Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours: Blog en-us (C) Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:14:00 GMT Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:14:00 GMT Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours: Blog 109 120 Essential Gear Doc Miles Uses on Doc Miles Photo Tours  



Doc's Photo GearDoc's Photo GearGear Doc Miles uses when in the field. Like all photographers, I have spent a great deal of money on photo related products over the years. Some of the great and some "resting in peace" in a drawer or shelf somewhere in my attic or basement.  As photographers, we all have too many camera bags, so I won't get too deep into that area, however I though it would be nice to share some thoughts on my "go to" gear just in case you ask.


When out with clients on tours I am often asked what photo or other gear I recommend.  I am not sponsored receive any benefit from the gear I use, I find what works  best for me while out in the field. I will offer my "end user" comments with each recommendation.


Let's start with the big stuff: Support Systems. The best in the business is Really Right Stuff and it is expensive. in this case, it is worth every cent. They manufacture and sell only support systems. That's a big plus compared to other top-of-the line systems like Gitzo that are part of a large mega company that distributes their gear. Really Right Stuff only sells through their own company on their website. A good tripod is probably the best investment you will ever make just short of a nice lens. Camera bodies come and go, but a good tripos can last many years.


Next up on the list: Your feet. As a landscape and nature photographer you have to get to some places that are difficult and rough on your feet. Footwear is important in rough terrain and rocky outcrops.  No one has this figured out better than Five-Ten shoes. While you may find them in very select models in climbing stores or REI, they are best sourced direct from their site. While they make a variety of shoes for all outdoor activities, they all have their patented Stealth Rubber© soles that grip rock and terrain like no other shoe on the market. They give you confidence and agility you cannot imagine in another outdoor shoe.


While on the subjects of feet: Cold weather shoes. I love Five-Ten, but they do not make a cold weather shoe or boot. This is where I turn to Sorel. Their Caribou model serves me well on my Yosemite Tours in the winter, as well as the Eastern Sierras. They are water proof, warm and provide agility and traction needed for just plain really cold weather. I live in a temperate climate, my feet get cold easy and I need that kind of warmth on the trails in winter.

Speaking of warmth, let's talk about jackets. Nothing beats Patagonia  for warmth, lightweight and packability. I have eighteen Patagonia jackets and vests. (I know that is completely wretched excess, but I have yet to find a Patagonia re-hab center near me.) 


Well, that's it for Part One. next up is small stuff to make your life easier like flash lights, knives and other little stuff you need in your bag. 


Thanks for linking in and reading. For more information on my tours go to: Doc Miles Photo Tours and Check out The Loupe Brothers Photo Adventures.

Thanks ,  Doc

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Photography tours doc miles photo tours -san francisco golden gate bridge landscape photography, muir woods nature photography" san francisco yosemite Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:13:53 GMT
New Mobile Apps From Adobe creative Cloud Doc Miles Photo Tours

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photo Tours San Francisco Tours Yosemite Tours francisco photography san tours yosemite Fri, 03 Jun 2016 22:17:47 GMT
Loupe Brothers Photo Adventures Loupe Brothers Photo Adventures

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles photo tours Eastern Franicsico Photo San Sierra Tours" Workshops" Yosemite workshops photo workshops photography tours Thu, 26 May 2016 17:16:53 GMT
Spring 2016 Newsletter Doc Miles Photo Tours]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) (doc (photo golden miles photo photography) shots) Sat, 06 Feb 2016 07:03:33 GMT Doc Miles Photo Tours Announces Partnership with Hotel Zetta San Francisco Pasted GraphicPasted Graphic Pasted Graphic 2Pasted Graphic 2

Pasted Graphic 1Pasted Graphic 1 Pasted Graphic 3Pasted Graphic 3

In a city of exquisitely edgy contrasts, Hotel Zetta offers a high level of sophistication and service without taking itself too seriously. The vibrant décor and sustainable architecture lend an innovative, creative vibe, while the high-tech conveniences, oversize guestrooms and plush pillow top beds keep things modern and always relaxed. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s famously techy-savvy SoMa district and walking distance to Union Square and Moscone Convention Center, Hotel Zetta invites style-seeking travelers and local professionals to work, connect, play and get inspired.

