• The road is about 200 feet up and to the right. Lot of photogs take shots from the top of the hill, but this view is better. Just watch your step or you will slide down the hill!
  • The slope is steep here but there is a little rocky outcrop with some poppies (which I shot) that looks good. And the outcrop provides a good place to stand among the steeply sloping hills.
  • The fault-line is right here and goes hundreds of miles in each direction.
  • Evergreen California Bay Laurel trees, which smell and taste like the bay trees used in Italian sauces.
  • The start of the deep Redwood forest, which likes lower and foggier elevations.
  • Bolinas ridge.
  • The tip of point Reyes!
  • The Pacific Ocean, with Stinson Beach just to the left. The light was not good there so I did not include it in a wider view.
  • The ocean was lit up from underneath the higher clouds as the sun met the horizon!
  • This is an excellent trail. Highly recommended!
  • I had to wait until the sun slid below the clouds because this area was far too bright.
  • I made sure to end this line right in the corner.
  • Why? :)) - Parkinson Sniper

Faultlines - Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, California

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The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean just north of San Francisco, illuminating ridges formed by the San Andreas fault, which slipped 16 feet at the surface in 1906. The japan quake moved the surface by 15-20ft in the tsunami area and 9 inches in Tokyo, with bigger slippage far offshore. This fault slipped right through the city in 1906! No HDR, though this high contrast situation is perfect for HDR.

Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!

I left the saturation slider on zero despite the vivid colors! I was tempted to desaturate but the greens did not look blown out so I left it alone.

See the 1400 pixel version!!


Canon 5D mark II
Canon 24-105L @ 58 with some cropped of the edges
Live preview
1/6-second exposure @F8
ISO 200
1 Lee soft grad filter (4x6 inch, 100x150mm, 0.9, 3-stop)
1 Singh-Ray 3-stop reverse ND grad filter (4x6 inch)
(Lee filters is having trouble with production,
so I also just got a regular 3-stop ND grad and it looks just like the Lee!)
No polarizer.
RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One
TIFF file processed with Photoshop cs4
Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod
Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head

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The Story
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Mt. Tamalpais is the ultimate place to watch the sun set over the Pacific. It is over 2,000 feet (700m) almost straight down to the shoreline and there is commonly low fog drifting though. The San Andreas fault (and erosion) have created lots of undulations and photo opps! It runs left to right just in front of the darker (forested) Bolinas Ridge in the distance and has rippled the surface on either side.

In the summer, there is fog that drifts under this location creating surreal scenes of impressive beauty. In about a month (by the end of May) the green grass dries up and turns a golden brown making this place look completely different. It will be brown until December. It can be very dangerous to shoot here in the summer because the dry grass becomes slippery and as you can see in the foreground, the slope is about 45 degrees with nothing to stop you from sliding 1000 feet into a gully or a tree at the bottom.

I will do this exact composition in the summer to shot how different it is.

The contrast was extreme on this evening so I had to be careful to get the grads into the right place to keep it looking natural. The sky turned an unusual color which I would not believe if I had not seen it myself. When shooting, look closely at the sky and then at your viewfinder to see how accurate the photo is to reality. Remember it so that you can accurately process it later.

In this case, the grass in the viewfinder after the shot had a bluish tint to it that I did not see with my eye, so I desaturated the blue channel in the grassy areas to get it back to a natural green color.

The map shows the exact location.

Other stuff

My pictures are featured on the front page of the
state Government. of California website
and the new Governor, Jerry Brown's website too. Have a look! It is Flash with my pics cut into layers for a 3-d slideshow. If you are into building apps, the State has opened up lots of data to the public, so check it out!


A great weather mashup map of the world with local temperatures, weather and nice popups. See where it is hot and not!

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)

Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')
Or Here:

Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


Nino H, Nancy Rose, Malia León , and 1580 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Amar.kumar 35 months ago | reply

    This is amazing...great shot!!!
    like the story-telling script too!!

  2. fairytrixy 34 months ago | reply

    If you ever have a chance to ride out to Pt Tomales which is the other end of the Pt Reyes Seashore. McClures beach Trail is amazing! It is very short and if you head to the left it takes you to a very easy to climb group of rocks and a passage to a view of Pt Reyes. It is on the fault and it is one of the most beautiful spots ever! Beautiful picture you took here, Cheers!

  3. - Dave Morrow - 34 months ago | reply

    man what a shot Pat!

  4. Maneef Photography 33 months ago | reply

    Beautiful !!
    Would like to see your photos on www.twiching.com too !!
    thank you !

  5. RickyB-Photography 31 months ago | reply

    Wow!!! I've never seen anything like this photo...amazing Patrick.

  6. noglasticrome 31 months ago | reply

    Holy freaking wow...

  7. philipleemiller 31 months ago | reply

    a great fan of your work ...

    please accept this personal invite to a newly formed group:

    Apollo and Dionysus

    ... featuring only the highest quality images.
    Seen on your photo stream. ( ?² )

  8. jbnuthatch 29 months ago | reply

    Stunning color!

  9. Shahriar Shahidi [deleted] 20 months ago | reply

    Patrick, very strong composition. And please feel free to look at my stream

  10. charbar2009 18 months ago | reply

    Wow!! This is such an incredible image! The light and the color are amazing! You can ask my husband there are very few times that I'm speechless but this image left me that way!

  11. ericbeaume 16 months ago | reply

    Just fabulous !

  12. jcpgarzon 16 months ago | reply

    just Wonderful ...

  13. DingoShoes - life's a dream 16 months ago | reply

    All the elements conspire to make this an absolutely stunning capture! Simply breathtaking!

  14. ep_jhu 13 months ago | reply

    I like the composition for this shot

  15. Hot Pink Flamingo1 13 months ago | reply

    unbelievable....in a good...nonono..GREAT way!

  16. Arthur Sixtenson 10 months ago | reply

    Great work, it could not been much better than that! Think you maybe like my pictures, so take a look! :)

  17. leespencer 10 months ago | reply

    a beauti
    work of photo art

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