Archive for the 'California' Category



Night Lights and Intelligent Design

Happy Sunday!

With a 6:46 am flight out of John Wayne International in Santa Ana CA, I was up early and outside the hotel waiting for my taxi. The little ornamental lake in the development, surrounded by the early lights of the buildings and with  low clouds behind, catching some of the city light…well…I just had to try. Flash off, camera steadied on a convenient concrete post along the shore, standard Program mode. I took several shots.

Though this could have been a black and white shot…I really enjoy the little red highlights in the water!

Which just goes to show that beauty is where you find it. It does make me wonder though, if the architects of this office and condo development in urban Southern California saw this in their minds’ eye when they drew in the lake?  Personally, I tend to take things like this as intelligent design, rather than random chance. I think the architects foresaw the possibility of beauty in the nightscape and planed accordingly.

Which is the way I look at creation itself. If I am wrong…well…no harm done. I get to enjoy the beauty either way. If I am right…well…then there is an aspect of respect…an acknowledgement that a beautiful mind has been at work…and a sense of kinship. After all, the architects only created what they thought others would find beautiful. They counted on my being enough like them to see the beauty they envisioned. Otherwise, why bother? And so it is, I believe, with the creation and the creator. If that adds a dimension to my enjoyment of the beauty, well, I think I am the better for it.

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent @ f2.0 @ 1/13th second @ ISO 1600. Programmed auto. (This is impressive image quality for ISO 1600 on a pocket P&S! Evidently the the back-illuminate CMOS sensor lives up to its hype. And there is another kind of beauty, as I see it, in that!)

Straightened in Lightroom (balancing on top of a round post is not ideal). Corrected for vertical and wide-angle distortion using the new tools in Lightroom 3. Added Contrast and Clarity. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Zeiss Trip CA 2010.



Hill above Ukiah CA

Crossing the mountains from Mendocino CA to Ukiah somewhere on route 283, I rolled down the window in the backseat and shot the rolling landscape.  The roadside grasses are just blurred from the motion. I was on a quick swing through California for work, not in charge of the schedule, and I had to seize every picture op. Smile This was my first trip to CA in full summer and the mountains took on a whole new look!

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f4 @ 1/800th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Cropped in Lightroom for composition. Some Recovery for the sky, Fill Light and Blackpoint barely right, added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Zeiss Trip CA 2010.



Higher Up and Around the Bend

The new section of trail at the Cabrillo Tide Pools takes you up across the face of the steep slope via log steps and some actual stairs to new overlooks further north. This a view I had not seen before.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/500th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Recovery for the sky and Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Landscape sharpen preset.

From San Diego 2010.



Knob with a View

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I’ve enough Celt in me to be happy.

And maybe it is the Celt in me that feels the pull of this image. So many lines and layers, interesting textures, the splash of green for color, and the drama of the clouds and sea. Down low with the flip out LCD for this, placing the rock so that it breaks an otherwise unfortunate horizon line in the middle of the composition. The rock pulls the eye and focuses the whole, giving it, to my eye, a dynamic that keeps me looking past the first glance.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/500th @ ISO 80. Landscape Program.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the sky, and Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and more than my usual Vibrance (for the Canon), to pick up the green. Sharpen landscape preset.

From San Diego 2010.



Past Pools and Rock to Strom

Another image from the rainy day visit to Cabrillo National Monument’s Tide Pool area. The storm moving over the coast certainly provided drama in the sky, and the wet rock and surly ocean echoed the mood. This is definitely a “from under the umbrella” shot.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/500th @ ISO 80. Landscape Program mode.

Recovery for the sky and Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right slightly. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From San Diego 2010.



Ornamentals over the Pacific

Happy Sunday

This shot is appropriate to the day. It is a rainy Sunday in Maine and this was taken on a rainy Sunday in San Diego exactly a week ago. An I am not letting the rain dampen my spirits today either!

An ornamental hedge that surrounds the Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument. I sat the camera more or less on top of the hedge, using the flip out LCD and Super Macro,  and shot across the top to frame this cluster of  blossoms against the stormy Pacific sky. I would have used Exposure Lock and Program Shift for better depth, at 1/250 I had plenty of room for a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture, but it was raining and I did not want to risk the camera out from under cover for more than the time it took to grab this shot.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super Macro. F2.8 @ 1/250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

A bit of Recovery for the sky in Lightroom. Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and some Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped from the bottom to eliminate out of focus foliage and for composition.

From San Diego 2010.



Tide Pools Area: Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument sits at the point of Point Loma, overlooking San Diego Harbor on one side, and the Pacific on the other. There is a lighthouse there, and little pocket park, with some of the best views of the coast you are likely to see. You have to drive through a section of the Naval Base and the National Cemetery to get there, so access is limited to 9 to 5 (when the military gates are open these days) but it is always worth a visit, in any season and any weather.

The day I had available dawned, as promised, with rain, and I debated going at all. I did get out, and had about 3 hours there, shooting from under my umbrella and in brief intervals in the drizzle, before a steady driving rain drove me off the point and back to the hotel.

This is the Tide Pool area, which is reached by a well paved and graded road that serves both the modern lighthouse and a water treatment plant. They have been working here in the last year, making improvements on the short trail system, and I enjoyed exploring further from the parking lot than I have ventured in the past.

The challenge in this weather is, of course, to capture the authentic drama of the rainy coast, cliffs and ocean. The contrast and exposure (EV) range is surprisingly broad on such a day, dull as we might think it, as the lighter sky tends to dominate the dark, rain soaked, landscape. More on that in a Point & Shoot Landscape post (coming soon).

I took a couple of different shots of this view before I got the balanced rocks where they needed to go. This image required some creative work in Lightroom…or maybe I should say, a bit more work than my usual 1 minute adjustments.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 80. Landscape Program. (For more on Landscape Program see the P&S piece mentioned above.)

In Lightroom, Recovery for the sky, Fill Light for the foreground. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Reduced Brightness overall. Reduced Contrast. Graduated Filter effect pulled down diagonally from the top right corner across the top half of the image to reduce exposure even more for the bright area of clouds. Sharpen landscape preset.

From San Diego 2010.