Located in the heart of one of the world's most creative cities lives an underground exhibition of local artistic talent splattered on walls, hanging from ceilings and hidden in stairwells. Hotel Zetta's art installations range from vibrant graffiti murals to recycled and reused fixtures, all of which can be seen below your feet, above your head and out your window. When you're here, take a moment and look around - San Francisco art surrounds you at this boutique San Francisco hotel.

Hotel Zetta




]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photo Tours Hotel Zetta San Francisco Wed, 22 Jul 2015 04:13:37 GMT
Stop Strap Flap - Doc Miles photography Tours Stop Strap Flap!



When we are out on tours in San Francisco, it can get quite windy. Especially in the headlands where a calm day is rare. Most of our tours are when the light requires long exposure. This requires a tripod and timer or cable release. I so often see everything set up on a nice rig of equipment only to witness the camera strap flapping around beating the tripod.


Tack sharp images in low light require a lot of stabilization and a flapping strap can cause vibration that will blur the image somewhat.


What’s the solution? One, is to have a removable strap with clips, but even the remaining clips attached to the camera can flap around and vibrate the camera. Another to spend US$ 6.00 at a hardware store Nite Ize ® Gear Ties Reusable Rubber Twist Ties. . They come in all sizes and colors. Just wrap your camera strap to the tripod leg and twist it tight. The strap does not move, even in high winds. That can be easy to lose, so store it wrapped around your tripod leg where you will always have it ready. There are so many uses for these Gear Ties, that you will want to have a whole collection.


Well, there is my tip for today. Have a great time out there and keep shooting?


Doc Miles Photo Tours San Francisco and more.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Tours Photo Tours San Francisco Tours Fri, 29 May 2015 23:41:11 GMT
Photography Is Art - After All-Doc Miles Photography Tours Photography Is Art

The Stacks 3-9-2015The Stacks 3-9-2015The Stacks at Fort Cronkhite

I was recently with a client on Doc Miles Photography Tours who just stood and looked at the scene for several minutes before taking a shot. My first reaction was that he was working on some composition or examining the light to decide what setting to use before shooting.

Finally, I asked him why he was reluctant to get shooting as the light was changing and he replied, “I am capturing this scene in my memory. My photographs will never get the total beauty of this moment. Now we can shoot.”

It was a flashback moment for me when he said that because, I too, had many wonderful places and moments that I reflected upon and never had a camera with me. I can still recall the images as if they were moments ago.  One such image was a couple of years ago when a mid winter sunset lighted up the sky in scarlet over the Pacific, just above Baker Beach. I was coming home and did not have a camera with me. Everyone was stopped along the road, even the police. I stopped and just took it in my memory. I can still see it.

The human eye is an extraordinary organic machine. No camera today or in the future will equal its complexity and versatility. Cameras can give us lasting images that provide us with tangible photos to enjoy, analyze and record many things in the human experience, but capturing what your brain records is art.

I was once asked; “What do you look for in a scene before you take a photograph?”  That was a simple question that has a very complex answer. I will try to break it down in three simple thoughts:

  1. Light – after all photography is writing with light. Light is critical to good photography.
  2. Composition – Allowing the eye to move around a photograph and digest all the elements that it encompasses without distraction.
  3. Emotion – The most important of all elements. A photograph has to provoke emotion or it is just a snapshot.

The combination of the three creates your artistic vision. Your version of what you saw.

Feel free to manipulate all the settings and in postproduction. You are creating art not documenting events. (unless you are a journalist). Think outside the box and experiment. Always look behind and around you. The great shot might be where you are not focused.

