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 results. Please follow and like...

Los Angeles Cityscape...

I had been waiting to go to this spot in Los Angeles forever but I had never known where it was. Recently I was wondering around on 500px and finally stumbled across a similar photo that had the location on it. Now that I was fully equipped with the location and my new camera and zoom lens I was all for it. For those who are looking for this spot, it is right off Mt Hollywood Trail. This is pretty much off one of the paths that you can hike on around Griffith Observatory. I had always thought these pictures were composites since I had never found this angle, but once I got to this spot I was ecstatic to find out that it was real. For this shot I used my Nikon D810 mounted on a tripod, with my Nikkor 70-300mm lens. This was actually my first time shooting with this lens and I was really happy with the results. I shot 5 bracketed shots and combined them through HDR processing and luminosity masks. I will sometimes combine the two processes if I find that one of them isn’t cutting it for what I am trying to accomplish. I hope you like the results.   Please follow and like...

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...

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...

Bash Bish Falls

This is a shot I took at Bash Bish Falls located in Southwestern Massachusetts. This is said to be the highest single drop waterfall in the state.  I visited this spot with my sister while I was back home on post-deployment leave. It was about a three hour drive but we had never been and decided to venture out for the day. It ended up being an overcast day which was a good thing since there wouldn’t be any harsh light. The hike to the waterfall was short too, I don’t remember it taking any longer than an hour and once we got there, there was barely anyone else at the falls. To get this angle I had to end up jumping across the stream on a few rocks to get to the other side. I usually try to look at a lot of different angles and spots for locations that I shoot at just to find the one that I really love the most. Even though I only end up posting one picture of most of the spots that I should, you would be surprised at how many different pictures and angles I end up having at the end of the day. I’ll use different shutter speed settings for water, 10 stop filters, and bring my tripod real low to the ground sometimes. It all depends what I like the most at the end of the day that makes me choose it for my website. This shot was a regular RAW image taken on a tripod. I had a ND filter on the front of the lens to slow the water a bit and processed this photo in Lightroom for minor adjustments and then Photoshop CS6 for the rest. Please follow and like...

Rocky Waterfalls

Along the stream to Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts, there was this small hidden waterfall that was right on the edge of the water. It wasn’t really a waterfall per say but it was good enough for me. Fortunately it was cloudy out so there was no harsh light around to cast any unattractive shadows. Instead, it was just nice filtered light bringing out all the detail in the rocks and the moss. I had to take bracketed shots for this one because of the difference in light from the foreground and background. I couldn’t correctly expose the background with one shot because then it turned out with the foregrounded being entirely too dark. So I bracketed these shots at -2, 0, and +2. I used the usual Photomatix to combine the three exposure. I had just downloaded the new Photomatix and came to realize that there are these awesome new presets that make the HDR processed images look a lot better than the old presets the previous version used to have. I like to use one called “Photographic” the best and it is rightly named so. I hit a few sliders here and there but half the time I barely need to touch it. I highly suggest checking it out and getting the new version if you haven’t. It is well worth it in my opinion. I should also mention that this is a vertical panorama image as well. I had to stitch two processed images together because I’m unfortunately still using my kit lens to take all my landscape photos. Soon I will hopefully acquire a wide angle. Please follow and like...

Zion National Park

Over July 4th weekend my friend Chris and myself visited Zion National Park in Utah. It was about a seven hour drive from where we were so it was a little bit of a road trip. We ended up getting a campground at this South Campground in the park itself which worked out really well because it was near the tram pick up which took you all over the park for free. The park itself was amazing! There were red rocks like the one seen in this picture everywhere, and plenty of hikes to keep anyone busy. The first day there we did a hike called Angels landing which was about a 5000 ft elevation climb over the span of a few miles. It was an awesome start to the trip. The best part of the trip was the following day on July 4th when we hiked the Narrows and got stuck in a flash flood! The photo below was taken right near the tram stop at a place called the Grotto. There are areas to swim in the water around here since it is deep enough in some places. This was taken a little way up though right around sunset. If you can’t tell, I was standing in the middle of the stream in order to take this shot. During the day there was a lot of harsh light and it was tough to take shots that I was happy with so that is why I waited until the end of the day for this one. This is a bracketed shot, and even though it may seem it, it is not a full HDR. This is mostly processed off of two RAW images with the finishing touches applied in Photoshop. I don’t know if...

Boston Harbor

If you ever decide to visit Boston then Fan Pier is by far the nicest view of the city at night. There is a nice walk you can take right along the edge of the water that goes around the Southeast area of Boston. I visited this spot with my two sisters while I was home on leave. The only drawback of going was that we had to pay about $16 for parking since we drove up here. I would suggest taking the “T” which is the Boston Metro System. Quincy has free parking and the “T” picks you up from there and goes directly into the middle of the city. Right near this spot is also the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). This is an awesome gallery to visit that is located in a really cool, modern building. I had to wait a while for this shot because it didn’t get very dark until almost an hour and a half after sunset. I took some early shots during sunset because there were some really cool looking clouds too. This is a collection of 3 exposure bracketed shots that were taken on a tripod. I processed the whole image in Photoshop CS6 but most of the adjustments were done through Camera Raw. Surprisingly this is made up of a lot of pictures. Because I still don’t have a wide angle lens yet, I had to take 8 shots total (three for each since they were bracketed) and put them all together. Hope you like the results! Please follow and like...

Campbell Falls

I just recently got home on post-deployment leave and I have been trying to visit some cool places to take pictures at. I found this amazing site called New England Waterfalls that lists all the waterfalls in the New England area and even gives each one its out rating for how good it is. The rating seems really accurate too considering I just recently visited two of the five star ones that are on the list and they were beautiful. The waterfall pictured below is Campbell Falls which is located at Campbell Falls State Park in Connecticut. It was a little bit of a drive from where I live (three hours to be exact), but it was well worth it. There was even another waterfall nearby that we were able to hit up while we were that far out. It was a short hike to this waterfall and it was a perfect day because it was an overcast sky which provided some great soft light. This is a RAW image file that I combined with the HDR I created through bracketed shots in Photomatix. Very little editing was done in all honesty in order to keep this one as natural looking as possible. Hope you like the results! Please follow and like...

Redhawk Waterfall

All of you Temecula locals should know where this spot is. It is the well known waterfall that is off Redhawk Road. This was my first time visiting this spot and I was not let down. I was in Temecula for the day just traveling around wine country on my motorcycle and I found out about this place before I had left. I had never actually been through Temecula before unfortunately because this place was beautiful. Just traveling straight down Rancho California was quiet the sight. There were just fields of grape vines and orange groves. I will definitely be putting up other pictures of this visit soon enough. I just wanted to put this one up because it was my favorite from that trip. I came to this spot a little before sunset and had waited just until the time was right. Fortunately there wasn’t anyone there because I have heard that this is a popular spot. Sure enough, right when I was done shooting a group of me people showed up to take what looked like senior portraits at this spot. Looks like I made it just at the right time. I have been trying some different techniques on my landscape shots and decided to see how they would work out on this one. I dodged and burned some areas of the picture in order to keep some of the focus in the right spots. This is a RAW photo that I masked with a bracketed HDR that was taken at of course -2, 0, +2. I processed the RAW in Lightroom and finished the whole image in Photoshop CS6. Let me know what you think! Please follow and like...