Monday, February 22, 2010

Lizard's Mouth

55-200mm lens at 88mm. 1/125 sec at f/6.3 and ISO 200.

Lizard's Mouth is a great spot on the ridge of the mountains overlooking Santa Barbara and Goleta. It's named after the distinctive rock that these three hikers are sitting on.

Oil rigs dot the horizon when you look out at the coast from town. From this high up, though, you can see some depth.

Lately, I've been feeling motivated to go through my older photos and give them a second chance. My editing skills have gotten better, and I have much better software to work with now. It's been fun going back and remembering the adventures, and there's something nice, too, about how looking at these photos reminds me of the types of things that I love to photograph.

With this photo, I wanted a rich sunset without darkening the ocean too much, so I used Lightroom's graduated filter tool at the horizon to darken the sky without darkening the ocean. Normally this would be trickier, since the rock juts above the horizon, but since it's already just a silhouette, it doesn't hurt to make it any darker!

The other big change here was in the white balance. If you're unfamiliar with color temperature and white balance, have a look at this great tutorial. Basically, different sources of light create different color casts. On a grey, overcast day, everything tends to have a bluish cast, while the light from the tungsten light bulbs in your home is much more orange. Your camera's auto white balance attempts to correct for this, but you can adjust it further if you don't think the camera go it right, or if you just want to warm up (or cool) your image.

In this photo, the camera's white balance made it pretty yellowy, so I brought the color temperature down to correct it.

One of the advantages of shooting in RAW instead of JPEG is that the RAW image does not have the white balance applied yet, so you can adjust it on your computer without losing any quality.

Finally, I applied a subtle vignette using the technique I learned from Highton Ridley, which I explained in this post. I usually use Lightroom to add a simple vignette, but I liked Highton's approach for this because it allowed me to apply the vignette to the sky without applying it much to the ocean in the lower right corner.