Once I arrived at Muir Woods I quickly realized there would need to be some serious HDR type exposures made in order to capture the deep shadows and bright highlights of the sky and wet leaves.
I fixed the camera to a tripod and set off to bracket several scenes with seven exposures ranging from +2 over to -3 under (approx). This type of range worked for the scene to capture what I needed to represent the forest. Of course many feel this is not enough and some may say way too many. That's not really the point for me - I got a fun image and it was a nice experience. The real artistry comes in how you manipulate the HDR blended bracket to set the realism to the level you like. The first image has a soft real look and the one below has a harder feel to me.
An example of the vast exposure difference needed in this scene is shown by the jpegs below.
I feel none of the jpegs quite get the full feel of the image like the blended frame does.
As I walked around the park the light was soft and muted most of the time - but the white clouds above made it tough to shoot upwards and show the true majestic feel of the great trees.
I thought this root sure had a prehistoric bird look to me.
After the woods it was time to take off up US 1 and check out some other scenery. Unfortunately there was an abundance of fog and my shots of the ocean cliffs just don't quite have the look I wanted since the ocean is right out there.There was a quick stop by at Drake's Bay to see the oyster farm.
On the edge of the beach it was a quick change of focus point to influence the scene.
Some buzzards were working on a seal (?).
The layers in this image are just as they were.
Next stop - up to Napa to take in some wine time!
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