As an artist, remember one thing; there is no color in the physical world. Humans see only what is useful to them as a species. It is a sobering thought, yet unlocks the creative spirit. Feel free to create and color your world.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Tours of San Francisco Photo Tours Photo Tours San Francisco San Francisco photography Sun, 05 Apr 2015 03:36:09 GMT
Landscape photographer’s Essential Clothing Guide- Doc Miles Photo Tours of SF On my tours the weather is unpredictable fog not withstanding, one thing is consistent. It will be cold. San Francisco is generally about 50ºƒ to 65ºƒ year around. Sure, we have warmer days and colder days, but you can count on the temperatures to hold at normal most of the time.


Sunrise Tour with Doc MilesCold Foggy Morning with Doc Miles Photo Tours of San Francisco

When we are touring out in the Marin Headlands, the wind can bring the ambient temperature chill factor below 45ºƒ, even in the summer months. Having warm outer clothing is essential to be comfortable during the four or five hour tours.

With that being said, I usually have a couple of warm jackets and hats for clients that come unprepared.

I want to share the kind of outer gear I believe is essential to have in this environment. No matter where you travel as a landscape photographer you must be prepared for changes in the weather.


Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket  - This lightweight little beauty can be packed into its own pocket and worn as a layer or single jacket on cool days. For everyday wear or under a Patagonia Down Sweater in the colder areas, it is a must have for the outdoor photographer.


Five Ten Shoes – Hands down (or feet down), Five Ten shoes. After being turned on to this brand by Louie Loupe of the Loupe Brothers Tours, I am a solid devotee. They have a patented “Stealth Rubber Sole” that grips rock, loose gravel and soil and slip rock like a lizard. The make several types including an underwater version used in Zion National Park’s Narrows rentals. These shoes have their origins in rock climbing so they are well tested in extreme situations. I have several pair in different models from hiking boots to street wear. Most of their line is sold online.

Underwear All that upper wear is great then the biting wind rips at your legs and bottom. Patagonia Capilene® 2 lightweight bottoms are perfect for the cooler weather when you just need that extra layer.

Knit Cap  & Scarf – Any brand will do, but having them handy is a big plus.

Gloves – Under Amour and North Face make great liners gloves with a “grippy” pattern on the palm and fingers that allow you to use an iPhone and feel all the setting on your camera.

Tripod Leg Warmers – Seriously, here is the thing; tripod legs get cold and can be cold to carry. Wrapping pipe insulation around the legs keeps a comfortable distance between you and the tripod. It also cushions when you carry it over your shoulder. You can buy the from B&H, but The Home Depot pipe foam insulation works just as well.

Well, that’s the rundown. I hope your next outdoors photo shoot is with Doc Miles Photo Tours.

Keep shooting.


]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles photo tours Franicsico Photo San Tours" photography tours Mon, 13 Oct 2014 03:56:52 GMT
Gear Review - Doc Miles Photography Tours At Doc Miles Photography Tours, our safaris go to some windy and unstable places. I always carry two or three tripods for my clients to use because sometimes the tripods they bring with them are not built to stand the wind. We shoot in the dark a great deal with long exposures. Having a camera shutter open for thirty seconds or more requires zero vibration for tack sharp photos.

For your first tripod, “go big”.  Spend the money to get a high quality tripod and a solid ball head.  A good tripod and ball head can set you back well over $1,000 but it will serve you for years and can take the punishment. There are so many brands on the market, but two of the best are Gitzo and Really Right Stuff.  

Many of our clients on the tours come from overseas and need to travel light. Gitzo makes one of the lightest and best travel tripods on the market. The Gitzo Traveller series is extremely lightweight and fits in a carry on bag. 

If budget is a concern, MeFOTO makes excellent tripods that come in fun colors, includes a ball head and won’t break the bank. (Less than $200.) The best part is one leg screws into the center column to make a monopod.  They also make the best iPhone attachment for your tripod called the Sidekick360  for $49.

If you don’t want to bring a tripod on your trip, no problem we’ve got you covered at Doc Miles Photography Tours of San Francisco.


