Category Archives: Color Photography

Balcony Sunset Photoshoot

This weeks blog has a number of pictures attached to it. I’ve been asked a number of times about the process I go through creating the digital art you see posted. Almost everything starts with a photoshoot. (I do create art prints digitally from scratch, but this post is about an example of creating from a photoshoot)

For this example I am using a photoshoot I did in January of 2011. The setting is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean taken from the balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the coastline of Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego County). This is the house we raised our girls in and we lived there for almost 20 years. The house was at the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was located on top of a ridge 3 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the immediate west of our neighborhood/property was a field owned by the Carlsbad Water District. The importance of that was that it was never going to be built on and offered an unobstructed view all the way down to the coast. I give that background because of this photoshoot. In all the years we lived there, this sunset was an exception to the rule and was only seen a few times. For this type of sunset, there must be high level clouds and an unobstructed view. We had the view at all times, but during the spring, summer and fall months it was more typical to have a marine layer come ashore late afternoon into the night. The marine layer typically was low level clouds (not fog), that hid most sunsets over the ocean. The only time we actually had clear skies at sunset was in the winter as the marine layer was less common. The high level clouds were also a rarity in this area preventing this type of a colorful sunset. On this particular day, we started to see the colors burst forth in our backyard. I immediately clued into what was happening and grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to our bedroom and the balcony. I have attached 8 of the 18 shots I took that day a number of them were redundant and the rest were poor shots looking towards the extreme south and north.

Balcony Sunset 1

This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.

Balcony Sunset 2

I zoomed in a little more. The building you see with the “smoke stack” is a coastal power plant that was built quite awhile ago as a coal burning facility. It was converted to gas years ago and today the smoke stack has been removed.

Balcony Sunset 3

This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.

Balcony Sunset 4

Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.

Balcony Sunset 5

Lowering the framing slightly.

Balcony Sunset 6

Zooming back towards the power plant…

Balcony Sunset 7

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.

Balcony Sunset 8

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture a widening shot. These were the captures I narrowed it down to creating the art prints that follow.

Coastal Sunset
Pacific Sunset

These two shots were cropped and a subtle digital watercolor overlay to highlight the orange tones. Also I removed the smoke stack from the power plant (not knowing it was going to be removed in reality but not until 2020).

Love is Patient

Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.

Carlsbad Sunset

In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.

Dusk on the Coast

Using the same impasto style on this one, but using one of the photos that had blue sky showing such as Balcony Sunset 1.

These five prints from this photoshoot were created after experimenting with cropping of the captured scene and then the different art styles. This gives you a taste of the process using a photoshoot with a singular subject matter. Multiply it by number of subject matters on a more intense photoshoot.

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Lake 22 Trail

I wanted to share a little hiking/photo adventure with you from our trip to the Pacific Northwest. My son-in-law and I love hiking and have been on numerous hikes together. For the last few years I have had to succumb to the fact that with my knees continuing to get worse, I was to the point I couldn’t do much hiking at all. As I have mentioned for those of you that follow me, I had knee replacement surgery on my right knee last year and in June of this year, my left knee. My personality is such that I am all over the physical therapy needed to get back to “normal”. I was looking forward to this trip for many reason, one being to get back into my love of hiking in the Pacific Northwest and the photo opportunities they present.

So on his day off, he suggested a specific trail he knew I would like called Lake 22 Trail near Granite Falls, Washington. It’s about 4 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet. At the top of the elevation gain is a lake that the trail goes around….perfect!!

On the day of the hike, it’s raining and turns into a steady solid drizzle as we near the trail head. My backpack is waterproof along with my jacket, so we are good to go. The only thing I was concerned with was my camera getting wet. With that in mind, I pre-set everything to a landscape mode with exposure on auto. That way, all I had to do was pull the camera out and snap pictures quickly (I had it hanging around my neck under may jacket). Perfect….we start out and the rain picks up and we are hiking switchback after switchback gaining altitude. When I see a shot worth taking, I stop, unzip my jacket, grab the camera, snap a few and put it back under my jacket before it gets soaked.

As we started the hike, the trail was well maintained and smooth. The further we got and the longer we hiked, the trail turned into a rocky creek. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been able to walk by securing my footing on one rock….balanced myself as I moved my other leg to the next rock keeping me out of the water. At first it wasn’t at all natural and I looked like a drunk initially. We were both laughing at it and eventually it all came back to me. But of course he thought it would then be better if he followed me in case I fell, thus the attached two pictures. I got past that issue and all was good. We had a great hike and I took what I thought would be great pictures.

Lake 22 Hiking Trail One
Lake 22 Hiking Trail Two

I was finally getting the balancing thing nailed!!

Well, when we got back to their house and I pulled my camera out to put it away, I noticed that the dial had gotten turned to “manual” for all pictures. In other words, somewhere in the “in and out” from under my jacket I ended up losing my automatic exposure and focus ending up with very, very dark pictures that even all of the digital support of photoshop couldn’t resurrect. I tried every trick in the book when we got home, but to no avail except for one capture and that is the one I have added to the end of the post.

