Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, Bald Mountain Lookout

A quick video from my trip last summer. I could not get over how spectacular this view was. I had seen the massive sand pits on my topographical map while traveling the area  and was quite curious, I was  excited to find a vantage point high enough to see them. I'll be posting more from this trip soon!

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Carol Ann and John

Fairy Tale Wedding

Twin Oaks Golf Course, San Marcos

While many of this years weddings have made it into my portfolio, I've yet to post any of them here on my blog. It's been a very busy year here in Long Beach and it seems this blog is always the first thing casualty of limited time. time to change that. 

Carol Ann and John were an absolutely lovely couple and an absolute delight to photograph. Just look at that dress! By far one of the most beautiful I've had the pleasure of photographing. Their ceremony and reception both took place at the Twin Oaks Golf Course in San Marcos on a sunny day this March. The venue with its' ivy covered walkways, rustic details, charming lighting and stellar views was perfect for photography. Photographing a couple so obviously in love is always a delight, and getting to do so in such a wonderful location, complimented by an absolutely amazing sunset, made this wedding one to remember.

Updated VSCO Film Pack 02 Review

VSCO FILM PACK O2 REVIEW UPDATE

It's been quite a few years since I first posted my first review of the VSCO film pack, despite this, it is still one of the most viewed entires on my blog. As I still am absolutely in love with VSCO 02, I thought it about time for a little update. A lot has changed since my last review, for one, I now frequently shoot real film, something I hadn't done at the time of my first review. I thought it would be cool to compare the look of VSCO's emulator to actual film side by side. And what better than photos from a recent road trip down Route 66 in California to do it with.  Now as a disclaimer I will say that when I shot these images I did not have this in mind. So camera settings, and lenses used are not identical. Also note that modern Portra film falls somewhere between Neutral Color and Vibrant Color/Ultra color. Since I use the Portra Neutral Color emulator almost exclusively now, I went with it. I'll have to go out and shoot with a comparison in mind so I can do it perfectly. But for now, I think this is a great comparison. 

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

I'm not sure if it was my scans, but all the shots on this roll of Portra 400 are a bit green tinted. I find it most notable in this shot of the abandoned trailer. The hues of the sky and brush noticeably differ between the two. 

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Here I had to double check a few times to make sure which was which. The real film has a greener tint in the brush than the emulator, but overall it's pretty close.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Another one that's really close. The road is a bit warmer in the Digital version, and the film is maybe a bit darker in the shadows.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Once again the film has a greener tint that is especially noticeable in the sky.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

The brush in the foreground here looks substantially different here to me, but part of that may be the rapidly changing lighting conditions at this time of day.

VSCO Film 02 Kodak Portra 400NC

Kodak Portra 400

Another case of magenta vs green tinting.


My Conclusion

Most of the time VSCO FILM 02 emulator gets incredibly close to the real thing when it comes to Portra 400 film. There are some cases where it looks a bit off, but those occasions are few, and far between. The green tint of the real film may have more to do with the lab's scanner than the film and for my use outside this article I've color corrected them. As I've previously mentioned, I love this emulator. I use it for both my personal photos and as a baseline for my professional portrait work. There's just something special about Portra's colors and tonality and I can't get enough. Here's a few more examples of the FILM 02 Portra 400NC being used in my work.

About the Writer

 

Norm Roberts the Fifth is a Long Beach based Commercial photographer, nature lover, and outdoorsmen. Traveling the rural landscape of California, he was inspired by the tragic beauty found in the encroachment of man made creations into the natural landscape and decided to focus his artwork on this troubling subject. His first project, Destination Nowhere, focuses on the barren roads and manmade constructs that disrupt the otherwise serene deserts covering vast swaths of California.

Big Sur

     After the fiasco that was Death Valley, a little extra planning went into this trip, and it paid off. This time Jeff and I were joined by our mutual friend Zach. We rendezvoused at my house and set out from Los Angeles at midnight  and drove through the night so that we'd theoretically arrive at McWay Waterfall precisely at dawn. Around six hours later, and a copious amount of caffeine, we stood atop a cliff gazing down at the crashing waves in the pre-dawn gloom. I think the only word said was a simultaneous "Woah". The ocean is a powerful beast but it seems so tame at the local beach. Here any illusion of a peaceful nature is quickly eradicated by the raw power of waves breaking on worn, jagged cliffs. Slowly the sun began it's accent into the morning sky and with it, color rushed into  what was an endless void of grey. The McWay Waterfall is by no means the grandest fall on the planet, but few reside in such a picturesque setting. The sun continued to rise and the scene constantly transformed. Every few moments new colors made their appearance serving you another course in this feast for the eyes. While I could of spent the rest of the day here we had an entire coast to explore so we tore our eyes from McWay and headed through a tunnel under the street to an adjacent park.

     There we followed a steam through a redwood forest, scrambling over rocks, across logs and up waterfalls. This hour or two hike was probably some of the most enjoyable hiking i've ever done. The scenery was to die for and I had zero weight on my back. Absolute Heaven. Eventually we hit a dead end and headed back to the car to find our next hike. A short drive up the coast and we found a path down to the ocean that we just couldn't pass up. Once we made the decent we climbed, scrambled, shimmied and crawled up and down the cliffs and miraculously had zero casualties. The potential bodily harm was well worth the up close and personal viewing crashing waves, seals and cliffs we discovered. We grudgingly left this epic playground by the sea and sought out nutrients to fuel us up for the backpacking to come.

     Bellies full, and backs laden, we stood and the beginning of our trail up Pine Ridge. The uphill trudge commenced. We ended up being the only hikers outbound due to the fact that it was presently raining and rain was forecasted for the entire weekend.  We had also started later in the day than planed and after speaking with the numerous hikers fleeing down the trail to escape the rain, we began to wonder if we would be able to get to Sykes hot spring before dark. Spoiler! We did not. Luckily though, right as darkness approached we came upon a wonderful campground and managed to get everything set up before being enveloped by the night or washed away in the rain. Jeff and I  come prepared for rain and had properly set up or tents, Zach, however, did not. He had a damp night and as we set out the next morning, his lack of backpack rain cover meant his pack had sponged up a great deal of water, vastly increasing his load. He was not a happy hiker and made known his desire to turn back repeatedly. Luckily, we ignored him and after a few more miles found ourselves at the Big Sur river where the springs are located. We did get a little confused at this point as to where the springs actually were and had to do a little exploration up and down the river to find them. But at long last, Sykes hot springs lay before us. Imagine if you will, submerging your sore and tired body into a hot spring. A hot spring located on a hill surrounded by towering redwoods and lush ferns. Below you, a river meanders by serenading you with it's melody of rushing water. Far above, the winds rustle the innumerable branches of redwoods adding a new voice to the rivers song. A refreshing rains drips ever so lightly upon your face. One of your friends who sat in a tub that is out of sight doesn't respond to your calls but, you and your other friend don't go see if he has drowned because this is heaven and if he's dead, he died as happy as any man could be. Due to the rain, the normal crowds had vanished and we had the springs entirely to ourselves. Zach's misery had been washed away and he was born again as a happy hiker who complained no more. I took very few pictures during this time because "rain" and "Hot spring in the rain." are not ideal camera situations. But here are some photos Jeff and Zach took:

     Three days is really not enough to fully enjoy the Pine Ridge area, and by no means enough time to fully experience Big Sur in it's entirety. This winter, we will be heading back once again, this time with more friends in tow, and I honestly can not wait. Hikes with hot springs are the best hikes and Big Sur is just plain magical. It will be a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles area and a busy year of professional photography.