It’s that time of year again. I’m out photographing all things self-driving in Silicon Valley.
Check out the new photos in my Stock Photo library (link to gallery below:
The stock photography model shooting has been pretty intense. I’m not used to working with people like this. And I’ve never met anybody prior to our shoots so it’s kind of like getting to know somebody and only having an hour or two to get a sense of their “look”.
In the end I feel like I’m learning something. This hasn’t been a particularly lucrative endeavor, at least yet. But while learning to work with models I hope to improve my skills and find what stock photography does sell.
On my way back from some other business I opted to take a detour through San Bruno. Searching for the address of YouTube, I stumbled upon a Business Insider article that Walmart’s eCommerce HQ was next door. Two
birds HQs, one stone parking spot.
Once again, not the most interesting subject. But I got the usual logo closeups and the like that tend to sell. Another box checked off, yay!
I’m Putting Silicon Valley on the Map
There was a time when explaining where Silicon Valley is took some effort. As an exchange student in the mid 1980’s I had to tell people I’m from near San Francisco. As a young man I worked at Flint Center on the DeAnza Campus in Cupertino. I recall looking at the map of a flyer for a show that was playing claiming they were in San Francisco, not Cupertino. Presumably that’s because in 1990 or so Apple Computer’s Designed in Cupertino wasn’t etched on something in every other US household and few folks knew where it was.
Zoom forward a couple decades and probably every other farmer in rural China has heard of Cupertino. Perhaps because they are the ones etching the logo on the back of our iPods, Pads and any other product beginning with a lower case “i”. No need to pretend I grew up near San Francisco, I can just say Silicon Valley and everybody knows exactly where I’m talking about.
In any case my daughter Ella was reading a book cover that caught my eye. It featured a close-up of pin on a map with some custom text. I already had an idea like that in the back of my head, graphically maps look nice. And I can make my own custom map highlighting the places I feature on SiliconValleyStock.com.
Just to cover my bases I shot verticals with room for type in the hopes of a book cover. And horizontals that work better on the web to boot.
As mentioned in an earlier post, one of my clients suggested I check out Sierra Vista open space. It’s a park perched above San Jose with panoramic views of the South Bay. I did a quick recon of the site a little while back.
This isn’t my technical blog: Lensbusters.com- but from a technical standpoint, Murphy’s Law snuck up on me. As is usual when I come upon a particularly good photo op I don’t bring all my equipment with me. Invariably I find myself missing whatever I didn’t bring. So I found myself wishing I had my panorama machine- this is pano heaven (aside from the wind of course!) And given the wind and clouds it was a rare opportunity to do long daylight exposures. Only the lens I wanted to use, my 100mm required a filter adapter to use either of my super duper dense filters (the 70-200mm would have been good too but I didn’t bring it!) But I then remembered that I did bring my little kit that included the plastic-fantastic 100mm Vivitar that uses a 49mm filter, and I had my Hoya 8 stop and Tiffen 4 stop filters that let me take 15-30 second exposures in daylight. That’s what gives the clouds the “smear” look.
Another technical problem I noticed later as I was downloading my images at English Ales in Marina was a small scratch in my graduated filter. Most problems were barely visible but that led to a few duds. Time to buy another set of Cokin P filters.
On returning from Monterey I spent the later half of the day up in the hills again. The clouds were gone. But it was pretty clear by Silicon Valley air quality standards. And I had the time to spend this time ’round. So I hiked up to the lone tree I photographed the day before. The panoramic views were amazing. And worthy of me coming back with my pano setup. Hidden behind the large rocks in my earlier photo was also a picnic table- another great idea for a return trip.
Killing time, I hiked along parts of the trails below. Think of the contrast between green open spaces, the grazing cattle that would have looked similar for millennia with cities and towns below- San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto. The places credited with the most modern of technology.
A less pleasant contrast also exists in the Silicon Valley foothills. For one, there are the types you’d expect to find out along a trail, nature enthusiasts, fitness buffs, photographers and the like.. But you can also see the traces of those folks you were trying to avoid by heading up here. There are piles of trash near most pullouts along the road. Occasionally a loud car would pull up and rowdy folks would yell and scream. And the same idiots on Harley Davidsons that terrorize the city below with the roar of their meth-and-mullet culture. I cracked a joke with a couple of hikers: “love the peace and quiet and fresh air” after a kid on a “rice rocket” burned rubber and blew tire smoke towards us.
And another downside as far as photography is that they close up right after sunset. So after we were booted out, I desperately looked for a legal pullout to photograph. The light really gets good just about the time the park closes. But then again, I found a few other great spots.
Finding where my photos end up being used can be tricky. I license photos directly, but also through third parties. I found this photo used in the Swiss newspaper Der Bund. It’s a photo of a street sign that leads into Google in Mountain View.
The title of the article in English reads “Half of the Jobs Disappeared”. It is an article interviewing the German journalist Christoph Keese about a book he wrote about Silicon Valley. Interestingly he was an exchange student in Silicon Valley in the 1980’s- I grew up in Silicon Valley and was an exchange student in Germany in the same time frame. Small world 😉