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Explore #1 - Highest Position, October 3rd. Thanks everyone!


Earlier this week, the central California coast was blessed with its first real sunset since the summer marine layer began way back in May. That light caused a furor around the Bay Area, with lots of photogs hoping that the winter sunset season had begun.


So it came as no surprise when this past week I received a flurry of text messages asking how the evening clouds looked here at the coast in Santa Cruz. But sadly, the entire week was crystal-clear and cloudless. Until Friday night that is. A few clouds started to build, but nothing to get too exited about. Nevertheless, I knew there were some keen shooters out there, so I got in touch with Jave and David, and talked about the clouds a bit.


Both guys decided to roll on out to the coast to shoot Natural Bridges even if it meant shooting in less than spectacular conditions. As we got to the beach however, it became apparent that the sky was going to BLOW UP (to use the appropriately Jave vernacular). When the color did arrive, it was so full and beautiful that it caused us to lose all rationality and run around like chickens, scratching in the sand and shooting shooting shooting.


Afterward we kept talking about how it was the best light we've ever seen at NB (either in person or in photos). Simply amazing.





Tech Notes



Nikon D300s



0.62 sec

12 mm

Lee 3-stop soft GND Filter, handheld at a slight angle to darken the hot horizon on the right




In Raw Converter:

- Dropped my exposure by about 0.4 stops to make the colors richer

- Global contrast for added pop

- Local contrast adjustments to water streaks to add definition


In Photoshop:

- Noise reduction via Neat Image

- Selective Sharpening of arch

- Slight brightness and contrast boost to foreground

- Slight brightness and contrast boost to bridge to enhance the light there

- Luminosity mask on bright brights with darkening curves layers to improve color near the horizon on the right hand side


Thought Process: done with notes on the Image, a la Patrick Smith

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Taken on October 1, 2010