Friday, July 16, 2010

Sunset at Drake's Beach

Drake's Beach is a large beach on the southern end of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in western Marin county. The origin of the name come from the widely held opinion among historians that it is very likely the place where Sir Francis Drake landed in 1579 for repairs to his ships. No sign or artifact has ever been found to prove or disprove this assertion.

Either way, Pt. Reyes is one of Lisa and I favorite place to hike. We went out to Drake's Beach one Sunday afternoon for a hike and a picnic. The weather was unusually warm and sunny for a mid November afternoon on the Marin coast. We hiked about 8 kilometers along the beach at a very low tide. We were coming back to where we had parked the car just as twilight was ending.

What first caught my eye was yellow glow behind the hills, I then noticed the reflection of the light in shallow intertidal area between the shore and the breakers. Because of the failing light and the relatively slow lens on the camera (f/3.5 - 5.6) I had to push the ISO up to 400. I was without my tripod and I wanted a sharp image so I set the aperture as high as it would go (f/4) so I could get a high shutter speed (1/50). I was a little concerned about a loss of sharpness in the image but it seemed to work out.

I come from the old school of photography, I began taking photos in the early 70's with a Nikon F2 and Tri-X film stock, so I approach the digital file that comes out of a camera as a super negative and the work I do with Apple Aperture is similar to what I would do in a darkroom. In this case the image came out pretty close to what I wanted when I took the photo. I increased the contrast and decreased the exposure a bit as if was printing the image. I did a little playing around with the saturation and he vibrancy till I got a nice balance between the black shore and the muted but intense light of the fading twilight.

I'm mostly happy with this image. The one thing that annoys me is the horizon is in the middle third of the frame. I wanted to capture the pinkish glow in the upper right hand of the frame. I took the shot, noticed the horizon line and repositioned the camera with the horizon in the lower third but by this time the pinkish glow was gone but overall its' a pretty good image.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lisa at McClures Beach

We hiked to McClures Beach at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. It was late in the day, cloudy, the sun was starting to set and the fog was coming in. I was preoccupied with some driftwood and rock outcropping in the distance so Lisa wondered off, looking for sea glass. I looked around to see where she was and saw her off in the distance walking toward me. What first caught my eye was the birds who were just ignoring her as she walked by, normally they are pretty skittish but this day it was as if she was not there. The next thing I noticed was how, from that distance, she seemed to fit into the landscape.

I took a few shots, playing with the zoom to catch the best framing of the image then went back to my driftwood. Later, when we got home, I dumped the days shots into iPhoto, copied the raw files to the backup disk, deleted the obvious bad images, then sucked the best into Aperture. Normally I like bright, intense colors but the muted colors along with the hazy background of this really stuck out. I liked the emotional coolness of the image, the way that the central component in this image, Lisa, was so small, how her image was lost in the larger natural world yet an integral part.

I played around with Aperture to hype up the color but then decided that the muted colors, under exposed with a bit more contrast would work better. While not the best I have ever done I think it holds up pretty well. It does seem to capture the mood of the day and the image pretty well.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I had been out of work for 2 months but had found a position in Berkeley. I had 2 weeks before my job started I thought I would take advantage of it and spend some time hanging out in Humboldt county. Most of the time was spent in and around Humboldt Redwood State Park but I did spend some time on the East side of 101. One of the drives was along Alderpoint Road which winds through Seward Ranch. I found this tree along the road. Since it was late in the day, around 1600 I had a bit of trouble getting this shot lined up. The problem was the section I wanted would have had me shooting in the direction of the sun which would have put the tree into shadow. Walking around the tree I found the best balance of light and detail. Only a little work with Aperture, mostly the contrast and the exposure and it seems to have come out ok.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moss Beach Pebbles

Driving down California 1 south from San Francisco I stopped at Moss Beach. The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is located inside the town of Moss Beach just 100 meters from beach front homes, this is a public access beach. Unlike Oregon where all the beaches are public access most of the California ocean front is privately owned with restricted access. Fortunately some forward thinking person worked to set aside this part of Moss Beach for the public.

I was sitting on the beach, looking for sea glass and taking pictures of the pebbles and sand around me, I didn't notice that less that 25 meters from me Harbor seals were starting to pull themselves out of the water for an afternoon snooze in the sun. Harbor seals are cute but can give you a nasty bite if they get it in their head that you are a threat. Time to get some coffee.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Redwood grove

I was last up in Humboldt County in April exploring Humboldt Redwoods state park. This trip included a hike though Drury-Chaney grove which is a little obscure. I've coming up to Humboldt county every 4 to 5 months for the past 13 years and this was my first visit to this grove. Located in the northern portion of the park near Pepperwood along the Avenue of the Giants, the old Redwood Highway. This image was taken pretty far back into the grove. It was another one of those amazing days where the light had a certain quality that makes green of the ferns and the Redwood Sorrel just glow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A man with a camera

May the forest be with you.