Hi Everyone! I’m back from Hawaii… barely home 24 hours and I’ve been enjoying editing my photos so much!! The anticipation was insane. I took about 1300 photos which I now have edited down to just over 1000 usable photos… lots of family pics (I think I will have to share a few of those, in time) but lots and lots of beautiful images of my favorite spots on Oahu. Some of the best pictures, for future interest, came from random stops or hikes which brought unexpected beauty to me and my camera. This one was unplanned and one of the last photos taken while we were on island, but I should have thought of it early on… It is my favorite beach on the North Shore for simple beauty. Between Ke Iki Beach and Pipeline, it does have a small parking lot but it is rarely busy like so many of the other beaches on the North Shore. I do love Waimea (some pictures of there coming soon) but you can’t go to Waimea during the day, it’s insanely busy. I would get there before sunrise to shoot, and as soon as the sun showed, so did the people. Crazy! This beach, by contrast, was this empty in the middle of the day. There was one person over the sand dune, near the water, but I prayed that she wouldn’t stand up during my shoot, and she listened.
This beach doesn’t quite look like this, of course. The sand on the North Shore is yellower and strewn with pine needles and cones from the trees. I left enough so that a local wouldn’t spit at my picture in disgust, but removed about 70% of the debris (or cloned it almost invisible so it wouldn’t disrupt). Besides that, I did quite a bit more technical work on this photo than I usually do. That seems to be the norm for the Hawaii pics, by the way… I spent 3 hours on one today and I’m still not 100% happy with it, so I put it aside for tomorrow. Usually I spend about 15-45 minutes finishing a photo. But I digress….
This is a 3 image HDR, processed in Photomatix. I then brought it to Photoshop and onward into Topaz Adjust. I photographed in the early afternoon to get the water colors that appear then, but even with a polarizer the sky wasn’t the right color. And with an HDR, it showed a bit of noise. I even had a spot on the lens (it was raining off and on, although you wouldn’t guess it by this particular shot) which almost caused me to throw in the towel and cry. Anyways, lots of cloning fixed the spot and Topaz Adjust fixed the water color… but didn’t finish the sky exactly perfectly. I did MUCH work masking different parts of the photo and putting it through various filters- unsharp mask, Noiseware Professional, hue and contrast changes… eventually I was happy enough to flatten the image and leave Photoshop. I finished the photo in Lightroom, where I realized with delight that this photo is so vibrant in different colors that I could single out a single color to adjust and only adjust a single part of the photo. That almost never happens for me, so it was great to be able to darken and saturate the sky perfectly, bring out the darkness of the sea, and lighten and desaturate the beach sand so it approaches that ideal “white sand” look that you never get in Hawaii unless you are in Kailua.
I swear, with all this work to make the photo perfect, it comes out the exact shades that the beach has in my dreams. So perhaps I was only adjusting the photo to reach the actual look of the spot. Maybe.
This photo is up on my website at www.kelleybard.com. You can find it in the “Hawaiian Photos” collection at the end of my photo groupings. Also in the “Places” gallery. My prices are reasonable and I think this one would print up beautifully.
Mahalo and enjoy. I will be showing many Hawaii photos in the next week or so, but I try to vary the styles and such so come back and check out my work again! I also work hard at mixing my pictures so expect surprising photos from other places, photo shoots, etc. to be mixed in with the Hawaiian pictures, giving different ideas every day. I try for 50-60% of my photos to be HDR, with the rest being single image or composite photos. On subject matter I photograph landscapes, people, events, sports… fine art to candid photos and everything in between.