Week 2: Landscape

January 15, 2016 – Man did I struggle with Week 2’s Landscape assignment! This should have been a simple one:


 Week 2: Landscape/Traditional

Shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world. Find a nice foreground and don’t forget the sky.

Nature, however, did not cooperate with my plan. My goal for landscape was to improve the sky/ground balance using exposure bracketing and merging in Photoshop, a tool I have not used before (although I’d still prefer using polarizing or ND filters) .

Figures the entire week we had flat gray skies. No drama whatsoever. Argh. Okay, fine. I’d shoot at sunset! Nope. Thwarted again since I worked past sunset every day.

Even our picturesque Joshua Tree was bleak last weekend, and not in a cool dramatic way.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed and hiked a nearby hill to grab the sunrise, using the bracketing and exposure merge, and you know what? I don’t like the way the merge looks. Too processed for my tastes. I’d rather do minimal editing.


Here are the two exposures used to make the shot:

Exposed for the sky…IMG_0124

Exposed for the rock…IMG_0126

Yet another image for the dumper. The story of my week. I took a ton of pictures. A TON. Of many different subjects. But none struck me.


1. MARIPOSA TRAIL. I did bracket and merge here, but I wasn’t wowed by this image.


2. PRICKLY SNOW. I had this vision one morning before work, so hiked the steep hills by the house to get this image, then rushed back down to get to work on time. In my haste I failed to notice the cactus weren’t quite sharp.
Cactus and Snow

3. GREY LA. Fine. I’ll embrace the gray. During a lunch break near Culver City, I went to this hilltop park and shot downtown LA. Nope. Not working.


4. HILL MAN. As I turned to leave I saw this lone man standing on a hill. The starkness spoke to me. Still… There was no challenge in this image.


5. TREES – These trees were extraordinary, my shot, not so much.


And this is only a fraction of what I shot.

FINALLY on Friday–my self imposed deadline–nature cooperated. We parked near the Long Beach Harbor to edit our news story, and wow. The clouds were amazing, the bridge colors stellar. For my official shot, I went back and forth between the sunset…

Rainbow Harbor Sunset

…and the long exposure night shot.

Night Harbor

I love the drama of the clouds in the night shot, but I don’t like the angle of the bridge.


We were all set to leave when I jumped out to grab the dark shot, so I didn’t walk all the way over and I lost the z-axis. Lazy!!! Had I done so, I would have had a truly stellar shot.

SO… going to go with the better framing, and choosing the sunset shot.

By the way, there is NO EDITING on either, simply nature at her best. (Check out my harbor helpers… aren’t they cute??)

Harbor Helpers

Until next week’s Artistic Red…

Later gators!



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