Bowling Ball Beach

I was able to visit Bowling Ball Beach while I was in Northern California. This spot was a bit difficult to find but I managed to find it. It was totally empty which was awesome; I literally had the whole beach to myself. These large rocks were scattered across the shoreline. Taking a good enough photo of this spot was the tricky part. I had to walk into the water until I was knee deep so I could find a good position to include all the rocks. Fortunately the waves were small so my little travel tripod stood a chance. I had my Nikon D810 mounted on my Manfrotto befree tripod. This lightweight travel tripod was definitely one of the best investments I made for this trip. It barely took up any space on my motorcycle. This is a combination of 5 different bracketed photos merged with luminosity masks. Hope you like the...

Catalina Island

I recently took a short vacation that I had been long awaiting ever since I came to California, to Catalina Island. I never was able to get too much time off or would always forget about it when I did but fortunately I finally had the chance. Just a few weeks before I leave on my cross country trip too. This is Avalon, the port that we went to and I’m sure most people visit when they go here. This beach is called Crescent Beach for a reason and it is hard to do this place justice in just a single photography. But it was like a little vacation paradise. All the shops were owned by locals and it literally takes about an hour to drive around the whole island on a golf cart. So needless to say it is very small. Two days here was plenty of time to see everything though and I was fortunate enough to be able to snag this shot before it was too late. That little coliseum looking structure is called the casino although it isn’t actually a casino. It has a movie theater, a ballroom, and a island art and history museum. The reason why it is called the casino is because in Italian, casino means a gathering place. I took this shot on the side of a road that skirted the island. This is made up of 5 exposure and I used Luminosity masks for blending. Hope you like the...

Leading Lines

It’s been a while since I have been out taking pictures and it has been even longer since I have posted any. Since I have gotten out of the Marine Corps and became a civilian I have been keeping pretty busy. Holding two jobs, a relationship, and keeping in touch with friends takes a lot of time but fortunately I was able to venture off the other day for a few hours to get some shots at this beach. This was shot at Corona Del Mar, my usual favorite spot to go to when I am short on time and I can’t travel too far. Every time I have visited this beach I have always gone to the area that is a little South of the beach that is next to the canal. This time I decided to try somewhere new and go a little further South past the second beach down that way. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. There were a whole bunch of different spots like the one shown in this picture where the rocks were leading into the water and it was amazing. The only down side was it was a little more crowded than my usual spot and I found myself fighting for a spot to take pictures with other photographers. Usually when I take photos at the beach I face towards the sunset, but this time I tried something different. There was a nice rock formation that was a little further out in the water that I really like and I wanted to include that in my picture, so instead of facing the sunset I actually faced away from it and I found that the colors were just as gorgeous and unique. This is a standard 5...

Heisler Park

It has been a little while since I have gone out to take any pictures recently because I have had a little change in my life situation. Basically, I just entered the real world. I completed my active duty contract with the Marine Corps and started working a full time job along with a part time job so I have been pretty busy. I love the work and keeping busy but photography will always be a passion of mine that I can’t live without. That’s why I was happy to get to visit Heisler Park, in Laguna. This is a rare occasion that I get to visit somewhere new after being here for a little over 5 years because I have already visited most of California. But surprisingly, some of the closest places to me are the ones that I seemed to have overlooked since they never caught my eye. I saw that the sky might prove to make for a nice sunset on this day and I didn’t have time to go far so I settled with a closer location I guess you could say. Turns out, it wasn’t much of settling after all since I am extremely happy with how this photo came out and was fortunate to get such a great opportunity. I shot this just off the path in the park with my Nikon D810. I wanted to take a sunset shot but when I was snapping away at the sunset, it just wasn’t what I hoped. It wasn’t until I turned around that I saw these beautiful colors in the sky. I hadn’t had a sunset like this in some time and I was so happy to get it. I hope you like the...

Bird Rock

I had been busy lately with seeing friends a lot, work and other various things and haven’t had the chance to take off on my own in a little bit. Whenever I go too long without some along time I really start to miss it, so I decided to take off to Sunset Cliffs in San Diego to go shooting this past Friday. The Wednesday prior had one of the best sunsets I had seen in a while so I was hoping to get another chance at a good one. I had been watching the clouds throughout the day to see if anything would develop and I was keeping my hopes up even though it looked a bit overcast. When I got down to this spot, it was a little before sunset and the sky was just beginning to open up in the right areas. I was overjoyed because this was about an hour and a half drive for me and I really wanted some usable pictures out of it. Getting down to this spot is a little bit tricky because you have to find an inlet on the cliffs which isn’t easy if you have never been here. I scoped it out the first time I visited on Google Earth along with a few other sources and I was able to find a spot. It’s funny how some things can turn out to be great subjects for photos that you would otherwise dismiss if you knew what they actually were. Take this rock for instance. It is called Bird Rock because birds are always gathered on it and that white streaking along the top is actually bird feces. Who would have though that it would still look good in a picture. I shot...

