Life’s a Beach

Life's a Beach
© Brian Auer | 10/13/2007 | Pacific Beach, CA | 157mm * f/2.8 * 1/4000s * ISO100
[Prints] [Flickr] [Zooomr]

I was in Pacific Beach a few weeks back taking some shots of whatever I could find. I was supposed to be focusing on minimalism for my October Challenge, but I couldn't help myself with this one. There's a path that runs along the back of the beach area that a lot of people use for walking and riding bikes, and I was sitting on the divider between it and the sand talking on the phone with my wife. I saw this beach cruiser coming and I had to grab a couple shots as it went by. And in case you're wondering, the composition was intentional. I don't know why, but I had been wanting to take a shot like this all day… so I finally did.

Life's a Beach Post-Processing

  1. In-Camera JPEG
    The colors and such looked pretty good, but looking back I wish I had composed just ever so slightly higher to give me more freedom with the crop.
  2. Processed RAW
    Adjusted the white balance to not-so-warm; fiddled with some other settings, but nothing major.
  3. Desaturation
    I brought the saturation down to -57 with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I felt like the color was a bit much for a dominantly monochrome image.
  4. Blur-Overlay
    After doing a visible stamp, I applied a Gaussian blur at 35 pixels (after trying a couple different settings). Then I changed the blend mode to Overlay and left the opacity and fill at 100%.
  5. Curves Adjustment
    After the overlay blend, the contrast was too much for what I wanted, so I backed it off with a backwards “S” curve (lighten shadows, darken highlights).

In the end, it's pretty much what I had in mind. I wanted to show something kind of dreamy and care-free while capturing part of the culture in the Southern California beach towns.