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And The Sky Opened - Davenport, California

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Coastal Obsession Part II: Mission Panorama


Despite the heavy rains this weekend, and being cooped up inside for my two days off, Kendra and I headed up the coast for any chance that sunset would materialize into something, anything, other than a torrential down pour.


The clearing clouds in the middle of Monterey Bay looked promising, but as we hit the stretch of Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz, we got pelted by heavy rains and possibly hail. I almost turned around then and there, but motored onward.


We pulled into the lot for Panther Beach, waited for a long enough break in the rain to head down to the beach, and proceeded to do so. The sun was breaking through the clouds with those heavenly "God" beams I had seen the week before. Unfortunately, the storm was bringing in some nice big fatty swells, and the hole in the wall was inaccessible. As well, all the rain has now created a rather large stream wrapping around the beach. And then more rain started. Retreating back to the car, I doubted anything photographically productive was going to happen. I was having a blast, mind you. The storm, the waves, the sun beams, all of it was very dramatic. My D300 just doesn't like getting wet!


I wanted to try Shark Fin Cove as a possible panorama location, and I know of another spot I will try besides the shot posted here. You see, I really, really, want to get Really Right Stuff's panorama gear. I WANT to find a panorama that won't work without it, thus justifying the almost $800 package. You could say I am on a "Mission Panorama". This shot was trickier than my last panorama, but still worked overall. Hope you like it.


Technical Notes:


I took 5 overlapping images, imported the jpegs into Photoshop CS3, used the Photomerge on "Auto" for best results. I tried all the other settings, too, but "Auto" worked best. Because I wanted as much of the bottom of the frame as possible, and "Auto" curved the bottom, I blended in the original jpegs, simply to fill in the bottom corners.


A levels layer mask was used for darkening the sky a tad, and I used a cooling filter layer mask for a lot of the sky, as my 6250K white balance was a tad too warm, and I didn't feel like converting the individual RAW files first...yet. Maybe down the road. Some Noise Ninja for the sky, and Nik Sharpener Pro for some selective sharpening, more on the rocks and water, a small touch for the sky.


Nikon D300

Nikkor 12-24mm @ 12mm

1/2sec @ f16, ISO 125

Lee .6 Hard and .6 Soft Stop ND Grad Filters

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Taken on February 16, 2009