Tag Archives: California

Laguna Beach Photowalk: March 30

I had such a great time at the last photowalk in La Jolla that some of us decided we should put on another one in Orange County (which is kind of a midway point between Los Angeles and San Diego). Hopefully we can get a decent turnout again, so if you’re in the Southern California area, here are the details:

WHERE: Laguna Beach, California


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WHEN: March 30th, 2PM

I set it up for after lunch so we don’t have to try finding food for under $20 per person. But if you’re into food, you might want to show up early and hit one of the many restaurants down near the water.

WHY?

Because photowalks are where it’s at! If you’ve never been to one, you don’t know what you’re missing. I always meet a ton of great people and I walk away with lots of interesting photos. It’s part social event, part photo shoot. Here’s my write-up for the Upcoming.org event:

Join us in Orange County’s Laguna Beach for an afternoon of photowalking. We’ll begin our walk at the Festival of Arts building on Broadway, walk all the way down Broadway until we hit the Pacific Coast Highway, then we’ll turn our attention to some of the more active streets in Laguna Beach — Ocean Avenue and Forest Avenue. When we’re done with the busy street scene, we’ll head down to the beach and walk along the boardwalk. For those who want to do a little more beach photography, we’ll then head over to the rocky shoreline to see what we can find.

There’s a large parking lot available across the street from our meeting place, and parking will cost $3 for the day. Bring a few extra dollars in case you need to park in a different lot, prices will vary between $3 and $10.

Laguna Beach is fairly simple to reach from the major freeways. Just hop on the Laguna Freeway 133 (also known as Laguna Canyon Road) from the 73, I-405, or I-5. The canyon road will take you all the way down to our meeting spot and into Laguna Beach. Or for those coming from a nearby beach town, you can take the Pacific Coast Highway into Laguna Beach.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us that day… but hey, it’s Southern California. There’s a 99% chance it’ll be sunny and warm. And if all of this isn’t enough to persuade you to come hang out for the afternoon, it’s my birthday (on the 31st) so you owe it to me!

Laguna shore
Creative Commons License photo credit: timotale

Sim City
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kevin Labianco

Cue Hilary Duff
Creative Commons License photo credit: shawdm

Feet on the Beach

Feet on the Beach

Brian Auer | 01/19/2008 | San Diego, CA | 300mm * f/6.7 * 1/250s * ISO100
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

This one was taken on the Torrey Pines State Beach near my home in San Diego. The feet actually belong to my Mother-in-Law. I spotted her walking along the water near sunset and I couldn’t resist trying to get some “walking on the beach” photos. I shot about 7 or 8 in rapid-fire mode and this one turned out the best from all of them. The reflection turned out better than I had hoped, and the moment in mid-stride made for an interesting photo.

Feet on the Beach Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. Not a lot of color to begin with, so black & white was a natural choice for me.
  2. Black & White Conversion
    Before doing anything, I switched to grayscale. I pushed the red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua to negative compensation while the blues, purples and magentas were pushed in the positive direction.
  3. Basic Adjustments
    I left the white balance set at a temperature of 5100 and a tint of -1. I left the exposure near zero, while I boosted the recovery to 33, fill light to 41, bumped the blacks up to 34, increased the brightness to 76, pushed up the contrast to 19, and I ramped the clarity all the way up to 100.
  4. Tone Curve Adjustment
    Using the parametric tone curve, I set the highlights to +22, lights to +49, darks to -33, and shadows to -47. This gave me the strong contrast I was after, and I actually pushed a few (very few) of the shadows off the histogram. Overall, the image is heavy on the darker tones.
  5. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the lens correction menu, I set the vignette to an amount of -70 with a midpoint of 20 — and this gave me the strong frame around the subject. As a last step, I set the sharpening under the detail menu to an amount of 50 with a radius of 1.5 pixels.

Enjoy!

Wide Open

Wide Open

Brian Auer | 02/23/2008 | San Diego, CA | 15mm * f/6.3 * 1/1000s * ISO100
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

When the wind is just right, the skies above Black’s Beach team with para gliders and hang gliders. This particular shot was taken at a 10mm focal length (15mm full-frame equivalent) as I stood very near the edge of a 300 foot sand cliff above the Pacific Ocean. The gliders ride the updrafts as the wind comes off the ocean and shoots straight up along the face of the cliff. These thrill seekers can ride these winds for extended periods of time and never lose altitude. The Gliderport is located on the Torrey Pines State Reserve, nestled between the beach towns of La Jolla and Del Mar. La Jolla can be seen in the background of this photo as it extends out into the ocean to form a point. And those little dots on the sand below… those are people.

Wide Open Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. Not too shabby, but it needed some work on a few areas. I decided to keep the color on this one because of the sky in the upper portion of the image.
  2. Basic Adjustments
    I set the white balance to a temperature of 5500 and a tint of +8. Then I brought the exposure to -.5, set the recovery to 100, no fill light, blacks at 13, brightness at +14, contrast at +35, clarity at 35, vibrance at +17, and saturation at +7. Do note that a lot of these settings weren’t made in this order — there’s a lot of back-and-forth between these settings and the settings on the other two panels I used.
  3. Tone Curve Adjustment
    I set a “strong contrast” on the point curve, and added some extra contrast on the parametric curve with highlights set to -28, lights at +26, darks at -13, and shadows at -4.
  4. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the detail panel, I set the sharpening to an amount of 50 and a radius of 1.5. In the lens corrections panel, I added some positive vignette. So instead of darkening the corners, I lightened them to even out the image and brighten the foreground. At 10mm, my lens tends to produce a slight amount of vignette, so I punched up the value in ACR to +50 with a midpoint of 0. I lost some contrast in the clouds (which I over-contrasted just for this reason), but I gained a whole lot of brightness in the lower left corner.