Lake 22 Trail

This particular stream was halfway up the trail as we climbed in altitude. I snapped it on the way back down and believe me there was more water coming down this little stream then there was when we were headed up.

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Northern California Coastline

In continuing with my series of our road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle and back, this week I am sharing some of the photographs I took on the Northern California Coastline. The shots are from the Mendocino area of the coastline. That would be about halfway between Eureka (on the very northern California coastline and San Francisco).

The drive that day (Pacific Coast Highway) took us slightly inland for awhile and then rejoined the coastline. The slightly inland part was stunning as it took us through Redwood Forests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and grab pics of that experience as the shots I would have liked to have taken occurred while we were driving without the ability to pull over. It was fascinating to see that you’re driving on this nice wide two lane (sometimes four) highway with broad shoulders, then suddenly the speed limit goes way down and you round a curve to the road narrowing down to just two lanes without shoulders. That was to protect the existing redwoods where their trunks are literally right next to the pavement. The road would wind between the trunks and I must say it was stunning.

When we were able to rejoin the coastline, I was able to get the attached shots.

Northern California Coastal 1

I loved the rock structures along the coastline similar to what you see along the coastline in Oregon. You can tell from the white tips of the protruding rock structures in the water that birds spend a fair amount of time gathering there.

Northern California Coastal 2

The other thing that is different along the northern California coastline versus the southern or central coastlines are the trees (similar to Oregon, but not as lush) that come right up to the coast.

Northern California Coastal 3

It was a beautiful fall day for strolling the beach.

Northern California Coastal 4

I love the different color shades of the ocean as the depth changes. Notice how clear the water is in the little bay.

Northern California Coastal 5

We hit the weather perfectly along the entire drive. The prior day we had left Seattle very early and made it all the way to Arcata, California just north of Eureka along the coastline. On this day our destination was Santa Cruz along the northern portion of Monterrey Bay, which is south of San Francisco. The next day we drove the final leg home exactly two weeks after we left.

Because of the current pandemic I did want to touch base on how we handled that issue. We were diligent with our masks whenever we were out of the car. We brought sanitary wipes for pumping gas and hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were an issue we researched ahead of time and found that the Hilton chain of hotels seemed to have the best programs. We were able to do remote check-in prior to arrival so we just went to our room and keyed in the code we were given. The rooms had tags sealing the door to verify the room had been disinfected. To protect our family here in Los Angeles and in Seattle we got tests done before heading up and after returning just to verify we were ok.

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Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

As part of my continuing series over the last few weeks from our recent road trip to Seattle and back, this weeks post is of Crater Lake National Park. Located northwest of Klamath Falls in the south central portion of Oregon, it was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. The collapsed caldera has become the deepest lake in the United States fed by rain and snow and one of the most pristine anywhere on the planet.

In all of our years going up and down the west coast to Seattle, we had never stopped at Crater Lake. I have seen it numerous times from the air flying back and forth, but seeing it up close and personal is an entirely different experience. One of the most recognizable features of the Lake is the island on the western side of the lake. Because of this feature, it makes it easy to spot even at 36,000 feet in the air.

Crater Lake 1

The first thing you notice about the lake is the deep blue color of the water. It looks fake even in person it so so blue.

Crater Lake 2

We drove around the entire lake and as you can see from this capture as we approach the island, it isn’t as small as one would believe, which gives you an idea just how large this lake is.

Crater Lake 3

The next capture (Crater Lake 4) was taken from the drive as it took us around in the upper right coastline of the above capture (Crater Lake 3).

Crater Lake 4

This next capture was a surprise as we continued the drive from Crater Lake 4 going left from that shot.

Crater Lake 5

Love the unique feature that nature created here. Looks like a small castle on an island. To give you a point of reference, the island itself is on the far right side of this capture.

There is so much to do in the Park and so much to see. This just gives you a flavor of the lake itself. Again, the surreal deep blue color of the lake boggles the mind every time you look at it no matter which side of the lake you are on.

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Hood River Valley, Oregon

In continuing from last weeks post from our recent road trip up to the Seattle area from Los Angeles, I wanted to share some captures from the Hood River Valley in Northern Oregon. We stopped here after visiting Crater Lake in Southern Oregon (pics from that coming soon). Hood River is a town located on the confluence of the Hood River and The Columbia River. Just south of the town is a stunningly beautiful agricultural valley. The valley is known for its tree fruit agriculture—including one of the world’s largest pear growing areas. There is a mapped out drive around the valley called the “Fruit Loop”. It lists a number of places to visit where the twenty-nine member stands offer you a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, and food. We chose to stop at an apple orchard where we were able to pick our own fruit. Loved the experience as neither my wife or I have picked apples from an orchard since we were young. It also high-lighted an old country store where in respect to covid, goods were displayed outside in front of the historic building.

