Santa Cruz and Capitola

A day trip captured on CineStill 50

Note: This post was originally published on January 9, 2016 on Exposure. It can be found at

We Took a Day Trip

Me and a couple of my buddies piled into our Jeep early in the morning on August 14th to embark on our most ambitious photo adventure yet: a day trip from Nevada City to Santa Cruz and Capitola (a near four-hour drive each way) and back again. We made pretty good time getting down there once we got on the road (despite a couple hiccups in the morning, like sleeping in past the alarm) and spent the whole day exploring Santa Cruz and the surrounding area. This is a look back at our trip as captured on CineStill 50 film.

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The Giant Dipper

The Boardwalk

After a picnic lunch at Natural Bridges and a cruise along the coast, we stopped for a while at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

I didn’t ride any rides, but two out of the four of us rode The Giant Dipper. Then we walked along the beach.

When we walked to the end of the beach, we ended up at the pier.

The Pier

We started off by checking out how it looked from underneath. I guess it’s a popular spot for photos, because there was a family there taking portraits underneath it, too.

Close up of underneath the pier
Close up of underneath the pier

We walked along it all the way until the end; from the edge you could get a really great view of the entire Boardwalk.

Then, we piled back into the car and took off for our next stop: a small beach town just a little ways away called Capitola.

The pier at Capitola
The pier at Capitola


We parked (after hunting for a spot for a little – it was kinda busy) and walked along the tracks to get down to the beach. There was a surfing class or something going on while we were there, so we stayed and watched for a little while.

We walked around downtown for a little bit and did a little more exploring, but we were going to start losing daylight in an hour or two and we still had one more place that we wanted to check out. So back into the car it was and we set out for our last stop.

Rio Del Mar State Beach, looking right
Rio Del Mar State Beach, looking right

Rio del Mar State Beach

Our last stop was at Rio Del Mar State Beach, just a little bit farther south than Capitola. We hung out there for a while – it was actually pretty clean and the waves were really fun to walk through.

Then it was back in the car to go to Santa Cruz for dinner (Thai food, which seems to be our default photo adventure cuisine.) And then the near-four hour car ride back home to finish out the day.

More on Model Cars

This past week I shot another series of model cars, this time with the Cadillac (again), two Bel Airs, and an old Chevy truck. I used the same setup and lighting as I did to complete my last series and even re-shot the same picture to give myself a measuring stick to use when comparing my photos.

The setup

I stuck my Canon T3-i on a tripod and shot these photos with my 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens. I decided to try tethered shooting this time, so I had the photos downloading into Aperture 3 as I went for quick adjustments and larger previews than I could get on my camera’s little screen. I also used the Triggertrap app on my phone as a shutter release (which is really awesome and something I recommend you check out.)

The background is just our pine table with some chairs placed behind it and the light came from a chandelier hanging above with a dimmer switch on it. It may not be the most technical studio setup, but it got the job done (I feel, at least) pretty nicely.

The old and the new

You can compare the link to my old post on the Cadillac Fleetwood to the re-shoot of the same photo below.

I always have to critique myself and this time is no exception. I’m torn on the new one, as I think the color is more accurate and the lighting a bit better, but the background is not quite as interesting (the old one had different shapes and colors and some more bokeh.)

The cars

This is one of the first times I’ve dual-edited photos in Lightroom as well as Aperture 3. Aperture is great for organizing and quick adjustments, while Lightroom I’ve found to be more of a powerhouse editor, though I’m not as fond of its organization. So, I used them together for this series, which I think turned out pretty decently.

Model cars have become one of my favorite things to photograph, so expect some more coming soon in the future.

Double Vision

Now, I happen to be a classic rock fan (in addition to other music) and one of my favorite groups has always been Foreigner, a name many others (classic rock fans and non-fans alike) are likely to have heard of. Some of my favorite songs by them include “Juke Box Hero,” “Hot Blooded,” “Cold as Ice,” and “Double Vision;” just  anything off the album Double Vision, to be honest. So, I decided to do a cover redesign for the album, inspired by the song’s title (not so much the lyrics) and what many might think of when the see “double vision.”

Above is the final result, after asking one of my friends to pose for me and some post-processing to give it a faux-stereoscopic 3D effect. My logic behind the design was simple: when I consider double vision, I picture someone, slightly disheveled, reeling around as the world spins by in colors. Unfortunately, I felt that reeling around in a bunch of colors wouldn’t really make a great concept for this album, so I decided to go with something a little simpler: double vision in the sense that seeing an older 3D movie is almost like having double vision. You get the kinda of mesmerized feeling from the red and cyan overlaid on the original image.

After much putzing and eventual Googling, I stumbled upon this tutorial at Photoshop Essentials that helped me get the adjustments just right. As for my image being actually 3D, I’m not certain, as I didn’t have a pair of glasses around to test it. If I happen to stumble upon some, though, I’ll hurriedly run to the computer and inspect the image to see if it truly works. I really enjoyed experimenting with 3D, and I plan to look into it more in the future as a possibility for my photography. Stay tuned for more updates, and until next time, thanks for reading.

Note: If you’d like to learn more about Foreigner, their website is a great place to start. Also, iTunes is a good place to preview some of their music (they’re also available on Spotify, if you prefer.)