photography (and other observations) by John Matthews


El Matador Beach and Malibu Edits

In September of 2013, my girlfriend and I traveled to California for a pre-winter vacation. We chose LA as our home base and made day trips each day traveling north or south depending on that day's itinerary. These are a few random edits from our pit stops along the Pacific Coast Highway. I liked the final result in each of these instances.

Out of Camera (OOC):

Edited in NIK Silver Efex Pro and I thought the final black and white edit looked pretty dramatic.

One of the keys to a successful black and white edit is trying to capture as wide a dynamic range as you can across the image. Notice in the above image, you can find the color white, the color black, and a full range of gray from light to dark across the frame. The contrast in the image, along with that wide dynamic range makes this image almost appear 3D and other worldly.


Edited in NIK Dfine 2 to de-noise, then edited in NIK Color Efex Pro 4 to add some center brightness and add warmer tones to the image. I really liked the final result. This was taken at El Matador Beach where there are a lot of different rock formations you have to navigate as you walk along the beach.


Probably one of my favorite images from our trip. We stopped along PCH 1 to catch a view of the ocean and there was a homeless man swimming in the ocean. He walked over to his air mattress, turned 180° and fell backwards onto it with his hands behind his head. He bounced twice then basked in one of the most beautiful scenes we saw on the trip. I asked myself...'Who's the idiot?'.  Life choices, right?

Edited in NIK Color Efex Pro 4 to add saturation and a bit brightness. This is my favorite kind of image. One that makes you ask yourself questions and wanting to know more about what is going on in the frame. 

We finally made our way to Malibu and stopped at the famous Malibu Pier where we ran into this ambivalent Seagull. I really dislike Seagulls, but this guy was pretty tame and was a good test of the Fuji in quick shooting scenario. I'm not sure the gull would have been so accommodating if I had my huge D700 with grip, might have scared him off. 


Color Efex Pro 4 to add some warmth color and contrast to the frame.

And an alternate Silver Efex edit.

Ugly, isn't it?