Death Valley Jul24

Death Valley

I took this shot back in May when I was still on my cross county trip on my motorcycle. This was taken in Death Valley National Park in Southern California. This was at the racetrack which was one of my favorite destinations in the park. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before because it was so flat and empty. I had came here after about 30 miles of some rough off-road on my motorcycle in hopes to find some rock trails. The ones that this place is notorious for. I started losing hope at first because I wasn’t finding any. It wasn’t until I had read a nearby sign mentioning that they were in the Southern portion of the track that I was able to finally find some good ones.  It is the strangest thing to see these 100lb+ rocks with trails from being moved across the flat ground. I took this shot with a Nikon D810 and blended 5 exposures together in order to get better lighting. I used Photomatix for any HDR processing and Photoshop CS6 for the rest of the post-processing. Please follow and like...

Bixby Bridge

This is an older photo that I took while I was on a short road trip up the Big Sur coastline towards San Francisco. I have been working on my technique a bit lately for editing photos so I decided to give this one another try. My original edit wasn’t something I liked too much and I chalked it up to a bad shot so I’m glad I went through it again because I’m happy with how this one ended up. I love the look of Bixby Bridge. It is a perfect fusion of nature and man-made. I think the bridge actually adds to the overall looks of the scene and find that without it, the picture would be somewhat lacking. If you have never traveled this route, then I would definitely suggest it. The Pacific Coast Highway is, hands down, the most beautiful drive that I have made thus far. The whole drive was winding and curvy roads and all alone gorgeous scenery of beaches and cliffs. I made so many stop along the way because there were great photos to be had everywhere. I used my Nikon D7000 for this shot, mounted on my vanguard tripod. I had my usual kit lens and bracketed this photo at -2, 0, and +2. I didn’t have a wide enough angle lens so I had to make my own panorama. In post-processing I used luminosity masks in order to bring out the desired lighting and then I stitched the whole image together. If you have any questions just ask. I hope you like the results! Please follow and like...

Luminance

This is an old photo that I took while at Corona Del Mar. I have been wandering around the internet lately reading various articles that all seem to focus on a technique that I had never used before called luminosity masks thus the name of the post luminance. What these essentially do is bring in particular light values of a photo, acting almost like an HDR technique, which is something that I like and am very familiar with. What I read was that luminosity masks actually had much more control and accuracy compared to the HDR technique so I decided to give it a shot. Most of the info I used was off of the 500px website which you can get to by clicking the link. Jimmy Mcintyre also has an awesome website that has loads of useful information on the subject of digital blending and luminosity masks. I used a luminosity mask action that I set up in Photoshop CS6 and imported all the three exposures as layers. The main file that I used for the base image was actually a lightly processed HDR image that I had put together. I wanted to see if I could actually get better results from luminosity masks and I quickly found out that I could, so not much of the final image is HDR. It was tricky to get it to look right at first and required a bit of work from the get go, but the hard work quickly comes to fruition once you get the hang of it. Hope you like the results! Please follow and like...

Driver

I liked this photo a lot after I saw it on my camera when I shot it. I was working on getting the right amount of glare in the picture when I was taking it which was a little tricky and I couldn’t have known that it would have worked out this good when I was looking through the viewfinder since light can be tricky like that. This was one of my first few shots that I had taken with my Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 lens. This is a less expensive version of it’s Nikon counterpart and in my opinion works just as well. Although, it would be nice to have the auto-focus feature. The tricky thing is that when you look through the viewfinder with a wide open aperture like I was using, you don’t actually get an accurate representation of what it will look like in the actual photo. I didn’t know you could press the depth of field preview button at the time to do this so I was going off experience with different apertures and hoping for the best on this one. The sun couldn’t have been in a better position when I took this. It produced an awesome glare that gave the image a movie poster feel and really worked out. This is my buddy Steven Feusi who happened to be the driver of a sweet old Chevy Nova that ended up being extremely photogenic. Hope you guys like the results! Please follow and like...

Black and White Calm Aug10

Black and White Calm

I took this photo some time ago at Corona Del Mar beach near Laguna, CA. This was taken super early in the morning before the sun had even risen. I had arrived at the spot aroun 4:00am and it was pitch black out. Fortunately for me, I had been to this spot before so I was able to figure out where to go rather easily. I had never taken a picture this early in the morning before until this point and it was a learning experience. All kinds of ambient light from unknown sources seemed to flood in random areas of some of the initial shots and it took a few exposures and experimenting with the shutter speed to figure out which one fit best. After a few minutes of messing around I was able to settle on an exposure that was over a minute lone. When I visualized this image, I had wanted to keep it as minimal as possible with what was included in the shot and I think it worked out. I can’t remember since this was an old photo but I don’t think I even used an ND filter because of how dark it was. Either way, this is a RAW photo that was processed in Photoshop CS6 and turned to black and white with Nik Silver Effex Pro. I found out about Nik Color Efex Pro through the photographer Trey Ratcliff at his website Stuck in Customs. Definitely recommend checking it out. Please follow and like...

