[ 20 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Nine. And, Day 5 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. It was a misty day up in the great Redwoods, which, I gathered, was like most days in this particular part of the state, but I wasn't complaining. I got some beautiful macro shots that most people have to carry spritzer bottle to create. And the shots of the fog moving through the mountains, I particularly enjoy. From there, we made the rather lengthy drive south, stoping briefly at the Marin Headlands to admire its amazing view of nearby San Francisco. It wasn't exactly the best time of day for good lighting, but the fast moving fog and occasional boat traffic made for some interesting shots. And, to those who know how much I hate partially desaturated images, yes I made one, and yes I still hate them ... deal with it, haha :)
[ 27 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Eight Part II. And, the evening of Day 4 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. It was quite the long and windy drive from the dam to the coast, but it was more than worth it. There's always been something magical about the coastline, and the coast of Northern California never ceases to amaze. After a nice, short hike down to the beach, we were greeted by some awesome rock formations just before sunset. It was a little too overcast to really get good sunset light, but the super dark and moody clouds more than made up for it. I'm not sure that it's, strictly speaking, possible, but I'm falling more and more in love with my 14-24mm lens. The perspective it captures simply blows me away every time. The only thing it's lacking is a filter thread. ND filters for the lens are ridiculously expensive ... though, so was the lens, so ... I'll just have to bite the bullet at some point, haha. After racing against the tide to get as far up the beach as I could before having to go swimming to get any further, I swapped out the ultra wide angle for my macro lens and tried a few handle held shots on the hike back up. As can only be expected, I had to throw most of them away, mostly due to depth of field and focal misses (f/2.8 doesn't leave much room for error, haha), but the few that I kept, I really like. Overall, I'm super happy with how this set came out and I hope you enjoy it as much as it do :)
[ 18 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Eight. And, Day 4 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. First and foremost, I am extremely glad the D800 is weather proof! Secondly, every time a [long string of adjectives very clearly showing how little I like this] person tells me I can't take my tripod on the tour, I am forced to repress the nearly irresistible urge to beat them with it. But, tell me that I can bring neither my tripod, nor camera bag, and you are truly taking your life into your own hands. Subject my equipment to whatever sort of security check you like - I understand the danger a large explosive would present to a dam, but for [CENSORED]-sake, it's a camera bag. My lenses couldn't possibly pose less of a threat to the safe operation of a dam and its several hundred foot thick concrete! Ok, I'm done ranting. Sorry, just had to get that out. Rage face aside, the gloomy weather provided for some really awesome skies. Unfortunately though, I was unable to keep the front element of the lens dry for more than a fraction of a second, so many of the exposures have obvious rain drops in them. For this I apologize, but the spot removal in neither Lightroom nor Photoshop are sophisticated enough to remove spots that large. For as much as the weather did provide some awesome mood to the images, it did prevent me from getting what is considered the classic shot of the area. It's called "The Three Shastas". It's a shot containing the Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, and the peak of Mt. Shasta. I stand unconvinced that Mt. Shasta actually exists (photographic proof on the internet not withstanding), as the fog was so thick, we couldn't even see the other side of the lake. Oh well ... guess we'll just have to go back :)
[ 2 images, 1 video ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Seven Part II. And, the evening of Day 3 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. After watching the Super Moon rise over Mono Lake the night before, we simply had to watch the sunset and moon rise over Lake Tahoe :) ... As always, I only wish I'd been able to shoot longer to watch the stars go 'round a bit longer and watch the moon rise higher. I let it run until the shutter speed length exceeded the time between shots on the timer, and even that amount of time had taken considerable bargaining since it was rather a bit colder than we wanted it to be, we hadn't had dinner yet, and we didn't want all of the good restaurants to be closed before we could grab a bite, haha :)
[ 68 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Seven. And, Day 3 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. After last night, our expectations were set pretty high as we moseyed on up to Bodie State Historic Park. The park did not disappoint. This place is amazing. I shot the entire day with the 14-24 and got more than just a little shutter happy. I started the set off in black and white as it felt most appropriate for the subject matter, but as soon as I saw the color pop out of the aged wood, I knew the rest would be almost entirely in color. Despite having shot during the typically worst part of the day, the dramatic cloud cover (which was extraordinarily appreciated) provided for a soft diffused light that allowed for deeply saturated colors without any harsh shadows. The lighting was about as close to ideal as you can ask for. The only reason we left was, there was still a few hours between us and that night's hotel. I could have easily spent all day and night there. At some point in the far flung future, I'll have to come back here and shoot the stars over the historic ghost town!
