“Why are you shooting JPGs?” That would be the question I would pose to my younger self. If I had RAW copies of photos from half a decade ago, I could revisit some earlier adventures and see if I could improve the processing. I can still make some minor adjustments with JPGs, but RAW provides a greater latitude in the degree of modifications I can make.
I was in Sonoma County to zipline at Sonoma Canopy Tours and decided to extend the trip with an excursion to Fort Ross, the Russian settlement along the California coast.
First, Sonoma Canopy Tours allows guests to bring a camera, including a DSLR. Make sure you have a secure camera strap with sufficient reach since your camera will be strapped to the harness at chest level. I was using a 24-70 mm lens, though a 28-300 mm would have given me more options for the longer runs. The big challenge is the lighting. Even early in the morning, the light was quite harsh with most photos featuring a mix of shadows and strong day light.
Sonoma Canopy Tours is located in Occidental, California. If you are heading their way, you might want to download your maps in advance for offline use. From Sonoma Canopy Tours to Fort Ross, I had one bar at best, with most of the journey spent with no data connection. No maps. No Yelp. It felt like time travel because I had to ask for directions and dining recommendations.
Fort Ross was an interesting detour. It was perfect for a side trip. The visitor center offered an exhibit on the history of Fort Ross, and a short walk led to the enclosed grounds of the settlement. There are a few sparsely furnished buildings that could hold your attention for an hour or so.
The real treat was the Sonoma County coastline. The first photo was taken at Duncan’s Cove at the Sonoma Coast State Park. The coast was magnificent that afternoon with blue skies, clear aquamarine waters, and strong surf crashing against the sea rocks.
When I travel, I usually hit the ground running. However, the altitude of Tibet really tested me. The highlight of Tibet was the Potala Palace, which dominates the Lhasa skyline. It felt so close yet distant at the same time. Although the Potala Palace was just a few blocks away from the hotel, I didn’t venture there on my own until I was more acclimated. I didn’t want to head there for the morning sunrise only to realize I couldn’t make it back to the hotel on my own in time for the tour.
The road there was relatively level, and I didn’t have any issues getting to the palace. There were a few elevated crosswalks for reaching the other side of the street, and those were the most challenging. Actually, climbing any stairs, even a single flight, proved an exhausting experience. This view of the Potala Palace was taken from the park across the street.
I was browsing through my photo collection when I found two from Paris. In one, a 0.6 second exposure captured the beam from the illuminated Eiffel Tower. The second was a 25 second exposure for the light trails from the nearby cars.
Fortunately, both were taken on a tripod from the same location. It was only in later in reflection that I realized that I could blend the best of both into one photo.
Tonight was the Mid-Autumn Festival. I grabbed the older, but higher resolution D800, but regretted it immediately. When mounting a DSLR to a telescope, having a tilting screen makes all the difference in terms of comfort. Crouching down to view the screen is no fun.
The other hiccup of the night was discovering that once again, Nik Collection no longer works in Photoshop. This time, it was the High Sierra MacOS 10.13 upgrade that killed it. I’m testing out Luminar right now.