Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coastal Discoveries Day Three

Started early this morning with a 7 AM push for the wintering monarch butterfly groves. Our first stop in Pismo found huge quantities of butterflies but they were located high in the eucalyptus and the light would not be right for hours. No big deal as we pushed south to Oceano and located a dozen or so basketball sized groups of "sleeping" monarchs.

As we geared up with super telephotos and Project-a-flash units, the sun began to slowly illuminate and warm the butterflies. The class enjoyed great shooting for the next two and a half hours.

Leaving Oceano we took a detour to visit Really Right Stuff ( in San Luis Obispo to do some tripod and ballhead shopping. If you haven't tried their gear yet, you will love it. Although the right gear can be expensive, it is absolutely worth it. If you are in the market for either a tripod, ballhead, or other accessories please give us a call at 805.528.7385 or via email at before you purchase anything. All too often we have people show up with brand new gear that is completely wrong for them. If they had only contacted us ahead of time we could share some the guidance we hear repeatedly from instructors like George Lepp, Rob Sheppard, Lewis Kemper, Ben Willmore, and many more. Unfortunately, those folks end up having to purchase new gear in order to ensure a stable platform for D-SLR and lens.

After a quick lunch, we returned to the digital darkroom and continued the review, edit, and processing of gig after gig. Upon quick review, while walking around the lab, it looked like the monarch shoot was very productive.

We worked in the lab until about 4 PM when it was time to head back out and hit the beach at Morro Bay for some sunset shooting with Morro Rock and high clouds as the background and crashing waves, surfers, and a beautiful reflective beach as the foreground. George gave a quick tutorial to reinforce the in-lab lessons and the shooting started again. California, the Pacific, and nature delivered a great sunset, a nice swell, and gentle offshore winds.

Post-sunset and dinner, the lab work started again as the class continued the process of image selection and optimization. The goal this week is to start production of a table top/coffee table book. We handed out the books and the media this evening and will start the Herculean print jobs tomorrow afternoon.

We must wait until tomorrow afternoon for the printing since we will be down at Montana de Oro State Park again from about 9 AM until 2 PM shooting the tidepools. We planned and scheduled this course around a particularily low tide so we could have the pools readily accessible.

Take care, shoot well, and we'll write more tomorrow.

-the Institute Staff

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