]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Tours Golden Gate Bridge Photo Tours San Francisco Photo Safaris San Francisco Photo Tours tripod reviews tripods Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:07:38 GMT
Reviewing Print Services -Doc Miles San Francisco Photography Tours Ferry Terminal at SolsticeFerry Terminal at Solstice

A while back, I posted that I did not print any photos in my studio and did not own a printer. Well, I do own a printer, but it is a simple HP that doesn't do quality photos. That said, I always send files out to print services for gallery prints. Here is why.

By the time you buy a high quality printer, paper and ink, you have invested a pretty tidy sum in the printing process. Then you need back up ink cartridges that can, depending on the printer, run up to 8 different colors.

Nothing is more fun than running out of "Light Cyan" on a weekend and spending quality time visiting office supply stores for a refill, only to discover you have to order on line from the manufacturer because your printer is too high end. Add to that running test prints to see if your print profiles are working correctly on expensive paper that you have to throw away due to errors in the set up.

Long ago I ditched my high-end printer for outside print services and have never looked back. So, here is my review of the services I use and the pros and cons for each:

1. Bay Photo - - When it comes to Metal Prints (all the rage now), these guys are the best. Santa Cruz. CA based, they have excellent customer service and a wide variety of sizes and combinations. Metal photos need no matting and framing and have outstanding clarity and brilliance. Well worth the price. Good delivery time and excellent packaging. Reasonable prices. The provide color correction and other custom choices.  No cons.

2. West Coast Imaging - I have been using this service for years and never been disappointed. They are a professional lab that will do custom sizes and many pro services. Their staff is very reachable and friendly. While they can be a bit pricey compared to other labs, they deliver great quality prints. Based in Oakhurst CA. ( Just outside of Yosemite). Reasonable turnaround time and stand by their work if not satisfied. They often run discount specials, so if you can wait, take advantage of the offers. No Cons

3. Aspen Creek Photo - The sister company to Aspen Creek. All work is computerized and limited to stock sizes which isn't a bad thing for most framing options. Same great customer service and turnaround time. competitive  pricing. They alternate discounts between WCI, so you can choose from about two every month. Pros: Great customer service Cons: Stock sizes

4. MPIX Pro - This is the professional side of MPIX, a division of Miller Professional Labs in Denver Colorado. Miller has been around since the camera was invented and is highly rated. You have to send three photos for printing to qualify to became a member and have access to MPIX Pro. I have yet to find out what benefit that offers, except they do color correction and some retouching. Pros: Fast turnaround time. Cons: They do not offer any MPIX discounts, but do not tell you until you have checked out and try to apply the offer.

5. MPIX - Honestly, if you want it tomorrow, they can do it. Upload before 11:00AM CDT (CST) and they ship tomorrow FedEx. It can't get any better than that. They offer framing, and too many print options to mention, but no custom sizes. Who cares? They have deals all the time and have an app to send them prints directly from any devise. For really great everyday prints, MPIX is the way to go. It is all computerized, so forget trying to talk to someone, but they deliver a great product at a great price. Pros: Speed and price  Cons: No human interaction, but who needs it?  

6. Wallgreens -I have to include them and CVS, COSTCO and (holding my breath) Walmart. Talk about deals! They have a deal a day. 75 4x6 prints for $9.99. How can you beat that? I often send my photos to Wallgreens to test the brightness and color correction. For a couple of bucks, in one hour, I can see what I need to do to send it off to the "big boys" for enlargements. I have often been so impressed that I just frame what I got from them, as is. Pros: Immediate results Cons: No custom sizes and large prints need to go elsewhere to be processed. ( probably MPIX - LOL).

Tips for printing though a service: Bay Photo & West Coast Imaging accept all formats such as JPG and TIFF. The rest are JPG only.

Before sending photos to a lab, increase the brightness by 15-20%. In Photoshop: Create a new layer and select the SCREEN blending mode and drop the opacity to 15-20%. In Lightroom: In the PRINT Module of to Brightness and select 15-20% and output to JPEG.

I hope this save you some time and money on your prints.

