Reliving the Trip — Part 1

General Thoughts
Rodeo Beach Sunset © jj raia

Rodeo Beach Sunset © jj raia

The trip is now beginning to recede in the rear view mirror and quite a bit of the time between then and now has been spent processing a small percentage of all the photos taken during the three weeks on the road. In fact, I had a chance to go over some of the numbers accumulated during the trip: 3850 miles driven, over 5300 trips of the shutter, 17 visits to McDonald’s and 18 nights spent in the rental SUV; one of those nights spent in the company of either of Mickey or Minnie Mouse, I never did find out which, as it seems whichever it was, escaped the SUV as mysteriously as it entered. During the trip, I experimented with some different white balances, namely daylight, clear day shade and 3200K for the star and Milky Way shots, anticipating the blending of two of those together. But I realized later at home that with digital photography and shooting RAW, I could simply make a copy of the original, no matter what white balance it was shot with, and simply change the white balance of the second image in Lightroom. I also did a few HDR images, but found that some did not work well while a single image of the 3 or 5 brackets did, and other times the HDR looked believable and actually did enhance the image. For the ocean shots, many, many images were taken of the same scene since each time a wave comes ashore is different from every other during that shoot. And all of those were taken with split neutral density filters to even out the bright sky with the darker ocean. Sometimes I used both a hard edge and soft edge, using the soft at right angles to the horizon to even out the one brighter side closer to where the sun went down. So if you’re on a tripod, it’s a simple matter to take the best wave of one image and blend it with another that may have a preferable cloud structure using some layers and masks in Photoshop. But the only time I did that was when there was a bird on two separate rocks for quite a while one evening at Rodeo Beach; but of course when the best wave came along, the second bird had flown away. I suppose I should be satisfied with how fortunate it was to have a single bird included in the frame and looking in the optimal direction when I tripped the shutter; is it immoral to try to make the image even better?