The Point Sur Lightstation is one of the most beautiful spots in Coastal California and I have enjoyed the opportunity to photograph it on many occasions. One of my favorite photographs in my portfolio was taken from the exact same spot, exactly one year prior to the day I took the featured photo (Point Sur Lightstation at Sunset).
After driving along the California State Route 1 four different times, I never had an opportunity to photograph McWay Falls, one of the iconic spots in the Big Sur, in a favorable light. That day in February, my plan was to stay at McWay Bay until sunset and then drive directly to my hotel in Monterey. Finally, I was lucky. The evening light was amazing even before the sunset and, after I took plenty of interesting photos (The McWay Bay at Sunset) I realized that I still had time to hit another spot during the golden hour.
I jumped into the car and drove like a man possessed for 30km to the Point Sur Lightstation. I was there just in time to take this photo.
Shooting + Processing
If you follow my blog you probably know that a few months ago I switched from the Canon DSLR to the Sony Mirrorless (you can find details here: Top Reason Why I Switched from Canon to Sony). Now, I am starting to see the unexpected consequences of the switch and how it is changing the way I process my photos.
When I switched from the Canon 60D to the Sony A6000, I did not pay much attention to the fact that I was getting a much bigger sensor (24Mp) since I was very content with Canon’s 16Mp. What I am starting to see now is that the new generation 24Mp sensor, in combination with high quality lenses from Sony and Zeiss, resolves an insane amount of details, produces images with wider dynamic range and collects much more information from the scene.
I have found that in many situations I do not have to use HDR processing anymore. I can use a single RAW in Lightroom and achieve the same result.
This is exactly what happened with the featured photo. I took three bracketed shots with the plan to merge them to HDR in Photoshop HDR Pro but, after analyzing the RAW files, I realized that I could easily bypass HDR processing without sacrificing any quality.
I used Lightroom Rapid Editing to process this image. I applied the Gentle Wave Preset from Cross Processed Collection and after I fine tuned it using TOOLKIT adjustments. I applied a few final touches and noise reduction in Photoshop.
Check the Before & After widget below of the featured image to see how many details I managed to retrieve from underexposed areas of the original image.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Processing: Single RAW file processing in Lightroom
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky and water).
- Topaz Clarity was used to enhance details and boost colors.