The Many Looks of the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego California Photo Story

The Many Looks of the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego California Photo Story

The Ocean Beach Pier Changes Day by Night

Over the course of seven days staying in the Ocean Beach community in San Diego, California I went to visit the Ocean Beach Pier several times. It looked and felt different each time. I was there for a brilliant sunset. I was there as a storm approached. I was there when the pier was nearly completely empty, and when it was filled with people. I met a pelican. I walked it, and I rode a Bird (electric scooter) down it. I listened to the stories the ocean whispered as it passed under and around the pier.

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Florida Fine Art Photography - Pelican Texture Composite

This is a composite of two images, with a texture abstract photo blended over a pelican photo.I have a folder of abstract and texture photographs I keep for when I want to make composite images like the one above.  It is fun sometimes to spice up an image by combining two (or more) photographs in a complementary way.  

A blurry photo of a bookshelf was overlayed onto the photo of the pelican in Photoshop.  I just adjusted the opacity of the book case photo down a little and set the blending mode to Overlay.  Then I layer masked a little of the bookshelf image off of the pelican to make the pelican look cleaner.  Digital Photography School has a good tutorial on how to do this if you would like to try it yourself!

Photography Tip - fill the frame corner to corner - Florida Pelican Fine Art Photography

Fill the frame corner to corner to make an impact with composition - brown pelican St. Petersburg Florida Fine Art Photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th

At any given moment, you can find a brown pelican to photograph in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.  Chances are you already have numerous pelican photos in your archives.  This can be said for any number of common subject matters.  So how to make such a common subject stand out?  One way is to use a more creative composition, like having the subject fill the frame corner to corner.  Use the shape of the subject to fill the frame in the most complementary way.  For the pelican, with it's long narrow head, going diagonal corner to corner allows for filling the frame with the subject.  Also, going through the edges of the frame creates a very different impression than fitting everything inside (with any subject it also helps to have a good, clean, complementary background; in the above photo the dark water of Tampa Bay combined with the large aperture I chose creates a smooth, gray bokeh).

When you go out shooting next time look for a subject that you can frame corner to corner.  

Psychedelic Pelican of St. Petersburg Florida

A psychedelic pelican composite image made using a layer mask in PhotoshopI had two images lying around in my random folder for months.  One was a graffiti wall I photographed knowing someday I would use it as a texture background.  Then I had this kind of wide-eyed pelican photo.  This afternoon I thought to combine them for a psychedelic looking fine art photograph.  In Photoshop I placed the graffiti wall image right over the pelican photo.  Then using a layer mask I was able to brush away the wall to reveal the pelican underneath, as well as choosing the blend mode for the overall look.  This is actually a fairly simple Photoshop skill.  To get more of an idea of how the combo process works, check out this blog post.

Brown Pelican on a Post in St. Petersburg Florida Bird Photography

Is this comfortable? Must be to this brown pelican - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250thAt the edge of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg Florida perched seemingly not so precariously on a narrow post I found this brown pelican relaxing.  To human eyes, this does not look like perhaps the greatest and/or safest of resting spots, but pelicans obvioiusly think otherwise.  

Nikon D7000 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at The Pier in St. Petersburg Florida with Patricia

Patricia aims her Nikon D7000 at a pelican out on The Pier during our second DSLR photography lessonFor our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons I met Patricia on a pleasant Florida winter Saturday morning and headed out to The Pier to photograph pelicans and whatever other surprises we may find there.  For this lesson Patricia used her Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens exclusively on her Nikon D7000.  I recommend having all your gear setup and ready to shoot as you approach a location, so even before we got to The Pier I went over the recommended settings to use with a 70-300mm lens for birds & other small, distant subject matter.

During this second lesson we also focused more on composition, in particular not necessarily always framing things at right angles.  Sometimes, a tilted axis composition style can added much needed pizazz to an otherwise common shot.

Colorful pelican profile views St. Petersburg Florida fine art photography

Brown Pelican looking very colorful in profile St. Petersburg Florida fine art photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/4 ISO 200 1/4000thSome more examples of one of my favorite subjects to photograph in St. Petersburg, Florida -- brown pelicans.  The males, like the one featured here, are actually rather colorful in their plummage.  I thought the line of buoys in the background matched the colors around the bird's beak and eyes.  

Brown Pelican looking eye-to-eye in St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/4 ISO 200 1/4000thPhotographing a pelican straight on always produces a weird looking shot.  It kind of makes me uncomfortable even now looking at the pelican in the eye!