Doc Miles Photography Tours



]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Phootgraphy Doc Miles Photography Tours San Francisco Photo Tours Mon, 18 Aug 2014 06:28:50 GMT
Can I get the fog under the Golden Gate Bridge on Doc Miles Photo Tours? Fog in the HollowFog in the Hollow

When booking tours for Doc Miles Photo Tours, I am often asked if we will be able to capture a view of the fog under the Golden Gate Bridge. The answer is not a simple one. The hills surrounding the Golden Gate are an extension of the Santa Cruz Mountains. As the cold marine layer lies off shore it is pulled in by rising temperatures on the eastern side of the hills and farther inland. July and August often provide a great contrast to the temperatures which vary from 55ºƒ at the Golden Gate to 80º-100ºƒ+ inland. 

It is not uncommon to drive north through the Waldo Tunnel and have a temperature swing of 20ºƒ-30ºƒ. This weather phenomenon is strongest during July and August and can produce very strong winds at the Golden Gate and along the shore.  Living close to the Golden Gate Bridge makes lounging on the patio on balmy summer nights quite a windy affair. The wind can be so strong that it blows out the flame on even your gas fired BBQ grill.

But as September rolls around inland temperatures cool a bit and even into October we experience nice sunny days with temperatures into the high 60s or 70s.  The fog at this time can be at its most whimsical , darting around and under the Golden Gate Bridge, engulfing it one minute and whisking back out to sea  the next.  Then in late fall and winter, the more moist temperatures in the Sacramento Valley can cause heavy fog around the bridge that will come into the Golden Gate from the opposite direction and linger very low under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Iconic shots of  fog under the Golden Gate Bridge come from having your camera with you and at the right place at the right time.. It is not well known that the famous San Francisco fog horns located under the span of the Golden Gate Bridge are only turned on manually when the fog is under the bridge.  I live close enough to the south tower of the bridge and if I can hear the fog horns but can see that the tower is visible, I load up the camera gear and head over to the Golden Gate. Many of my favorite  shots were captured this way and you can see them on my website

Quite often on Doc Miles Photo Tours we get lucky and hit the fog just right and the effort pays off. Other times we opt for little known locations to catch a spectacular view from an out of the ordinary angle. Either way we get unforgettable shots.   

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Doc Miles Photography Tours Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Photo Tours Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:47:49 GMT
Photoshop Is Not A Verb - Doc Miles Photography Tours Recently I posted a photograph of a storm cloud formation over Alcatraz Island on Facebook. A Facebook friend commented " I have a hard time with DM's photos because I think he Photoshops everything. PLEASE correct me if I am wrong!"  I had to laugh because another friend came to my defense and said "they are definitely his photos. Not photoshopped. More details in person."  While I appreciate my friend defending me, it really was more flattering than accurate. 

To set the record straight, the way an experienced DSLR photographer shoots is by setting the shooting mode to "Camera RAW". This captures the whole range of pixels the camera is capable of processing on the sensor (Think "negative" in the film era). No pixels are manipulated, enhanced or changed. All the digital information is there. It isn't very pretty. Why? There is a protective filter over the sensor on DSLR cameras that cause the RAW (negative) to appear dull. The photographs need "Post Processing" to look like what the eye actually saw.

Early photographers did all kinds of post processing in the darkroom. They dodged, burned and cropped only to name a few of the myriad of darkroom techniques to get a photograph just right. Ansel Adams was  a darkroom master and a great photographer. A truly worthy photograph has to have three qualities: Light, Composition and Emotion. Those are the qualities that a photographer has to get right in the camera. Post Processing is the technique of enhancing those qualities to make a compelling photograph. 

All cameras today feature a Scene Mode or Auto Mode that produces a JPEG image that has been enhanced according to the scene selected. The RAW image has been processed by the camera with enhancements to please the eye. This mini photo enhancement feature is what sells camera to non-professional photographers. It is a one step process to good looking images. Even the iPhone camera has image processing features.

