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Field of Dreams - Carrizo Plain National Monument

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(Click the photo to see it large, you know you want to :)

 

The plan was to visit Carrizo Plain on April 2-3 for some wildflower shooting. But it wasn't clear how good the bloom was, and I was feeling broke, and a number of other lame things, so I ended up not going. Then Jeff Sullivan started posting up some killer shots from Carrizo that same weekend and I was really really kicking myself for not making the trip.

 

So this past weekend, flush with a little extra cash from teaching a seascape photography workshop, I decided nothing was going to stop me from getting down there. And boy was that the right decision. I arrived in Carrizo Saturday afternoon under a sky full of gorgeous cumulous clouds, and though I had heard the flowers were nothing special this year, the vast carpets of tidy tips still blew me away.

 

I spent the next 20 hours chasing the flowers, getting chased by rain, getting stuck on muddy backroads, and generally having an awesome time.

 

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Tech Notes on this Photo

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Nikon D300s

Tokina 12-24 f/4 at 12mm on a crop sensor

ISO320 - to help speed up my shutter (didn't want to go much higher than this in order to prevent noise from entering the photo)

f/16 - I needed some extreme DOF here, as my camera was probably only 10 inches out of the flowers. This is a single shot; no focus-blending here. Gotta love UWA lenses for their amazing DOF!

1/25 sec - a relatively quick shutter (compared to shooting seascapes that is) in order to freeze the flowers in place. This photo was taken during a brief period of extreme calm when the flowers were barely moving.

Lee 2-stop soft GND filter

 

Post-Processing

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In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)

- Processed single raw file twice: once for majority of image, and once at +0.3ev to brighten flowers in the mid-ground which had been overly-darkened by my GND filter

- Global contrast for added pop

- Local brightness and contrast adjustments in the clouds to make them pop a bit

 

In Photoshop:

- Noise reduction via Neat Image

- Selective sharpening of flowers only

- Hand blend of two tifs to brighten mid-ground

- Minor curves adjustment to further brighten midground

 

Thanks for your visits!

 

~Josh

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Taken on April 9, 2011