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...

Bridge and City Apr23

Bridge and City

I only had so much time in San Francisco during the road-trip that I took with my sister and I wanted a few different shots of the Golden Gate Bridge Website. It was getting late and by the time we were done with this spot we were going to have to hit the road again, so I decided to try anything I could think of for a new shot from the same spot. This is how I came across this photo. I zoomed in with my lens and got a tight enough crop where you could still make out the bridge in the foreground while peering through to the city in the background. I had wanted to take a shot like this too fortunately, I just always forget. There is another photo from the same night on my website that includes the whole bridge if you want to check that out too. This was literally the nicest setup I had ever seen for this scenic spot. The fog was rolling in perfectly and the lights from the bridge turned on just in time to create a calming mood. Thankfully, my sister was a good sport about hanging out and waiting for it to get a little darker. I don’t think she minded it much though considering this was her first time in San Francisco and this view was quite the sight. I shot this with my Nikon D7000 mounted on my Vanguard Website tripod and of course bracketed it for -3, 0, and +3. I used layer masking to merge the best lit parts of the photos together in Photoshop CS6 and did some finishing touched with Nik Color Efex Pro Website. 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...

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...

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...

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...

Dead Sea

This is one of those places where I didn’t think I would ever go if it wasn’t for being in the military. I knew there were some places I would have liked to have seen in Israel but I didn’t think that I would ever make the trip to specifically go here on my own. Fortunately, our ship had a port visit at the city of Eilat in Israel. Eilat wasn’t anything crazy, just a few bars and shopping malls, but from there we were able to take little tour buses around some key spot in Israel. The Dead Sea happened to be one of those places. This place was real wild to visit because I had seen pictures of it before but I never thought that it would actually look like all of them in reality. You can see from the picture what the edge of the beach actually looked like. It as this really hard salt that covered all the rocks touching the water. It was the coolest thing ever. They even had these buckets of mud that you could cover yourself in. The way it worked was you were supposed to cover yourself in the mud from the water and then go take a dip and wash it all over and when you got out your skin would be silky smooth. It worked exactly like that too. I had never had smoother skin in my life. The only drawbacks were that the water tasted absolutely horrible if you happen to accidentally get a mouthful and it burned any kind of open cuts or scratches. Besides that, it was awesome. I looked like a weirdo shooting this picture because everyone else was in the water floating around and I was just setting...

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...