California Poppy


Sometimes I wonder why I keep going out to photograph poppies. I have so many gorgeous ones in my files already. But this one is gorgeous too so I guess you can’t have too many. I used the 180 mm Macro lens on the Canon 7D Mark II for this one. It was so windy last weekend I hardly had a chance to get it out. But there was a little bit of calm in the morning and I’m glad I took advantage of it.

Post processing was minimal. Just adjusted the exposure a little, denoised a little, and sharpened a little.



I went to California looking for wildflowers, which I found, but it was so windy it was hard to get any closeups and it was cloudy so the landscapes were dull. I finally retreated to the wildlife refuge where I found birds aplenty including a pair of American Avocets. Sadly I did not realize until I got home that my depth of field was too shallow to get them both in focus at the same time. So I settled on this individual portrait.


Shorebird2Well, this week I spent most of my time working on a slide show to use as a demonstration in a PowerPoint class I am going to be teaching. I was using my California trip as an example so I chose this photo from the group for the image of the week. It’s bordering on the abstract f you don’t know what you are looking at. It is the shadow of a pier on the beach with waves coming in and a shorebird looking for something to eat.


Most of my photographic efforts this week have been directed at editing and processing images from the CPieralifornia trip. It seems that every beach town in the state has it’s own pier. This one is in Cayucos just north of Morro Bay on Hwy 1. One thing about travel photography is that sometimes you are there when you’re there and the light sucks as in this case. I decided to try to make lemonade though and went for a serious grunge look using Topaz texture effects (they really should be paying me for all the times I mention them but they are not). Then I added a grungy border just to finish it off. I like it.

Elephant Seal


Touring California’s central coast brought us to an elephant seal rookery yesterday. There were many great pictures but this one won for cuteness and the soulful look on the face of this young male seal who is perhaps dreaming of the day when he will be beach master and have a chance to mate.

Post processing was about as usual, a little detail, a little saturation and a little darkening of the corners.



So, on my mission to find my 2nd Great-grandfather’s grave in Lower Lake, CA last week I suddenly realized I was only 30 miles from the Napa Valley. While I should have planned better to spend a whole day photographing there I couldn’t resist the temptation to at least poke my nose into the north end of the Valley. Most of the grapes had been harvested, of course, but there were a few clusters left for show near one of the winery parking lots. Backlighting from the sun gave some of the grapes a stained glass look.

I actually had to do a lot of work in post processing because of the backlighting and some very distracting spectral highlights. A combination of cropping, content-aware fill, and clone stamping got me to this point.  I also did my usual tricks in Color Efex Pro; detail, saturation, and brightening the center while darkening the edges.