McWay Falls

If you have ever been to California and for some reason haven’t visited the Big Sur Coastline then another trip is in order. This is one of the most beautiful drives that I have ever taken and I highly suggest. This was another one, of many spots, that my sister and I visited. If you travel up Highway 1, you are bound to run into this beautiful spot. This is McWay Falls. I had visited this spot the first time I traveled the coast but it was in the middle of the day when I got here and the harsh light didn’t do this spot justice, so I never ended up posting a picture. Fortunately, this time I had arrived at exactly the right time. It was literally less than 1 minute after sunset that we arrived here. I was booking it in our little rental SUV in order to get here with enough light. I was so relieved when I found that we had just made it. Upon arriving, I quickly setup my tripod and started snapping away. Turns out that I even had some time to spare because it wasn’t until a few minutes after I had started shooting that some of the best light came out. The sky started turning that warm orange glow, and all that harsh light that was splayed on the rocks had disappeared. I bracketed 3 photos as usual and applied luminosity masks to them in Photoshop. If you have any questions or comments about my technique or my work then feel free to...

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...

Beach Ride

Everything was good; I had this idea for a picture that I had wanted to take in my mind and was finally ready to try and make it happen. The sun was out, the spot was chosen, we had a way to get to the spot. Everything seemed perfect. It wasn’t until we were leaving that the clouds started coming in and going in front of the sun. By the time we got to the spot at San Onofre beach, it was completely overcast with no sun in sight. The whole reason for this outing was because I had wanted to situate the setting sun glare somewhere off the side of the picture to give it a warm effect that made a nice natural glare over everything. I was so excited for this shot but was disappointed when I learned that it wouldn’t be happening that day. So what did I do? I made the best of the situation. I had ended up bringing along my SB 700 Nikon flash and a wireless trigger along with some gels just in case. I’m extremely glad I did because I had ended up using it for this shot. The natural light wasn’t too bad I thought it looked a little dull and I wanted it to seem like there was still sun in the picture so I could try to recreate the original idea as close as possible. I put a warming gel on the flash and positioned it off to camera right, where the sun would have been. I had wanted to be the model for this picture but since I had such a specific idea in mind, I couldn’t have someone else shoot this for me so I had my friend Steven model with...

Huntington Beach Sunset...

I took this shot a little while back at Huntington Beach in Southern California. It has been a little bit since I have had internet, so there are a few pictures that I haven’t posted yet so I’ll try to put some up. Unfortunately I don’t have all the photos I want to post so my selection is limited but I’ll get them on here eventually. Anyway, I was scoping out some places to take pictures in California on 500px and I came across this spot at Huntington Beach. It wasn’t too bad of a drive from the Oceanside area so I took the trip up North. Unfortunately the sky wasn’t on my side for this visit. It was a cloudless sky and very dull in color. The lights that reflected off the water were the only thing going for the shot initially, so I took the pictures in hopes that I could bring something better out of them later on and that the trip wouldn’t be a waste. I really don’t like making composite images when it comes to landscapes because I feel like it blothes the intended natural beauty, but in this case the images that I took were not what I had visualized in the shot when I planned it out. Overall, the results of making a composite help to better portray my vision of how the scene looked to me. This shot was taken in different parts. One part was the sky, another part for the water, and multiple parts were used for the pier. I have some reserve images that I use to replace skies with if they are dull and don’t do anything for the image. If you want to learn about some of the techniques I used or are interested in getting different prints that may not be available through my site please feel...

Family Photos

This is from a shoot that I did for my friend and his family. They already knew they wanted the photos to be taken at San Onofre Beach near the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton in California. Now I knew of beaches as being notorious for harsh light and I checked the weather forecast and saw nothing except clear skies and sunshine to my dismay. One of my buddies had thankfully volunteered to be my assistant and help out which had made all the difference. Because the shoot was so close to my deployment, some of my equipment had already been packed away so I didn’t even have the one piece of gear I planned on relying on which had been my 5-in-1 reflector. Fortunately I still had my flash as well as a wireless control for it. I arrived on the spot about an hour before they came and scoped out some good places to shoot where I could include as much shade as possible, knowing this would work as a great source for soft light. The spot where this photo was taken was one of the main spots I used which was underneath a lifeguard tower. The shoot on a whole was a really good learning experience for me because of the difficulties the harsh light provided me with for one, and also because it was my first time working with kids. The kids both enjoyed the picture taking for the first few minutes which ended up all I needed for the shoot. I even got to experiement with my new favorite lens, the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, which has an awesome depth of field. Overall the photo shoot was a success and my friend and his family were pleased with their photos. Thanks for having me as your photographer guys! This is a RAW image that was processed...