Here's one more from that wonderful sunset last week up at San Gregorio State Beach, taken a few minutes later than my previous post. That evening, I was moving back and forth from the out flowing creek and the super saturated wet sand. The reflections were just amazing and the low tide helped make that area easy to work in as I didn't have to worry about getting pounded by waves.
My inspiration for the shot came when the constantly shifting clouds split open and the crack in the sky formed a great leading line. I composed my shot to have the reflection come out of a corner as a diagonal. The patterns in the sand were an added bonus once I viewed the image large back home.
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I spent a few days in and around Lake Tahoe. And when I say "in", I was literally in the lake. Stay tuned!
Nikkor 12-24mm @ 12mm
1/5 sec, f13, ISO 100 (2 shots)*
Singh-Ray Daryl Benson 3-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter (both shots)*
Lee .75 Soft graduated neutral density filter (one shot for the sun)*
Markins M20 ballhead with Really Right Stuff lever clamp and L-plate
Gitzo GT3531 carbon fiber tripod
*Shooting directly into the sun can have its own set of challenges. For this shot, the sun was almost completely unobstructed. I needed both grads to hold it back as much as possible but the sky was overly dark. It was dark to begin with as the clouds were thick and gray in certain areas. But I removed the Lee .75 GND for a quick shot to get more light into the upper part of the sky and used that for part of my editing.
--Software & Editing--
In ACR, custom white balance applied to RAW files as well as clarity adjustments and brightness / exposure to tame the highlights. If you view the EXIF, you will see some information that is relevant only to a small part of one image used in the blend, specifically around the sun (Recovery slider and Exposure. Edited RAW files imported as 16-bit TIFs and hand blended for master TIF.
In Photoshop CS5, layers included:
-minor Color Balance and Hue adjustments to the sky
-Levels to increase the blacks and brighten the mid-tones
-Basic Mid-Tones luminosity mask using Curves for contrast
-Vibrance mask for increased color
-Saturation mask for rescuing over saturated areas
-Burn/Dodge through several different luminosity selections to better balance the blend of the two shots and local contrast
-Selective noise reduction using Noise Ninja
-Selective sharpening using Nik Sharpener Pro
And a custom action at the end to save for web including downscale, sharpen, downscale again, convert to sRGB, reduce to 8-bit, and embed basic file info (my copyright, name, web, email, etc).