I prefer to shoot RAW as my canvas and then post process to the look and feel that is my creative signature on the image.  Do I post process every image I display? Absolutely. It is my art in two stages. First, the shot ( Light, Composition & Emotion) and second, the post processing. I have been doing that long before Photoshop was released.  Do I process everything in Photoshop? No. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, NIK Plug in suite by Google, OneOne Suite 8 and Photoshop when necessary. I use Lightroom 85% of the time and Photoshop 15%.

Photoshop is a tool not a verb. It is a brilliantly developed and massive image processing program that is hard to live without if you are a creative professional.

If you like my work, enjoy it, but has been post processed.

Here is the shot in question:

Capture Time 11:47:05 AM Tuesday April 1, 2014

Camera: Nikon D800 Film: Lexar 32GB/1000mbs CF     Tripod - Gitzo Mountaineer  Exposure: 1/400 SEC at ƒ/11  Lens:Nikon 70-200 mm/2.8

Focal Length : 90mm  Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5.3 Camera Raw 8.3 and NIK ColorEfex Pro 4

Alcatraz StormAlcatraz Storm

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Thu, 03 Apr 2014 21:00:21 GMT
Golden Gate Park - Beware - Doc Miles Photography Tours San Francisco As a tour guide and professional photographer, I have clients from all over the world at Doc Miles Photography Tours.   One place I do not take them is Golden Gate Park. Believe me it is a beautiful park and the largest urban park in the USA. It has museums, Bison, lakes and much more. Why won't I take photographers there? It is  not a safe place. 

I recently had a client who took his wife and young daughter there and had his rental car broken into and all his photo gear stolen two days before the tour with me. After a day of recovering from the shock, we agreed to go on the tour anyway and use my gear.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. There is a restaurant at the ocean end of the park where people can dine and look over the beach. At least once a week, someone has their car broken into and valuables stolen right in front of the private parking lot below the dining room. Here is the thing. Unfortunately Golden Gate Park is full of homeless encampments and transients. The thieves hide in the bushes near parked cars, dash out, break the window and snatch and grab valuables.

Trying to get something done by the Golden Gate Park Police is nearly impossible. They are grossly understaffed and spread too thin. The SFPD tries to do their part, but there are advocates that prevent any results of preventing the encampments and subsequent crime. 

I am not saying "Don't go to the park", but take the bus and keep your valuables on your person. It is a truly great place to visit, but be very careful with your belongings.

Hopefully, one day, the city will deal with this problem and clean up the park of this blight for all to enjoy. 

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Tours Golden gate Park San Francisco Photo Tours Fri, 07 Feb 2014 19:18:12 GMT
Windy Days at Doc Miles Photo Tours San Francisco High wind -No HopeHigh wind -No Hope

On my tours, many clients bring their own tripods. In most cases it is the high quality Gitzo Traveler ( . It weighs only four pounds and fits in a briefcase or carry on. A really fantastic tripod for most situations, except for windy conditions.

The locations we shoot can get breezy and sometimes, downright windy. This presents a serious problem for the 30 second exposures from the high places we shoot. The best solution comes in four parts:

1. Get as low as possible to the ground and use any natural barrier to the wind that may be near by. Sometimes that will cut the camera shake significantly.

2. Get close to the camera and open up a jacket holding out your arms to create a wind barrier around the camera.

3. Use weight to hold the tripod steady. This can be done is a variety of ways:

  • I always carry a small tote bag that folds into itself to place a rock in and suspend from the tripod. (You can get these at Whole Foods or similar store for a couple of dollars).
  • Use your back pack or camera bag to suspend it from the tripod and clip your strap with a small carabiner.

4. Turn on Vibration Reduction. While this is not recommended in normal conditions while on a tripod, it seems to help in a windy situation.

I tried all these tips last Saturday and they seemed to work pretty well. I hope this helps.

