Friday, December 27, 2013

Chimney Rock

The idea to do this hike first came up a week ago when I was perusing Flickr and I came across this picture:

Adeline loves Point Reyes, but we have only been to Tomales Point (northern tip) and Bass Lake (southern tip).  The Point Reyes Lighthouse and Chimney Rock are both on western point of the peninsula, and I really wanted to see the dramatic view from the Chimney Rock hike.  Initially, we were going to go last weekend, but all of the wonderful holiday celebrations wore us out, so we postponed the trip.

Adeline's awesome friends Jeff and Lisa are visiting the Bay Area from Texas, and agreed to come with us on the hike. The hike is less than two miles, but the drive to the trailhead was more than an hour. Driving through the forest on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is actually quite pleasant, with the redwoods towering over the damp forest. We took a quick trip down to see the elephant seals in Drakes Bay before heading out on the short hike.

The timing worked out perfectly. We got to the lookout about a half hour before sunset and were able to enjoy the view as the sky changed colors and everything was bathed in golden light.  For those of you who have been following this blog and/or our Flickr account, I have been experimenting with HDR (high dynamic range) photography ever since we got our new camera.  HDR involves taking several pictures, some dark and some light, in order to get more details out of scenes with shadows and bright light sources.  You then process the pictures, which can be done in-camera or in post-processing.  You have a lot more control over the sharpness, contrast, and saturation settings when you do it in post-processing, but it takes a while.  I decided to try take an HDR in-camera from the lookout, and it turned out much better than I expected.  Adeline say this is the first of my HDR photos that she actually likes, which is a huge compliment.

Henry seemed quite happy on the hike (I really think he enjoys being outdoors), and he's easy to carry in our baby carrier on short hikes like this.

As we were leaving, we decided to check out the lighthouse, even though it was already pretty dark out.  I managed to get this shot on the tripod.  Adeline and I have different tastes in water photography, so this shot is a compromise between a sharp quick exposure and a fluid long exposure: 8 seconds at f/5.6 and ISO-100.

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