out&about | mt. burdell revisited

mt. burdell

mt. burdell, novato, california

mt. burdell

mt. burdell, novato, california

mt. burdell

mt. burdell, novato, california

mt. burdell, novato. california

One of my favorite forms of exercise is hiking.  Living in northern California makes it really easy to get out there and explore.  Over the summer, though, it was tricky for me to go on my usual hikes as I had my two boys with me.  They have little legs, a surprising intolerance for heat, and I can only take, “Are we going home yet?” for so long.  Nonetheless, I figured it was good for them to take a break from video games and legos and for us to spend some quality time together.  It also gave me a chance to try out the new wide-angle lens that I recently bought for an upcoming trip to Europe.

I heard that there is a bit of a learning curve with wide-angle lenses, but it’s a lens I’ve always wanted since I love shooting landscapes and being outside, and I was getting frustrated with not being able to move back enough to get the whole scene in.  One thing I’ve read about wide-angle lenses is that they really make close things closer and far things farther.  I also learned that it’s good to get something in the foreground to focus on, in order to emphasize depth. Unfortunately, on this particular hike back to Mt. Burdell, there was a lot of grass and then some more grass followed by even more grass. I was trying to find some sort of boulder or rock, but was out of luck.  But we did get a beautifully clear (yet very hot) blue day, and I had a lot of fun experimenting with perspective and breadth.  When I went through my pictures, I especially liked the silhouette of the two boys under the tree.  For some reason, they almost seem to mimic the form of the trees.  I’d love to hear which photo catches your eye the most!


  1. Nice series of photos. Having the boys in some and not in others adds a lot of interest. As for my favorite, I’d have to say the last one. I like the composition and the contrast of the yellows, greens and blues is very eye catching.

    • Thank you so much for your input, Ron! I didn’t notice the balance of colors as much until I cropped it, so that the yellow grass was no longer dominating the photo.

  2. Nice set – my favorite is the boys on the long trail in color. I have a wide angle and use it a lot for architecture – these have me thinking.

  3. I also love the photo of the two boys seemed mimicking the form of the trees. It’s amazing how it happened at the same moment when you were taking the picture. Only God’s existence can explain that. : )

  4. It’s hard to believe that I’m related to someone who has this much talent! Awesome, Neels!!!

  5. two images are my fav, the one the boys walking down the hill, that is so story telling; and of course the second the B&W the boys under the trees, reminds of some fairy tale. Yeah a wide angle lens is a must in your photo bag once you have it you wonder how you could be with out it.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Cornelia! It’s always nice to get some input on my photos. It’s interesting that you liked the ones with the boys best — I try to be careful with how much I put the kids on my blog, but I guess they add that special human element :)

  6. My favorite is also the b&w one with your kids under the trees…that needs to go on a nice sized canvas!

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