Doc Miles Photography Tours



]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Phootgraphy Doc Miles Photography Tours San Francisco Photo Tours Thu, 23 Jan 2014 22:30:17 GMT
Chasing Fog. The Elusive Golden Gate Fog  

Golden Gate Fog Jan 1014Golden Gate Fog Jan 1014

Capturing the famous San Francisco fog can be as elusive as wildlife photography. If you are in the right place at the right time, you may just get the shots. To be able to get the fog at the right time is like hunting big game. One never knows when or how it will roll in. I am one lucky guy, in that I live close to the bridge in The Presidio; I can see the south tower from my window. A little known fact is that the fog horns are turned on by the Golden Gate Bridge electricians when the fog is under the bridge. When I hear the horns and can still see the South Tower, I know I have to jump in the car and run over the bridge to see if I can get the shots.

Sometimes, I am too late and am socked in all the way up to Hawk Hill. Often, I sit a wait until it settles down and never does, so I go home. It is a total game of chance. Tonight, I was leaving Sausalito and saw a hint of fog under the bridge. I had my camera and tripod with me and went to Battery Spencer where I got the first shot of the fog teasing the South Tower. By the time I reached the toll gate going home, it was fogged in pretty good. I quickly went to the overlook just below the toll gate and grabbed this shot. The fog behaved perfectly.

When I do my tours, I always tell my clients that it is more chance than given that we will capture the fog. When we do, it is a magical moment.

Approaching Fog at the Golden GateApproaching Fog at the Golden Gate

Golden Gate Fog January 2014Golden Gate Fog January 2014


]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photo Tours Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco Photography Tours Tue, 21 Jan 2014 06:22:19 GMT
Unintended Results-Doc Miles Photography & Tours

The clouds were perfect for a brilliant pink sunset. I raced home, on two busses, to get to the spot near my home to capture to brilliant pink sky. It never happened. A Great Horned Owl hooted his opinion from a tree very close to me and then flew in front of my first shot. A blur.

This is where one goes to Plan B. I just kept shooting until after dark and never expected the results that I was able to achieve.

This is not an HDR shot. I processed it in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 with OnOne Effects 8. 


]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Miles Photography Golden Gate bridge doc Miles Photography & Tours Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:35:49 GMT
Moment of Zen - Doc MIles Photography & Tours GGB October Sunset TourGGB October Sunset Tour Before The Golden Gate Bridge was built, cars would line up for ten miles to get on the ferry across the Golden Gate Straights. Not much has changed in 75 years, The white and red streak of traffic at this time of day goes on for at least five to seven miles. 

This is where the story come in. It was an unusually warm October evening and there were wispy clouds over the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew this whole area was fenced off for remodeling of the paths and trails, but had to get to a spot to photograph the bridge and clouds. I crawled under a fence and went to a spot, on a cliff, where I enjoyed the beautiful sunset and lights on the bridge. Alone. Quite. No one around. Peaceful and relaxing. Soon this are will re-open and every man and his dog will be here. Photographers, tourists and so many more, but tonight, it was mine alone to enjoy.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Doc Miles Photography MIles Photo Tours" alone golden Gate Bridge Thu, 17 Oct 2013 03:16:57 GMT
Hidden Gem - Doc Miles Photography & San Francisco Photo Tours Hidden GemHidden Gem

While on a Doc MIles Photography Tour this morning, I was at the Palace of Fine Arts with my clients and noticed something I had missed for the last 16 years. The South Tower of The Golden Gate Bridge is neatly framed between the columns of the Palace of Fine Arts.  I must have shot the P.O.F.A. hundreds of times and never noticed that the bridge was visible at this aspect.

Needless to say, my clients took several photos this morning and my Sunset Tour client took a similar shot this evening. Since I do not shoot with clients while on tour, I went back later and took this shot. One of the things that makes this interesting is that it was a crystal clear, warm night; something we don't get much of here. Perhaps that is why I never noticed it before, anyway, it is now added to the list of "must have" shots for the tour.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Doc Doc Miles Photo Tours of San Francisco), Francisco" Miles Photo Photography" Private San Tours of photo tours Wed, 16 Oct 2013 06:03:42 GMT
My Camera of Choice for my photo tours- The iPhone

When I have tours with Doc Miles Photography & Tours I use my iPhone camera to compose the shots and advise my clients on the angles from which to shoot. The iPhone 5 & 5s have remarkable cameras and can capture amazing images on-the-fly that would take a lot of set up in the past.

