Hi, I'm Michael Hurder!

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Holdener Park - 2019
With so many great places to hike and shoot here in Livermore, I often forget about the obscure, out of the way parks, like this gem, Holdener Park. Nestled in between Sycamore Grove and DelValle, and situated on just 55 acres, this place is one of the girls favorite places to frolic. There are seldom many people and they can go hog wild chasing each other and pretending to catch a squirrel or two. 😉 The scenery is nothing to bark at either. I love the views of Livermore, the vineyards, Mount Diablo, Brushy peak and all the other hills. Especially in March when it's all so verdantly green. The girls often have to stop and wait for me. In one shot, Shea is looking down at me as if to say, "Come on Popi. It ain't that steep." In another they have raced down a hill that I'm debating whether or not I should sit and slide the rest of the way down the slope. 😮 The White Tailed Kite we ran into was hunting. I've caught them hovering so many times and yet I've never seen one make a kill. Not that I'm bloodthirsty, but that is the nature of nature, and I love to capture it all. After editing this shoot, I decided to go to Holdener park for our daily walk. The hills didn't get any less steep. Phew! 😵 Check for the short video...
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Livermore - 2019
This is a short set from around town. It was shot in April so it was still green here. I always thought the view from the top of Altamont pass would make a great panorama. I was right. By the way, this is Livermore, doncha know, and we'll leave our horses wherever we see fit. Y'all might just as well get used to it. Yessuh! 😎
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Tri-Valley Gorgeous
This was one of those dreary winter days. The rains were finally turning us green again. I decided to drive around the valley and shoot what I saw randomly. I drove out North Livermore Ave, Manning Road, Morgan Territory Road, Marsh Creek Road and then Vasco Road back into Livermore.
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
DelValle 2020
The year 2020 started out with much promise...Eagles, Ospreys, Hawks, Waterfowl, oh the prospects were huge. I got a couple of months in before Covid-19 hit and that was that for the fun end of DelValle. I could still get into the dam end, but that's not were the Eagles were, or any of them. C'est la vie!
2020
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 / SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
DelValle - 2019
I made the trip here for many shoots at my favorite hometown locale, DelValle Regional Park. I have never tired of capturing this gorgeous location for its raw beauty, it's wildlife and the contrasts.
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Birds of Prey #3
With the exception of a few images of Falcons, Kites and Kestrels, I could easily have called this collection 'Red Tails'. These were all shot at the girls' (Kitty & Shea) favorite place to walk, the park next to the Tesla plant on Discovery Road here in Livermore. The Red Tails are always here as this is a great feeding ground with all the squirrels, rabbits, lizards, and snakes. The other raptors are here only seasonally. You'll no doubt notice that some of these shots are very softly focused. This was becasue of two factors: poor hand held and focusing mode techniques (I was not using BBF initially, and I couldn't pan worth a tinker's dam), and lens calibration. You'll also notice the difference in color in the Hawks plumage. This is the result of different light, the time of day, and the time of year.
2020
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Birds of Prey #2
This is the second batch of 2019 Raptors from Livermore. These are from Del Valle, Holdener, and Sycamore Grove Parks. There's more to come. I've hardly touched Tesla yet.
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Birds of Prey #1
These are the first shots resulting from my obsession with wildlife. From the day I shot my first eagle at Tesla, I have had an unquenchable thirst for more. I haven't looked back since. The restrictions placed on my shooting now due to Covid-19 and my injured arm, has been nothing less than torture. These are taken from other collections of Shadow Cliffs, Tesla, or DelValle, so you may see them on other pages as I go through this process.
2019
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Tesla Discovery Park
Although I have been walking the dogs here for years, I didn't start shooting in earnest here until I happened on an eagle one day in 2019. The Hawks and Buzzards have always been around as there are a ton of ground squirrels, lizards and snakes...a virtual smorgasbord for the bird population. The few times I did bring my camera in 2018 yielded some fair prizes but light was not my friend back then. This is a compilation of all the best shots taken in the whole of 2018...pretty slim pickins.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 / SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Sycamore Grove #1
Sycamore Grove #1 to #82: Livermore has so many beautiful parks, I may never tire of retuning to capturing them all again and again. LARPD's Sycamore Grove Park is just one of many. I don't go here very often because the dogs have to be leashed. That's not much fun for them. Still it's a wonderful venue for photography.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 / SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Sunol Wilderness
Hidden in the hills southwest of Livermore, lies another Bay Area gem, small town Sunol. A favored hiking area for locals, the Sunol Wilderness offers more of the southwest flavor I've come to love capturing. This hike out to Little Yosemite (the tiny falls) was as beautiful as any in this target rich environment I call home.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
From the Pleasanton Ridge
These images were made from atop the Pleasanton Ridge in Augustin Bernal Park. A slightly different look at the Tri-Valley where Livermore is located. Pleasanton is our next door neighbor to the west. I tried to make the Plaque fully readable but my magic is not that advanced. ;~). It reads: "Reaching the trailhead the biker's shadow lengthens. Bird sounds seem clearer." NOTE (for the curious): The closeups of wildflowers and tree limbs here are not "Macro" photos, but more in line with "Intimate Landscapes". Macros are taken with a special lens that produces a 1:1 image of your subject without having to zoom in. In other words, the size of the subject in the image is the same as the subject's actually size. This lens is also called a "prime" lens. Primes have but one focal length. A Telephoto has a range of focal lengths. You zoom in and zoom out with a telephoto lens. My lenses for this camera are almost exclusively telephotos, and I used a telephoto for this shoot. You can add attachments called "extension tubes" to a Macro lens to get even closer to your subject. This is where those incredible close ups of bugs and such come from.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
To and From Mount Diablo
The drive from Livermore to Mount Diablo can be done on all back roads. I could easily have taken so much time getting there that it would have been too late to continue. The views from up top were very much worth it though, as you'll see. NOTE: The images of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge are from between 30 to 40 miles away.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2-Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2-Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
Shadow Cliffs #?
Shadow Cliffs #970 to #1253. The rosy glow of a California summer sunrise always adds drama to a landscape. Add to that the residents of the park and you have a really nice shoot. From a Cormorant waking, to a baby Heron calling for momma and then feeding from her, to a Caspian Tern fishing his heart out and a Red Winged Blackbird calling to his mate, There is no better wayt o start a day for a photographer.
2020
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Tamron 1.4 x Teleconverter
Livermore #3
Livermore #270 to #309 Great and small, Livermore's beauty shines through on all levels.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Livermore #1
Livermore # 1 to #143 Sundown around Livermore.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Holdener Park
There is so much to enjoy here in Livermore. This is another great park in the LARPD stable.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Del Valle #1
Del Valle #1 to #92. Sunrise from the top of the hill on Del Valle Road.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
Del Valle #3
Del Valle #207 to #297 Del Valle Regional Park at the beginning of the rainy season.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Brushy Peak #2
Brushy Peak #108 to #201
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Brushy Peak #1
Brushy Peak #001 to #107 A local Park with great hiking trails.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park
We took a trip to Chico in 2018 at the time of the Camp Fire. With all the smoke I didn't expect much, but even in desperate times, Mother Nature's beauty shines through.
2018
Nikon D850 DSLR
NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
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