Golden Gate Park

I took this shot while strolling through Golden Gate Park one morning during my visit in San Francisco. I had come up to visit during a 4 day weekend that I had. This was my first time up here and there was so much to see. I hit all the usual spots and decided to hit some spots that weren’t as well known such as this one. This was taken during early morning as the fog was rolling out. This is a 3 exposure shot made from -2, 0, +2. These three exposure were combined into an HDR in Photomatix. Once combined I brought the single photo into Photoshop CS6 and masked through the other layers in order to bring out the better parts of the image. Some of the problem areas were the reflection in the water and the movement of the leaves in the trees. I used Nik Color Efex Pro for a few more advanced filters and that did it. Hope you like the results. Please follow and like...

Path to Hell

Salk Institute in La Jolla, California is an awesome display of some superb architecture. Louis Kahn is the architect behind the structure shown in the photo below and I’m not too familiar with architecture but from people I have talked to it seems that his building all have pretty interesting looks like this one. The Salk institute is one of the leading institutions in the world for biological research and I was constantly seeing various people in and out of this place. Considering all that is far above my head, what my focus was on was photography. I had wanted to photograph this spot for a while but it is always locked up and a keycard is needed for entry. There are tours that are given except they only ran on weekdays and at times that weren’t late enough for me to get the pictures around sunset that I had wanted. I ended up calling ahead through a reference number and asked for entry and I was fortunate enough to be allowed in. I took as many shots as I could before the sun went down and was even fortunate enough to have an amazing sunset. I picked the name “Path to Hell” because I thought that the real void and futuristic architecture in the foreground leading up to the fiery sky in the center of the image really makes it seems like it is leading to some mysterious unknown place. My favorite part about the image are the subtle hints that were picked up, like the reflection of the sky off the ripples in the water going down the center. This is a 3 exposure shot made up of -2, 0, +2. I masked through the better parts of the photo in Photoshop CS6 where...

Married

I shot this at my friends wedding at Coronado near San Diego, California. He let me shoot his wedding because I wanted to get the practice so I told him I would do it for free.  They got married on the beach here on a pretty sunny day. Coronado was such a beautiful place for a wedding and the couple was great to work with. Being my first wedding, I didn’t realize the full extent of the work that has to go into this. Probably the most time consuming was the post-processing because of the sheer amount of photos I had taken. It was super sunny out and hard to shoot so it was hard to handle a lot of the light because for the large amount of the wedding it was all harsh light. It wasn’t until later on when the sun started going down that the light quality increased and I didn’t need to use such a high amount of off camera lighting to balanace the scene. That was when this photo was taken. I took this as we were leaving the beach and heading to the cars to leave. The sun had already set and it was getting dark by this point. We were walking past the main entrance when I remembered I wanted a picture of the rings with them wearing them. There was a nice flowerbed that was lit up by a few scattered lights and I figured this would be a good spot for just that. I used a higher aperture in order to get the desired depth of field and brought their hands into the light and started snapping away. A few pictures was all I needed to know I would be pleased with this shot. It was my buddy Shawn and his now wife...

Lost in Translation

This photo reminded me a little of the cover of the movie “Lost in Translation.” This is actually my sister in this picture and this was taken on Acorn Street in Boston, Massachusetts. This was my first visit here surprisingly considering I have lived in the area for most of my life. You can probably already tell from the photo, but it was an awesome little street. There were cobblestone roads and old looking lampposts as well as brick buildings everywhere. It was also around Christmas time so there were even little wreaths with red bows. It was surprising in a way because it was right off a busy area around Boston Commons and almost like a hidden gem. If you have never been to Boston in general then I highly suggest it. There are tons of old historic buildings which have some interesting and beautiful architecture that makes for great pictures. This road is one of the many areas you can find out there. I took this with natural light because the building masked the sun so it was all shady which made for nice soft light. There was even a nice natural backlight that was provided for the picture from the lower building right behind my sister which helped to outline her more and seperate her from the background a bit. I have been getting into portraits a bit lately and have been trying new techniques to get the look that I visualize when I plan out the shots. I’m constantly learning and trying to perfect my technique so there will be more to come. This is a single RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6. Most of the adjustments were minor apart from the dodging and burning that was...

Bay Bridge

This is a shot of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California. This was my first time visiting San Francisco and it was a long awaited trip. Ever since I was stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base I had wanted to venture up here. I had gone around most of the other places in Southern California and I knew that I had to check out Northern California as well. I only have a motorcycle for transportation but I find that to be a good thing. I planned out my route to go up the Pacific Coast Highway considering that was also an area I had wanted to experience while in California. I’ll start by saying this is the most beautiful and scenic ride that I had ever taken. It was along the coast for most of the way with curves and sharp turns everywhere (A.K.A a motorcycler’s dream). Once I got up to San Francisco I had visited all the usual sights first like the Golden Gate Bridge along with the large hills and trolley system in the city. It wasn’t until the day before I was going to leave that I came here. I had parked somewhere near the wharf and walked over here at nighttime. Once I got to this area where I took this picture, I couldn’t believe that this bridge barely gets any hype. If I asked most people I knew from the East Coast about it, I doubt they would even know what it was. This bridge may not be the Golden Gate Bridge but it’s still a must see spot while in San Francisco. With the lights outlining the bridge and the small cement pillars in the water below, this makes for a great shot. This is...