[ 15 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Six Part II. And, the evening of Day 2 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. After recuperating from the hike up Black Point and consuming a copious amount of BBQ, we headed back down to the South Tufas to catch the sunset. The incredibly surreal landscape captures the imagination from just about any angle. As if the sunset weren't impressive enough (and though I'd like to say we planned it) we got incredibly lucky, tonight happened to be a super moon that rose during the golden hour! The result of which was the most awe inspiring combination of colours I've seen during a moonrise, probably ever. For an added bonus, I got to teach a bunch of people about the evils of light-painting (nobody likes hot spots!) and how to achieve the effect they were going for by simply extending their shutter time (there was a full super moon after all!). The crazy part (ignoring the sheer number of people crawling over everything, trying their damnedest to get in just about all of my shots) was that most people cleared out before even twilight had ended. I guess they forgot to eat prior to going out, but I'd only have half the pictures in this set if I'd left with everyone else. Not to mention they missed out on the incredible opportunity to shoot star trails during a super moon over one of the coolest landscapes on the planet!
[ 19 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Six. And, Day 2 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. To be completely honest, I only found out that Black Point existed because I was scrolling around Google Maps looking for other places to visit since we couldn't spend all day at the South Tufas of Mono Lake. After a whole lot of googleing, we decided that going up Black Point was to be the hike of the day ... and boy was it worth it! Despite taking the long way around (due to some very poor "maps" at the parking lot and the total absence of any trails) and nearly dying in the midday sun, the fissures were definitely worth the abnormally cumbersome hike!
[ 33 images, 1 video ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Five. And, Day 1 of the second annual Northern California road drip with my dear old dad. Where better to start than Yosemite National Park. If there's a more photogenic park on the planet, I'm not aware of its existence. Ansel Adams made his name here. I love Yosemite. Unfortunately, we had a completely clear sky devoid of even a single cloud but, regardless, we still walked away with some amazing pictures. Yosemite never ceases to amaze. But, this was a road trip, and we could not doddle. We made our way over Tioga Pass, finally got to see the other side of Half Dome, got lost and half eaten by mosquitoes looking for Tenaya Lake, drove another 2 seconds down the road and found Tenya Lake (this is what happens when you lose data signal and your phone's GPS stops working), before making the rest of the trip and arriving in Lee Vining, CA. We grabbed a quick dinner before excitedly heading for the South Tufas of Mono Lake. The moon did an excellent job of lighting the foreground for a few quick long exposures and star-trails sequences. I wanted to stay out all night, but recognizing the fact that we had a long day of fun ahead of us tomorrow, we headed back to the hotel (if you can really call it that, haha). This trip is off to a great start!
[ 1 image, 1 video ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Four. Henry W. Coe State Park had been on my list of places to visit for far too long. Finally, we made the trip up there, hiked in a few miles to what was, for all intents and purposes, the peak of whatever mountain-like hill we hadn't realized would be so long, and set up for a lovely evening of star gazing. I didn't set out with the intention of capturing the Milky Way, and it wasn't until I got back and processed the images that I realized I'd done so. I absolutely did not have any of my camera setting correct for the Milky Way, so I processed the sequence into black and white since it's nearly impossible to recover proper coloration of the Milky Way in post (or, at least, I couldn't get acceptable results, haha). Hope you enjoy the view!
[ 9 images ]
Day One Hundred and Thirty Three. Brought the world's greatest editorial & fashion photographer, Molly Van Kley
, down to Big Sur for a fun little shoot with my favourite lady on the planet. She got to be a model for a day and I got to prove how absolutely terrible I am at shooting portrait work ... everyone wins. I also played around more with my still quite shiny and rather new 14-24mm (which should absolutely never be used to shoot people, and no I will not show you why, you'll just have to go try it and find out for yourself, it's that bad). And, I think I'm getting better at making HDR's out of single exposures. Five out of the six landscape shots are HDR compositions derived from a single original exposure. For reference, this technique is only possible if you shoot RAW. JPG files simply don't contain enough information to produce results such as this. Finally, I now fully appreciate just how hard it is to work with a model. I shot 82 exposures and kept 3. Molly shot several hundred and kept 10 (though admittedly a lot of them weren't keepers because I wasn't exactly the best at aiming the reflector any where near where it would have been useful, haha). Not that there was ever any question about this, but I think I'll stick to landscapes :D