I’m a fan of the Topaz Labs family of Photoshop plug-ins. Perhaps the most outrageous Topaz filter is Spicify, in their Adjust package. It boosts color, saturation, and fine detail. We previously showed the filter applied to a marine landscape. I recently tried the filter on a lifeless beach scene, with good results. The filter most often takes an image to bizarre over-the-top colors, but I think it often works for beach scenes.
Photography is supposed to teach one to be a keen observer. I was embarrassed to have have taken the picture of Onekahakaha Beach, below, and not to have noticed the turtle at the time. Viewing the world through a wide angle lens discourages looking for smaller features of the broad vista. Putting the pictures through Photoshop ® I finally noticed the sea beast in repose. In some respects being on the spot is better than looking at a photo, but not in every respect.
Redwoods are the main attraction at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains a hundred miles west of San Francisco. But in the summer people also follow a winding road eleven miles into the park interior to enjoy the Stanislaus River. A substantial concrete and steel bridge serves the relatively few visitors. The bridge provides a great vantage point for photographing river rocks and white water. Recently summer visitors added interest to the scene. I used my cell phone so I could do a mobile upload to my facebook page.
Vallejo, California is on the northeast extremity of San Francisco Bay, with ferries running to San Francisco. I recently found the ferry terminal to be an interesting place to eat lunch, and I used the opportunity to take pictures — of course. I wanted to take a panorama of the scene outside the large windows. My first attempt lacked a few things, like a ferry and people. In mid-sandwich I saw the ferry arrive and went back to the spot for another try. In the meantime a man had taken up a chair in the corner, and I only had to wait another moment for cyclist to take a position.
I had a couple of hours to spare in San Francisco earlier this month, so I walked around Chinatown with my camera. I wanted to show Chinatown as part of San Francisco. The city’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid is a few blocks from Chinatown, so I took a view looking towards the Bay. I did a little touchup in Photoshop, but the picture is mostly about pointing the camera.
One of the few places to park around lunchtime in Santa Barbara is out on the pier. Parking is free while eating at The Harbor Restaurant, so we made the best of it. While waiting for my lobster pot pie, I took pictures of harbor traffic, including one of a ship named the Ocean Rose. Looking at the pictures later on, I could see large bags of something on the deck. What’s in them?
The top tip for taking good photos is to first go to a place that has a great scene almost everywhere you point the camera. Then point the camera and shoot. Goat Rock Beach on the Sonoma coast a couple hours north of San Francisco is one of those locations. In the winter there can be high surf from distant storms even when the local temperatures are mild. This past week temperatures were not bad, in the 50s, but strong winds whipped up foam on the breakers.
I’ve been to San Gregorio beach often enough to know the drill. You walk out on the bluffs two or three hours before sunset and shoot down across the beach towards the sun. The sun is still high enough to be out of the picture, but there is sparkle off the water and beachgoers in silhouette. This attractive combination of subject and lighting occurs only once in … well, actually, it’s every sunny day. Afternoon haze on a recent day added an extra measure of dream-like atmosphere.
The quickshotartist principle is that the most important part of photography is pointing the camera. Here is a photo I took with a pocket camera over the holidays. It’s almost as taken, although I did darken the highlights slightly in Photoshop™. The dusk sky adds interest to the colorful illuminations. I went to the event near sunset to capture the sky effect.
Back in the days of CRTs, screensavers were ever-changing images needed to prevent a pattern from being burned into the display phosphors. Modern flat screen displays don’t have that problem. Instead, we use background images to make the computer desktop more interesting. Here I have posted ten scenic images from California and Hawaii. Each is sized for a 1920 × 1200 pixel screen. These days, most computers will automatically adjust it to fit the screen to which the image is applied.
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