Death Valley Jul24

Death Valley

I took this shot back in May when I was still on my cross county trip on my motorcycle. This was taken in Death Valley National Park in Southern California. This was at the racetrack which was one of my favorite destinations in the park. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before because it was so flat and empty. I had came here after about 30 miles of some rough off-road on my motorcycle in hopes to find some rock trails. The ones that this place is notorious for. I started losing hope at first because I wasn’t finding any. It wasn’t until I had read a nearby sign mentioning that they were in the Southern portion of the track that I was able to finally find some good ones.  It is the strangest thing to see these 100lb+ rocks with trails from being moved across the flat ground. I took this shot with a Nikon D810 and blended 5 exposures together in order to get better lighting. I used Photomatix for any HDR processing and Photoshop CS6 for the rest of the...

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch Jan25

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch...

If you have ever been along Route 66 then I’m sure that you are familiar with where this shot was taken. This is the Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. This is conveniently located in the middle of nowhere just Northeast of Los Angeles. My sister and I were on our way up North to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Park and we figured we would go a little out of the way to take a stop here. Coming here from South Los Angeles, it seemed like there was a bit of driving with not much around. The town that this is actually located in was so small that I would imagine everyone knows everyone. I didn’t see any signs when we were looking for the spot where this was so we had to keep our eyes out. Once you get near it though it is hard to miss. This plot of someone front yard that this historic site is actually located in was larger than I had imagined. There were hundreds of bottles setup on little tree like arrangements that were made of re-bar. There was even an old broken down jeep inside that just added to the vintage effect. It was really bizarre and interesting to see at the same time. There were only two other people there when we first showed up who left soon after and the rest of the time we were on our own. I definitely suggest visiting it if you are in the area or going on a trip across Route 66. I took this shot mounted on a tripod with a remote shutter release. I shot directly into the sun because I wanted to filter the sunlight through the bottles so I could make them light up and bring...

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...

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...

Doomed Youth

I took a few more shots of my buddy Steven Feusi while we were at Huntington Beach the other day. What can I say, he likes getting his picture taken and I like taking pictures, so it works out. You can check out his tumbler that goes by Doomed Youth page by clicking on his name in this post. It was a great evening for taking pictures considering the sky was filled with clouds. I didn’t even come here intending on taking any portraits, rather I had visited this spot with the intention of taking landscape shot which were also accomplished as well. You can check out one of the landscape shots from this night here. The cloudy sky acted as a great diffuser for any harsh light the sun would have given me. I had to step way back to take the shot because the lens I was using was intended for a full frame camera and my Nikon D7000 crops the view because of this. This is a RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6. I love this lens. It is a Rokinon f/1.4 85mm. It gives awesome blur effects on the subjects. Let me know what you think or go to Steven’s page and give him some...

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...

Tower 23

This shot was taken at tower 23 at Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, California. If you go on the main beach and just walk North on the shore towards the campground you will find this spot. I liked it because there was no one there and there were rocks everywhere which made for a cool foreground subject. The bright color of the lifeguard tower provided a nice compliment to the rest of the picture so I knew I had to make it the main focus of the picture when I composed it. I had to wait to take this picture for a little bit because there were a few people walking around here and there and I didn’t want any kind of spooky ghostly image in my picture so I just waited and enjoyed the view until the time was right and I snapped away. This is a RAW image file that I processed in Photoshop CS6 using Nik Color Effex Pro and basic levels and curves adjustment. I adjusted the color of this picture as well because the original shot had a green hue because I had used a piece of welder’s glass for a 10 stop filter. Hope you like the...

Sunset Cliffs

Pictured here is Sunset Cliffs. This is in Southern California near San Diego. It is a beautiful stretch of cliffs that run along the coast for miles. I have wanted to go for a while and finally decided to venture out and see how it was. Turns out it was pretty amazing. I found a little path that went down to the beach which consisted of what looked like mostly locals. Right off the beach you could climb on the rocks and go even farther down where no one was. This, of course, I did. There was this large rock pictured below which I believe is called bird rock, for obvious reasons, that was just off the shoreline that I knew would make for great pictures. I had the time so I figured I would try different angles and filters so I slapped on the big piece of welders glass. It was the middle of the day and it was cloudy so I knew there wouldn’t be a glare and the picture would probably turn out fairly decent but I didn’t expect such great results. This is a 30 second exposure that was taken and later brought into Photoshop CS6 to edit. I replaced the dull colorless cloudy sky with a better one I had in reserve and corrected some of the colors from the green welders glass makeshift filter as well. Hope you like the end result. If you have any questions about the welders glass filter feel free to...

Steven

Introducing Steven Feusi. This is my buddy from the Marine Corps that was willing to let me take some pictures of him. We had some time off after work so we went out back near his car which happens to be a sweet red Chevy Nova. He was super embarrassed because I had him dress somewhat nice and we were around the barracks where we live with people walking around but it still worked out. It was his first time in front of the camera for a shooting session so being a little uncomfortable is understandable. I can imagine how awkward it must feel with someone just staring at you through a lens. This picture was shot while he was sitting in the front seat of his car with the door open. The light was awesome because it was in the shade and the sun was behind him so I barely touched this photo. All I did was brighten his pupils a bit and take away some blemishes. The new lens makes such a difference for portrait pictures. It’s amazing. I suggest to anyone who is serious to take portraits to go out and get a 85mm F/1.4. It gives it that soft professional...