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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.



Tech Notes on this Photo


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




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!



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Taken on April 9, 2011