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...

Cabin in the Woods

The trip through the woods to the Redwood Forest was quite the adventure. When we arrived at the front gate we had a little over a quarter of a tank of gas and figured we would be fine. How far could it be, right? Wrong! We wanted to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the United States and this tree just so happened to be about sixty miles down the road, or I should say up the mountain. It was literally all uphill. It was also extremely close to sunset so we were rushing. We had hit up so many places already that this was one of the last ones to go to and we didn’t want to miss it. By the time we had finally reached the top where the parking lot was the gas light had already been on for about ten minutes. We ended up being able to see the tree with just enough sunlight to spare. We thought it was a different one at first but after going a little further down the trail you find that it is clearly labeled. It really was quite the sight. By the time we were done it began getting pretty dark. On our way out was when I saw this shot. Surprisingly I actually like this shot better than I like the ones of General Sherman. It was a little tricky when it came to the post-processing part but I was able to pull off the look and feel that I was going for. I wanted it to show how serene it was in that instant and how quiet it felt. Hope you like the...

Golden Gate Bridge

It had been almost two years at this point since I had been back to San Francisco. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this trip out here. My sister and I came here on a holiday weekend and if you have ever been on a holiday weekend, you know just how packed it gets. This day was no exception. The route up to this lookout point had a ridiculous amount of traffic and we thought for sure that with how close we were to the sun going down and it starting to get dark, that we were going to miss our opportunity. Fortunately we found an alternated route under the mountain through a tunnel that was supposedly closed that made getting back up the mountain much faster. Also, we ended up renting an SUV so we were able to just ride over the curb on the side and park on top of it. We ended up making it with enough time to spare. This is one of my favorite viewpoints of Golden Gate Bridge because it really is the quintessential view you picture when you think of the bridge. It had been so foggy all day that we couldn’t even see the bridge when we were standing at the start of it. Lucky for us, it ended up clearing up sometime in the early evening and some clouds even began rolling in which added to the scene. I took various shots of the bridge from when it was brighter out to when it became darker and I liked this one the best. I think what made this one my favorite was because of the lamps that were lit up all along the bridge and all the car trails that you can...

Salvation Mountain

I took a fairly lengthy road trip with my sister this past week because she came and visited me in California. Salvation Mountain was one of the stops among many others. We went everywhere from Southern California to as far North as Sacramento. I have loads of pictures that I took that I still have to go through so you can expect there to be some new posts coming up with photos from the trip. This was my first time visiting Salvation Mountain. To get here you have to drive pretty far into the desert to the West of Southern California. I could probably count the number of homes in some of the cities that we passed; it was quite the sight. Once we got to the site it was just as cool as I was hoping. Something I found out was that portions of this mountain are man-made out of hay and whatever other bonding agent…probably mud. It was also a little bigger than I expected because it wasn’t only the mountain that was there, but there was also little rooms and alleyways we could walk through, not to mention a bunch of cool stray cats. Usually I try to avoid direct sunlight, but for this picture I think it suited it. I like the way the glare of the sun came out too. I think it gives it the desolate desert feel I was going for. I used luminosity masks and the usual 3 exposure bracketing method to create this image. The whole thing was edited in Photoshop CS6. 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...

San Clemente Pier May24

San Clemente Pier

I decided on visiting San Clemente pier the past weekend for three reasons. 1- I saw the clouds in the sky and figured it would turn out to be a pretty good sunset and was hoping to get some good pictures. 2-It was pretty close by and I didn’t have a lot of time until sunset. 3- I was having shooting withdrawals due to the fact that I have been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to go out and take any pictures. I just recently bought this awesome motorcycle, which I hope to post pictures of soon, that I have been riding around everywhere. It’s a Triumph Scrambler. If you have never seen one they look a lot like the old World War II bikes. Without getting too much off topic, this has been taking up some of my time, along with dealing with various other things since I just came back from deployment. Anyway, I had to wait a bit in order to take this photo because I had wanted the sun to set right between the pillars of the pier. It just took a little readjusting of my position with the tripod and voila. I took this as an HDR but only used this technique to bring out some of the details in the pier that would have been to dark otherwise. I took a whole bunch of shot to try and get the water as best I could also. The bracketed shots were taken at -2, 0, +2. I combined the TIFF files in Photomatix and processed the whole image in Photoshop CS6. Hope you like the...

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...

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...

Newport Beach

This shot was taken at Corona Del Mar over at the Newport Beach area. I found this spot through a mixture between the ever reliable 500px and google. Ever since I have found this spot, it has been an all time favorite for me because of the large dramatic rocks that protrude from the water. It was the first nice night I have been out for picture in a while because I have been busy with going to the field for the military. Not to mention lately I haven’t had to great of luck with the weather for some reason. Fortunately it worked out real well on this visit. The sky was really cloudy which provided great diffused lighting on the rocks and afforded me the opportunity to correctly expose the rest of the image with ease. What I originally envision was somewhat different from the clouds that were given to me in this image so I ended up replacing the sky with a composite. I only do this when it is absolutely necessary in my opinion because I hate blotching nature with surreal manipulations for no real purpose. I try to do it with realistic looking intentions. This is a RAW image file with a bit of work done to it. I masked through the sky to bring in another sky I had saved in one of my folders. I also applied some Nik Color Effex filters and levels adjustments. I masked through the -2 and +2 exposures as well. Hope you like the...

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...