I’m a fan of the Topaz Labs family of Photoshop plug-ins. Perhaps the most outrageous Topaz filter is Spicify, in their Adjust package. It boosts color, saturation, and fine detail. We previously showed the filter applied to a marine landscape. I recently tried the filter on a lifeless beach scene, with good results. The filter most often takes an image to bizarre over-the-top colors, but I think it often works for beach scenes.
Vallejo, California is on the northeast extremity of San Francisco Bay, with ferries running to San Francisco. I recently found the ferry terminal to be an interesting place to eat lunch, and I used the opportunity to take pictures — of course. I wanted to take a panorama of the scene outside the large windows. My first attempt lacked a few things, like a ferry and people. In mid-sandwich I saw the ferry arrive and went back to the spot for another try. In the meantime a man had taken up a chair in the corner, and I only had to wait another moment for cyclist to take a position.
The top tip for taking good photos is to first go to a place that has a great scene almost everywhere you point the camera. Then point the camera and shoot. Goat Rock Beach on the Sonoma coast a couple hours north of San Francisco is one of those locations. In the winter there can be high surf from distant storms even when the local temperatures are mild. This past week temperatures were not bad, in the 50s, but strong winds whipped up foam on the breakers.
It’s so easy to be impressed with the brilliant flowers in Hawaii that the tropical foliage is overlooked. Flowers usually stand as individual subjects while foliage forms patterns. Foliage patterns call for close cropping to remove distracting surroundings. Usually there is no need for elaborate processing of the images, but sometimes posterization can be used to strengthen the patterns.
Point Lobos is one of the world’s beautiful places, and every visit has photo opportunities. There is one spot where low tide reveals rock strata with tide pools, ideal for closeups. I was tired from lugging around an SLR with a lens assortment, and acquainted with the old-guy-on-slippery-rocks-while-balancing-equipment problem, I walked around with just my pocket camera. That works great for closeups because the camera focuses very close and is easy to hold with one hand. A shot of the general scene proved irresistible, and that led to some Adobe Photoshop™ retouching of original images that could have been better.
When summer is fading there are days that still look more like summer than autumn. The leaves haven’t started to change. Nonetheless, the cloud patterns change, the sun is lower, and air feels sharper. I like this photo because it captures some of the change-of-season, even though the subject is more snapshot than classic. Some work in Photoshop™ helps.
For those of you too young to know about film, let me tell you it’s nasty, and you should stay away from it. Some of us, however, have images captured on film that are worthy cleaning up for the digital age. Here we’ll deal with the three most common problems: dust, color shifts, and grain. It’s painstaking work, but those old photos can’t be replaced, and modern digital tools help a lot.
Spring means spring flowers, and this week we have progressed from daffodils to wisteria. Our subject wisteria is at Filoli Center in Woodside, California.
Woodside is now home to many of Silicon Valley’s uberrich, continuing a tradition of habitats for the wealthy. Filoli was once the estate of the Roth family, who ran the Matson shipping line. In 1975 Mrs. Roth donated the estate, including 43 room mansion and sixteen acres of formal gardens, to the National Historic Trust. It is open to the public, staffed mainly by volunteers. For photographers, the combination of old stone buildings and gardens has a special attraction.
Daffodil Hill is a private ranch in the California mountains near the town of Volcano, roughly two-and-half hours drive from the San Francisco area. (No, there is no volcano.) The McLaughlin family that’s owned the ranch since the 1880’s likes daffodils. They have about 300,000 bulbs, which is how I know they like daffodils, and they open the ranch to the public from late March through mid-April. If you want to photograph daffodils, this place is it.
I’ve been traveling in the Southwest for several weeks during the past month. In due time that will yield a number of posts here, but returning to Northern California requires revisiting some sites on the home turf. California Highway 1 follows much of the central coast and is one of the country’s great scenic drives. Usually I point the camera towards the ocean, but doesn’t do justice to the whole experience. A few days ago we drove to Pacifica, just a few miles south of San Francisco. It’s a good place to start capturing the inland side of the Highway.
< Older |
Portions of posts may be quoted provided attribution is given.