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Local Lens: Going Grey with San Francisco’s @karlthefog

In this series, local Instagrammers show you their favorite places to shoot around where they live. For more photos and videos from the San Francisco fog, follow @karlthefog and fog-photographing friends @lec101, @wesinthewild, @finn, @ravenreviews, @cafeaulei, @luciomx and @moonman415.

As the community of Instagrammers has grown and connected people across the globe, so too has our ability to share some of the personal, hidden and beautiful locations in our hometowns.

In the second of a two-part series of local guides to San Francisco, the city’s very own fog (@karlthefog) shows you the best spots to photograph him.

Below the Fog – Mt. Davidson

"Located near the geographical center of San Francisco and notable for being the highest hill in the city at 925ft (282m), Mt. Davidson is one of my favorite parks. What makes this place so special is the different types of landscapes found within its boundaries: small narrow paths covered by trees that lead up to open fields with panoramic views of the city. (If you’ve ever seen pictures of San Francisco that make you think ‘When did this city turn into a rainforest?’ they were probably taken here.) For the best shots, go on a foggy morning and capture the way the paths disappear in my cloudy presence. On a few lucky days, you’ll reach the top and realize you’re above the clouds, looking down on a sea of cotton candy covering an entire city below.”

Above the Fog – Mt. Tamalpais

"If you’re thinking ‘Mount Davidson is cool, but I wanna go somewhere with an even better view,’ then I have the place for you. One of the Bay Area’s hot spots for photo taking is Mt. Tamalpais. This place has everything: extremely windy roads, dense forests and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, California coast and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Drive along the Panoramic Highway and stop at every vista you come across. Check the weather report before you go and plan your trip on a foggy day. Time your trip around dusk to watch the sun set over me. You’re welcome.”

In the Fog – Point Reyes

Point Reyes is a giant cape located 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco. While many people know it because of the Point Reyes Lighthouse, it’s also the location of vast countryside, farms, lakes, beaches and incredible views. Even the hike to get to the lighthouse is filled with several photo opportunities: steep cliffs, paths covered by trees and staircases that disappear into the horizon. I might be biased, but I recommend going on a foggy day. Bundle up in multiple layers (it’s colder and windier than you think) and capture the way the trees hug the path to the lighthouse. It manages to make an ordinary road look simultaneously daunting and magical.

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How I Shoot: Capturing Light Trails with Slow Shutter Cam

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. This week, Vlad Babushkin (@vladviper5) shares how he captures light trails with Slow Shutter Cam. To see more Slow Shutter photos, browse the #slowshuttercam and #slowshutterapp hashtags.

Vlad Babushkin (@vladviper5) is a 16-year-old living in Tokyo, Japan, who documents the striking architecture of his city on Instagram. Many of his photos are taken after the sun has gone down, when he uses long exposure photography to capture the city’s frenetic activity.

Vlad offered these tips for capturing the light trails created by the lights of moving cars on an iPhone:

Camera

iPhone 5.

Vantage Point

I use Slow Shutter Cam primarily to shoot city views at night. The app is great not just for cityscapes, but also for capturing the activity in a city after dark. Try staking out a high vantage point to capture the light trails from moving traffic.

Shooting

You need a tripod. It’s important for your phone to be still, and a tripod prevents it from shaking. Use the timer to give your camera a moment to stop moving once you hit the shutter.

It’s also important to find a dark place to shoot. If there is a lot of light around the subject you’re capturing or in front of your phone, the photo will be too bright.

Experiment with shutter speed and sensitivity to see what different effects you can achieve.

Editing

Sometimes the photo you capture could use some editing. I usually use PicsPlay Pro (iOS and Android) to adjust colors and tones before sharing to Instagram.

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