Fog at the jetty

I was walking around the beach in Orange County, somewhere south of Huntington Beach - though I cannot remember where exactly.  It was a sunny day, as I suspect it is most of the time in Southern California.  There was some cool fog hanging around, even with the sun overhead, and I just thought it made for an interesting shot. 

Of wind and waves

This is Laguna Beach, a place I love.  It totally rocks, and I have barely seen only a small part of it.  That part is what you are looking at - the beach itself.  It is my kind of beach.  Yes, there is sand on it, but there are nice big rocks that you can climb over and around and have a great time out there doing so.  On this day, it was stormy and windy and there were lots of waves.  It was awesome, despite slipping on rocks and nearly getting doused by the salt water several times.  It is a perfect place to take a camera, if anybody out there is into that sort of thing.  I have been there a couple of times while in Orange County on business, and hope to return someday.  Until then, I just have my photos.

Laguna Beach sunset

Laguna Beach, CA - I was just messing around with this shot, trying some different things in Topaz Adjust, and ended up with this.  I realize it isn't exactly realistic, but I thought it was kind of cool, so I thought I would share it with everyone.  Have a great weekend!

Clouds, sand and surf

I was walking around on Laguna Beach, in the town appropriately named Laguna Beach, out in Orange County (Southern California).  It's a beauty of a place.  It had been a bit of a stormy afternoon, which as a photographer I am a big fan of, due to the presence of a lot of interesting elements in the skies.  I was snapping shots here and there, generally having a great time and filling up my memory card.  This shot is looking southward down the coastline.  I thought it looked somewhat Italian, as though you could be on some random Italian beach and not really be able to tell the difference, well except for the way people talk of course!

Curved rock on Laguna Beach

This HDR was taken on Laguna Beach, out in Orange County, CA.  It’s a beautiful place and if you are nearby I highly recommend that you go check it out.  Bring the camera too!  I happened to be there around sunset, just after some storms had passed so I really enjoyed walking around and snapping a few.  In this shot, I really liked the curved rock and it appeared to me to resemble a gloved hand or something along those lines.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/13, with exposures ranging from -3 to +2.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix, and then made my typical adjustments in PSE and Aperture, and also added a light touch in Topaz Adjust.

Laguna rocks!

Ok, that title is a little tongue-in-cheek but I thought it fit.  This was taken at Laguna Beach, down in Orange County, CA.  It was around sunset, which is my favorite time of day to shoot, and the skies had some nice clouds after the rains had passed.  I am not a beach person per se, but I do love the look of rocky beaches and find them very interesting and beautiful.  If you are ever in the area, I recommend that you stop and take a look around this place, it is gorgeous!

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/13, with exposures ranging from -4 to +2.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix, and then I made my typical adjustments in PSE around Curves and Contrast.  The final step was to run it through Topaz Adjust to give it a little pop.  Hope you like it!

Moon over Laguna

There is something about Laguna Beach that makes for great pictures - oh yeah, it's incredibly beautiful!  I had been out there, way in the distance, shooting all over the place, and finally started to pack it in since I was running out of light.  I made it back to the walking path and happened to turn around and see the moon was shining up there.  I quickly lined up this shot.  I like the idea of the lifeguard stand, there all alone, sort of like it is watching over a deserted beach.  There was still enough light and color in the sky from the sunset that I think it came out pretty well! 

This is a 5 exposure HDR taken at f/9 with the exposures ranging from -2 to +2.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix and then made some adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask).

Wind, rain, and a camera

Usually those three things don't go too well together, but in this case it all worked out.  I was on Laguna Beach in Orange County, CA and a huge storm had just passed. The rain kept taunting me, dropping here and there and generally getting in my way.  The wind howled and nearly knocked me over a couple of times, usually when I was balanced precariously on wet rocks (not really a good idea by the way).  Nonetheless, being a true photographer sort, I stuck it out and managed to reel off a bunch of shots in a short amount of time.  I try not to hurry when taking photos, so as to spend time thinking about what I want to capture and in what way I want to capture it, but when the elements conspire against you, you just shoot.  So I did.

Truthfully, there are some things that could be done to improve this image.  For example, if you look closely you can see movement in the trees.  I decided to leave it in the photo though, primarily because it illustrates just how windy it was, and I think it helps communicate that.  

This is a 5 exposure HDR, taken at f/11.  The exposures range from +1 to -3 and were merged into an HDR in Photomatix.  I then made adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast) and made some final adjustments in Aperture (Cropping, Saturation).

Empty beach

It is wonderful to take photos, especially at sunset, and doubly so when you have a beach like this all to yourself.  When I arrived, there were plenty of folks walking around, exploring the various nooks and crannies that exist along this wonderful stretch of coastline.  But when the sun was about gone, and the light was fading fast, most of those folks were gone too.  I find that weird.  I mean, it's awesome to have this all to yourself, especially when you are trying to take some photos, but doesn't everyone like to stick around for a gorgeous sunset?  Maybe they didn't get the memo.

Anyways, I enjoyed it.  That is one great thing about HDR - you can shoot straight into the sun.  With a single exposure it is nearly impossible to capture anything but a glare when you are shooting straight into the sun, but with the multiple exposures that HDR requires you can get it done, and get decent (and sometimes amazing) results despite the fact that you are staring through your camera into the absolutely brightest thing in the universe.  BTW, this was taken on Laguna Beach in Orange County, CA.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/13 while staring into a hot ball of fire.  The exposures range from +2 to -3 and were merged into an HDR in Photomatix.  The HDR was then adjusted in Photoshop Elements for Contrast and Shadows, and a finishing touch in Topaz Adjust.  The dark exposures really helped tone down the brightness of the image while the brighter exposures lend some detail in the foreground elements.

My beautiful reward

I am a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, and though I like his music, I love his writing.  His lyrics are fantastic and if you really listen to them, you can see that he has the soul of a poet.  I like that and it shows through his writing.  I mention that because the title of this photo is also the title of one of his songs.  The song is about love and longing, and hope and searching for that which makes you happy.  At least it is to me.  If you ask Bruce, he will likely have a different interpretation of his lyrics.  I haven't had a chance to ask him yet.

Anyways, I like the title so I borrowed it for this photo.  I was on Laguna Beach down in Orange County, and a big storm that ruined my photo attempts that afternoon had blown through.  I had spent the entire afternoon holed up inside, waiting on the rain to stop.  Finally, after the rain stopped, I drove for a bit and then I parked the rental car on the street, plugged the meter with some quarters (I had 3, so I had 45 minutes - run!) and took off to the beach.  I was searching as well, and it was my first time here so I wasn't sure what I was going to find.  I ended up taking a lot of photos in that short 45 minute span.  I guess time does fly when you are having fun, because that 45 minutes felt like a blink.

After I got back and was able to process my shots, I felt like this was the best one I took that day.  It was my beautiful reward.  

This is a 6 exposure HDR, taken at f/11.  The exposures range from +2 to -3.  There was a lot of wind, due to the storm, and as you can see the waves were smashing about.  I created the HDR in Photomatix, then made some adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) and a final touch in Topaz Adjust.