On New Year’s Day, I’ve got a tradition of heading to San Francisco to take pictures. I usually head for the Golden Gate Bridge – exploring various vantage points as I get closer to the bridge.
Baker Beach is often a favorite – and this year the view was gorgeous. I headed down closer to the edge of the surf for this show – taken with my Nikon D600.
I processed it simply – bringing it into Photoshop CS6 from Lightroom, applying two Nik Color Efex Pro 4 filters (Brilliance/Warmth) and Tonal Contrast followed by a Lab color layer – before using Imagenomic Noiseware to remove the noise and then bringing it back into Lightroom. The colors in this version are much more postcard like (warmer) than the original.
Yesterday, I stopped by Baker Beach before heading home. The rain had stopped but the wind was still blowing and the clouds were rolling through.
Here’s another before and after comparison of this image shot with my Nikon D600 handheld standing on the edge of the parking lot at Baker Beach shooting toward Lands End. The homes to the left are in the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco.
Below is the original, straight out of the camera shot – rather flat and boring. I thought so at the time – although I liked the composition a lot. Among other things, you might notice a smudge in the clouds – apparently from some moisture on the outside of the lens.
I processed the final image using Photoshop CS6 ending up with over 10 layers of adjustments and tweaks. As I worked with the image, I kept seeing more things in the image and it sucked me in to having lots of fun playing with some of the recent tricks that Doug Kaye and I have been experimenting with.
This morning I headed for San Francisco – hoping for some interesting clouds for a break in between the rolling waves of tropical rains we’ve been having.
Afterwards, there was a nice break in the rain and I headed for Crissy Field and then to Baker Beach – either side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought the most interesting – stormy – shots were from Baker Beach. (See some of my earlier images from Baker Beach – it’s a dramatic spot!)
Here are three treatments of the same image of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach. Immediately below is the right out of the camera (Nikon D600) version. Up top is a black and white version (my personal favorite) created by blending a couple of layers of Nik’s Silver Efex Pro treatments into a composite black and white image. The black and white version was based on the color treatment shown at the bottom of this post – the result of putting the image through a modified version of Lee Varis’ technique for image enhancement.
More details of my Lab-centric workflow can be found on my earlier post laying out that particular process. Just appreciate how this workflow is such an evolving process!
By the way, I started my morning by first visiting my friend photographer Chris Honeysett who’s holding his holiday show this weekend in the Gatehouse at Fort Mason Center. Chris is a great photographer – one of the few that I’ve actually collected over the years! If you have a chance to stop by his holiday show this weekend, it’s very worthwhile. While he was initially known for his black and white photography, he’s recently been doing some amazing work in color.
Here’s another of my experiments in adding textures to an image. This image is a texturized version of this original shot below taken on January 1, 2010 at Baker Beach in San Francisco using my tiny Canon PowerShot S90.
I also tweaked the image a bit to make the bridge towers more vertical – and then applied the Purple Prose texture from French Kiss Textures. This particular texture has script elements on the left side of the image – and I thought those elements worked well into the sky and mountain area on the left side of the bridge itself.
I love how the texture adds dimension to the image – making it much more interesting to my eye as I want to explore it for longer than just the original image. For me, that’s the power of adding textures – making the image much more interesting and something you want to spend time exploring – similar to how a great painting captures your eye and mind.
For more examples of my texture experiments, see this image of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, this image of the FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness, and these early experiments in blue and gold texturized images of San Francisco taken from Fort Point.
If you’re interested in textures, here are some resources I’ve found very helpful:
Are there others? Yourself? Tell me about them in the comments below!