Inspirations: BURMA– 30 Best of Travel and Landscape Photographs

Today’s theme for inspiration is BURMA. Burma is the sixth country that was featured in inspirational series. Previous countries are: IcelandNorwayIndonesiaVietnam and Peru.

Below are the best of the best travel and landscape photographs featuring Burma.

 

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Big Sur – Sunset / Sunrise Colors (California)

Big Sur Lightstation, probably the most spectacular stretch of California State Route 1. This particular spot has an amazing potential for photographing sunrises and sunsets

Again, I am posting images of the same location taken on exactly the same day. There are 2 big differences though: the first photo was taken in January 2014 at sunset and the second one in January 2015 at sunrise.

Hard to believe it is the same season.

Shooting and Processing

It became extremely windy just before the sunset and it was challenging to keep tripod steady. I had to apply pressure from the to with my body weight to prevent any movement.

The idea for this shot was to include as much as possible of the beautiful details and the textures in the foreground but at the same time to keep Big Sur Lightstation as the main attraction of the composition.

I used standard processing technique in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop  (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix).

Travel Photography Blog - California. Big Sur Lightstation

California. Big Sur
Loc: 36.325931, -121.894229

Same location. Year 2015. Sunrise.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 5 Bracketed Shots ( -2, -1; 0; +1, +2) [Read more...]

Cayucos State Beach Clouds (California)

Cayucos is the run-down town along California State Route 1 between Morro Bay and San Cambria. There is nothing special about it except beautiful beach with the amazing coastal views in both directions (south and north).

During my California coastal drives I always plan short stops at Cayucos, long enough for a quick launch at the town’s beach and for taking some seascape photographs.

I took featured photo from Cayucos Pier which provides incredible view of Morro Bay Rock. Unfortunately, the pier is in process of being rebuilt at this point and it will take couple of years until I can take another photograph from it.

Shooting and Processing

Since light was not extreme, I took only 3 bracketed shots on tripod (FEISOL Tournament CT-3442). Originally I was planning to use Photomatix processing but at the very last moment I changed my mind and used luminosity masks blending in Photoshop (for more details check my Review: “The Art of Digital Blending”).

Travel Photography Blog - California. Cayucos State Beach

California. California. Cayucos State Beach
Loc: 35.448682, -120.906360

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 5 Bracketed Shots (  -1; 0; +1 ) [Read more...]

Rainbow Over South Shore of U’ahu (Hawaii)

Sandy Beach is my favorite beach in Hawaii. This is where action happens and you can always be part of it. When I discovered it for myself, I had no idea that it was famous place. Only after I almost broke my back trying to catch the wave while bodysurfing, I googled it and found out that the beach has the nickname ”break-neck” beach. The bodysurfing on Sandy Beach causes more injuries per year than any other beach in Hawaii. It did not stopped me from surfing there but I became more careful and alert.

Travel Photography Blog - Hawaii. O'ahu Island. Sandy Beach

Hawaii. O’ahu Island. Sandy Beach
Loc: 21.282449, -157.676618

Shooting

The day I took featured photo I spend entire afternoon on the beach chilling and waiting for sunset hours. Suddenly the rainbow appeared from nowhere and only after it was fully visible, the rain started. It looked very unusual: bright blue skies, the sun, the rain and the rainbow.

I rushed to the Halona Hole observation point to be able to capture the rainbow over the Sandy Beach. It was challenging. The rain was quite strong and with the gusting wind I had to wipe my lens after every shot. I managed to take only couple of shots before rain started to pour and I had to retreat.

Processing

First, I merged 3 bracketed shots in Photomatix but I was not happy with the result. The sky and the rainbow did not look very good. Photomatix is not famous for rendering beautiful skies.

Then, I decided to blend 3 bracketed images using luminosity masks in Photoshop (for more details check my Review: “The Art of Digital Blending”). The result was much better. The sky, clouds and the rainbow looked great but the mountains the beach looked kind of lifeless.

This is when I blended 2 resulting images together, taking from HDR image I produced in Photomatix, part with the shore, the beach and the mountains.

 

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog - Hawaii. O'ahu Island
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Moonstone Beach Contrasting Colors (California)

I am going through my last year’s photos and they remind me how different and unique California looked last winter because of the record setting drought. The drought was disastrous for the state’s economy and it made landscapes look desert-like with some strong brown and orange hues.

I took this photo after completing Moonstone Beach Boardwalk hike in early evening and I was ready for the golden hour in Moonstone Park. I tried to capture incredible color contrast between blues of the sky and the ocean and golden hues of the shore.

Shooting and Processing

I took 5 bracketed shots on tripod, trying to capture as much information as possible from brightest areas of the sky as well from the darkest areas of the foreground.

I used standard processing technique in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop  (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix).

Travel Photography Blog - Montreal. Lachine Park

California. Moonstone Beach
Loc: 35.582447, -121.121525

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 5 Bracketed Shots ( -2, -1; 0; +1, +2) [Read more...]

Inspirations: PERU– 30 Best of Travel and Landscape Photographs

Today’s theme for inspiration is PERU. When I think about Peru the first thing that come to my mind is the beautiful, high mountains and today’s collection is dedicated to the mountains.

Peru is the fifth country that was featured in inspirational series. Previous countries are: IcelandNorwayIndonesia and Vietnam.

Below are the best of the best travel and landscape photographs featuring Peru.

 

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Koko Head Sunset Lights (Hawaii)

My last visit to Hawaii was very short for only 5 days and 4 nights. In order to fully take advantage of my short stay, I planned every sunrise and sunset of my stay well in advance.

