Recently, I took a business trip to San Francisco which consisted of hanging with my rep Lenlee Jenckes and fellow Lenlee Represents roster photographers and going to agency portfolio shows every day for three days. After the shows, I decided to tack on a few days to the trip and just go shoot some stuff for me. I’d just head north along the coast and shoot landscapes, nature, life, whatever I felt like. No restrictions. Oh and maybe stop in at a few breweries along the way.
I ended up having a ball. I not only experienced a “high on photography” feel I haven’t felt so intensely for a while, but I got some pretty cool stuff to boot.
In fact some other folks agree. I took 2nd place in the 2011 PDN Great Outdoors Photo Contest with one of those shots. Unfortunately at the time PDN has not updated the 2010 Contest winners so there is no link available. Here’s a crappy iPhone shot of my image in PDN.
The image was captured just before sunset. I’d been on the run driving and shooting all along the coast since sunrise. I pulled in to check out the lighthouse and had to park really far away due to the summer crowds of tourists. Despite the distance, as soon as I stepped out of my truck and made my way down to the ocean, I knew I had a special location. I set up, composed the image and shot alot of various exposures for HDR combination later. I used a heavy variable ND filter to slow my shutter speeds way down to blur out the waves and make them look more surrealistic. I processed the RAW images using Aperture 3. Later in PhotoShop I combined the various light and dark exposures as different layers. Then using masking I painted the light exactly as I wanted it to appear.