Keynote

I presented my keynote to the Microsoft event yesterday and I received some amazing feedback from the conference attendees. They used words like inspiring to describe their reaction to the presentation.

Presenting to larger audiences, particularly in more formal environments, can be emotionally draining.

I did have a bit of time late in the day to get a few photos just north of Vancouver. Still a fair amount of snow. Although the past two days have been fine from a weather perspective, we are heading into rain days. So I may not be able to get out to do some serious shooting before I fly back to Toronto. Which is too bad. It is such a beautiful area.

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Early to Rise

Not hard to be up early in Vancouver. I was up at 3am.

I did get a chance to walk around and get a few pictures of the hotel and some of the surrounding buildings.

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Vancouver Day 1

Arrived into Vancouver early today. Which was a byproduct of being up at 4:30 in the morning. It is a little after 9pm Toronto time and I am ready to sleep. Even though it is a little after 6pm here. With lots of sun.

Not much chance to do any photography for the next little while. I do hope to get a couple of sessions in during my open times.

Keynote is tomorrow morning, or afternoon if you are from Toronto. I hope the presentation goes well.

I did catch this little glimmer of hope with my camera this evening. Flowers at an outdoor cafe. The snow banks are still melting back home. Life is just not fair.

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Point Reyes National Seashore

Arriving early into San Francisco, and with meetings not starting until tomorrow, I took advantage of the afternoon and evening to shoot McClures Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Only I did not plan very well for the hike.

Point Reyes National Seashore is an exceptionally large area — over 70,000 acres. As you can see from the map below, it is a big place. I had a specific location in mind, which was good, except that it turned out to be near the northernmost tip of the area. Almost a 40-minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Point Reyes Map

Let’s go back for a moment. I am staying at the Sofitel San Francisco. A very nice hotel in Redwood City, just south of San Francisco. I had arranged for a rental car to be dropped off at the hotel for 12 noon. I was scheduled to fly in at 11am and I allowed for some time to deplane, gather luggage and get to the hotel.

Everything was fine. The plane arrived slightly ahead of schedule. Unlike the typical 45-minute wait at Toronto Pearson to get luggage, my bag was on the carousel within minutes. Beautiful sun and warm weather. Nice limo ride to the hotel. Room ready. Car arrived on time.

For whatever reason, the rental company had not filled the tank with gas. It was running about a quarter of a tank. No problem, I thought, I will fill the tank when I get to the Point Reyes area. My plan was to drive along Highway 1 — the coastal highway — until Point Reyes.

There are no gas stations up there. None. I arrived at Point Reyes at 3pm. Sunset was at 6pm. But I knew that I did not have enough gas to get to the northernmost tip of the park and get back to San Francisco. I had to drive another hour round trip to find a gas station. By this point, I was panicking. I know, I know. Typical perfectionist response. However, in this case, it was because I did not know how long it would take to physically get to McClures Beach. Having traveled this far, it would be extremely disappointing to miss the best light of the day.

I found a gas station in Fairfax. Made it back to Point Reyes by 4pm. And, with a bit of risky driving, made it to the point in 30 minutes as opposed to 40 minutes.

It is about a mile or so from the parking area to get to the prime shooting area of McClures Beach. I did not have my hiking boots. I forgot water. I forgot my flashlight — a flashlight comes in handy when you are hiking back from a strange area in the dark. I did not have appropriate clothing and I was drenched in sweat from the hike. And, when evening descended, I was shivering cold from the ocean wind and spray.

Aside from all of that, the area was fantastic and worth the six hours of driving. Here are a couple of frames from Point Reyes.

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La Jolla Farewell

Last day in paradise and then back to Toronto this afternoon. I was up early this morning and I took a few last sunrise shots on the La Jolla beach. Beautiful area!

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Afternoon at La Jolla Beach

Here are some handheld shots taken at the beach. Sometimes the adhoc point and shoot system works out okay. No tripod. No backpack of gear. Just my Nikon and an 18-70 lens. And thousands of tourists. Somehow I was able to create the perception of being all alone.

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La Jolla Cove

I was up at 5am local time and I made my way down to La Jolla Cove. Most of the shots below were taken before the sun came out. In other words, it was still dark outside. But there is something about shooting landscapes in the so-called magic hour.

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Torrey Pines State Reserve

The conference ended around 3pm today. And, as I am staying an extra day, I made my way up to Torrey Pines State Reserve to do a bit of photography.

I must say that I totally underestimated the weather. I could have been out in shorts and a T-shirt. Sunny and warm. Not at all like Toronto.

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