Santa Monica

Kelp

Kelp

Santa Monica beach.

While in Los Angeles, Anne and I took some time out to take a walk along the Venice boardwalk heading north up to Santa Monica. We took a diversion out on the sand and went down to the water and found some mounds of washed up kelp.

I’d forgotten how photogenic sea life like kelp can be. Edward and Brett Weston were certainly on to something.

While the Venice boardwalk with its colorful cast of characters is a street shooter’s dream, I prefer the un-pretentious kelp.

Post at the end of Wilshire Boulevard

Post at the end of Wilshire Boulevard

Originally posted at my old site on January 25, 2008.

Santa Monica, California. I’m shooting east up Wilshire catching a wooden post and rope railing with cars behind. There are four serious photographers to my left wondering why my back is to the Pacific Ocean with an incredible sunset happening and what I’m seeing in this wooden post.

When I left two of them came over to inspect the post.

Succulents

Succulents

Santa Monica. We took a walk along the palisades and these succulents, which I’ve shot before seemed enticing.

I really liked the way the bright sun highlights the edges of the fronds but I also liked the look of the mulch under the plants. I didn’t really see the mulch until I got home and looked at the image on my computer. That mulch would make a nice image by itself. Maybe next time, if I remember.

Pelicans, palisades, palm trees, and flare

Pelicans, palisades, palm trees, and flare

Santa Monica, California.

As we were walking on the Palisades I spotted a large group of birds flying north up the coast. As they got closer it became clear that they were pelicans. It’s tough enough to shoot groups of birds flying and then, when the only way to get them is through a group of palm trees getting a decent shot is near impossible. This was the only shot I had time to take and while far from perfect, I’m happy with it as a place marker for an amazing sight to see.

I attempted this kind of shot on an earlier visit to LA and this one I got yesterday may be a bit better.

2014 shot: Pelicans, palisades, palm trees, and flare.

Palm trunks

Palm trunk

Santa Monica, California.

We took a walk along the Santa Monica palisades and I noticed two palm trees with unusual rings on them. I took both RAW and high contrast JPEG images and these high contrast versions looked great to me. The grain added more texture to what was already interesting textured patterns.

Sitting in the sun with a nice ocean breeze was quite a contrast from driving to JFK yesterday morning after the snow storm. I had to blow a foot of snow off our driveway at 4:00 am. just to get the truck out.

Palm trunk

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica, California. We took a walk along the beach (on a paved path wheeling my mother) from Venice up to beyond the Santa Monica Pier. The beach is vast and relatively clean.

I have fond memories of early morning skim boarding sessions at low tide along here as well as beach volleyball games a bit further north on a set of four courts.

I never hung out on the pier and until this day, hadn’t ever walked on it that I can remember. Touristy but hey, that’s what I am now too.

Santa Monica Pier

Pelicans, palisades, palm trees, and flare

Pellicans, palisades, palm trees, and flare

Santa Monica, California. I’ve been busy so haven’t posted images from my last trip to Los Angeles and I have another coming up soon so… We took a nice walk along the palisades in Santa Monica and while attempting some more palm tree shots I spotted a large group of birds flying north up the coast. As they got closer it became clear that they were pelicans. At least ten more groups flew by, each one with a large number of pelicans and a few sea gulls. It was amazing and while it was tough to get a shot of them without the palm trees, I’m glad I got a few that show their impressive wings.

Pacific Palisades palms

Pacific Palisades Palms

Santa Monica, California. We took a walk along the pacific palisades and these spindly palms were crying out to be shot. It was tough actually because the sun was bright and in the wrong place. Decided to use a Ricoh GR produced high contrast JPEG instead of the RAW, it just worked better.

By the way, the people watching on this walk is most excellent. If I were a street shooter I’d have had some serious fun.

Succulent test

Succulent 1 (JPEG)

Succulent 1 (JPEG)

Succulent 1 (RAW)

Succulent 1 (RAW)

Santa Monica, California. We took a walk down the palisades park overlooking the Pacific Ocean which my mother thinks is totally boring but I love. We’ve done it many times but I’d never shot the large succulents on the side of the walkway. Edward Weston came to mind as I thought about what these might look like using the Ricoh GR’s high contrast black and white setting.

I have the GR set up to take both RAW and jpeg and have the JPEG set to this high contest grainy filter.

I got the images home, got them into lightroom (all of them, RAWs and JPEGs) and decided to do an experiment.

I cropped them all the same so there were three sets of two images, one RAW/color, one high contrast monochrome (I took more but only kept these).

Then I processed one of the RAWs as high contrast black and whites experimenting with Lightroom’s various presets and tweaking as needed. Then I copied and pasted the settings from that one onto each of the various RAWs, something I do regularly when I want settings across a set.

Then I compared the converted RAWs with the high contrast JPEGs processed in camera.

I like the RAWs better. They’re less stark and the grain is gone (although I can make it again if I want) but there’s a lot more detail/information and I was missing that in these stark high contrast JPEGs.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the high contrast setting and will keep it because it allows me to use it on the LCD to look for light and contrast, but when I want more detail I’ll use the RAW files and process them in Lightroom. No doubt at times I’ll want the look of the JPEG and will use it. It’s nice to have options.

In this series, in case you can’t see it, the high contrast JPEG processed in the Ricoh GR comes first, the same image in RAW processed by me in Lightroom second.

Succulent 2 (JPEG)

Succulent 2 (JPEG)

Succulent 2 (RAW)

Succulent 2 (RAW)

Succulent 3 (JPEG)

Succulent 3 (JPEG)

Succulent 3 (RAW)

Succulent 3 (RAW)