Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The coast guard has a small lighthouse on the cliffs on the mesa. I think it's more like a small rotating spotlight than a lighthouse, but I don't know what else you'd call it. It sits on a piece of property owned by the coast guard which includes about eight homes occupied by coast gaurd members, half of which have unobstructed views of the ocean. Not a bad deal!

This was a couple hours after sunset with a mostly full moon shining behind me. It's a three minute exposure, and the lighthouse light was rotating, so that's why the starburst is a little funky.

This was shot from Thousand Steps, and was one of my first outings with our new EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. I'm very pleased with how sharp it turned out!

The original, unedited image.


  1. What a gorgeous photo Chris! And it's sooo clear! You have quite the eye :)

  2. wow! how long was the exposure? theres star trail too .. stunning photograph

  3. Thanks guys!

    It was about 3 minutes, the camera counted it as 185 seconds.

  4. Very cool! Can you explain your editing steps? Did you do it in Lightroom?

  5. Kati - I did do the editing in Lightroom. We have a newborn at home so I'm not doing as much photography at the moment, so it would probably be a while before I had a chance to sit and look at exactly what I did. Here are some tips for a night time shot like this:
    1. Use a very cold color temperature in order to make the sky blue. This works best if you shoot in RAW so that the white balance processing hasn't been applied yet.
    2. Push the saturation high to make the colors nice and rich. Keep pushing till you've totally overdone it, then pull back from there.
    3. In lightroom, I use a graduated filter for almost all of my seascapes to lighten the foreground. I usually use a pretty thin gradient sitting right at the horizon, and make the foreground lighter by a stop or two.
    4. Add vignetting. I usually do this in Lightroom, but sometimes I'll do it in Photoshop to have more control. The vignetting brings the attention in toward the center, and also has a cool darkening effect on the edges of the sky.

    Hopefully that helps! If you try something similar, post a link to your work!

  6. Thanks Chris! I just love Lightroom and this photo is beautiful! Oh and CONGRATS on your new little man! I follow Jess's blog too and I love seeing the pictures on there. We have 2 boys as well and it is a wonderful ride :). I don't normally do landscape work, but I am a photographer. You can check out my website...www.beanandsproutphotography.com. Enjoy!