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Spring Lupine at McWay Falls

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 25 March 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

I never tire of Big Sur's McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. In my recently concluded Big Sur Workshop, we spent the first evening photographing this magnificent cove. Most of the students spotted this cone lupine bush and tired to use it as a foreground element. The problem was, we were on a wooden walkway that is cut into the hillside. Upright posts blocked access to the lupine bush and turned us all into contortionists as we twisted and turned to move our cameras and bodies into position.

Not being able to put my eye to my camera's eyepiece, I decided to use Live View and the zoom feature to compose my image. Once I had my basic composition, I zoomed in on the foreground to make sure it was razor sharp. I was at f/16 and with a very wide angle 16mm-35mm zoom, was confident that the focus would hold all the way to the falls.

Once I made my global corrections in Adobe Camera Raw, I opened the image into Photoshop CS4 and used Nik Viveza software to bring out the color and balance the exposure. And yes, the color of the water in the cove is really turquoise due to the absence of kelp. To learn more about this awesome software, please visit their website at

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 3/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 100 26 mm

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