Exploring Tones in Images

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A recent trip to Big Sur helped produced these images. After a weekend of camping fun in Pfeiffer National Park, we set a short, but new course toward the ocean for a 1 mile hike. Water is always fun to photograph and when the sun is out and the polarized filter is on, there’s usually something a little bit more at stake. Whether it’s a creek, river (trout), or huge body of water like a lake or ocean, a polarized filter can help you “trick out” some of the images captured on your camera.

I began to play with dual tones shortly after a friend wanted help photographing the ocean. I wanted to evoke different moods with the active colors and tones. Most, by far, are cooler in tone. And since water can be passive or active, there’s a lot of different ways to manipulate the image just by enhancing a specific tone.

In the image above, I wanted to visualize the enormous kinetic strength of water. I saw this large rock sitting there and water kept splashing and slapping against it. I loved seeing the “tentacles” of the water reach outward.

The richness of the image above provided me with a nice balance to all of the dual tone images I was beginning to edit and save in my work flow. This one and the one below wanted to be a clear, unobstructed image of the real daylight and with the help of my polarized filter, the vivid colors came through even more (see that green and blue tone of the water?).

Thanks to my friend, who was completely willing to accept the burden of wetness, I found a great subject to add to the image and portrait of Big Sur.

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