Daily Photo – Santa Cruz Mountains

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

A couple years ago my dad built a small art studio for Susan, his wife, on the end of the same ridge his house sites on. The structure itself isn’t more than about 6′ x 10′, but there’s plenty of natural light to work by.  This deck sits on the north west facing (the sun normally goes down more or less where the chair is facing).

  • Shutter:  1/30 to 2 seconds (7 images)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

Black and white version:

One of the original shots:

Composition and Processing

  • Unlike the previous shot, I prefer the color version this time.  The stained wood is very complementary to the greens in the scene, but the color difference really helps separate and lift the deck from the trees and mountains beyond.  It’s also far more dominant in the image than in the shot of the house (which has the same wood tones).
  • I tried shooting this from lower on the deck, but the view tends to collapse as the trees block too much of the distant ridge.  Of course, I could have shot even higher, but that would have reduced the intimacy of the empty chair on the deck (and changed the lines entirely).
  • This is about 1/8 of the view from my dad’s house– the furthest ridge line actually wraps around about 180 degrees, and there are some cliffs to the right.  In fact, the only place the view is impeded is by a small hill directly behind the main house, to the south-east.  I chose this section of it because of the position of the late afternoon sun, and the way the fog was rolling in over the various ridges in the distance (on a couple rare occasions growing up I have seen this entire view socked in with fog up to about 50 feet below where this deck now stands, with nothing but blue sky above).

January 31 2009 08:43 pm | Photography

2 Responses to “Daily Photo – Santa Cruz Mountains”

  1. Vanessa Martindale on 27 Apr 2009 at 11:48 am #

    absolutely stunning photo. can I use this photo in our in house high school newsletter?

  2. KG on 27 Apr 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Vanessa: most likely ok, but shoot me an email with the details (blog -at- kevingliner.com). Thanks.

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