Sundown at Moonlight Beach CA

Chris Dodkin

West Coast Correspondent
Wandered down to the beach this evening with SWMBO, and happened to take the camera with me :D

Managed to snap a few shots as the sun went down:


Last Bay Watch of the day!




Canon 5D MKII and 17-35mm f2.8L
Nice tones in the 2nd shot and good compositions
Very nice, evocative evening pictures, but the cream of the crop is the last one. Sensational!
A gree with Grez the last 1's a belter

Last shot was a bit of fast reaction effort - I saw the woman and small child, and quickly swung around to try and capture them.

The horizon ended up looking like a ski slope in the actual shot, but Photoshop soon fixed that! LOL

In playing with the RAW import tool in Photoshop CS4 - I've discovered many wonderful things it can do to your RAW images - it's a real power house, yet very simple to operate.
Nice tones in the 2nd shot and good compositions

Took some advice from here and imported the RAW image using the CLOUDY WB setting into Photoshop.

That really helped keep the evening colours alive - will be using that tip again for sure.
I would urge everyone with a camera that shoots RAW to do so. Even if you can not afford the time or money for Photoshop presently, then shoot RAW + JPEGs if the camera allows. It was 2002 when I first shot RAW and I was underwhelmed. Now that I have Photoshop CS5, I have returned to those images and am able to pull astonishing images from them. Software has improved dramatically, and so have my skills with it. The most recent revisit was to shots taken in a pizza place primarily lit by neon. The colour balance changes to the point that two people sitting side by side may require a quite different white balance. CS5 handles it with eloquence and grace. Seven or eight years ago, these were culls. Now they are fine images.

HDR did not exist back then either. Instead, I used a complex scheme of layering and layer masks to provide protection for highlight detail, as I added layer after layer of shadow detail. One sunset sequence was ruined when a taxi drove through. CS5 let me bring in the whole sequence and do a proper white balance then did an HDR merge. There is a selection box to zap ghosts, which I selected, and the taxi was gone.

RAW has been called a "digital negative", since it records exactly what comes off the sensor for later processing. All cameras shoot RAW, but many do the conversion to JPEG in the camera itself. Compared to the settings in Adobe Camera RAW, the RAW processor that comes with Photoshop, control is very coarse. RAW conversion software bears little resemblance to what existed in 2002 and I really wish I had had the foresight to realize this. What I considered a cull back in 2002, in fact has everything in it to produce really fine quality in 2010.
I absolutely agree Larry. I have always shot in raw (many of our technical shots have a very high dynamic range so it was a must with the early sensors), however, it is only in the last few year that the software engines like Camera Raw, CaptureOne and the like have had the convenience to make workflow so effortless. I now often use LR as my primary raw workspace and move from there to PS for more complex manipulations when required.
Seconded and thirded - I have pulled RAW files from my earliest digital archives, and modern RAW conversion has been able to do wonderful things with them.

It never ceases to amaze me that people will spend thousands on cameras and lenses, and then limit their options by shooting JPEG only.

Larry - anything new in CS5 RAW conversion over CS4?
Larry - anything new in CS5 RAW conversion over CS4?

Not sure. I fully intended to upgrade from CS3 to CS4 but just never got around to it. I guess it just did not generate the level of excitement necessary to do so. CS5 is a massive upgrade and there are loads of things I have yet to try. Content sensitive fill is worth the price of an upgrade by itself. It works perfectly about 90% of the time, saving untold hours. With the remaining 10%, a bit of fine tuning is needed, but that is still very fast. HDR Pro is awesome so Photomatix is pretty much abandoned. Photomerge seems a lot faster, and does not seem to be as RAM hungry.

Even better, they took the time to refine a lot of the small details. For example, in prior versions you had to do the conversion from 16-bit to 8-bit before you could save as a JPEG. Now it no longer cares, doing it for you. Not a big thing, but one step saved making life a little easier.

As per ACR, I believe that lens corrections appeared first in this version. Select the camera and lens combination and it automatically optimizes the image. The noise and sharpening controls are much richer than CS3, but may have been there in CS4. It feels like they did a whole lot of optimizing overall. Nothing I can directly point at, but it just seems to work "better".