Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pink Slime - Joshua Tree National Park sunset

No not the kind you find in your beef, the kind you find at sunset as the oddly shaped clouds light up. Standard shot from Joshua Tree but what I love about this shot is all the contrasting colors. Pink and green are on opposite ends of the color contrast wheel so the trees really pop against the sky. The dry foreground brush just adds some textural elements to the shot.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/14, .25 sec, ISO-250

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Manhattan beach pier sunset portal

I have a handful of images that stick with me over the years and this is one of them. I was considering printing this one on metal for the living room so wanted to take a fresh look at it. Back when I shot and edited this in 2013, I was restricted to auto blending programs such as photomatix which doesn’t always do the best jobs in tough scenes. Since then I have learned a lot about luminosity masks and it has given me the freedom to blend images much cleaner to my liking. This one was always difficult as the dynamic range of the scene varied widely. What also made it difficult is that the water movement from the ocean was different in each exposure. But I think I got it to a point where I like it, maybe a few more final touch ups. There is now a lot more shadow detail under the pier, and the sky is a quite a bit more controlled in the highlights. If I had a choice I’d choose to retake the shots with my full frame, but I’ve never been able to recreate the scene with low tide, a gorgeous pre-sunset sky, and the awesome light beam coming through the end. Always tough to figure out what to personally print because I hope that my images and processing will continue to improve. But this image stuck with me this long and while my editing may improve over the next few years, I feel like its sufficient enough to portray this scene in all its glory.

Monday, January 25, 2016

In This Moment - Palos Verdes sunset with low fog

Here is the final shot from this series. The last shot I posted of this couple focused on them, hence they were brighter and the background was blurred out. This shot is about the atmosphere; the awesome low fog and the wispy burning clouds above. Therefore the couple is darker and more of a silhouette. Definitely glad to be able to witness these conditions in socal. Make it a good week everyone!

Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/11, 1/25 sec, ISO-3200

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Serenity Now - Los Angeles Skyline sunset

Thursday was looking pretty iffy with cloud cover closing in fast. The clouds were thin tho so there was color peaking through all day which meant a chance for a burn. As it got closer to sunset it got thicker and hazy and pretty much became a gamble to head into LA to capture the San Gabriel range behind the skyline. We went in figuring we would get skunked but it sure did pay off. Sunset doesn’t always fire here as it faces east but Thursday’s fire sky burned in all directions. There were thicker clouds over the Gabriel’s so it didn’t light up as much as everywhere else, but still enough for me to capture this. It started off pink and turned orange before it disappeared. Some of the buildings have the intense orange glow from behind me as the sky was on fire. I was looking for less haze but the misty mood along with the pink glow gives the scene a surreal dreamy feel and I like it. Probably the closest I’ve gotten to the shot I am looking for from here so far and the first try of 2016! Now are you starting to see why I love this view so much?

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/16, 3 sec, ISO-50

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Point Vicente lighthouse sunset, Palos Verdes

Here is the more standard view of the Point Vicente Lighthouse with the cliffs in the foreground. It is a good vantage point though, with the cliffs acting as leading lines out to the tower with the pacific/Catalina in the background. Sunset burned pretty nice and this awesome formation of clouds moved right into frame. Never been down at the beach level at this specific cove, I’ll have to make a trip down one of these days.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/14, 0.3 sec, ISO-200

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rock Love - Leo Carrillo Beach Malibu Milky Way

Most of the shots of this arch from Leo Carrillo are from under the arch framing the Milky Way. But tide was high this night and this was probably the furthest I was able to get down without risking getting soaked. Still wanted a shot as this night seemed extremely dark from all the times I’ve been out in Malibu. So I just focused on getting some nice foreground mist from the long exposure (lot still cut off by IG). Still have a lot of shots I want from here so no doubt I’ll be back this season.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/1.8, 15 sec, ISO-3200

Saturday, January 16, 2016

SOS - B52 light painted under the stars

Crash landed the B-52, signaling and waiting for help to arrive. Standard flashlight on top pointing out towards the stars, using a lantern insight to illuminate the cockpit. I’m not exactly sure what happened with the stars in the center of the frame. It was about 34 degrees out so we had some frost/fogging issues so I suspect my lens started fogging during this exposure causing the subtle flare on some of the stars. It’s just weird that it is all concentrated around the center. I thought it looked cool so I left it. And no its not comatic aberration (coma) which is an optical design imperfection in the lens that causes stars to appear to have tails, mostly noticeable in the corners of the frame when shooting wide open. Startrail shot coming soon, maybe next weekend.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-3200