This weeks captures were taken along the fruit loop and as Mt Hood is a prominent backdrop in the valley, I couldn’t resist these shots with the fall color.

Hood River Valley Fruit Stand
Mt. Hood Oregon
Autumn Colors Hood River Valley
Mount Hood Close Up

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Marymere Falls in the Olympic National Park

My wife and I just got back to Los Angeles from a 2 week road trip back up to Seattle. For those of you that follow my blog, you will remember my post from mid September of the thick smoke in Seattle that we experienced when we were up there then. Yes, we turned around in a couple of weeks and returned this time via car. The early September trip was a last minute one to help on a family matter. This trip we had been planning all summer to take a few days going up, stopping at Crater Lake and Hood River Valley in Oregon. On our way back down we went through Oregon and cut over to the coast to drive down the extreme Northern California Coastline through the many redwoods that populate that geography. So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of my favorite captures from our trip.

I’m starting this week with two captures of Marymere Falls located in the Olympic National Park which is on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. This was an awesome day trip we did with our two daughters and their husbands that live in the Seattle area. We took one of the many ferries that connect Seattle to the surrounding islands and the peninsula. From the arriving ferry port, we still had another 1.5 hour drive to the park.

There is so much to see and do with the many trails, etc, but my favorite one for the day was the attached two captures of Marymere Falls. The trail is just a quick 1.7 mile hike and ends with this 90 foot waterfall. There are two viewing platforms at different elevations to choose from. This first capture is from the lower platform and the second one is from the upper platform.

Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls Bottom Half

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Seattle Sunshine

I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by the wild fires up and down the west coast. I think of those who have lost their homes and/or evacuated from approaching flames to the fire fighters who have bravely been battling these fires.

My wife and I left Los Angeles August 31st for two weeks in Seattle (two of our daughters and their husbands live up there). At that point in time Northern California was battling significant wild fires and the smoke from those fires had migrated to Southern California. As we took off and started the flight north, there was a layer of brown smoke all of the way up the coast to Oregon. From Oregon on up to Seattle, the skies were clear and we were thankful to get out of the smoke.

Starting with our second week in Seattle, Oregon was now battling a number of fires and so was eastern Washington. Mid-week, the winds changed and the huge plume of smoke that had been blown out to sea from California and Oregon came inland and created the pictures I have attached.  I took these with my cell phone by one of our daughters house because I was blown away with how weird the sun looked. It actually got worse as the week went on with no sun getting through.

We returned to Los Angeles Sunday September 13th. On that day going to the airport in Seattle, the smoke was so thick you couldn’t even see the downtown high-rises as we drove right by them on Interstate 5 (the freeway literally butts up to downtown). Taking off from the airport was like rising through a thick layer of clouds that had a brown tinge to them. On the 2.5 hour flight coming south over Washington, Oregon and Northern California, looking out the window at 35 thousand feet, there was nothing to see but the brown cloud below us. It boggles my mind that there would be a smoke plume of that size. Think about any flight you have had of that duration and think about if there was nothing but smoke below you for the entire flight.

Seattle Sunshine

Street Scene

The air was so brown, these shots almost look like sepia photography.

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Do Not Worry

From downtown Denver, we are popping over to the west coast for a sunset I took in Carlsbad, California located in the northern part of San Diego County. I added the quote from the bible as it seems an important reminder for all of us. I try really hard (and trust me it is hard), to take each day as it comes on its own merit. It doesn’t do any of us any good to worry about tomorrow as all that does is pull your attention away from the current moment. And the current moment is the only reality we truly live in.

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Ducks In The Pond

I went back to the archives this week and surfaced the attached shots I took of “ducks in a pond”. As I was looking at these shots, I was thinking what does this represent to me? Why did I originally capture these ducks? What surfaced was the contentment these birds exuded as they fed, cleaned themselves and swam together in community. There is something so peaceful about the way they swim around the serene setting of a quiet pond.

May you find that in your own life.

Ducks In A Pond 1

Ducks In A Pond 2

Ducks In A Pond 3

Ducks In A Pond 4

On a side note: I will be having knee replacement surgery this week and will be off WordPress for about a month. This is the other leg after my knee replacement surgery last August. It was originally scheduled for mid March, but we all know how that time frame changed things. Be well…be safe!

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Sailing San Diego Bay

Last weeks post of the Oregon Coastline invoked a sense of serenity and in keeping with that theme, this week I am posting two captures of sailboats on San Diego Bay. These scenes are clearly different than last weeks, but invoke the same sense of serenity to me. I can just feel the peacefulness as the boats slip through the water with a gentle ocean breeze caressing my face.

This first capture was taken from Seaport Village just south of downtown looking across the bay to Coronado Island.

The second capture is reversed if you will. This capture was taken from Coronado Island looking back at downtown San Diego.

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