Before and After — Green Wave

The Before and After 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 lone surfer rides a wave at Steamer Lane.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM + 1.4x Extender (420mm total)

Composition and Processing

  • This probably would have been a nice shot a little closer, framing the surfer against the backlit wave, but 420mm was the extent of my reach.  Instead I went for the larger context of the relationship between the surfer and the wave as a whole, particularly the sense of scale.
  • To exaggerate the uniformity of the wave and lighting, I cropped this as a pano, leaving very little beyond the surfer to break or distract from the even surface.

Original:


April 26 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Surfer At Steamer Lane

The Before and After 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 surfer rides a wave at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Composition and Processing

  • I cropped this shot pretty tight for a couple reasons.  First, by moving the subject to the upper right corner of the frame, I gave them more room to move into the scene.  While there’s technically the same amount of space in the original for them to move into, it’s watered down (ahem) by the extra room behind them.  The eye isn’t going to travel backwards in the shot, so best to remove the distraction.
  • Second, it increases the perceived size of the wave, making it a little more dramatic.  Cropping out part of the bottom, where the ocean is flatter, helps as well.
  • Third, it’s simply more personal as a shot:  the subject takes up a larger portion of the frame.
  • I also colored the water by tweaking the HSL sliders and putting down a couple blue gradients in Lightroom.  You’ll never see water this color in Santa Cruz.  I wanted something more vibrant to go with the action, and the normally dull green water wasn’t cutting it.

Original:


February 09 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Wall of Water

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.

One very big wave for one very small boogie boarder.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM + Canon 1.4x Extender (effective 420mm)

Composition and Processing

  • Even from the cliffs at Lighthouse Point, I had no way of shooting any tighter than this with my gear (other than the 2x extender, which is a touch sluggish with autofocus for this subject).  With 21mp I had some room to crop though, and brough it in tight to emphasize the height of the wave.  By not seeing past the top, and removing some of the foreground water, there are fewer reference points for scale.  The wall of water simply dwarfs the boarder and you lose sight of the fact he’s probably well in front of it at this point (and not about to be pummelled).  The compression of shooting at 420mm furthers that illusion.
  • One neat thing about surfing shots that emphasize the relationship of the rider to wave size is the way the path of the board tracks up into the lip of the wave.  This boogie boarder didn’t start there, or at least, not while the wave was breaking.  But it looks like he came hurtling down the now vertical surface.   Don’t get me wrong:  the guy in this photo is flying (literally;  he’s actually airborne in the shot).  But it wasn’t nearly so dramatic as it looks.

Original:

February 18 2009 | Photography | No Comments »