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Winter Sunset, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, Big Sur

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 27 January 2011 in Landscape & Rural.


Northern Arizona Photo Workshop - Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Sedona - March 16-20, 2011
(Workshop Sold Out)
Spring Big Sur Workshop - 4th Annual Wildflowers and Color - April 17-20, 2011 (5 spots remaining)
Springtime in Lake Tahoe and the Mokelumne Wilderness Photo Workshop - May 14-17, 2011 (space available)
Northern California - 3rd Annual Redwoods and Mendocino Photo Workshop - May 23-26, 2011 (space available)
Second Annual Garden Isle and Tropical Paradise - Kauai Photo Workshop - July 8-12, 2011 (only 5 spots remaining)
Summer Big Sur - 3rd Annual Mystical Fog and Colorful Headlands Photo Workshop - August 23-26, 2011 (space available)
Full Moon Over Red Rock, Arches, and Canyons - 3rd Annual Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop - October 9-13, 2011 (only 4 spots remaining).
New Articles on my Website: Review of Kinesis Filter Bag for Landscape Photographers
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My preferred filters: Singh-Ray Filters

Books Available for Purchase on my Website:
Refined Vision: 50 Lessons Designed to Improve Your Digital Landscape Photography (e-book and printed versions - 160 pages)
The Photographer's Guide to the Big Sur Coast (e-book version - 102 pages)
On the Edge (printed version - softcover and hardcover - 120 pages)

In this day and age of High Dynamic Range software options, it is still nice to capture an image in-camera, one frame, similar to the film days. I am not saying that I don't use the latest HDR software, but I pick my places. When I am at a location that involves any movement in the scene such as this beautiful surf at Big Sur's Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, I am extra careful not to disturb that movement by turning control over to a software program. Part of the fun of shooting around the coast is timing the waves.

I captured this image in my recently completed Winter Big Sur workshop as I took my group to this iconic location for a sunset shoot. Perhaps the most vibrant sunrise/sunset skies in Big Sur are captured during the winter months as the lower temperatures tend to eliminate the persistent fog. Part of what I love about McWay Cove is its vibrant turquoise water, which provides a beautiful cool color contrast to the warm skies.

This evening was unusually calm so I decided to include some of the foreground foliage with not concerns of movement. To balance the bright sky, I stacked a Singh-Ray 3-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter along with a 2-soft soft-edge GND and carefully held the angle off just over the trees in the top left of the frame to allow for some detail. I brought out a bit more detail and contrast with the help of Nik's Viveza 2 software. Pretty simple!

I am seeing more and more photographers going back to their GND filters and for good reasons. There is a plethora of software on the market to assist in combining multiple bracketed images but it is time-consuming. Getting it captured in one frame makes post processing a breeze!

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 5/2 seconds F/16.0 ISO 100 16 mm

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