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Tamalpais Glory - Marin County, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Tamalpais Glory - Marin County, California

Last weekend, I went up on Mt. Tamalpais (10Mi. NW of San Francisco) for the sunset. The fog was too thick towards the ocean so I went to the other side and saw this rather intense scene! No HDR.


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Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40 @ 20

3.2-second exposure @ F16 (to show the moving fog, but not too much!)

2 0.9 (3-stop) Lee neutral density soft grad filters

(Lee is having production problems (can't keep up with demand) so Singh Ray makes good ones too.)

No polarizer

ISO 50

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod with Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol grip ball head

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop






At sunset, the coastal fog began to move inland towards the distant horizon. As it did, it wrapped around Mt. Tamalpais creating fantastic swirling shapes. It was moving fast! I used a 3-second exposure to capture the motion of the fog as the last rays of the sun turned the high clouds a brilliant red. The fog looked a bit 'mushy' using a 10-second exposure, but 3-seconds seemed to be just about right.


Usually by June, the flowers have faded for the dry season, but because of a cool spring, they were still there fortunately, so I backed up the hill under a prickly Manzanita bush to get the flowers into the foreground. Sausalito and Mill Valley are in the foreground with the Richmond San Rafael bridge crossing the bay under the fog to the left. San Francisco is behind the fog bank to the right.


The map shows exactly where this is.






Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


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Taken on June 11, 2011