Crystal Silence

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Abstract / California / Horizon / ICM / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Positivity / Seascapes

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July 9, 2020 — San Mateo County, California. Feb 12, 2021 My Office.

On February 9, we lost Chick Corea. A phenomenal composer, pianist, arranger, and producer. A mentor. A marvelous human being.

Here’s an excerpt from his farewell message:

“It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.”

This is also for my friend, Diane, who departed on the same day. I’m sure she agreed with every word.

(Canon G5X II. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

I’m Lookin’ at YOU, Flightless Biped!

comments 33
California / Photo Log / Photography / Point Reyes / Wildlife

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January 20, 2021 — Point Reyes National Seashore, California

It’s been a minute — maybe several — since I’ve posted wildlife. I’ve been concentrating on abstract and impressionistic seascapes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to shoot wildlife — photographically.

A couple weeks ago, The Muse and I went out to the Tomales Point trail for a long hike in celebration of significant click on my personal chronometer. It was a sunny day. Mild breeze. We brought cameras — we always bring cameras — but we expected the outing to be mostly exercise.

Then came the birds. (Not those birds. Those birds were a few miles north in Bodega Bay and more than a few years ago.) No, these birds were raptors. Up to ten at a time. Red-tailed hawks, kites, and falcons. Among them was this grand red-tailed hunter. We stopped and photographed them for more than two hours, only a mile or so from the trailhead. That’s as far as we got.

This one patrolled south to north along the ridge, went as far north as the Windy Gap and circled around to the south to repeat the pattern. One pattern every 20 minutes. On the fourth pass he kited directly over us for several minutes. We wondered if we were being considered for the lunch menu, but we were only one thing he looked at as he scrutinized the ground below. At one point we locked eyes.

And for that minute it was like High Noon. But I was beneath him. He was clearly superior.

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(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Essence of the Essence

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Abstract / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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July 10, 2010. San Gregorio Bluffs, San Mateo County, California. January 28, 2021, My Office

Here’s what I said in my August 3, 2020 post of the mother of today’s picture:

This is an impossibly small crop of a much larger frame — a starting point for an imaginary stroll on walkable water.

I was going to post this last night, but it wasn’t ready. This is a picture where every nuance counts. An adjustment of just one click plus or minus in vibrancy or color balance or layer blending made a visible difference. Everything balances on the head of a pin. Had to sleep on it. Glad I did. A few changes in the morning finally resulted in a smile for both me and the Muse.

Every word of the above is just as true in today’s image. This is the same shot, same crop, same everything except the final post processing in photoshop.

The evolution is due to a thought came to me the other day — almost a commandment:

Find the essence of your image or statement. Then find the essence of that.

When I had that thought, my mind immediately went to this image. I followed the first part of the commandment on August 3 when I made the small crop. Now here’s the rest of it. The path disappears, but the destination is writ large.

This does not diminish the original, which stands on its own. But for me, this finishes this picture’s journey. The destination is writ large.

(Canon G5X II. RAW processing and initial editing in DxO PhotoLab 3.3; Final editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Relic: Revived

comments 18
California / Horizon / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Point Reyes / Seascapes

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December 8, 2014 — Point Reyes National Seashore, California

I came across this while verifying my archives a few weeks ago. I marked it to remind me to come back to it and come back to it I did. The original shot was fodder for what you see here: not what the camera saw, but what I saw.

I was quite happy with it when I worked on it last night — but this morning I decided it needed a bit more finessing. Moral: sleep on it.

It got a good reaction on Instagram — @amagaphoto if you’re interested — and now we’ll see what you think.

(Canon 7D, Sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

In the Mist

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Abstract / California / Horizon / ICM / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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Hard to believe this was shot in the same place and in the same hour as the one in the last post. But it was. Despite the stormy day, this shot is tranquil.

ICM does strange things — especially in a misty environment. The 25-foot waves were there. There are even some in this shot, but the mist and the intentional camera motion obscures them.

(Nikon D850, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Theater

comments 14
California / Impressionism / Monochrome / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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January 10, 2021 — San Francisco, California

Hard to believe this was shot in the city of San Francisco and not in the cold, cold North.

Also hard to believe I overlooked this on my first pass through the shots. (Well, not that hard to believe. There were almost 2,000 shots.) On the second pass though, it jumped out at me.

And I thought, “I’m looking at a theater.”

