Classic California Hills in Color

Picture: Sunset along the green hills of Bolinas Ridge in Spring, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin County, California

Image: Sunset along the green hills of Bolinas Ridge in Spring, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin County, California

Two things caused me to post this image today. First, I’ve been following a discussion about the ‘history’ of (over)saturated color landscape photography on David Leland Hyde’s weblog. The second factor is that I was pulling together a submission of “Classic California” landscapes.

In an early comment on David’s blog, I mentioned about film palettes, and how I often tell photographers working on image processing to take things until you realize you’ve gone to far, then back off by 15%. A pervasive attitude (or problem) is that there are many photographer out there who don’t “back off”, and in fact, keep pushing the sliders so far beyond reality as to make an image appear if it could be the cover of an old Raymond Bradbury or an Issac Asimov science-fiction novel.

Then today, I wanted to submit the image above to a client, but it was shot on Fuji Velvia slide film, and I didn’t have a scan of the image. I put the slide in my trusty Nikon SuperCoolscan ED 5000 scanner, and this is what came out. There’s no photoshop, and the scanner ran on it’s default setting, and it’s almost a perfect match for the transparency.

I grew up photographically using Velvia, and that’s the palette my brain learned photography using. When I process my new digital images, I aim to keep the images looking as if they were shot on film, as if I’d taken the image fifteen years ago. That’s about when the above shot was taken.

Image ID#: ba2-1088a

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7 Comments on “Classic California Hills in Color”

  1. Richard Wong Says:

    Classic Marin for sure Gary. Love the shot and the landscape.

  2. Greg Russell Says:

    Gorgeous image, Gary. It is an interesting discussion over at David’s blog, and I share your sentiments about those who do not “back off” as it were.

    I think, in the spirit of Spinal Tap, we have to realize that some photographers’ saturation sliders still “go to 11.” 🙂


  3. Youssef Ismail Says:

    Looks good and normal in color to me. I grew up on Velvia as well and this is what I expect.

  4. Francois Says:

    Beautiful landscape, your photo make me want to go to california !

  5. David Leland Hyde Says:

    Beautiful photograph, Gary. I love the subtlety in the gradation from the oranges to the purples in the far mountain and also repeated in the tops of the near ridges where the sun hits. Velvia sure does bring out a gorgeous wide range of color. I feel scans of film images are often richer, higher quality color than digital capture. Digital cameras tend to clip the highlights.

  6. David Leland Hyde Says:

    I of course meant to add a thank you for the link to my blog.

  7. Pat Ulrich Says:

    Beautiful image — the rolling hills of Bolinas Ridge are such a gorgeous place to watch a sunset.

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