Enjoy!

The Place To Be

The Place To Be

Brian Auer | 02/09/2008 | La Jolla, CA | 19mm * f/4.5 * 1/400s * ISO100
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

This shot was taken during the La Jolla photowalk in early February. At the time, I found the scene to be very interesting — the hut, the birds, the people, and the ocean in the background really seemed to work together in this candid shot. I kept things fairly well centered because of the strong symmetry already present in the hut. The Birds and the people served to break up that symmetry in isolated areas, so I didn’t feel I needed to break it up even more. Lucky for me, I also left some extra room at the top of the frame, which served as a nice backdrop for some heavy vignette.

The Place To Be Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. It could probably work as a color image too, but I wanted to go colorless.
  2. Black & White Conversion
    Before doing anything, I switched to grayscale. I pushed the red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua to negative compensation while the blues, purples and magentas were pushed in the positive direction.
  3. Basic Adjustments
    I left the white balance set at a temperature of 5800 and a tint of +3. I left the exposure, recovery, and clarity set to zero, while I boosted the fill light to 46, bumped the blacks up to 36, dropped the brightness to 16, and pushed up the contrast to 52.
  4. Tone Curve Adjustment
    Using the parametric tone curve, I set the highlights to +41, lights to +39, darks to -44, and shadows to -76. This gave me the strong contrast I was after, and I actually pushed a bunch of the highlights and shadows off the histogram.
  5. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the lens correction menu, I set the vignette to an amount of -76 with a midpoint of 19 — and this gave me the strong frame around the hut while filling in some of that sky. As a last step, I set the sharpening under the detail menu to an amount of 50 with a radius of 1.5 pixels.

Enjoy!

February Challenge: Day 12 – 22 Lanes

22 Lanes

WEEK 3 = RED

Long exposure of traffic on Interstate 5 where it splits into the 5 and 805. Can you believe that there are 22 lanes at this point and it’s backed up during rush hour every day?

I’ve never done one of these long-exposure traffic shots before. It turns out that the white lights are much brighter than the red ones. Plus there wasn’t much traffic, so it probably could’ve turned out better. Here are a few others from that night as I was messing around with different amounts of focus and shutter speed:

14 Point Star 8 Point Star Octogons Short Exposure Moderate Exposure Long Exposure

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

February Challenge: Day 9 – Pedestrian Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing

WEEK 2 = YELLOW

This photo (and those shown below) came from our recent La Jolla photowalk. I totally overworked the colors on this image and it was completely on purpose, but I like the way it ended up. I’ll be uploading quite a few photos to Flickr over the course of this week, so keep your eyes on my stuff over there if you’re interested in seeing how the day turned out. You can also follow the photos from everybody else, as long as they’re tagged with “photowalking020908“. Honestly, with all this color stuff for the February Challenge, you can expect to see a lot of my photowalk images turning out black & white.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

La Jolla Photowalk Reminder

Remember folks, we’ve got a Southern California photowalk happening on Saturday, February 9th. So if you’re in the greater Los Angeles or San Diego area, stop by for a while and take some photos with us.

It should be a good turnout — Bryan Villarin and I will be there along with John Watson from Photodoto. I’m still working on Ryan Goodman from CameraPorn, and I had Nate Ritter asking me about it earlier today. Looks like it’s going to end up being a blogger convention!

February Challenge: Day 1 – Glass Flower

Glass Flower

WEEK 1 = CLEAR

The February Challenge is all about color – you pick a color each week and document those colors. So my first color will be my favorite color… clear. It’s a great color because it takes on the color from the things around it. So it’s every color and no color all at the same time!

Now I realize that many of you may think that clear is not a color, but ask yourself this… what color are your windows? What color are your glass dishes? What color is water (assuming it’s clean)? How about diamonds? My wife hates the fact that I insist clear be my favorite color, so this week is dedicated to her.

This particular image is an abstract of a CLEAR glass candy dish lid positioned on top of a purple DVD-R with an orange background (a shirt). The DVD served to reflect some nice rainbow colors that you can see in the refraction of the CLEAR glass.

So is anybody else joining in with the February Challenge?

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

Forgotten Fortress

Forgotten Fortress

Brian Auer | 08/04/2007 | Santa Monica, CA | 157mm * f/2.8 * 1/30s * ISO400
[Buy Prints] [Buy Rights] [See it at Flickr]

This one was taken on the beach at Santa Monica in the summer of 2007 during a group Photowalk. The light of day was fading, and the beach was fairly empty. I saw this little sand fortress (complete with swimming pool) and the bucket that was used to make it. The scene kind of struck me as interesting because of the bucket laying there abandoned and the handle detached off in the background. It had a solemn mood about it, so I snapped a few shots as I made my way down the beach.

Forgotten Fortress Post-Processing

  1. In-Camera JPEG
    As you can see, the bright green bucket is probably what first caught my eye.
  2. Processed RAW
    This is unusual for me, but I did a ton of processing in Adobe Camera Raw. I converted to black and white, adjusted my exposure options, adjusted my curves, added a warming tone, and finally added vignette. I’m not sure if I like this method of processing because it leaves me back at ground zero if I want to make some tweaks. Maybe I should start saving the XMP settings for each file… Or is there an easier way to do this?
  3. Curves Adjustment
    Once in Photoshop, I just applied a curves adjustment layer with an “S” curve to bump the contrast and give it a bit more saturation.
  4. Sharpening
    I sharpened the lightness channel in LAB mode using the unsharp mask at 75%, 1.5 pixels, and a threshold of 0.

Enjoy!