California's Central Coast
Today we arose in San Simeon and headed to Ragged Point for breakfast. It was bright and sunny.
Lilly Pads, Ragged Point, California, 8:43 AM.
I flicked the rear dial a couple of clicks to give me f/22, to keep everything in focus. Bless the 70-300mm VR, which lets me do this brilliantly without any need for a tripod.
Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, Ragged Point, California, 10:29 AM.
I was experimenting with sunstars with various lenses. The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D's magnificent 9-bladed diaphragm makes these spectacular 18-pointed stars on the reflections of the sun, while the rounded diaphragm of the 70-300mm VR gave me nothing.
American Flag, Lucia, California, 11:51 AM.
American Flag, Lucia, California, 11:52 AM.
Lucia, California, 11:53 AM.
Coast Gallery, Big Sur, California, 11:53 AM.
I flicked the rear dial to shift the program to give me a larger aperture (f/4) to lose the background and focus attention on the texture of the wood.
Funny Face, Coast Gallery, Big Sur, California, 1:23 PM.
Coast Gallery, Big Sur, California, 1:30 PM.
I used -1.3 exposure compensation. Otherwise it was way too light, and the yellow COAST letters would have been almost white instead of yellow.
Henry Miller Gift Shop, Big Sur, California, 1:48 PM.
The books were hanging by threads. I looked up, and got this as expected. The ultrawide lens (16mm) exaggerates the angles and pulls our eyes towards a vanishing point in Heaven.
Big Sur State Park, Big Sur, California, 1:48 PM.
This is the only shot I'm showing from the F5. For this shot, Velvia 50 amplified what little color there was on the hill better than the D3. My exposure information EXIF data is recorded from the Nikon F5 with the Nikon MV-1 Card Reader, and I store those files with the scans I get. Here is the data file for this roll of film.
The D3 automatically corrects for the falloff of the 70-300mm VR, but film doesn't. Thus the corners are a little darker, which is good because it emphasizes the yellow in the center.
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California, 4:06 PM.
The 70-300 VR has some pincushion distortion at 270mm, so I removed it with Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter.
Big Sur by Bixby Bridge, California, 4:17 PM.
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California, 4:22 PM.
I shifted the program by flicking the rear dial a couple of clicks to give me a small aperture (f/16) to keep everything from the foreground weeds to the mountains in focus. Since I was pointed down at 20mm, the vertical lines of the bridge splayed out, so I corrected that with Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter.
This looks idyllic, but the wind is whipping everything at about 40 knots.
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California, 4:23 PM.
Just like the shot above, the lens was pointed down, so the vertical lines splayed out. I corrected this with Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter.
Normally I'd flip the negative so your eyes are lead from left to right, but if I did that, I'd have to use various warp tools to re-warp the text so it doesn't reverse, too. I was too lazy.
V, Big Sur, California, 4:57 PM.
Green Room, Big Sur, California, 4:57 PM.
I cropped this a little to make the glorious backlit green-cyan waves stronger (bigger).
Truck, River Inn, Big Sur, California, 5:17 PM.
I shifted the program to give me f/8 for better depth-of-field. Since this was in shade, the Nikon's Auto White Balance didn't quite make it warm enough, so I used a curves adjustment layer to add more red. I selected RED from the drop-down that usually says RGB, and simply lifted the middle of the curve.
Pipe, Big Sur, California, 6:34 PM.
I added +1 stop of exposure compensation. The meter didn't know that I intended to obliterate the light at the end of the pipe.
McWay Falls and Tree, Big Sur, California, 6:46 PM.
I used Shade white balance to make everything warm (orange). I shifted the program to give me a smaller aperture to keep both the tree and the falls sharp. I dialed-in -0.7 stops of exposure compensation to keep the bright parts from disappearing.
McWay Falls without Tree, Big Sur, California, 6:50 PM.
I used Shade white balance to make everything warm (orange). I dialed-in -0.7 stops of exposure compensation to keep the bright parts from disappearing.
I shot this in JPG + NEF, and preferred the look of the original JPG to the version I could open in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS4. Nikon's software ought to open the NEF to look as good as the JPG, but I can't afford to let Nikon's buggy software drag down my machine, so I have to use other tools since I won't install Nikon software on my computer. I got the best results from Phase One Capture One. Different brands of software open raw files with slightly different colors because they all use different secret formulae to create an image from raw data. Only Nikon's software uses the same formula as the in-camera JPGs use.
Once open in Photoshop, I used a curves adjustment layer mask to burn (darken) the big rock on the left, which was distractingly bright.
Green, Big Sur, California, 7:05 PM.
Commotion, Big Sur, California, 7:09 PM.
McWay Falls, Big Sur, California, 7:10 PM.
Baby Green Room, Big Sur, California, 6:34 PM.
Lucia, California, 7:58 PM.
I snapped this as we gathered for dinner on the patio of the Lucia Lodge Restaurant. The sun was already down past the clouds, thus when I fired and shot, the D3 automatically bumped the ISO to 400 to maintain my 1/30 set minimum shutter speed. This of course is perfect with the 70-300 VR, since I easily can hand-hold it for great result at 1/30, and the D3 is perfectly clean at ISO 400. Bingo! These colors as they came out of the D3, in VIVID Picture Control set to +3 saturation, as are all these snaps.
We had dinner, finished at 9:45PM, and didn't get to our rooms and hit the sack in San Simeon until 11PM.