Santa Teresa Park Sunset Pictures
Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, Joice Trail, and Norred Trail,
These HDR (High Dynamic Range)
pictures were taken at Santa Teresa Park on 5/21/10 around sunset.
We've been having a lot of rainy days lately, which is unusual for May.
The nice thing about rainy days is that when the clouds break up, they
offer some spectacular photo opportunities. I lucked out on this day.
The clouds were breaking up right at sunset. I saw the rays of sunlight
streaming through the clouds, and I headed over to one of my favorite
spots to take sunset pictures: the Norred Trail at Santa Teresa County
Sunsets have extreme ranges of light between the bright sun, the dark
clouds, and the deeply-shaded foreground. It's virtually impossible to
capture the entire range of light with conventional photography. HDR
photography, using a combination of shots taken at different exposures,
makes it possible. See the links to the left for more on HDR
I grabbed my Olympus E-510 SLR and lightweight tripod and rushed over
to the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch. I took some pictures at the ranch,
then headed up the Joice Trail to the Norred Trail. I setup the camera
to auto-bracket burst mode, aperture priority, manual focus. The camera
automatically took 3 shots at a time, changing the exposure by 1 ev at
a time, which is the most it can do. The range of light, especially
shooting straight into the sun required extra bracketing, so I manually
adjusted the exposure up and down several ev's and took more burst
shots. Afterwards, I processed the HDR pictures in Photomatix, then
cropped, resized, and tweaked the contrast in Photoshop. Most of the
pictures shooting into the sun are a combination of six shots, with an
average range of about 5 ev's. The pictures below are in chronological
order. They show how the light and clouds progressed over a period of
about an hour.
Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, 7:11 pm.
View from the Joice Trail, 7:14 pm.
View from the Norred Trail, path to Santa Teresa Spring is at the
bottom, 7:21 pm. Two of the pictures that make up this shot are shown
This is one of the pictures that make up the shot above. It is
-3.7 ev's lower than the nominal exposure that the camera would
automatically choose. The sunlit sky is exposed properly, but
everything else is black.
This is another picture that makes up the previous HDR shot. It is +1
ev from the nominal. Note that the sky is washed out. The foreground is
still a little dark because the camera's auto-exposure is averaging the
scene, which is dominated by the sky.
View from the Norred Trail, looking down along the Santa Teresa Hills,
Zooming in slightly, 7:33 pm
Zooming in, looking towards the Pruneyard Towers, 7:37 pm
Looking towards Communications Hill, 7:38 pm
Farther along the Norred Trail, showing the rocky hillside.
Streetlights are starting to come on, 7:54 pm.
The trees around Santa Teresa Spring are on the lower left, 7:58 pm.
Santa Teresa Spring is below, the Albertson Parkway is on the right
edge, Mission Peak is in the background, 8:00 pm.
Looking towards downtown San Jose, Santa Teresa Spring is directly
below, 8:00 pm.
Looking back along the Norred Trail, 8:01 pm.
One last look towards downtown San Jose and Mission Peak, 8:08 pm
Heading down the Joice Trail back to the Bernal Ranch, 8:14 pm. Sunset
was technically at 8:16 pm. The park closes at sunset, so I made it out
Sunset Pictures 5/27/10
Every sunset is different, so after the storm on Thursday 5/27/10, the
clouds were starting to break up, and it looked like we might get some
good sunset clouds. I rushed back to the Bernal Ranch to take more
pictures. Here are the results. See how they're a little different from
the ones above.
The Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch
View from the Joice Trail
Looking down the Albertson Parkway towards the Hitachi plantsite.
Kaiser San Jose is to the left. Mission Peak is behind it.
Looking towards the Pyzak/Bonetti Ranch and Bernal School
This is looking into the sun, but the sun is behind the clouds. This is
a combination of 5 shots.
This is looking straight into the unblocked sun, overlooking the path
to Santa Teresa Spring. The extreme brightness range required a wide
spread of exposures. This is a combination of 9 pictures with a range
of -4 to +4 ev's from nominal, 1 ev per step.
Another shot into the sun, a combination of 9 pictures, from -4 to +4
Sunset is beginning to turn the clouds orange.
At sunset, the clouds are turning reddish.
The new and old barns at the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, taken 4/12/10:
This picture was taken right after
a rainstorm. I saw that the storm was breaking up, so I headed to the
Bernal-Gulnac-Ranch to take pictures. I noticed there was a small arc
of a rainbow in the distance. I lined up this shot with the old farm
equipment in the foreground, the new barn in the mid-ground, and the
old barn in the background. In the far background is the rainbow and
clouds lit by the setting sun. This picture took second place in the
historical landscapes category in the photography contest sponsored by
the City of San Jose's Historical Landmarks Commission. Click on the
image above for a full-resolution version. This is the
caption sent with the picture:
The Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch
preserves one of the most significant historic areas in Santa Clara
County. It traces its origin to Jose Joaquin Bernal, who came with his
family with the DeAnza Party 1776 and later founded Rancho Santa Teresa
in 1826. The ranch was handed down through his descendants, the Gulnacs
and the Joices, until it eventually became protected as a County
Park. Many streets, businesses, and institutions in this part of San
Jose bear his family name and the name of his ranch. At the ranchsite
is the family's ranch house, caretaker's house, and 2 barns, one of
which has been restored and houses historic displays and a 4H rabbit
project. The old barn will be restored in the near future, but now
bears the worn, rustic look of decades as a working ranch building. In
the yard are examples of farm equipment and an old
griststone. Across the street is a typical suburban
neighborhood. The neighbors can simply cross the street and step back
in time more than a century.