Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, it’s a view from about five hundred feet above sea level off the side of southbound California Highway 1 in Sonoma County.
Originally shot in December 2013, this image sat in my archives for years. It didn’t sit there because I particularly wanted it to. It sat there because there’s evidence of a nasty lens aberration in the RAW file that several previous attempts at RAW processing and Photoshop editing couldn’t get rid of.
The vaunted Sony RX100 — first generation — is wonderful camera in most ways, but in some circumstances it can distort colors at the edge of the frame. As much as I loved the shot, I couldn’t show it. Then last week I visited this image again. A combination of a different creative approach on my part and some wizardry from the brilliant creators of the latest version of DxO PhotoLab gave me the results I wanted. Viola. (It is French software, after all.)
But it didn’t really look that way, did it? Actually this is close to what the camera saw. In my mind’s eye I saw something more pure so I did soften it a bit for a more impressionist look and removed some floating kelp from the foreground — but this is still pretty much how it looked.
Another technical note. Anyone who has spent any time on my fine-art website knows I love horizons. However, horizons are not always cooperative. Sometimes they’re obscured by clouds or fogbanks. Or rain squalls. Or mist. Or some combination of all of the above that makes one wonder, just what is the horizon in some images? Most of my shots are hand-held so there’s almost always going to be some straightening. If a fog bank or rain squall runs a bit diagonal to the true horizon but both are in the shot, it’s a challenge: the fog bank’s apparent horizon and the “true” horizon are in disagreement. In many cases, leveling the true horizon can be, to quote Fargo, kinda funny-looking. But lining up the fog bank won’t work either, because it’s often inconsistent — so what do I level to? Best I can do is adjust till it looks right — whatever that is — and hope the viewer agrees.
This seascape horizon has true horizon going through more than half the width of the shot, so it was easy. Except that it needed another tenth of a degree tweak when I double-checked it as I was writing, because visual weight of the rain squall toward the left was still messing with me.
(Sony RX100. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2.2; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)