Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trip to North Carolina, Part VI:
sundowns at Atlantic Beach

Saving the best to (near) last wasn't my intent in organizing posts for my trip last month to North Carolina. I chose chronology because it seemed the simplest way to maneuver through the collection.

It is by mere coincidence that this post on the sunset/sundown shoot at Atlantic Beach, the shoot that resulted in the most dramatic colors, silhouettes and compositions on the trip, comes near the end of the chronology.

As excited as I was about these shots, photos from the shoot at Cape Lookout National Seashore on July 19 also resulted in photos that I was very pleased with. You can judge for yourself after seeing the next post.

For now, we'll stay in Atlantic Beach, where my decision to bracket compositions for later
treatment in high dynamic range (HDR) software to optimize detail proved to be a wise one, at least I thought so. At the very least, the image of the sand mound leading off the post is a dramatic example to support that move. It's an HDR rendering; the image at right is a single frame of the same image.

There isn't much else to say in the text here, so let's get to the pictures!

Next post: Cape Lookout National Seashore

Above: This shot of the lifeguard station took a dramatic turn when I processed the bracketed images in HDR software. I was pleasantly surprised. I did nothing to tweak the colors here.

Above and next two below: Here are three versions of a scene near a beachsode social hub adjacent to the pier at Atlantic Beach. I preferred the one above because of the sand, footprints and blades of grass in the foreground. But I also made several other compositions of the same scene, using the sky as the focal point in the two below and zooming in on the outdoor plaza and meeting area in the second below. One other note: I pulled back on the natural purple hues in image above but left them in tact in the two below. 

Above and below: Two versions of the same scene, taken at only a minute apart. In the one above, I was squatting or on my knees, looking to get the golden reflection off the mini-walls running along the left side of the boardwalk. I went prone for the shot below, which gave me a different view of the sky and a different color on the walls.

Above and next two below: Slightly different views of an area where I noticed the sky was of interesting color. For the version above, I cropped to make the grass more prominent. For the shot below, I present the original color version as I shot it to make the sky most promiment ... and a monochrome crop to minimize the sky and draw attention to the blades of grass.  

Above and below: Slightly different compositions of the same scene, which I credit to Lee Ann for spotting it and nailing it with a shot similar to the one above. The monochrome below moves the railing on the roof of the building to the far left. 

Above and next three below: I hope you indulge my explorations of different "looks" in an image. Here's an example where I wanted to see different hues in my monochromes, beginning with the color above, and an antique tint immediately below followed by a blue tint (to add to my "blues" collection) and the straight black-and-white.

Above and below: Another example of making slight compositional adjustments to the same scene. The one above uses only a hint of the grass blades while incorporating more of the buildings along the beach, while the one below minimizes the buildings, increases the grass blades and includes a lifeguard station and a hint of the ocean on the far left. 

Above and below: A couple shots of people enjoying a walk along the beach and playing in the tide.

Above: The drive on the backside of the buildings you saw above.

Above: The Atlantic Beach water tower. This HDR version is much more dynamic than the single-frame. 

Above: I decided to end this post in a reflective way, which isn't difficult to do when you're looking at skies like this. That's Lee Ann serving as my "human" element.

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