My schedule on the island was simple: I woke up at 4am every morning and drove to the eastern or the southern shore of O’ahu to photograph the sunrise. The island is relatively small and, therefore, I could be at any part of the island within 30-40 minutes; no place was out of my reach.

In the middle of the day, I always rested on the beaches of O’ahu to ensure I was ready for my planned sunset hikes.

I took a featured photo from the Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail during my evening hike. The trail is remarkable for a couple of reasons. First, it has wide open views to both the southern and eastern shores of the island. Plus, it is the perfect location for photographing both sunsets and sunrises.

Travel Photography Blog - Hawaii. O'ahu Island. Koko Head

Hawaii. O’ahu Island. Koko Head
Loc: 21.304722, -157.651389

Shooting

This was the very last photo of my sunset session that day. It was getting dark quickly and I took series of three shots without using the bracketing functionality of the camera. Instead, I used exposure compensation, setting the value manually for each shot. With the aperture set to F4, I achieved the following shutter values: 30sec, 20sec and 13sec.

Processing

To produce the final image, I used 3 photos in total. 

First, I preprocessed 3 bracketed RAW images in Lightroom and then blended them together in Photoshop with the help of transparency masks (for more details check my Review: “The Art of Digital Blending”).

 

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog - Hawaii. O'ahu Island
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Sunny Afternoon in San Francisco (California)

As mentioned before, Hawk Hill is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco Bay area ( check What to See and Photograph in San Francisco If You Only Have 2 Hours). The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking, no matter what direction you look.

Over the years, I have visited this spot at least 10-12 times and, each time there has been something extreme about the weather. One time in late spring, after enjoying a warm morning in Berkeley with the temperature around +25ºC (77ºF), I decided to swing by Marin Headlands to take few pictures of San Francisco. You can imagine how surprised I was when, after the short 20 minute drive, I hardly could get out of the car because of the wind; the temperature had dropped to at least 15ºC (59ºF).

The afternoon I took the featured photo was completely different. Even thought it was the first week of February, it was very warm (+20ºC, 68ºF) with absolutely no wind. We ended up spending almost three hours there. First, we had a quiet picnic to enjoy the amazing view and, then, I spent the sunset hours taking photos, only leaving when it was completely dark.

Travel Photography Blog - California. San Francisco

California. San Francisco. Marin Headlands
Loc: 37.827778, -122.499444

Shooting + Processing

At the time of the shooting, the sun was completely blocked by clouds, keeping San Francisco in the shadow. Then, suddenly the sun started to blast through the small opening, illuminating downtown with warm light. This is when I dropped my sandwich and rushed to the highest point of the hill with my tripod and the camera.

Since the light was not too dynamic, I only shot 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1).

I used HDR Pro module of Photoshop (check my free guide “Natural Looking HDR Workflow“) to merge 3 bracketed shots to HDR.

 

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog - California. San Francisco
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Winter Sunset Reflections (Montreal)

This photo is from last winter. Here, in Montreal, we had an unusual beginning to 2014. For almost two weeks in January, temperatures fell below -10ºC without any snow or wind. As a result, we had an almost perfect ice surface on rivers and lakes, which created some unique opportunities for shooting winter landscapes.

Shooting and Processing

When I was planning this shot, it was a bit crowded around the marina, with the few fishermen and the group of kids skating. But, when it became darker, they disappeared, saving me time from having to erase them in Photoshop.

I took five bracketed shots on the tripod, trying to capture as much information as possible from the brightest areas of the sky as well from the shadows.

I used standard processing technique in Lightroom, Photomatix and Photoshop  (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix).

Travel Photography Blog - Montreal. Lachine Park

Montreal. Lachine Marina
Loc: 45.430786, -73.668935

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 4 Bracketed Shots ( -2, -1; 0; +1) [Read more...]

The McWay Bay at Sunset (California)

Before my last trip to Northern California in January, I visited McWay Falls in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on three separate occasions. Because my previous visits were part of much bigger trips, I could not choose the best time for visiting the falls. For all three visits, I was at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in early afternoon with less than favorable light for landscape photography. Here, you can see the only decent photo I took from this location prior to my latest visit.

This time was different. My flight from Hawaii to San Francisco was delayed; then, I got stuck in traffic on 101 around San Jose and, as a result, my entire schedule was shifted by a few hours. Finally, I was at McWay Bay at the right time, just before sunset.

When I setup my tripod and prepared to start shooting, a group of 10-12 photographers arrived, making it very crowded. Since there is no direct access to the beach and the only place you can set up your gear is on the narrow McWay Waterfall Trail along the mountain, we had to tackle each other for the best spots (just kidding).

I left half an hour before sunset so I had enough time to drive to the Big Sur Lightstation and photograph it during the golden hour.

Travel Photography Blog - Quebec. Montmorency Falls

California. Big Sur. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Loc: 36.15775, -121.67209

Shooting

From the beginning, I was planning to use a long exposure technique to achieve the effect of smooth and silky water. I set the lens (sony 10-18) to the smallest possible aperture (f22) but it was not dark enough outside; the longest shutter speed I could get was 1/13, which was not long enough to achieve the desired effect.

The only solution I could see was to use Neutral Density (ND) filter. With 10 stop Hitech ND filter I managed to achieve 6 seconds shutter speed exposure (image below).

Processing

To produced final image, I used 4 photos in total. 

First, I blended together 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) in Photoshop with the help of transparency masks (for more details check my Review: “The Art of Digital Blending”).

When I managed to create balanced image I placed 6 seconds exposure photo on the top layer in Photoshop and masked everything out except the water of the bay.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog - Quebec. Montmorency Falls
[Read more...]