This photo was an unplanned and unexpected accident. It was late afternoon at the end of a Big Sur coastal drive along the California Route 1, and I was in a hurry to get to Point Lobos before the sunset.
Initially, I had stopped at Rocky Bridge and snapped few shots, but I did not see any amazing landscape photography opportunities. At that point the fog had not yet descended and the sky and the light were just ordinary, with nothing to be excited about.
After a brief stop at Rocky Bridge I drove directly to Point Lobos, and 40 minutes later while walking around Point Lobos I looked toward the south and this is what I saw. The fog had changed everything completely. It had even diffused some of the sunlight, making it softer.
I rushed to my car and drove above the speed limit back to the bridge, in order to take this shot before the fluffy fog was transformed into heavy, dark clouds, canceling sunset and my travel photography aspirations.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Sigma 17-70mm
Focal Length: 53mm
Bracketing: 5 shots ( -2, -1, 0, +1, +2)
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
Processing: HDR Processed in Photomatix
Lightroom: import, tagging, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used only 4 exposures out of 5 I originally took (-2, -1, 0, +1 ) Since the light was not very dynamic, 4 images were enough to tone map image, 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom (Tutorial: Complete HDR Workflow).
Lightroom: color correction, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, straightening, contrast.
– Topaz Detail was used to enhance details in following elements: grass, cliffs, mountains.
– Topaz DeNoise since I processed image heavily in Photomatix and Lightroom, I had to apply very aggressive settings to reduce the noise in sky, fog and water areas. I had to use some masking with the brush in Photoshop making sure mountain and cliffs stay sharp.