Thursday, March 30, 2017

Leo Carrio beach cave and milky way

Here’s the final shot from the early am sesh out in Malibu on Tuesday am. We spent the 3-4 hours we had in the Leo and Matador cave. This cave specifically points to the SE so it’s ideal to catch it during the early MW season before it starts getting too far South. It’s also ideal to catch it slanting across the cave which you can’t get during the later months of the season. Tide has to be pretty low. More so for Matador but here as well. Lastly the sky has to be clear which isn’t always the case as the gloom months come along. You can’t take this shot right as the MW rises either as you are looking straight out towards Santa Monica and the southbay which is where all the glow is from. I knew I wanted a human on the rocks but we added a light to compliment the light pollution. Once the MW rose high enough over the pollution but just a bit before the dark horse moved too far right out of frame we snapped these shots around 4am. Perfect timing and perfect conditions and all within LA county. You get some cool shadows in the cave from the light pollution so I brought them out in post to really give the cave that 3D contrast. Usually I prefer the evenly lit/natural light scenes but I embraced this one. One of my new favorite astro shots from Malibu, up there with some of my fav astro shots in general. I’ll post up a shot from the El Matador cave down the road. Great way to kick in that 2017 milk.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Palos Verdes seascape burn

Here’s the final burn from my recent story showing the blending of the sky. I used luminosity masks to both blend and edit. Luminosity masks are based on tones. So a set of masks will give you bright/mid/dark tones. You then layer your bracketed exposures and use one of the light masks to blend the sky onto your darker foreground layer without affecting the foreground too much. With any blending you can’t blend a super bright image on a super dark image without getting some halos and weird artifacting. For example in this shot I took an exposure for the water, then kept increasing 2-3 stops and shot exposures until I got an exposure that has no blown highlights. I’ll then use as many files as I need to blend in the sky gradually. Luminosity masks are also used for my general editing. Midtone editing works very well without blowing out your whites or making your blacks too dark compared to if you just add a global contrast adjustment. Check out vids online from people like Tony Kuyper or Jimmy Mcintyre. Luminosity masks are one of the more complex things to learn in PS but they give you full control of blending without having to resort to HDR programs that can leave your photos looking a bit unnatural with surreal textures and neon colors in the sky. That’s purely preference, but my style is more on the natural side. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bridalveil falls, Yosemite National Park

I was hoping I was going to be able to capture this shot. We stayed in Yosemite West so every time in and out of the valley we would check fog levels at Tunnel View. On this day it was just as I wanted with Bridalveil falling into the fog with various trees below peaking out. This was the number one abstract shot on my list to get and I’m excited the fog played nice and was the perfect height. Fog lifted not to long after I shot this and the scene was gone. For those who have seen the fog roll around the valley you know I’m not lying when I say the fog literally changes the scene by the minute. Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/16, 1/30 sec, ISO-1000

Friday, March 17, 2017

Mt. Rainier National Park - spring wildflowers

Spring is definitely in the air. Have seen tons of shots popping up from the local deserts and hills with beautiful wildflowers. Don’t know if I am going to have a chance to get out to capture any this season and if not I’ll have to live through everyone else’s pictures. Here’s an early spring shot from Mt. Rainier with some beautiful Avalanche Lilies growing along the hills. There was still quite a bit of snow on the trails when we visited but it made for a nice seasonal shift photo. I love the spring time shots but it seems that it’s the season that I have the least photos of. Guess I’ll have to try and change that going forward. Hopefully we’ll see some good weather through the season before summer comes along.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cathedral Peaks reflected - Yosemite National Park

We came here on the last day of our trip and arrived in the am while the light was still good. We headed to the North side to catch the Cathedral Spires reflected in the water. The clouds were changing every few minutes but luckily the water was dead calm. I had to walk out on a log to get an unobstructed view and I dropped my remote shutter trigger but it was worth it. Had a bit of low clouds hanging around the scene which added to the vibe of the shot. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/16, 1/10 sec, ISO-50

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sun Halo - Palos Verdes seascape sunset

A nice sun halo seascape from the coves of Palos Verdes

Monday, March 13, 2017

Firefalls close up - Yosemite National Park

I took a few close-ups of the Firefalls as the wind picked up. Part of the fun of watching this event is seeing the mist coming off horsetail falls light up in different shapes and patterns. The mist during this sequence almost took on the shape of the falls and drifted to the right before eventually disappearing. A mesmerizing thing to see. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200, f/11, 1/6 sec, ISO-50

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring wildflowers in Los Angeles

The seasonal shift is in the air with March here. If you are looking for something different from here, come check out these hills when the wildflowers are out especially now while there is still snow up on Baldy. Given the rain we had, there should already be some blooms across the hills of Los Angeles. This was taken a year ago and I waited for the sun to rise to provide some great backlight on the flowers to really make them pop. There are spots all over Griffith and Elysian to catch some nice blooms and the fun part is going out exploring to find them. Framing a nice bloom along with aspects of the city gives off a nice juxtaposition. Happy spring wildflower hunting. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120, f/14, 1/8 sec, ISO-100

Monday, March 6, 2017

Yosemite falls reflection

Probably one of my faves from the trip. Don’t think I could have asked for better conditions. A ton of clouds hanging around the peaks, some lower clouds swirling around upper Yosemite Falls and just a hint of crisp blue sky from the clearing storms. Top that all off with a picture perfect reflection. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/14, 1/15 sec, ISO-50

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sunrise fire - Los Angeles CA

An amazing sunrise burn from Kenneth Hahn Park in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mammatus clouds over Manhattan beach pier at sunset

Check out those sexy clouds hanging over the MB pier. The sky had some nice golden hour color to it and it was pretty windy so these clouds weren’t in frame all too long. Once I spotted them forming I snapped a few shots before they blew past me. Other than the Big Sur shot I showed a bit ago, this is the only other time I’ve caught these with types of clouds with my camera. These are tiny compared to what some areas get to see, but its still very cool to see as they don’t form around here all that often. Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24, f/16, 0.4 sec, ISO-50