Landscape

Percé Rock, Quebec, Canada

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Old photo, new software. Percé Rock (or Rocher Percé in French) is located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada. I drove there from Montreal back in 2003 armed with my first digital camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-S85.

I noticed a white halo in an earlier edit. When re-processing the JPEG in Luminar 3, I experienced the same issue when using the AI Sky Enhancer filter to boost contrast in the sky. Turns out, this is not a difficult problem to fix, and I was able to reproduce the fix in both Photoshop and Luminar 3.

In Photoshop, I created a new layer and used the Clone Stamp tool with Sample set to Current & Below. Next, I sampled the sky next to the edge with the white halo, and cloned out the white halo. Next, in the Layer tab, I set the blend mode to Darker Color. Since I’m cloning out the halo from the adjacent sky, there will be no impact on the sky. Since the sky is darker than the white halo, the white halo is cloned out. Finally, since the sky is lighter than the rock, it has no effect on the rock. Thus, I was able to clone out just the white halo with an adjacent color.

Sutro Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge

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While waiting for the Super Snow Moon to arrive, I was looking northward to see what was visible in that direction. On that clear afternoon, even Sutro Tower, a rail thin structure, was visible from Palo Alto.

What really surprised me was when I opened the photo at home. The Golden Gate Bridge is visible in the photo. It’s a bit easier to see the bridge in this enlargement, with the two towers, their characteristically red colors muted by the fading light, extending above the nearby hills.

Super Snow Moon

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I wanted to maximize the size of the Super Snow Moon by photographing it close to the horizon. I consulted both PhotoPills and The Photographer’s Ephemeris to plan these moon photos.

Today, moon rise was at 5:00 P.M. When I arrived at my location, I consulted PhotoPills again to confirm the direction of the moon rise. However, when 5:00 P.M. arrived, I couldn’t see the moon. I took my first moon photo at 5:15 P.M. At that time, the moon was really faint against the late afternoon sky. Sunset wouldn’t take place until 5:51 P.M.

Since this was my first attempt, I wasn’t sure which lenses to bring. The first photo was taken at 600mm, which is only useful during the first few minutes at moon rise. This second one is at 200 mm.

Not long after, I was down to 122 mm just to keep the moon and foreground in the same frame.

Levi’s Stadium

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The last time I posted a photo of Levi’s Stadium, the Blue Angels were performing a flyover for Super Bowl 50, which was almost exactly three years ago. However, that February was a bit different because California was mired in a drought .

Instead of lush green foothills capped with a dusting of snow, we only had green grass at the lower elevations. The hill tops just look absolutely dry.

Lick Observatory

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Last night, another storm passed through the Bay Area. By late afternoon, large clouds crossing the skies were casting their shadows below on Silicon Valley. I knew that Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton had seen a dusting of snow, so I started scanning the horizon for that landmark.

After an extensive study of all the snow-capped foothills, I finally found it. The challenge was that the low clouds had obscured the observatory at times. Even after I found it, I could see it appear and disappear from view depending on the changing conditions on the peak.

Urban Forest

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Urban Forest

During a recent hike to the Stanford Dish, I was amazed by the volume of trees stretching to the horizon. Usually, I see trees in isolation. However, this elevated view provided a different perspective. Maybe we’re living in an urban forest. We just don’t know it yet.

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connects the city of Richmond in Contra Costa County to the city of San Rafael in Marin County. The first time, I crossed the bridge, I was surprised to discover that San Quentin State Prison was located right on the shores of the San Francisco Bay. The prison is the set of buildings in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Monarch Butterflies

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Made a return trip to Natural Bridges State Beach, which is the winter home to migratory Monarch butterflies. When I was there six years ago, the boardwalk was quite crowded and the trees had clusters of Monarch butterflies.

This time around, I didn’t see as many people. There were opportunities to observe the Monarch butterflies, but most of them were flying about. I even spotted a pair that was focused on procreation.

Sonoma Coast State Park

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Sonoma Coast State Park

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
Sonoma Canopy Tours

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

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.

Morning in Cusco Peru

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I was very comfortable with my Lightroom, Photoshop, and Nik Collection workflow until High Sierra disrupted matters. I know the workaround, but I’m experimenting with Luminar just in case.

Cusco Peru