Week of Nov 12 - Photo of the Week, Oregon Coast

November 12, 2023  |  Oregon Coast Range
Family Light

The afternoon sunlight finally finds it's way through the dense fog in a forest near the Oregon Coast. Photo Specs: Canon R5 - EF100-400mm at 100mm - f/16 - 1/30 of a second handheld.

Before the year even started I already had a backlog of photos which is nothing new for me. This has increased significantly throughout the year. While starting to work on the photos I want to process, I thought I would try something different and post a photo of the week as a new journal entry (approximately weekly, we all know how life goes).

To start off the Photo of the Week series I am sharing a photo taken this summer near the Oregon Coast while on a hike with my family. It was late August and hot summer weather was still in full force inland. Arriving at the beach it was much cooler, and it cooled down even more the higher we hiked. The dense fog was natures air conditioning and it felt like one gigantic breath of fresh air while hiking up a coastal mountain.

Before the sun eventually broke through the dense fog, as seen in this photo, it felt like we had hiked into another season with the temperature dropping and enough condensation build up that when I would stop all I could hear was the sound of drips of water falling from the leaves and branches. Not a single wisp of wind pushing at the fog, yet I knew it wouldn't last long.

Over a half dozen family members went on ahead of me and I stopped a few times to take it all in along with taking a few photos. Even though I left multiple lenses and tripod behind my camera bag was the heaviest I can recall. I was the one that offered to carry my wife's uncle's remains as we made our way to spread his ashes at a spot he visited many times throughout his life and where he requested to go after he unfortunately left us. He was also a dedicated photographer accumulating many photos and slides over the years. I feel me stopping to take photos was giving him an opportunity to enjoy the scene and experience it with me, during the best photographic conditions I have ever experienced on this hike. I know he was enjoying that day with all of us.

Beyond the personal connection I decided to share this photo to illustrate the capabilities that exist today when you are forced, or choose, to travel without a tripod as was the case that day. I don't have the steadiest hand, and it definitely doesn't help when I am only taking a short stop while hiking and my body is pulsating away. If I took this photo 10 years ago with the technology I used at the time, it would have been a throw away. Maybe okay at small webize but nothing beyond that. While this photo isn't something I would likely print as a huge 4'x6' there is still value in processing it to share here and can still print in pretty large sizes.

Even though the image stabilization (IS) on the lens helped, the long heavy lens and slow shutter speed along with other factors didn't allow for quite as sharp of file as I would have had with a faster shutter speed or if I used a tripod. By sharp I mean how sharp I would have liked to see it as a RAW file, all RAW files need sharpening when processed.

Knowing this lens and where I was in relation to my subject I should have tried to take it with a larger aperture, say f/8 or f/11 and that might have resulted in a sharper all around file and for sure would have allowed for a faster shutter speed, yet when I zoomed out from 300 to 400mm photos I was taking where f/16 is what I wanted, I didn't change my settings. This shows I am human no matter how much experience. Not to mention other things on my mind like knowing I needed to catch up to my family as the day had a more important purpose than being a photo adventure.

If I had the newer RF lens that allows for in-body stabilization then it could have also solved my problem with more stops of stabilization for my less than steady hands. Software that can correct shortcomings has come a long way and while I never regularly use it as a crutch instead of trying to do as quality job in the field as I can, I am glad it's there when needed for instances like this.

In order to bring out acceptable details, sharpening, and reduced noise, I had to use a couple software programs. First I used DxO PureRaw to remove the noise which sharpened up the photo a bit as well. Next I took it into Topaz Sharpen to bring out a little more detail. I realize Lightroom noise removal has vastly improved this year, and I do use it on occasion as well. Yet as someone primarily working outside of Lightroom I still often choose to use external 3rd party software.

I hope you enjoy this first photo of the week. Feel free to drop me a line if you find this helpful or if you have any questions.