Painted Sky

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Saguaro cacti against a colorful Arizona sunset west of Phoenix, Arizona.  I created this image by capturing three images  f14, ISO 100, /1/500 second with one each + 2  EV and -2 EV, and creating an HDR merge in Lightroom. After merging, I continued editing with Topaz Studio using the precision contrast and detail adjustments along with HSL Color Toning adjustments. I love how Topaz brings out the details in an image.

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Incoming Waves

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Photographing the waves crashing into the rocks of the breakwater at the harbor in Vertura, California was quite fun for this Arizona photographer. This is something that one does not experience in the beautiful state of Arizona. I really wanted to capture the power of the movement of water. I held I finger ready to fire the shutter as the waves were crashing against the rocks. To get a bit of movement, I used a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds. Later in Lightroom, I dodged (lighten) the bright spots in the water just a little bit to draw attention to the movement of water. Then I also darkened the shadow in the rock to add a bit of mystery and enhance the mood of the close of the day after the sun just dropped below the horizon. I finished off my editing by dodging the tops of the rocks so you can see the shapes of the rocks and show a little bit of the details.

Moody Desert

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Walking around the desert looking to make an interesting landscape image when you have grayed out skies, can be quite challenging. However, I did come home with this image worthy to work with. I felt the dead tree in the foreground along with the sun bleeding through the clouds worked great with the mood of this shot.  I did an HDR merge in Lightroom then played around with tonal adjustments to come up with this. I also reduced saturation a little using the HSL panel. To finish it off, I used the radial filter to brighten up the dead tree a little bit along with using the adjustment brush to dodge and burn in other areas of the image. Photographed west of Phoenix, Arizona.

You may view a larger size version here on Flickr.

Last Light

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One of my rare Arizona desert landscapes without cactus. This image was captured at the Skyline Regional Park, Buckeye, Arizona along a hiking trail. I stopped down my aperture to f14 to get the star effect as the sun was fixing to go down, behind the mountain. I also used the adjustment brush in Lightroom to brighten the rocks in the lower right to give the effect of the light striking them. Then I lightened slightly a bit of the landscape between the rocks and the sun and to the ridge of the mountain to create paths for the eyes to follow to the sun. The eyes will either go straight from the rock to the sun, or travel up to the ridge of the mountain, then down to the sun. I also used the adjustment brush to darken some of the shadows. You may see a larger version here on my Flickr or here on 500px.