlias in full bloom. However, [ahem] someone’s penchant for sleeping in, along with a surprisingly clear sky in the park, meant that by the time we got to the park, the sun blazed overhead and created some harsh lighting, as you can see in this photo (see? overblown in the center top area).

pink, yellow, white dahlia

My laziness minimalist heart prevented me from bringing a tripod nor diffuser, so I had to be creative with my shots. I used the shade of the dahlias and took some low shots.

orange dahlia

I used my sunglasses to filter out some light here.

Dahlia sunglass filter

Sabrina suggested we retreat to the haven of the Conservatory of Flowers. Although it’s humid in there, at least we would be protected from that hot sun (remember, we’re San Franciscans and can only function in the fog and temps cooler than 72 degrees).

My aunt has so many orchids in her backyard. I have no idea how she keeps them alive. They would rival these beauties.

Violet orchid

Water lily loveliness.

water lily in darkness

Water lily

The main exhibit at the Conservatory showcases hundreds of butterflies. If you’re lucky, one will land on you.

emerge

Also, insects are kind of frightening up close. They look so alien. Check out those eyes.

Butterfly on white 2

Be sure to check out Sabrina’s photos from the day.

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Dahlia Dell

peach orange dahlia
Last Tuesday morning was gorgeous in Golden Gate Park, seemingly uncharacteristically sunny there while overcast in the Mission. I was at the park to shoot the dahlia garden, which is in full bloom, just east of the Conservatory of Flowers. My partner-in-crime for the morning was Sabrina, who takes gorgeous pictures of pretty things, making them look even prettier.

I decided to try something different, and went for a darker mood.
purple magenta ombre dahlia

I harnessed the brillant sunlight starting to shine down on the blooming flowers.
shadows and light dahlia

But you know I still love a soft, dreamy flower:
lens flare dahlia

I also brought the Yashica and took a few shots, but I still have a few exposures left in the ol’ TLR so those photos will have to wait for another time. I’m such a tease.

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Dahlia Dell




I love Golden Gate Park. I’ve spent countless hours here: running, biking, walking, just hanging out… I never get tired of it. And one of my favorite seasonal treats they offer is its beautiful Dahlia Dell, the almost hidden sister next to the grand Conservatory of Flowers. Dahlia’s are great to explore up close and personal. And the best time to go is in early Autumn, late September/early October (which is when these photos were taken).

The closer you get, the more there is to see.


I love the architecture of the petals…



…and vivid colors



And closer still, you enter dreamland. Sometimes soft…



…sometimes joyful…

…always memorable.


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