California's Central Coast
Today we left San Simeon at 8AM, since we were in so late last night. We headed to Cambria for breakfast.
Violet and Yellow, Linn's Original Farm Store, Cambria, California, 11:24 AM.
I shifted the program for a smaller aperture (f/11) to keep more in focus.
It is always critical to exclude any distractions at the edges of the image. Roll your mouse over to see the shot I made a moment before, with just a little bit of fence that completely destroys the image.
Green Bars, Morro Bay, California, 2:44 PM.
The bars come forward because they are in focus, while the stairs are not. I had to try twice; the first time, the D3 locked-on to the steps instead.
View of Morro Rock from an Eatery, Morro Bay, California, 3:22 PM.
Even with ADR ON, the interior was too dark. A delicate tweak in Photoshop's highlight-shadow tool let me lift the dark insides just a little bit. I also straightened the image with Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter. The top wall is still too bright, but tough, I'm too lazy to make a layer mask to darken it.
What? Morro Bay, California, 4:01 PM.
While sitting at lunch, I saw an image. Everyone always asks "where did you find that?," so after I made my snap, I reset my D3 to all it defaults (STANDARD picture control, no AWB trim, etc. as it left Japan), and made an overall snap as it appeared to my eyes.
Can you see my picture in here? Scroll down when you're ready to see what I saw.
Yellow Triangle, Morro Bay, California, 4:01 PM.
I knew the turd-covered deck would turn into a yellow triangle surrounded by blue and brown. With my D3 at its usually SCORCH color settings of VIVID and +3 saturation, and Amber (A) 3 auto white balance, this what came out of the camera.
I shifted the exposure mode to give me f/45 for some depth-of-field at 300mm. Thank goodness for the VR of the 70-300mm VR: I can shoot reliably at 1/30, hand-held, at 300mm, making f/45 and a super-clean ISO 200 child's play.
Motel Walkway, San Simeon, California, 6:01 PM.
After Morro Bay, we returned to San Simeon and relaxed. At 6 PM we met back at Dave's room to show slides. I snapped this on my way down.
Since the camera was pointed down, the vertical lines on the wall were not parallel, so I used Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter to do the same straightening I'd have done by shifting a view camera to keep everything square.
No Pets Allowed, San Simeon, California, 6:03 PM.
Another snap on the way to Dave's room. Since we're by the sea, even stainless steel rusts to dust within weeks.
Sun in Tree, San Simeon, California, 7:57 PM.
After our slide shows, we hit our rooms, and then headed to the beach for sunset. This is the view as I walked down the stairs quickly from my room.
If I had FARTed before firing, I would have Asked myself (the A in FART) what was grabbing my eye. This snap is a little cropped, but still quite a mess. Just what was I Feeling (the F in FART) that made me want to take this picture?
What caught me eye was the sun, and the light of the sun on the branches. If this is what caught my eye, then that's what I should show. Let me show you what we get when we crop just this from the image above. (If I FARTed properly, I would have shot with a longer lens in the first place).
Crop from above, San Simeon, California, 7:57 PM.
Here we also can see a great 14-pointed sunstar thanks to Nikon's 7-bladed diaphragm. Most Canon lenses would only have sloppy 8-pointed sunstars, since Canon usually uses inferior 8 bladed diaphragms.
Sunset, San Simeon, California, 8:06 PM.
With Nikon, these exposures are trivial: I simply pointed and shot at the same automatic settings I've been using all week.
This is a swell overall shot, but what am I seeing? Might it be the sun on the water, and not just an overall view? Then let's show more of that:
Sunset, San Simeon, California, 8:07 PM.
OK, but can we simplify this any further?
Sunset, San Simeon, California, 8:08 PM.
Now that I've simplified, the image is more unique. It's noting spectacular, but at least not as much like every other photo.
I also shot this with more exposure to lighten it, but the D3 overloaded and lost saturation, turing things to weird shades of white instead of simply lighter yellow. The D3 is good, especially with ADR ON as I shoot it, but still not in the same league as film. Film excels at this, but I was too lazy to have grabbed my F5, as well as the D3, as we walked to the beach. Tough.
Sunset, San Simeon, California, 8:09 PM.
This is a perfectly swell shot as the sun goes down. The sun is still brilliant as I snapped this, thus we get a strong sense of light, and a catchy enough image.
Sunset Lost, San Simeon, California, 8:14 PM.
Once the sun starts to leave, the photos are over. We keep shooting, but unless something really crazy happens, photos just get more boring if the sun starts to get soft. We keep shooting, but we get blah results like this, even though the sun is still visible behind clouds.
While we're there it seems like a small variation in solar power, but look at the exposures: this snap was made in light four stops (sixteen times) darker than just 5 minutes ago in the previous shot.
Sodium Light, San Simeon, California, 8:58 PM.
I set Auto ISO for a minimum speed of 1/8 in this shot, since I can hand-hold the 70-300mm VR that slow at 70mm. This let the D3 shoot at ISO 1,250 instead of ISO 5,000. Since the camera was pointed up, the poles converged. I used Photoshop's Lens Distortion Filter to straighten the poles, as well as remove the 70-300mm's barrel distortion that gave slight curvature to the poles.
Exposure and color took care of themselves at my usual defaults.