This church in La Jolla, California caught my eye for its stunning white simplicity. The clear blue sky also helped to compliment the building and its elegance. I was on a photowalk, and we had just started down the road toward the beach and everybody was excited to get shooting. And so, I framed the building to include mostly sky while leaving a good portion of the church (and its surroundings) left to the imagination. I took two shots with different compositions of this church top, and this one turned out best.
This one turned out a little overexposed. I shot it at f/2 with my 50mm lens and it pushed my shutter speed up to 1/8000, maxing it out. I probably should have set the f-number to at least f/2.8.
Mainly I just recovered the highlights and darkened the overall image, getting it ready for Photoshop.
I saw that the blues were a little muddy, so I ran it through my LAB Saturation Photoshop Action and brought out the color while adding a bit of contrast.
Clone & Sharpen
Somehow I sort of forgot to deal with the little bit of brickwork on the bottom edge, so I took that out with the patch tool. Then I sharpened it up a bit.
I wasn’t totally happy with the tones and colors, so I added a curves adjustment to bring up the highlights and push the shadows down. I left the blending mode to “Normal” so the blues would get a little punch too.
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.
All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before we get to the links, I just want to mention quickly that we had our photowalk in La Jolla today. The turnout was awesome! I lost count, but I think probably 15 to 20 people showed up from across Southern California and one from North Idaho. Just about everybody in the shot below was part of our group, plus we had a few others that weren’t in the frame. We had a great time, and I’ll try to post a recap on Monday the 18th — that way people have a chance to get through processing some photos and put them up on Flickr and whatnot.
FOR THOSE AT THE PHOTOWALK: TAG YOUR PHOTOS “photowalking020908″. This will help everybody find the photos, and I’ll also be searching through Flickr and Zooomr for those tags to find photos for Monday’s recap. Now on with the links…
The View From Below Neil Creek
As a photographer, it’s important to think about the uncommon perspective, and get out of the habit of shooting from the same height all the time. This photography project asks you to take and submit a photo from less than 30cm (12in) above the ground. DEADLINE: 02-21-2008
Send me a postcard All Day I Dream About Photography
Send Antoine a digital postcard of a place that describes the area you call home. It should be interesting to see all the different places we come from! DEADLINE: 02-29-2008
One Image – 17 Amazing Interpretations CameraPorn
Results from a photo editing project similar to the one we ran on Epic Edits. 17 people give their very artistic interpretation of one image.
Street Tips The Meditation of Life
Good solid street photography tips that talk about candids, fair game, knowing your equipment, expecting the unexpected, and the general nature of street photography.