Archive for December, 2008



16
Dec
08

12/16/2008

China Cove, Point Lobos, CA

China Cove, Point Lobos, CA

Point Lobos is one of the most imaged pieces of real estate in the world, made famous by early 1900’s painters, and then rediscovered by Edward Weston and his followers in the 70’s. Much of Weston’s most recognizable work was done in what is, after all, this tiny little stretch of convoluted coastline. When I had to be in Watsonville, just 40 miles away for several days, at the Monterey Bay Birding Festival, I made plans to spend a day at Point Lobos. Only when I got there did I realize how small it really is. I passed it going down. I was looking for this jutting cape off the coast, with miles of coastline, and I could not see anything like it on my map. I literally disbelieved my GPS when it said the little gate in the patch of forest was the entrance, and drove on down the coast highway into the Bir Sur country looking for the real Point Lobos.

Of course, once inside the preserve, I realized that Weston’s miles of coastline are just folded up tight into the small acreage of the surface park. I spent the morning there and I have posted a somewhat more lengthy version of the experience at  Point Lobos Morning on Point and Shoot Landscape.

This image is one of my favorites. The intense green of the waters in the coves, seen from above, was fascinating, especially combined with the red-brown of the kelp. This is China Cove. 

I zoomed the Sony H50 out to about a 160mm equiv. to frame just the water, a bit of rock, and a corner of the ever-present invasive, but colorful,  ice plant. F4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto. 

In Lightroom I pulled back the highlights with Recovery, which gave the water depth, and accentuated the green highlights. Added Clarity and a little more Vibrance than I normally use, but I was after the visual effect I remembered from being there. This is a close approximation. Sharpen Landscape preset. 

It is a rather abstract image, more about form, color, and texture than about the actual water and weed, but I think it has impact. One of these days I will make a print of it for the wall.

It is from the Point Lobos Gallery.

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15
Dec
08

12/15/2008

The Capital

The Capital

My one and only visit to Washington DC was a very compressed three day marketing course, held in a building right off the Mall, which kept me effectively locked up inside all day. The only time I had to actually see anything was after class and I spent two evenings walking the Mall from end to end.  Of course the challenge in a place like Washington, with what has to be one of the most photographed sets of monuments and buildings in the world, is to find fresh angles.  Neither day I was out was particularly clear (which is what happens when you build a city in a swamp), so the long vistas were difficult, unless the haze was part of the image.  For this shot, I had already done the immediated grounds of the Capital, and shot the building from every angle. Down by the brass works near the reflecting pool, I was spending some time on the monuments there, trying all the angles. This shot, even though there is significant distorted perspective from the moderately wide angle lens setting, provides, imho, an interesting angle on both the statues and the building. There are three subjects and the real effect of the image can only be seen if you step back and look at it as a graphic. Then the three elements strike what I like to think is a visual chord.

Taken with the Sony H9, at about a 40 mm equiv. for effective cropping. F5.6 @ 1/1000 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom I applied a bit of Recovery for the texture in the marbles, and added Clarity and Vibrance. Landscape Sharpen preset.

This is from the Capital Gallery.

14
Dec
08

12/14/2008

Kennebunk ME

Iced Ornamental: Kennebunk ME

Walking into town for milk, camera with me of course, on the morning after the storm. Clear. Cold. The sun had begun the job in the late afternoon of the storm day, melting and shedding the encasing ice. This little ornamental tree, planted by the town along our street, had not fared well. Branches lay all around its base and the top was still bowed down. Because of the intense cold, the hanging berries were still half coated with ice, and it was not yet melting even in full sun.

No challenge here really. I just crossed the street and took a number of point blank shots with the macro at the wide end of the Sony H50’s zoom. The only issue was finding a good background. I cropped out some of the road and a telephone pole on the right. That leaves the berries more centered than I might like, but this is pretty much a portrait shot of the moment.

F4.5 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, I applied my standard a bit extra Clarity and Vibrance, and used the Sharpen Landscape preset. Pretty simple.

In pics from the day before I had had to pump up the highlights to show the effect of the low light in the ice. In full sun no help was necessary.

It does not get any easier than this. Always pick the low hanging fruit, or berries in this case.

From Winter Weather.

13
Dec
08

12/12/2008

Kennebunk ME

Light Touch: Kennebunk ME

Once more the articulated LCD of the Sony DSC H50 comes into its own. Right down at ground level, centimeters away from the grass blades encased in ice. And the 2 cm macro helps. I was able to catch the sky light in the ice around the individual blades.

Dim light, still raining a bit. 32mm equiv. F2.7 @ 1/60th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

Cropped (some sky at the top, out of focus grass and ice on either side). In Lightroom, added Clarity and Vibrance (not much effect). Sharpen Landscape preset. Increased the highlight value slightly to bring out the light in the ice.

13
Dec
08

12/11/2008

Kennebunk ME

Iced Moss: Kennebunk ME

Still raining. I was working fast to avoid getting my camera too wet. The light was miserable. This is moss. Very tiny. Taken from 2 cm close focus of the macro at the 32mm equiv. F2.8 @ 1/40th @ ISO 400. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom this shot required some lightening, a bit of color temperature correction to warm it, my usual Clarity and Vibrance, and Landscape Sharpen preset. Because of the higher ISO it also required some noise reduction, both Luminance and Color.

It is still not critically sharp. The slow shutter speed and the awkward position (even using the LCD), combined with my hurry lest a big drop of half frozen slush fall on the camera and forever short it out, all combined to soften the image. Still, it is a very pleasing shot at screen resolution, and would look fine printed at wall hanging size, from the usual several feet of viewing distance. 1 to 1 on the screen, or in a print from an inch away, you would see the softness.

From Winter Weather

13
Dec
08

12/10/2008

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ

Exotic Catus Blooms

This one caused a lot of discussion over on Digital_Photography_Forum. Thanks all. It was orginally posted like this, as it looks on Facebook.

 Commenters felt it was unbalanced because of the flower on the right. I went back and cropped it tighter, eliminating the flower on the right all together. Then I applied a bit of Fill Light in Lightroom to bring up the background and brightend the image overall to bring up the blossums. 

F5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto. Taken at the full telephoto position of the Sony DSC H9’s zoom, equiv. to 465mm.

13
Dec
08

12/9/2008

Cape Neddick ME

Nubble Light: Cape Neddick ME

Nubble Light is one of the most popular tourist attractions in southern Maine. On a sunny day in the summer, you often have to circle the small parking lot for 30 minutes or more to catch a space open, and you have to work really hard to get a shot of the light, on its own little island off-shore, without people in the foreground.

That is why I worked my way down to the very edge of the channel that separated Cape Neddick from the Nubble.

It was an all but perfect day. A few big white puffy clouds behind the light would have been nice, but I was happy with the really amazing waves chasing each other up the channel and crashing against the rocks with huge gouts of spray.

I took 100s of shots, trying to capture a wave at it’s most photogenic, against the lighthouse and its rock as backdrop. Persistence almost always pays off. It did here.

Sony DSC H9. F5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto. Full wide angle (31mm equiv.) on the zoom.

In Lightroom, I applied some Recovery to bring out detail in the white mass of the wave, and to darken the sky. Added Clarity and Vibrance (which made the blue sky deeper and the red building really pop), and used the Sharpen Landscape preset.

With a subject like this, and such a day, it is then just a matter of timing (and a willingness to scramble around on exposed rock that trembles with every smashing wave).

It is from the Around Home Gallery.