Category Archives: Half Moon Bay

Sunshine at Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay

Sunshine - Princeton Harbor - 2013

This is one of those images that just pops for me. Doug Kaye and I were out exploring Half Moon Bay and environs. Along the way we walked out on the pier at Princeton Harbor – as the sun was beaming down on these fishing boats.

This was shot with my Fujifilm X100S – a superb camera – and tweaked in Lightroom 5, VSCO Film, and Photoshop CC.

That Beetle at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay

Beetle - Princeton Harbor - 2013

A few weeks back, Doug Kaye and I met up for lunch at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay and then headed our for some early afternoon photography along the Pacific coast.

One of the places we stopped was the Pillar Point Harbor area of Half Moon Bay – the home of a large fishing fleet that plies the Pacific for great seafood. I had my Fujifilm X100S rangefinder camera in hand as we walked out on the pier. We took lots of shots of the fishing boats – but this Volkswagen caught my eye – such a top notch example of that car line!

This image was post-processed in Lightroom 5 – cropped and then treated to a bit of VSCO Film emulation to enhance the color.

The San Giovanni

San Giovanni - Pillar Point Harbor - 2013

As Doug Kaye and I were walking out on the pier at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, I was drawn to the combination of the angle of the sunlight on the bow of these two fishing boats along with the yellow color of the closest boat (the “Sunshine”). I shot the image with my Fujifilm X100S.

In this version of the image, I’ve exaggerated both the color and the glow – through application of a cinematic toning in Lightroom. The highlights have a bit more orange in them than normal while the shadows have a bit more blue. The combination gives a film-style cinematic effect.

I then brought the image into Photoshop CC and added an Oil Paint layer at about 50% opacity to add some additional texture/shadows into the image. Finally, a 50 pixel black frame around the image to keep your eyes inside.

The Old Pier at Pillar Point Harbor

The Old Pier - Princeton Harbor - 2013

Yesterday, Doug Kaye and I met for lunch at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay (a wonderful spot – highly recommended!) and then headed north up Highway 1 to explore some of our favorite spots along the Pacific coast.

We first headed to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at Moss Beach – where an amazing grove of trees creates a tunnel that continues to delight.

Next we headed back south down Airport Road to the Princeton harbor area. One of the views from that end of the harbor looks out on this old pier jutting out into the bay. I shot this image with my Fujifilm X100S while standing on the beach. I converted it to monochrome using VSCO Film 04′s Agfa Scala 200 and then applied a touch of Topaz Simplify 4 to smooth out the water and sand just a bit – something I often find helps these kinds of water shots.

Paddleboarders entering the water at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor

Paddleboarders - Princeton Harbor - 2012

Here’s another image that I’ve had fun adjusting by applying a couple of textures to it. It seems like images like this one – with its big expansive sky – benefit from the use of textures and how they add more visual interest to those areas of the the image.

This image was shot in June 2012 at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor using my Canon 5D Mark II. My friend Doug Kaye and I were exploring the area that day and stopped by the beach area to check things out. The fog layer was breaking up and – as we were taking some photos – this paddleboarder couple walked by us and into the water.

I added the textures to this image using Photoshop CC and the Adobe Paper Texture Pro panel extension that Russell Brown developed. It includes a number of textures from Flypaper Textures – two of which I used on this image (Villa Adriana and Aquaflore). Both were applied using the Overlay blend mode and had their opacity reduced into the 55-65% range to diminish the effects a bit.

Pelican on the Wing at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor

On the Wing - Half Moon Bay - 2012

I’ve been playing around again with textures – this time using the new Adobe Paper Texture Pro extension developed by Russell Brown. This extension includes several beautiful textures from Flypaper Textures – and I used two of these in adding texture to this image.

The original image was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II using the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. It was shot at 200mm @ f/3.2 at 1/6400 sec. The sky was hazy providing a great background for adding textures – but otherwise making for a very boring image!

