The Pirate Tower And The Inferno by WJMcIntosh http://flic.kr/p/qEcBCQ, One of the most distinctive features of the Laguna Beach coastline is the “Pirate Tower” which is located on Victoria Beach. The tower was built in 1926 for the family of William E. Brown, a state senator representing California’s 37th district.

Brown sold the property in the 1940s to a retired Naval officer from Los Angeles named Harold Kendrick. It was then that the building took on a pirate-related mystique. Kendrick was known for dressing himself up as a seafaring plunderer and hiding coins in the tower’s many crevices. Neighborhood kids would scour the staircase for hidden treasure, and what they found, they were allowed to keep.

Victoria Beach is easily one of my favorite spots to shoot in Orange County. On this particular evening, Tom and I had only been shooting for about 20 minutes when the sky really began to light up and we knew we had chosen a good night to make the trip down there. As you can see from my photo stream, I’ve been down there to shoot several times, but I think this might have been the best sunset I’ve seen at Victoria thus far.

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Autumn At Blackwater Falls
by WJMcIntosh on Flickr.

After shooting with Mike Besant and Fred Wolfe on Saturday, October 12, I returned on my own the next day determined to find some sunshine. While the sun eventually came out, it clouded over again just as I began shooting the Blackwater Falls. I was very disappointed until it occurred to me that I might actually get a better shot without direct sunlight and was able to get the above shot with just a circular polarizing filter instead of one of my ND filters. I wasn’t able to stay long as I knew sunset was approaching and I wanted to make it out to Lindy Point, so I took a few hurried brackets and then took off for the other side of the gorge. Although I shot brackets here, I ended up using a single frame in Nik Efex and ACR rather than HDR for this shot. Such a gorgeous park!

I’ve just favorited this pic “Edinburgh Sunset (Explored at #2 on 7/7/11)” by WJMcIntosh via Flickr.
Of all the cities that we visited, Edinburgh was by far our most favorite of the trip. Part of that was due to to the fact that our lovely apartment was conveniently located right down the street from a Starbucks off of Fishmarket Close, but the majority of the reason was that the architeture in this city is simply spell binding. From the moment you glance up as you step off the train, you cant get over the sheer grandeur of these stately old buildings, some of which rest on foundations set during the middle ages. Spries and turrets are to be found everywhere you look, from the arches of St. Giles Catheral, to the spire of the Sir Walter Scott Memorial, the steep inclines of Cockborn Street and the Royal Mile… and, of course, that incredible castle hanging out over the valley below. Above it all, across town, is Calton Hill which is easily one of the most enjoyable places to photograph on the planet. On top of this hill you’ll find a panoramic view of Edinburgh surrounded by several monuments including the Dugald Stewart Monument, pictured above, along with several others. I had been drooling over the possibility of shooting from this location after seeing a page in my Scottish calendar months before. Before we left home, I had contacted flickr user Grant R as his shots of Edinburgh were stunning and I had some questions regarding his set up and how to access this hill. Quick back story: On our first night in Edinburgh, it rained all night, and the next morning was grey and dreary. We had planned a trip up to Inverness to visit the homeland of the Mackintosh clan as well as a trip to Loch Ness and several other spots around the highlands. But 20 minutes into the trip, I completely fried the clutch of the sporty little rental we were using. It turns out that it was much more complicated that I thought to SHIFT with my left hand while STEERING on the wrong side of the car as well as staying on the left side of the road. After 20 minutes, smoke was billowing out of the hood of the car, and we pulled over. The fire brigade showed up and took one look at me, asked if I was an American, and knew that it was the clutch. As the police dropped us off back in town, it was truly a new low point in my life. Note to self. Next time I rent a car in the UK, make sure it’s an AUTOMATIC. : ( So….we ended up headed back to Edinburgh early, but as we arrived around 6 PM, the skies had cleared and a beautiful sunset was already beginning to form. Grant had already tipped me off that the sun would be in a lousy location as it was much farther north right after the solstice, so I used the fisheye to try to grab the monument and the sun and some of the city in the same shot. Thanks for looking! :) On deck for tomorrow: Neuschwanstein castle. (Explored at #2 on 7/7/11. Thanks for the views, comments, and faves. :) )
Uploaded on July 07, 2011 at 12:29AM .