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Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Max Libraries Monochrome Photography Photography

Start ‘em up!…at Pillar Point Harbor

Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay

This morning I was at one of my favorite spots along the Pacific coast in Half Moon Bay for today’s high tide. This was supposed to be an unusually high tide and I was hoping for some dramatic wave photographs – but, alas, there was no wind and the wave action was minimal.

So instead of making ocean wave photographs, I was walking back to my car and came across this fisherman launching his small boat out into the harbor. He had just finished mounting a small outboard motor on the stern and was plugging the start cord as I made this photograph. I liked the monochrome treatment of the image and is really shows off the dramatic contrast between the sun’s glow on the water in the harbor and the boatman and his board getting ready to go.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want a lovely place to walk (or cycle) be sure to head for Pillar Point Harbor and take a walk on the paved pathway that heads south to Surfer Beach. It’s a bit over a mile walk down and back with some of the most beautiful beachfront along this section of the Pacific coast!

If you’re looking for more outdoor adventure, head a few miles north to Moss Beach along Highway 1 and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The Reserve’s combination of high cliffs along the ocean and some dramatic forest makes for another great walk. Or, if you’re more in the mood for a coffee or a nice meal, head south along Highway 1 and then on to Main Street in Half Moon Bay where you’ll find that kind of thing along with more places to explore. And if you just want some quiet time, the Half Moon Bay Library is a delightful place to just “hang”, read and relax quietly. This combination of outdoor, exercise, or quiet time doesn’t get much better than in Half Moon Bay!

Here’s another tip: Sam’s Chowder House is just above the pathway along Pillar Point Harbor. Sam’s operates two webcams (SamCams) from the top of the restaurant which provide a quick way to see what’s happening along the beachfront that can help you make a decision about visiting.

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Half Moon Bay iPhone 11 Pro Living Photography

Local Treasures: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (San Mateo County)

When I’m looking for an hour of peace and quiet one of my favorite places to visit is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve along the shoreline of the Paciifc Ocean north of Half Moon Bay.

This morning I took a walk through my favorite part of the Reserve – a grove of old trees along a pathway that leads from Moss Beach to the ocean. I took a few photos along the way with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. I’m loving the three lens/camera system in this new phone!

Walking Loop at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

The entrance to a section of the California Coastal Trail is off Cypress Avenue. Just a short walk leads to this:

A few steps to the left through the tree line leads to this view:

Walking up the trail it’s worth taking a look back at that same fallen tree!

Here’s another from further along on the path:

I then headed over to the coastline trail where the ocean was alive with the waves from the storm.

And my final view before heading back up Cypress Street to my car:

A lovely hour or so away from it all! I encountered one other human along the trail. Otherwise it was a delightful morning stroll in one of my favorite spots along the Pacific coastline!

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Books Half Moon Bay Living Photography Photography - Fujifilm X-T1 Quotations

Less but better.

Less But Better

I’ve been enjoying reading Greg McKeown‘s new book “Essentialism” – and, after listening to the beginning, put together this image suitable for desktop or screen saver use. It’s a shot made in the kitchen at the James Johnston House in Half Moon Bay – and was one that seemed to focus on the essential!

Here’s a link to Greg’s book and perhaps an easier to download version of my image on Flickr.

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Fujifilm X100S Half Moon Bay Lightroom Photography Photography - Fujifilm X100S Photoshop CC

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.

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Fujifilm X100S Half Moon Bay Lightroom Photography Photography - Fujifilm X100S VSCO Film

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.

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Fujifilm X100S Half Moon Bay Lightroom Photography Photography - Fujifilm X100S Photoshop CC

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.

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Black and White Fujifilm X100S Half Moon Bay Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Fujifilm X100S VSCO Film

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.

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Half Moon Bay Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Photoshop CC Textures

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.

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Half Moon Bay Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Textures

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.

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Half Moon Bay Nikon Photography Photography - Nikon D600 Photoshop

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