For this treatment, I added a radial filter in Photoshop CC to create the vignette and then added two layers of Flypaper Textures from the Adobe Paper Texture Pro panel – Muscatel and Apple Blush – both in Overlay blend mode at 100% opacity. I used a layer mask on both layers (picking up the red channel to use for the mask itself) which blocked the textures on the pelican itself. A final sharpening layer was added using high pass sharpening only on the pelican.

The Wonders of Luminosity Masking in Photoshop

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I’m increasingly using the techniques originally pioneered by Tony Kuyper known as “luminosity masking” when editing images in Photoshop. The basic idea behind luminosity masking is to take advantage of the luminosity levels in an image and to use that information to enable much more selective editing of the image.

Imagine, for example, dividing the range of luminosity levels into 10 ranges – from pure which to pure black. Tony’s techniques allow you to easily isolate each of those luminosity ranges so that you can make adjustments to just that portion of an image. Tony’s got some free tutorials on his website and also sells a set of Photoshop actions and a panel that make using his techniques much faster and easier. Along with his stuff, Sean Bagshaw has worked with Tony to create an excellent set of video tutorials that shows how to apply these techniques. Sean’s a great teacher – and the videos are crisp and to the point – also highly recommended!

Here’s an example. Earlier today I visited the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach just north of Half Moon Bay along the great Pacific Coast south of San Francisco. It was a drizzly wet day on the coast today – and that’s what I was hoping for.

The image above is straight out of the camera (a Nikon D600). Using just a few simple steps applying Tony’s actions, I edited the image into the version below. The tonal contrast is so much better – and it’s also a bit sharper thanks to Don Margulis’ excellent Sharpen 2013 actions (part of his Picture Postcard Workflow). I’ve titled the image “Fallen” – if you look closely you’ll see why – and that’s what caught my eye while walking by this morning.

Fallen - Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - 2013

A look back at the F/V Josie C aground in Half Moon Bay

Josie C #2 - Half Moon Bay - 2009

In the summer of 2009, something happened to the fishing boat Josie C and she ran aground in the Princeton Harbor at Half Moon Bay.

When I originally processed this image, I used a single image HDR treatment which (as is often the case with HDR newcomers!) was a bit overdone. I recently went back and processed the image again – this time not using HDR but more conventional techniques in Photoshop.

Above is my favorite – the black and white version. Below is the color version from which the black and white was created using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Josie C #2 - Half Moon Bay - 2009

Back to Fitzgerald

This morning I headed over the hill to Half Moon Bay – hoping to catch a few shots of the James Johnston House with some puffy clouds in the sky. But my plans were thwarted – the clouds had moved south and the was a Holiday Boutique and Winter Tea underway at the house. So, instead, I headed north up Highway 1 to Moss Beach and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

Fitzgerald is one of my favorite spots along this part of the Pacific coast – and I was back with my new Nikon D600 and tripod to see what I could find. As it turned out, there’s a lot of repair work going on in the Reserve. At first I was disappointed but after I walked in further I saw an opportunity for a shot. Unfortunately, being a relative novice with the new camera, I wasn’t able to get a clean HDR image (tripod shake, no cable release, not knowing how to use the self-timer). So, instead, I opted to just post-process one of the single image shots I got as part of a 3 image HDR bracketing sequence.

Here’s that original image:

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Tonight I processed the image in Photoshop CS6 – applying some of the techniques I’ve learned recently in workshops with Mark Lindsay and Harold Davis – along with some additional explorations that Doug Kaye and I have doing around these workflows. Much of the goal in applying these techniques is to transform a “flat” image into one which has much more depth – helping to focus our eyes on the areas of high interest.

Here’s tonight’s result:

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Continue reading

A Walk at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Yesterday, we took a walk through the “tunnel” of trees at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve north of Half Moon Bay. This image was shot using my iPhone 4S and adjusted in Snapseed on the iPhone itself – pretty amazing how you can hold such great photography tools in your hand these days!

Fitzgerald black and white

These trees were planted in the late 1800′s by Juergen Wienke, a German immigrant who named the area “Moss Beach” and opened a hotel in the area.