Hiking at Mt. Tamalpais and using a GoPro 5

An amazing natural stairs, hiking up Steep Ravine Trail

Last weekend, my buddy Hugh swung by to visit and we went on part of the loop, going down hill. We tapped out and took a Taxi back to the Pantoll parking lot (where I originally parked). I decided at the last minute that I wanted to do the entire hike this this week.

Photo of a dried up flower, unfortunately out of focus.

This time, I wanted to snag some photos as well, and I decided to take the Go Pro because it was much lighter than my DSLR. I didn’t feel like lugging an extra 5lbs of weight, though I’m sure the photos probably would have come out better. Nonetheless, I’m pleased with the results. It was challenging to use the GoPro because the field of view is so wide. So where I could, I tried to take advantage of it.

A part of the trail that wrapped around a fold in the mountain side.

Quick story: Two older guys (in their 60’s) were hiking the opposite direction. I stopped and let them pass by, and then about 5 seconds later, I hear some dirt crumble and a guy yell. I turn around and run back immediately and saw one of the guys had nearly fallen down the side of the path. He had nothing to hold on was at the verge of tumbling down the side of the mountain, which was really steep. I managed to grab his arm and pulled him up with one giant thrust.

The poor guy was so flustered because it happened so quickly. I don’t think he knew how much danger he really was in because if he had tumbled to the bottom, we wouldn’t have been able to get him, nor call for help–I literally had no cell phone reception.

Anyway, he survived unscathed. Kind of crazy.

A trail on the side of the mountain, entering the woods.

The entire hike was about 9 or 10 miles, and by the end I was pretty tired… and my feet were spent. I was pretty relieved that I didn’t bring any heavy gear with me. As much as I love my DSLR, I think it would have sucked to carry the additional weight. I think from now on, my just carry the GoPro around on these hikes.

It’s unfortunate that I accidentally shot all the photos in JPG instead of Raw. I think that I could have gotten better results. Doh! Lesson learned.

Gorgeous afternoon weather, around 70 degrees with a tiny ocean breeze.

One of my buddies asked how I got these photos, and he was surprised that they came from the GoPro as well. he asked if I used an ND filter… but I shot everything from the hip. No filters.

More gorgeous mountain side trails with the pacific ocean as a backdrop.

I mean, I did a tiny bit of post processing to bring out some of the details, but that’s about it. My goal was to make the photos feel more like a natural photo, versus something that came out of the weird over-saturated fisheye GoPro lens.

Log stairs next to a small water runoff on Steep Ravine Trail.

This trail was a great work out, and it’s filled with different landscapes. I was able to see some giant redwoods as well, which is always a treat. I bet this place probably looks incredible after a little rain. I can imagine small streams becoming enormous, rushing down waterfalls and bending around all the rocks.

One of several small foot bridges along the trails.

I’ll be out here again in the future. There are miles of trails that I still need to explore. Hit me up if you wanna go.

Mt. Diablo with Annie

Annie enjoying the wonderful view from Mt. Diablo’s summit.

The views here were similar to something you would see on a plane, from overhead. It’s also hard to tell from the photo that it was kind of hot (around 90 degrees), so we spent most of our time in the shade and out of the mid-day UV light.

A panoramic image stitched from 8 images of the same view

Another view from the summit

I accidentally brought my 35mm… but I guess it worked out since I took a bunch of photos and stitched them together to create the ones above. It’s really hard to tell, but it was really dry. I tried to color correct the images so that they reflected what saw naturally with my own eyes.

Annie enjoying the small museum at the visitor center

We discovered that Mt. Diablo is not an active volcano–instead, it is the result of plate tectonics pushing against each other, pushing a central mass of rock upwards millions of years. Most of the mass on the side of the volcano is part of the ocean bed. More info here.

Annie pointing at one of the highest points of Mt Diablo, 3,849 feet above sea level

Photo looking out of the visitor center

I actually forgot to change out my lens to the 24mm… but actually really pleased with how the photos came out. There’s just something so practical about the 35mm focal length. Since it’s so versatile, it’s easier to use for storytelling.

Photo of the GTI on our way up Mt. Diablo

On our way up, I managed to slip in a couple photos of my GTI. I just got my plates recently, so I’ll have to install them soon. I have to say, I’m really enjoying this car and how utilitarian it is. I have a feeling I’m going to put a lot of miles on it. It still has under 1k miles on it, so it’s still in the break-in period.

The endless panoramic landscapes on the side of Mt. Diablo

Annie snapping a couple photos on her phone

Annie with the backdrop of rolling hills in the background

I’m hoping to come out here again… perhaps with my bike next time.

Dim Sum with Hanah and Annie

Hanah and Annie eating dim sum at Dragon Beaux in SF.

As always, Annie orders way too much food when we go here. But, I can totally understand her excitement. The food here is great! Here’s an older post from a couple years ago.

Already, our table was already filled with food… and there was more coming out. Hah! But it was allllll good.

Annie and her cousin, checking out a sweet view on top of Hanah’s apartment building.

Hanah showing off the rooftop fire pits.

The view was pretty amazing. You could see an unobscured view in every direction from their rooftop.

It’s kind of bonkers how much you can see from here. Their rent (split between 4 roommates) is $5700 per month.

Hot Pot with Annie, Patrick, Hannah + BF

Sunday night hot pot with Patrick, Kevin, Hannah and Annie.

Annie’s over here for the next week, and we’re taking a little time off to do a stay-cation. We figured it’d be nice to get a small group of friends together for some hot pot. There’s nothing like eating comfort food in the company of good friends. And they surprised us by bringing dessert!

What’s wild is that Hannah and Annie are cousins, and they haven’t seen each other for over a decade. They’ve followed each other on instagram, but it was pretty cool that she’s in SF as well. I had met Hannah’s parents

Farewell Jho (for now)!

Eating dinner with Justin and his girlfriend at Pho Ha Nam Ninh.

I had a great time catching up with Justin and his girlfriend last night. He’s about to embark on another journey around Europe. Who knows when he’ll be back, but I’m sure he’ll have amazing stories and photos of his travels over the next few months.

I’m not sure exactly what this was, but it was absolutely delicious. I need to get the name of the dish. I’d actually like to come back, but I’m feeling a little hesitant. My bike almost got stolen!

I heard the sound of a drill outside and then saw sparks flying. I got up from our table and then ran outside, yelling. The guy bolted off pretty quickly and said “I’m sorry”. I probably could have caught him, but it wasn’t worth it. I just needed to scare him off–no need to take unnecessary risk and put myself in a dangerous situation.

Just to give you context, I locked my bike with two high quality Abus U-locks. As you can see, the thief was able to cut through a little of my first lock. He probably only needed a minute or two to get through the locks.

Almost everyone I know in SF has had their bike stolen. Ugh. So a warning to all my SF squad, be alert.

Welcome to SF Manny!

Photo of Manny escorting James and I to get some afternoon coffee.

Manny recently moved to San Francisco recently all the way from San Diego. I’ve been really enjoying our conversations about how to build products, building teams, and how to pick co-founders. He’s probably the most chill person I know–perhaps it’s because he’s a surfer at heart.

By the way, I really like how this photo came out. I think I no-scoped it while I was holding my coffee with the other hand. There’s something really organic and analog about this.

I’m really looking forward to building Input with him, as well as other projects in the future. He’s a humble guy, but don’t let him fool you–he’s filled with wisdom… and humor!