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Black and White Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Yosemite

Along the Merced River in Yosemite

Three Brothers - Yosemite - 2010

There’s a special spot along the Merced River in Yosemite where, in the late autumn with the river flowing so gently, the reflections are really quite special.

This image is just one example – a monochrome from 3 bracketed images shot with my Canon 5D Mark II back in the fall of 2010. My son David and I spent a very special day with Michael Frye and he took us to this spot as the sun was rising. It was early October when we were there. The river was beautifully calm, like glass, and the sun was just lighting up Three Brothers as we clambered down to the water’s edge with our tripods.

A wonderful memory – one we’ll never forget.

Sometimes, when I’m trying to relax, I try to think about places like this – quiet beauty at Lake Tahoe, the majesty of Yosemite in autumn – it just doesn’t get much better than this.

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Lighthouse Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II VSCO Film

All Aglow at Pigeon Point Light

All A Glow - Pigeon Point Lighthouse - 2012

In mid-January 2012, my friend Doug Kaye and I were shooting on the San Mateo County coast. We started at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, then headed to Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor and, finally, down the coast a bit further to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

The light on this early afternoon was quite special – as light in January can be – coming in from a low angle. This particular shot is an abstract closeup of one of the windows in the lighthouse – showing the beautiful gradient of light around the circumference and the gorgeous blue sky behind.

Shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens – handheld. Post-processed tonight using Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film.

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Inverness Lightroom Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II

A Cinematic Treatment of the F/V Point Reyes at Inverness

Stricken Lady - Inverness - 2012

Here’s another look a the stricken fishing boat Point Reyes run aground at Inverness. I’ve posted several versions of various shots of this boat over the years – it’s a favorite subject and brings back so many memories of great times shooting there. (See Related Posts below for more examples!)

This image is from May 2012 and was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II using the 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS lens at 200 mm (f/8 at 1/160). I’ve used this image to experiment a bit with cinematic effects – beginning with a 16:9 crop, a bit of Topaz Simplify to remove some of the grassy details, and then – in Lightroom 5 – an orange/teal split toning effect to adjust the colors to be more in the style of movies of today. A final fairly aggressive vignette completes the effect.

It’s a different effect, for sure – more artistic than realistic – but I like the way it turned out!

For more on this cinematic “Hollywood” look, see some of these resources:

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Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II

The Tee at Meadowood Napa Valley

The Tee - Meadowood Napa Valley - 2011

Two and a half years ago we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Glenbrook Partners (my day job!) at Meadowood in the Napa Valley.

We spent a day in our usual planning session – in a conference room that overlooked the golf course. Late in the afternoon – after the sun had gone done behind the hills to the west – I shot this image of the tee just across from that conference room with my Canon 5D Mark II and that beautiful Canon 135mm f/2.0 lens.

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Black and White Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II San Francisco/California

The View from Red’s Java House along San Francisco’s Embarcadero

Red's View - San Francisco - 2009

One of the first photo workshops I took was with one of my favorite photographers – Chris Honeysett. For a while back in 2009-2010, he conducted a handful of workshops and I was lucky enough to be able to join one of them in San Francisco’s North Beach. I learned a lot watching Chris work with us – him shooting with his big view camera and us firing away with our handheld digital SLRs! I’ll never forget his admonition – “SLOW DOWN!” – take you time and get into the scene before you starting hitting that shutter button!

This is one of the last images from the second day of the workshop with Chris – a day that began very early before sunrise on the streets of San Francisco across from the Transamerica Pyramid. It was one of those August summer mornings – with thick fog hanging over the upper floors of the pyramid’s tower. Afterwards, we had a great time at Embarcadero Center – an amazing place for architectural photography – and then wrapped up the day by heading to Red’s.

This image was a quick grab shot I took from Red’s looking across at one of the old piers and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. I’ve used a bit of Topaz Simplify to smooth the water and remove some of its details – and sharpened the image with Dan Margulis’ Sharpen 2013 action. I enjoy all of the detail in this image – a clean shot with no vignette but many small details to capture my eye.

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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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Black and White Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Photoshop Yosemite

Back to Yosemite’s Three Brothers

Three Brothers - Yosemite - 2010

Earlier today, I was looking the Ansel Adams Gallery’s special sale of platinum-palladium prints by Kerik Kouklis – which got me exploring some new techniques using a Curves adjustment layer for toning in Photoshop.

I decided to try the technique on an image shot in October 2010 along the Merced River in Yosemite. My son David and I were doing a private workshop that day with Michael Frye – and this location was one of the special spots Michael shared with us. A color HDR version of some other photos of Three Brothers is one of my favorites from that day.

This image is a single shot RAW image taken on a tripod with my Canon 5D Mark II using the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L lens. I processed it in Photoshop CC using a few of Tony Kuyper’s basic luminosity masking techniques, converted it to black and white using a gradient map, sharpened it using the Sharpen 2013 action of Don Margulis’ Picture Postcard Workflow – and then toned it using a curves adjustment layer using a curve from Paul Butzi.

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Current Affairs History Living Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II San Francisco/California

Memorial Day 2013 – Freedom Is Not Free

Freedom is not Free - Golden Gate National Cemetery - 2009

On this beautiful Memorial Day morning, I’ve been looking back at some of the earlier Memorial Days I’ve written about here.

Last year, I was reminded by the pastor at my Mom’s church that Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day – that it dates back to just after the Civil War and was a commemoration of the soldiers who died in that war.

Again today we remember both those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country as well as memories of those close to us.

According to Wikipedia, “Freedom Is Not Free” was first coined by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Walter Hitchcock, of New Mexico Military Institute and “expresses gratitude for the service of members of the military, implicitly stating that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in many democracies are only possible through the voluntary risks taken and sacrifices made by those in military. The saying is often used to convey respect specifically to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.”

Once again this year, we remember them. Never forget.

The image above is from Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California – taken on an early January morning in 2009. Had it been taken on Memorial Day, small American flags would have been placed in front of each of the headstones – we can see them in our mind’s eye.

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Black and White Maker Faire Monochrome Photography Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II

A Look Back at Maker Faire SF 2011

Maker - Maker Faire - 2011

A few days ago, I had a request from one of the exhibitors at Maker Faire SF 2011 for copies of the images I shot of her beautifully colored yarns.

While pulling out those images for her, I began to explore the rest of my images from that day – and came across this image of a maker – staring intently. The image seemed like a great candidate for a monochrome conversion – which I did using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 along with some other Photoshop CS6 tricks and a quick pass of high pass sharpening.

I just love his look and the “attitude” in this image! Hope you do too – please share your comments below!