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 Onofre

This location was actually on Camp Pendleton which is a first for me. Usually I never stay on base for photos but this night in particular I had decided to go out rather late and saw that the sky was going to prove to be a good sunset so I decided to venture out to the closest beach to me which happens to be San Onofre. This beach is said to have some of the best breaks for surfing in Southern California and I believe it does from experience. On some real good day it does tend to get packed in the water but I have never really seen it get packed on the shoreline, at least not on the military side. This photo is mostly natural meaning I didn’t do much as far as post-processing goes. Frankly I didn’t feel that I had to do anything. Once I took the picture and check it out when I was done I could tell I was going to be pleased with the end results. I usually try to make blacked out or shadow areas as visible as I can but in this photo I find that these areas actually add to the overall composition. It gives it a more dramatic type of lighting in my opinion. The natural colors from the sky were also surprisingly beautiful that day. And to think that I wasn’t expecting much from coming here on this day.  This is a single RAW image that has been masked through the better parts of two other exposures taken at -2 and +2. I kept the dark tones that were present in order to preserve the realism. I used Photoshop CS6 for levels and color adjustments and Nik Color Effex Pro for other various adjustments. If you...

Couples Shoot

This is a portrait of my friend Teddy and his girlfriend at the time Maryam(unfortunately they broke up some time after this shoot). They wanted to do a couples shoot and it was my first payed shoot so I took the opportunity immediately. I’m fairly new to portrait photography so it was a definite learning experience but I think overall it worked out great. I brought a 5-in-1 reflector that is a must have piece of gear. I used it throughout this entire shoot considering how often some of the shots had to be in direct light because of the spots we were in. It helped to reflect some of the light back in their faces in order to fill in the shadows which  made for a softer look rather than having harsh light splayed throughout the photos. This shot in particular was one of those shots. I thought it would be a good idea to try this shot on top of the lifeguard tower but the sun was still a little harsh so I used the reflector. You can’t see it in this picture but my buddy’s girlfriend (at the time) was actually holding the reflector with me in order to keep it in the spot I had wanted it. I didn’t have someone else to help me out in this situation so I made do with what I had and she was more than happy to help out. We got a lot of good pictures and they all seemed pleased with the results. For portraits, I try and keep the processing as minimal as possible. In the case of this photo I simply applied a curves and levels layer and fixed the white balance along with some color adjustments which were all done in Photoshop CS6....