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pearl of the Pacific - Palos Verdes sunset

Monday’s fire sunset hanging out alone with the birds in a Palos Verdes cave. On this day the tide was low and it lined up with sunset so I headed to a place really only accessible at low tide. There have even been rescues here during high tide with people trying to swim across the channel and underestimating the current in this bay. Normally I like to setup real close to the water to get some nice water motion but the waves were pounding around the corner and every now and then a rogue wave would splash up and mist everything. That was the case here; I had some lens flare along with the mist in the air that provided some nice soft light around the right side of the image. I actually had to tone the misty light bleed effect down and even it out as it was too bright and distracting. The clouds looked pretty thick all day but had some color to them so I knew there was going to be a good chance for a burn. As the sun was setting, it came out from behind the clouds and illuminated the inside of the cave with an awesome orange glow. It also allowed me to get a nice sunburst to seal this shot off. Not the best water motion but I wasn’t risking getting soaked. I hung around for the afterburn so I’ll get around to posting another version of this shot down the road. This goes up there with some of my favorite local images. Great way to start off a strong 2016.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, ISO-200, 1/8 (sky) and 0.8 (foreground)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Joshua Tree National Park sunset

An explosion of pink after sunset from Joshua Tree. Framed is an old windmill and a rusty water tank along with the setting moon but it’s small due to using a wide angle for this shot. It’s rare to get some great golden hour clouds, have them light up during the afterburn, then have them clear to be able to witness a meteor shower. That’s what happened this night, and it’s why I have a lot of photos from this single night. Much more to come down the road.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/14, 1/20 sec, ISO-400

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Air Force Ones - B52 under the stars

One of the coolest things I’ve had the opportunity to shoot under the stars so far. Definitely a unique subject, yet still dark enough to catch a sky full of stars. Clouds came rollin in providing some awesome interest to the sky. The first of many from this mission. Have a ton more to edit, including some startrail shots which I hope to get around to editing in the coming weeks.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-4000

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Maple Leaves in Torrance - Fall Colors

Fallen maple leaves line this grass path in Torrance. There are business signs at the end of this pathway so I used a shallow depth of field and a telephoto to obscure everything but some foreground leaves creating some colorful fall bokeh. I can already foresee a fall shot next year with Cole jumping in a big pile of leaves.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO-500.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Golden Cove stormy sunset - Palos Verdes

Shooting in the rain is always a gamble. It’s usually cold and windy, and you’re gonna get wet. There is also a big possibility of the sky just clouding over. But on the other hand it can produce unique conditions not normally seen. This is golden hour from golden cove in Palos Verdes this past Tuesday. Waves were big and the tide was rising so the water was being pushed up further onto the rocks than I had ever seen which meant a new comp opportunity. Waves were coming in from the channel to the left, and overflowing from my right causing the opposing ripples in front of me so I used it as my leading lines. The sky cleared just enough to let some nice golden color through, while still pouring rain out in the distance. Everything got wet from the rain and the mist, but this shot made it worth it. And yea, the sky lit up with an awesome orange at sunset but it was all behind me being blocked by the cliff. Still satisfied with this golden hour shot. Always remember to dry your gear off and make sure to get all the salt off your equipment.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, ISO-50, 1/10 (sky) and 0.6 (foreground).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Desert Gold - Joshua Tree National Park sunset

Here’s a pre-sunset shot from Joshua Tree. We were treated to some awesome clouds and color prior to the Geminid meteor shower. JT has endless comp choices and here is a more classic one with a sunburst setting through the trees. Love the backlight here and the golden hour glow casting shadows on the desert floor. Got a huge pink burn after sunset, so looking forward to sharing some of those shots down the road.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, 1/250 sec, ISO-500

Friday, January 1, 2016

Window to the West - Joshua Tree National Park sunset

Here is a fitting first image for 2016. I see it as a look-through into the New Year. I have a ton of queued photos and can’t wait to share them all. This is a shot of the pink ruins of Wonderland Ranch in Joshua Tree. The pink brick made an interesting natural frame and provided some nice contrasting colors so I used it to frame the sun setting behind the rocks. Used 2 exposures, one for the land and one for the sky and had to use luminosity masks to blend them as there were a lot of intricate objects in line with the sky. FYI, the ISO is pushed up a bit because it was windy and the Joshua Trees were moving quite a bit.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, ISO-400, f/16, 1/200 (sky) and 1/40 (land).