Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Golden Shores - San Gregorio State Beach, California

--The Shot--
The storms that have been hitting the western coast of the US brought some dramatic clouds and luckily the sunsets stayed dry. I have a few new images from this weekend that I will share in the days ahead. In fact my Facebook page already has a couple (hint, hint).

There are a few things in this image that I broke my normal pattern for. First, I used my Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue polarizer for a seascape. Usually the colors are too strong and I like reflected light coming off rocks and sand. But the ripples in this image were made from a huge outflow of a swollen creek due to all the rain. The sand and silt weren't reflecting much light and was pretty drab. The second thing I did was make a vertorama. The scene was just too much to capture with one shot, so I took a landscape oriented shot of mostly water and one with mostly sky and hand blended them in post processing. Finally, I relied on the ripples to form my foreground interest. There are no rocks on this beach, so I made due with what was there.

The fun part of this evening's shoot was that the ripples would come and go. The outflow would come and go. My best guess is that temporary sand bars would form and restrict the flow. The ripples would form these amazing patterns when that happened. Then the flow would increase, as if someone turned on the faucet...probably when the temporary sand bars broke down. It was a waiting game to get shots with patterns like these, but I think it was worth it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!

--The Gear--
Nikon D300
Nikkor 12-24mm @ 12mm
1/4 sec, f11, ISO 100 (both shots for vertorama)
Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer
Singh-Ray Daryl Benson 3-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter
Markins M20 ballhead with Really Right Stuff lever clamp and L-plate
Gitzo GT3531 carbon fiber tripod

--Software & Editing--
In ACR, custom white balance applied to RAW files and slight adjustment to brightness and exposure then imported as 16-bit TIF files
In Photoshop CS5, I leveled the horizons of both images and stacked the sky shot on top and used a layer mask to blend the two together. Layers included a Levels adjustment, Basic Mid-Tones luminosity mask for contrast. A Shadow Darks luminosity mask to rescue the darker areas of the image (this can be the case sometimes after the contrast adjustment).Vibrance (for intensifying) and Saturation (for rescuing) masks for color control. Burn and Dodge layer through various luminosity mask selections to adjust localized contrast in the sky. Sharpening was done using Nik Sharpener Pro with a standard setting applied to the bottom and another to the sky with the strength set to 0% but the structure and local contrast set to somewhere between 15-20% then selectively brushed in via layer mask. Slight crop to square and saved for web via custom action to downscale, sharpen, downscale again, convert to sRGB, reduce to 8-bit, and embed basic file info (my copyright, name, web, email, etc).

1 comment:

  1. This is by far my most fav because its not one of your National Parks or more commonly shots. Its very unique and creative