Don't get me wrong. You are not going to get the RAW file photographs and gallery quality from an iPhone, but my job is to set up the DSLR shooter with the best possible light and composition for the photos they need to get of the iconic landmarks on the tour. The iPhone is a great "tool" to shoot and say " Here this is shot you are looking for". 

I usually don't shoot along side clients with my professional cameras when on tour. I am there for them to get the best possible shots. I bring along a DLSR to read exposure, etc.

This is an iPhone shot. It will never win award it was helpful to have the client to see what was possible. Most recently a National Geographic photographer shot 4000 iPhone 5s shots in Scotland and praised the results.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Photo Tours San Francisco Photo Tours Wed, 09 Oct 2013 04:41:34 GMT
It's Alive! It's Alive!

Good. Now that I have your attention, you may be wondering.. what?  Well, let's start with the back story first.

Back in January 2013 while sitting in the kitchen of celebrity Chef and Italian Food Guru Linda Calabrisi Hanks, we discussed the fact she was at a cross roads with her blog and web site. Chef Linda wanted to get her message out to more people and give them a cook book they could access using today's technology.  Both Linda and her husband Tommy (food photographer extraordinaire, celebrity bicyclist  and cramp therapist) are very tech savvy. The understood the power of digital publishing and it's reach.

As Chef prepared the evening dinner for several guests and maintained eye contact with me throughout the whole discussion, (how she does that is a mystery) we came up with the idea of an eBook, PDF for sale, and a Kindle version. I knew how to produce eBooks and offered to give it a try.

I went home to San Francisco and we agreed to collaborate with a view to knock this project out in a few weeks. Boy! Were we in for a surprise. 

In the last five months we have been working on this project, via email,screen sharing (Thanks to ScreenLeap  for their great screen sharing web package), and phone conferences. Creating a photo book is one thing, creating a cook book is a whole new experience.

I started the book in Adobe Lightroom 4 because they have a very good "Book" module that is linked to It was easy to use, and was pretty simple. When it came to type, and believe me, there was a lot, it was limited. By the time we got though 90% of the book, I realized we should have done it in Adobe InDesign. That said, we had to keep going And we did! 

There were so many set backs with images and type it wasn't funny. After four and one half months we were ready to publish when the file disappeared. I mean IT WAS GONE!  Now, I know how Francis Ford Coppola felt when the typhoon wiped out his set for "Apocalypse Now".

After five months and hours of editing, even the most minute detail, we are now live and ready to publish on Apple iBooks, Amazon and direct download.  The final beta copies are in the hands of select people and we expect a full Apple iBook release as early as next week.

As we pulled the trigger on publishing to iBooks today we were like expecting parents, (I have no idea what that is like, but I was excited). Mine downloaded first and I was already on page 113 when Linda was just seeing hers download. I was giddy with excitement at how great it turned out. 

When she got it, it was so sweet to hear her joy. Now the marketing and promotions can begin. I must say...being intimate with the entire book, I cannot wait to try the recipes and make my own crostini from this wonderful and creative chef. Linda can be found at .

I have visited the Hank's estate in Atlanta many times and have always marveled at Chef Linda's talent for authentic Italian cooking. 

On a personal note: Every so often we have a "Big Chill" at the Hank's estate in Atlanta. Tommy and Linda have been the "HUB" for all of us who went to Binghamton High School in New York. While we have all dispersed to the far corners of the country and earth, we somehow wind up at the Hank's place. Their hospitality and warmth is unsurpassed. Thank you Linda and Tommy for all your kindness and friendship. I know this book will be the beginning of a new world for such a wonderful chef and a great food photographer.

]]> (Doc Miles San Francisco Photo Tours) Thu, 23 May 2013 14:38:34 GMT