Honolulu Sunset Colors (Hawaii)

It was quite a rollercoaster day when I visited O’ahu (Hawaii) at the beginning of February.

In the morning, it was hot and humid in Honolulu but when I crossed the mountains and reached the eastern coast of O’ahu in early afternoon, it was pretty gloomy there with the low dark clouds and heavy tropical rain.

After driving and exploring the island for the remaining of the day, I went to Mountain Top Drive to photograph Honolulu at sunset hours.

First of all when I reached the top of the mountain, I had hard time opening the car door because of the strong and gusty wind. Also, it was freezing cold out there, by Hawaiian standards of course, and I had to put on every piece of the clothing I had in my car.

Shooting and Processing

The main challenge while shooting was to keep my tripod from flying away with the wind. I had to apply pressure with my body weight to keep it steady.

I shot 3 bracketed photos (-1, 0, +1) as I normally do, but I only used a single RAW image to process this photo. The main processing was done in Lightroom. I used the 2 Graduated Filters to darken the sky and emphasize sunset color in the top right.

For the processing, I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using Natural present from my Landscapes Collection (you can always download free presets here).

Hawaii. O’ahu Island. Honolulu. Round Top Drive
Loc: 21.310518, -157.823919

Deconstructing Featured Photo

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Day 1. American Southwest Trip

Packing Fast and Light

My latest trip to the Southwest was a bit unusual. Normally, it takes me 2 weeks to plan such a long and complex voyage but this year I had only 8 hours.

My original intention was to leave for Nevada at the very end of May but due to some changes in my personal life I had to leave as soon as possible or postpone the trip until September.

Friday afternoon I booked a direct flight to Las Vegas for the following morning and spent the entire nights booking hotels and planning my route.

My favorite part of the preparation for the long trips is testing and packing my photo gear. First, I place every piece of the equipment on the floor, making sure I have everything in place and then I start packing.

Below is the photo of my photo gear is ready to be packed.

Camera: Sony a6000
Lens: Sony 10-18mm
Lens: Sony 16-70mm
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
L Plate Bracket: Docooler® Universal MPU100 Quick Release
HD Filter: Hitech 10 Stops
Camera Bag: Manfrotto Unica I Messenger Bag
Remote Trigger: FotoTech IR Wireless Shutter Release
Memory Cards (3):  SanDisk Ultra 32GB

Batteries and Charger: NP-FW50 Kit For Sony Alpha
USB Charger: Poweradd™ 50W Charger
Laptop: Asus ASUS Vivobook 13-inch
Portable Cell Phone and Tablet Charger: Royal Power Burst 10000
External Hard Drive: WD My Passport 1TB
Tablet: Nexus 7
Mouse: Logitech Wireless Mini Mouse

I got “Rouged” Again by Air Canada

Rouge is Air Canada “discount” airline. It is probably the most hated carrier in Canada, famous for cramped seats, old planes and poor service. I try to avoid Air Canada Roge ant any cost but sometimes you just do not have another alternative.

My last year photography trip was ruined by Rouge. My original plan for 2014 trip was to land in Phoenix at 12 PM local time and drive to Sedona first with the goal to be at Grand Canyon couple hours before the sunset. Instead, I wasted 9 hours in Toronto waiting for the replacement plane and spent the night driving from Phoenix to Grand Canyon, missing Sedona, sunset and sunrise at Grand Canyon.

This year Rouge experience was less damaging but still it sidetracked my trip again.

This time Rouge flight was late by 4.5 hours. This probably is not a big deal if you go to Las Vegas to party but when your hotel is 4 hours away from the airport it makes a huge difference.

Long story short, instead of spending evening in the Valley of Fire photographing beautiful red rocks, I had to drive directly to my hotel in Kanab.

The only photos I have from my first day of the trip are the ones I took from the plane flying over the mountains and the canyons.

 

 

 

 

Intro. American Southwest Photography Trip

I just returned from my latest photography trip. This time I went to one of my favorite destinations, the American Southwest.

It was driving trip and I broke my personal record for distance covered in a single trip, I drove for 4500 km (2700 miles) in 10 days.

My trip started in Las Vegas where I rented a car and I drove north to the city of Kanab in Utah where I spent 5 days photographing some of the most amazing destinations in Arizona and Utah. Then, I crossed Nevada desert and drove to California’s coast, on my way visiting Death Valley, Eastern Sierra, and Lake Tahoe. My trip concluded in San Francisco Bay area where I spend few day exploring the city and swinging by Big Sur.

My initial intention was to write a short blog post with at least one photo at the end of the each day of my trip to give readers of y blog the highlights of my travels. Very soon, I realized that my plan was not sustainable.

Every day of the trip, I woke up around 4am to be able to capture morning light and on average I drove around 400km and 500km during the day, staying outside until sunset hours. By the time I was in my hotel, I was dead tired and I still had to backup new photos, charge camera batteries and plan my next day. I had absolutely no strength or time for blog updates.

I decided to share the experiences of my trip retrospectively. For the next 2 weeks, I will be featuring my Southwest adventures chronologically, day by day.

Lake Powell Wahweap Marina (Arizona)

Arizona. Page. Lake Powell
Loc: 36.956793, -111.488646

Shooting

It was almost perfect shooting conditions on the day I took the featured photo. It was early evening and the light was already soft, but the thick white clouds made it even softer, acting as a huge natural diffuser. I took 3 bracketed shots (-1, 0, +1) on a tripod.

Processing

The soft diffused light made processing of this photo easy and straightforward. I did not have to use HDR workflow because the light was not too dynamic and the single RAW processing was sufficient to recover the highlights and the shadows.

I used Lightroom Preset based workflow. I applied Natuarl preset from my Landscape Preset Collection and adjusted Exposure using ToolKit adjustments.