This is a hand-held long exposure shot. That’s why it looks more like a painting. All the streaking is very much intentional. Very little post-processing on this other than to emphasize or deemphasize some tones a little bit here and there. What you see is pretty much what I got. Yes, it’s a color picture.

This is for Gary Zweig.

(Nikon D850, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Calm in Chaos

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Abstract / California / Horizon / ICM / Impressionism / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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January 10, 2021 — San Francisco, California

More big surf at Ocean Beach. Weather Service said 20 to 25 feet and they were right.

I shot 1,946 frames with an eight-pound camera/lens in a little less than three hours. Good upper-body exercise. Some of those shots used fast shutter speed and some slow. Some with camera held steady and some with intentional camera motion. Interesting phenomenon: Some ICM shots of heavy insane surf end up looking very calm. That could possibly become the basis of a philosophy if one needed some intellectual exercise.

(Nikon D850, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR zoom. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Avalanche

comments 44
California / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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January 2, 2021 — San Francisco, California

I went to Ocean Beach in San Francisco to shoot waves in dense fog for abstract or impressionist pictures. I did get shots for some of those. But the fog cleared for maybe thirty seconds and I caught this handsome specimen as well.

I rarely discuss social issues here. This is a photography blog. I will simply say that now more than ever I hope, wish, pray for sanity for this nation and the world in the coming year.

(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

UFS

comments 30
Iceland / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Positivity

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January 28, 2020, 11:29 p.m. — Jökulsárlón, South Coast, Iceland

Picked up from the Feb 21, 2020 post:

The plot thickened; the aurora action quickly moved to center stage.

This was taken when the Kp index of disturbances of Earth’s magnetic field caused by solar wind was 3.3. I can’t imagine how bright the top of the Kp scale — 9 — is. Maybe you really do need sunglasses.

And then… What’s this? Unidentified Flying Sleigh. It appeared out of nowhere, hovered for 10 and a half seconds, and then shot away to the north. Lucky shot.

The Muse and I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a healthy and sane 2021.

(Nikon D850, Tamron SP 15–30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD. f/2.8, 10 sec, ISO 400. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 3.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

707

comments 35
California / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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December 9, 2020 — Pacific Grove, California

 Taken a few minutes after the shot in the Dec 14 post. I’m not Rachael Talibart and I do not have easy access to the Sussex coast, but on this day the Pacific’s collision with the Monterey Bay coast did provide towering but very temporary structure. She names her works after characters in mythology, but here I’m reminded of the tail of a Boeing 707.

I do believe her titles are classier than mine. On the other hand, mine are nerdier than hers.

(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

A Different Kind of Opportunity

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Abstract / California / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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December 9, 2020 — Pacific Grove, California

The fog rolled in like a silent locomotive, stayed for a few minutes, and rolled out just as quickly. As I snatched each of the muffled succession of enshrouded waves, visions of exploring the limits of high key filled my mind.

(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

Opportunist

comments 13
California / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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December 9, 2020 — Pacific Grove, California

I’m slowly emerging from my cave…

A few days ago, the Muse and I headed south on a journey in search of Monarch butterflies and the manifestation of a high surf advisory — and for an Ambrosia Burger and glass of Santa Lucia pinot noir on the deck of Nepenthe 30 miles further down the Big Sur coast. We got there just a few days before sitting on the deck at Nepenthe would be curtailed for at least four weeks. Lucky us. But first:

No monarchs were to be found, which saddened us as photographers but even more as citizens of this planet. The rapidly dwindling Monarch population is an indicator, not unlike a canary in a coal mine, of worsening ecological conditions that are coming about as a result of climate change. Our neighborhood is planting milkweed to try to help the population regrow. If milkweed will grow in your area, please join us. Plant it where pets and small children can’t come in contact with it — it’s toxic — but please plant it.

The high surf advisory was accurate, however, and it afforded us a satisfying — I might even say thrilling at times — opportunity to capture some majestic waves. The trick is to find a low vantage point to emphasize the height of the waves without putting oneself in a position of becoming consumed by the wave, which puts a damper on the expedition and sort of defeats the whole purpose.

This is doubly important because it’s hard to enjoy an Ambrosia Burger on the deck of the Nepenthe when you have become part of the view.

P.S. The DeepPRIME noise reduction on DxO PhotoLab 4 has to be seen to be believed. This was shot at ISO 100, so didn’t need noise reduction — but when it is needed, it does wonders on shots even as high as ISO 25,600. No kidding.

(Nikon D500, Tamron 100–400mm f/4.5–6.3 Di VC USD. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 4.1; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)