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Northern California Photo Ramble with Pansonic Lumix DMC-GX1

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by michaeln, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    I left the house in San Francisco real early yesterday morning and headed up Highway 101. Turned northwest on Highway 128 at Cloverdale and started looking for stuff that grabbed me in that early morning light. Made several stops along the way, got some decent images with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 and 7-14mm, 14-45mm and 45-200mm lenses. I used a Sirui N-2204 CF tripod with Sirui K-20X ballhead for most of the shots, along with an L-Bracket from Really Right Stuff.

    Most were 7 shot brackets 1 EV apart, (some were only 5 shots 1 EV apart), postprocessed first in DxO Optics Pro 7.5 for lens correction stuff, then into PhotoMatix Pro 4.2.2 for HDR and tonemapping, then into ACR 7 for adjustments to exposure, noise reduction and sharpening, then into Photoshop CS6 for final cropping and tweaking.

    I'm pretty pleased with how some of them came out, especially since this was my first "serious" day out with the GX1.

    DMC-GX1    ---    29mm    f/8.0    1/30s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    28mm    f/8.0    1/60s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    7mm    f/5.6    1/125s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    45mm    f/7.1    1/320s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    24mm    f/7.1    1/320s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    45mm    f/7.1    1/250s    ISO 160

    DMC-GX1    ---    14mm    f/7.1    1/100s    ISO 160
  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Good stuff, well worth the early morning wake-up.

  3. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    Great shots!

    Faves are 1st 2nd and last
  4. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Very nice shots! :) 

    I often like to go day trips up north, but I have not been to the spots in #,5,6,7,8. Can you tell me where they are?


  5. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    #5 and 6 are south of 128 and north of Point Arena, but I don't know exactly where. You can see them from Highway 1 though, I just parked on the side of the road and made the shots.

    #7 is Point Arena lighthouse. Several miles west of Highway 1

    #8 is a little south of Point Arena, but again I don't know where. North of Bodega Bay for sure. Again, watch for it on 1 and you can park right next to it.
  6. zammer

    zammer Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    Morning is always a nice time to be out, some good shots there, really like the Lighthouse.
  7. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 13, 2010
    Your processing workflow is pretty extensive, but the results are impressive. I've toyed with the idea of taking bracketed exposures by default for landscapes, and your images are definitely an argument for such an approach.

    Overall, your processing suits my tastes; the pictures do not feel overcooked at all, and pop nicely with nice contrast and colors. The only exception is the last image, where the color of the water rings a little false to me; it looks like it's the Caribbean instead of the Pacific! This, of course, is simply personal taste.

    I'm particularly drawn to the barn shot with your wide angle. Very cool image, and you use the wide angle lens very well. I also very much like the next two coast shots and the lighthouse. The lighthouse shot in particular feels very well balanced.

    The only image that doesn't speak to me is the trailer; this one feels just like a snapshot, although an HDR one. I do not doubt it was an interesting and eye-catching subject. However, I think a more interesting composition, potentially with the wide angle lens, would help do it justice.

    Overall, really great shots. I look forward to seeing more!
  8. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    Thanks for your thoughtful critique. I do try hard not to overcook the HDRs as so many people do with that technology. The last one of the cove looks different, I think, because I used a polarizer for that one. It cut all the glare off the water and the high angle allowed us to look INTO the water instead of at it. I agree it looks kind of different for the Pacific, but it looked pretty much like that through the viewfinder as I was looking through the polarizer. I actually pulled down the color saturation some, but maybe I should do some more.

    This was my first serious shoot with that lens. I got too close to the subject, and when I later did some perspective correction on the image, the resulting crop came in too close. I need to learn to leave more room around the subject for PP. With the 16MP sensor and the incredible sharpness of the 7-14mm, the images can take some cropping and still hold up.

    I agree, I like the lighthouse one a lot.

    It's my least favorite too. It was behind a barbed wire fence on private property and surrounded by trees, and I really couldn't get another vantage point. I probably should have just passed on the shot, but I figured "grab it and toss it later if you can't do something with it".

    I probably should have tossed it.

    Thank you. I have been doing photography a long time, but micro 4/3rds is brand new to me. I really love that I can cover 35mm equivalent of 14mm to 400mm and fit everything into a very small bag (ThinkTank Retrospective 5) that only weighs a few pounds. I'm old and feeble and that kind of stuff is getting more and more important to me. When I was in my 30s I used to hump a wooden 4x5 view camera and wooden tripod around, an extremely heavy and cumbersome rig. These days I have to make my equipment easy to manage, or it will just sit at home.
  9. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    This one was shot from the same location as #5 above, but using the Panasonic 7-14mm superwide zoom. The front of the lens was very close to the leaves at the bottom of the frame, but it manages to be sharp out to infinity. Sure gives a different look.

    BTW, this was a single exposure, and I did use Photomatix Pro's single shot tonemapping on it. I always shoot in RAW, so it gives me a lot more latitude for processing.

    DMC-GX1    ---    7mm    f/7.1    1/500s    ISO 160
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The northern California coast is a gem, all the more so for it not being full jam packed with people. Great job capturing the area. I'm not a fan of HDR, but your captures are realistic enough that I can overlook that part and appreciate the great composition and colors.

    Thanks for sharing,

  11. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    I'm not a fan of overcooked HDR, and an awful lot of it is just that. But I *am* a fan of it when it is used tastefully.
  12. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 13, 2010
    This is a great shot. It makes me want to pick up a wideangle zoom so much!
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