In the final step, I did some cleaning and color correction in Photoshop.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

 

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Adobe Lightroom 6 Review – New Features

Sometimes it feels like the good folks at Adobe can read my thoughts and feel my pain. Every time I start to experience difficulties with my photo processing workflow they tend to solve it in the next version of Lightroom.

Actually, my first encounter with Lightroom began in a similar way. It happened the year I started to take photography more seriously and I was shooting more and more. Over a period of 12 months I accumulated thousands of new images. On some occasions, I felt as if I was drowning in digital images. Photoshop was my main editing tool at the time and 100% of my processing was done there. But Photoshop was not designed to manage high volumes of photos.

[Read more…]

Flying Over Lachine Lighthouse (Montreal)

I was lucky with this shot. It was not my intention to place the flying plane into my composition, I had no idea It was there. That afternoon I was more concentrating on testing brand new lens (Canon 70-200mm) and did not pay much attention to my surroundings. But when I started to process the featured photo in Lightroom I noticed a lucky accident. It does not happen very often but sometimes it does.

Montreal. Lachine
Loc: 45.430394, -73.690344

Shooting

I was shooting on a tripod entire afternoon, experimenting with the various focal lengths starting from 70mm and all the way to 200mm. I used a focal length of 118mm for this shot and since I had Canon 60D with cropped sensor, the actual value was about 177mm.

Processing

Even though I took 3 bracketed shots I knew that I only needed one because the setting sun was completely covered by clouds and the scene sdid not have dynamic highlights.

I used Lightroom Preset based workflow. I applied Electric preset from my Landscape Preset Collection and adjusted Exposure using ToolKit adjustments.

In the final step, I did some cleaning and color correction in Photoshop.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

 

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Golden City (San Francisco)

It was perfect afternoon in San Francisco in the beginning of February. It was very warm and what was even more surprising, there were no wind at all. The air was clear and the blue sky was covered with bright clouds.

And, just before the sunset, during the golden hour, the already amazing scene became illuminated by warm sunset light. It was just perfect.

Shooting and Processing

When I saw the cargo ship entering the San Francisco Bay I knew that it was my chance to enhance the composition of my photographs. I waited until the ship approached the Golden Gate Bridge and took multiple photos with the various focal lengths.

Travel Photography Blog - California. San Francisco

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

When I started the process of editing I realized that I did not have shot I really liked. The Photo 1 was my favorite but the cargo ship was too far from the bridge and it was impossible to create vertical crop. [Read more…]

Rio De Ca’Tron in Venice (Italy)

Editing an old photo with the new tools and techniques

This is one of my older photos, the one I took 4 years ago while traveling in Italy. I tried to process it before on the couple of occasions, but I never was happy with the final results. Years later, I decided to give it another try using my new and improved processing techniques.

Italy. Venice
Loc: 45.440278, 12.328056

Shooting

It was a middle of September, and Venice was packed with the tourists. Because I did not see any opportunities to use my tripod I left it in the hotel. The entire day I was shooting hand-held, taking 3 bracketed exposures for each composition.

Processing

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

When new HDR image was saved to Lightroom catalog, I applied Tropical Morning presets from my Landscape Preset Collection and adjusted Exposure using ToolKit adjustments. [Read more…]

Photography Tips (#08): How to Weather Seal Your Camera For Under 1 Dollar

For years, I’ve been dreaming about having a weather sealed camera. But, every time I began the process of selecting a new camera, weather sealing became a much lower priority on my list compared to the quality of the sensor, other essential features and, of course, the price.

Another factor among these that also played a large role is the fact that weather sealing is not something that is needed on a daily basis.At the same time, I always regretted not having weather sealing when I was hiking in some beautiful location and was not able to capture it because of rain.

At the same time, I always regretted not having weather sealing when I was hiking in some beautiful location and was not able to capture it because of rain.

[Read more…]

Sunrise Over South Shore of O’ahu (Hawaii)

I took the featured photo from Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail on the O’ahu island of Hawaii. The trail is probably the most rewarding location in regards to photography.

When you begin the trail, this is the panorama you get to see firsthand: the south shore of the island with breathtaking views of Koko Head Mountain and the famous Sandy Beach where I almost broke my back while learning to bodysurf.

After the trail takes a left turn, all you see is the open ocean with the silhouette of the neighboring Moloka’i Island on the horizon and the large number of migrating whales between the two islands.

And, when you reach the top of the trail, you are exposed to the amazing views of the eastern shore of O’ahu with Waimanalo Beach underneath and Kailua and Olomana peak in the distance.

Shooting and Processing

I only used a single RAW image to process this photo. 90% of the processing was done in Lightroom. I used the Graduated Filter to emphasize the sunrise colors in the sky.

For the processing, I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using Shark Cove present from my Landscapes Collection (you can always download free presets here).

Hawaii. O’ahu Island. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
Loc: 21.304722, -157.651389

 

Deconstructing Featured Photo

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Pelican Point at Point Lobos (California)

Another photo from Point Lobos State Reserve in California which is located a short distance from Monterey and Carmel. The day I took the featured photo I spent the afternoon exploring the southern part of the park. I was shooting from Pelican Point with a partial view of the beautiful Gibson Beach on the left side and with the mountains of the Big Sur in the background.

Shooting and Processing

Once again, I took 3 bracketed shots with the intention to merge multiple shots to HDR later in Photoshop but, I only needed a single RAW file to achieve the final result.

For the processing, I used a Lightroom preset based workflow, using Harsh Shadows present from my Landscapes Collection (you can always download free presets here).

California. Big Sur. Point Lobos
Loc: 36.523464, -121.952609

 

Deconstructing Featured Photo

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