Sunday, August 28, 2016

San Pedro seascape sunset

Golden hour down at White Point in San Pedro. This is one of the first beaches I started coming out to shoot tide pool seascapes. They seem to be disappearing but I still come out here for some unique foreground rocks. I found a formation making a line out to sea and waited for a set of waves to rush in leaving only the top part visible. The golden hour light provided some great light on the rocks and the water motion gave the photo a sorta warped perception feel to it. This was during a big winter swell earlier this year. Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/16, 0.3 sec and 1/40 sec blended, ISO-50.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Watching the sunset - Palos Verdes

Good morning and happy weekend. Where’s your go to spot to catch the sunset? Mine is down in the coves of PV where I love to shoot my seascapes. But PV isn’t limited to the water as you can hike the hills and get higher in elevation. On a rare occasion you can get above the sky which doesn’t happen here often. Perfect area to watch the day come to an end. It’s always nice being able to capture the moment in a frame, but don’t forget to stop and take it all in as well. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/11, 1/25 sec, ISO-3200

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Malibu rays at sunset

One of my fav spots to watch the sun set is up on Piuma ridge in Malibu. When you get any kid of clouds or haze in the sky, once the sun hits it near the mountains it creates awesome light rays cutting through the canyon. I came up here during the sandfire as the smoke was blowing over from Santa Clarita. Didn’t have any fog this day but the smoke added some unique color to the sky. Shooting into the sun is always tricky from dynamic range to lens flare. For flare always just make sure your lens/filters are clean. Sometimes you can move around a bit too to change your angle which can help minimize flare. For dynamic range I don’t use any sort of grad filters so this shot consists of many exposures. I used about 3 for the foreground and another 3 for the sky to bring back the highlights especially near the sun. I chose to go vertical to capture the houses down at the bottom to give this some sort of scale. I did also shoot this in landscape format but will save that edit for another time as it is a bit tedious. One of my dream shots from here is to have fog fill the canyon below as well as high clouds and rays shooting through the mountains. All shots taken with the Nikon D750 and Nikkor 70-200.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wall Street Mill startrails - Joshua Tree National Park

Here’s a shot of some startrails over another rusted car along the Wall Street Mill path. The details from the front of this one were really cool with the engine and the headlights so I got up close for a head on shot which put the North Star up towards the left of the frame. The foreground was shot at twilight to maximize depth of field and minimize noise at f/14, 2.5 sec, ISO-100, and the stars were shot once it got dark at f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-6400 using the Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24. The trees bleeding into the sky were a bit problematic as they moved a bit during the star lapse and also had lights from incoming people with their flashlights so had to clean that up a bit. An overhanging branch on the right side of the frame was completely removed as well. When I blend exposures from different times I try to find comps that have hard separations such as mountains to make things a lot easier, but this foreground car made the processing time worth it. Used about 100 shots for the stars stacked in starstax.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer to Fall - Eastern Sierras

Kids going back to school usually only means one thing…MORE TRAFFIC haha nah but really it starts triggering the transition from summer to fall for me and gets me excited for heading up to the Sierras for some color chasing. I’ll probably stay around the Mammoth area again hitting some usual spots and some that have been on my list. The beauty of fall is you can shoot the colors through the day and then weather permitting hit the Milky Way spots after sunset. Here’s one of my faves from a past fall at the intake off the 168 towards North/South lake. The colors were the best I’ve seen here and the still water made for some great reflections. The kayaker admiring the colors just topped it all off.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Under the Juniper - Joshua Tree National Park Milky Way

Stargazing at it's finest standing in between a lone Juniper and a balancing rock. Great place to stargaze from Joshua Tree National Park

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Joshua Tree National Park - perseid meteor shower 2016

So we ended up making the drive out Thursday night to @joshuatreenps to watch the meteor shower. I’ve never seen this place so crowded, it was like a zoo. Good thing we stuck to back roads so we were able to shoot in peace. However, this limited our comps and I ended up framing a solo tree against a pretty nice rock formation. I only had my 20mm on me so I chose to go vertical. I ended up pointing my camera a tad too far to the East as you can see the origin on the left side of the shot.  The Perseids have a distinct greenish color that changes so you can tell when you catch one in your frame. They usually have tapered ends and bright and dim sections. With the big ones it is obvious to tell, but some of the smaller ones can be confused with plane trails or satellites. I didn’t catch any massive ones in frame, but we saw quite a few as we sat out there which was very cool to see. This shot is made up of 3 snaps for the foreground right as the moon set using f/2.8, 30 sec, ISO-3200. They were then layered as a smart object using the mean stack mode to reduce noise. The sky consists of around 2.5 hours worth of meteors all shot at f/2.8, 15 sec, ISO-6400. One base layer was used and the meteors were layered in manually. Cool to catch Andromeda in the middle of the frame as well. All in all a fun night!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Let it Glow - Eastern Sierra Petroglyphs

For those of you heading out tonight to catch the meteor shower, don’t be afraid to bump up that ISO to allow your sensor to capture more light and thus more stars. There are many many good programs out there to reduce noise in post such as Topaz DeNoise or even stacking your shots to reduce the signal to noise ratio however stacking shots for the sky is a bit more challenging due to the rotation of the earth. This sky shot was taken at ISO-10,000 on the D750 body to capture the airglow as a single shot using Topaz DeNoise to clean it up. Happy meteor shower hunting and here’s hoping for a clear night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

San Diego marina sunset - Embarcadero North

Here’s a pano from this past Saturday mornings sunrise at the Embarcadero Marina in San Diego. Wasn’t sure I’d get a good sunrise but I was treated to some pretty good color along with some nice calm water. My 20mm was not even close to being wide enough for this shot so it’s a horizontal pano of about 5 shots with my camera in portrait orientation. There is another tall building to the left of this shot but for some reason I liked the transition from tallest to smallest so I left it out. Will definitely need a wider lens if I ever shoot here again. All shots are with the Nikon D750, Nikkor 20mm 1.8, f/11, 8 sec, ISO-50.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Beautiful Disaster - Malibu smokey sunset from the Santa Clarita Fire

Here’s one I processed when I went to overlook Malibu when the sky was filled with smoke from the Santa Clarita fire. While unfortunate, it provided some really nice colors to the sky at sunset. No fog this night so I took advantage of seeing the entire canyon road by capturing car trails traveling up and down it. May look small from the pic but you can see a few roadside houses for scale. I’d say it takes cars anywhere from 3-5 minutes to get from one end to the other. Since there weren’t many cars, this shot is made of multiple exposures using the “lighten” blend mode in PS to show the trails from every snap. Left the hillside darker but not completely black to emphasize the trails and the beautiful sky.