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 results! Please follow and like...

Antelope Canyon

I took this shot while on a tour of Upper-Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. I traveled over here just after visiting Havasu Falls and Horseshoe Bend. The place itself was gorgeous and  exactly what I had expected from other photographs that I had seen of the area. The only difference was how packed it was. There are basically two different tours. The regular tour and the photographic tour. Here I thought I would be able to just wander around it myself but unfortunately you need to go on a tour in order to get into the canyon. I wanted to go on the photographic tour because they will block the traffic of people for you and let you use a tripod but it filled up fast and it was also ridiculously expensive. Fortunately, I was still able to grab a few good shots with no one in it on the regular tour. I had to set my ISO fairly high because it was cloudy and dark in the canyon and I didn’t have a tripod. Because of the short notice, I wasn’t able to book a tour during the peak hours when the sun shines in but I was still able to get some good shots. This is actually just one image, no combined exposures or anything. I did some curves and levels adjustments and basic editing. Hope you like the results. Please follow and like...

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 results. Please follow and like...

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 results. Please follow and like...

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 ask! 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...

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 results! Please follow and like...