Last Sunday, on a very foggy overcast morning, I headed to one of my favorite local photography spots – Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on the Pacific Coast at Moss Beach, just north of Half Moon Bay.
This image looking up the hill was tweaked a bit in Photoshop CC to add more visual interest. Specifically, I used a Motion Blur filter to create the vertical motion in the trees on the left side of the image – while using other tools to enhance the details and contrast in the grass in the foreground, the path, and the trees on the right side of the image.
For me, the motion blur makes the image more “ethereal” – with the foggy low overcast skies just hitting the tree tops.
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.
This image is a composite of two of my images shot over in Half Moon Bay. For some reason, these two images popped into my mind as I was watching the CreativeLive session today with Brooke Shaden. I decided to try merging the two into something more creative.
The fishing boat is from Princeton Harbor – where the boat has run aground a couple of years ago.
I combined the two images in Photoshop – adjusting the angle of the boat’s list to roughly line up with the trees. I converted it to monochrome using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and added a bit of sepia toning to finish the image.
This time last year, Doug Kaye and I headed to Moss Beach and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve – before heading further south to Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The light was spectacular that January day – and this image captures the edge of Moss Beach – with Moss Beach Distillery in the upper left and the beach down below. It’s a beautiful venue! Shot with my Canon 5D Mark II.
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:
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.
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!
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.
Yesterday, Doug Kaye and I headed out on a glorious January morning for some photography shooting over on the coast. We headed first to one of my favorite spots – Fitzgerald Marine Reserve north of Half Moon Bay. This county park has an iconic row of trees that offer a beautiful setting for us photographers. On some mornings, you’ll get fog – on others, a mix of fog and sun. Yesterday we had a glorious bright sun – but with that low sun angle this time of year.
I call this image “Tunnel View” – mimicking the Yosemite shots of that same name. I just love how these trees frame the path – and provide their own tunnel. The sun and shadows add layers to the image.
I shot this with my Canon 5D Mark II with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L lens – and post-processed it from a single RAW file using Lightroom to export 0/+/-2 exposure JPEGS for processing in Photomatix Pro. I imported that result into Photoshop CS5 and further tweaked the image using Nik’s Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4 and the amazing Silver Efex Pro 2. I did a final blend in Photoshop before importing back into Lightroom for some final tweaks, noise reduction, a touch of vignette and a bit of love (!).