Del Mar Mesa Preserve (3 photos)

Three more photos from the “Elfin Forest” at the Del Mar Mesa Preserve – an absolute astonishing area of old-growth Scrub-oak and Mountain Mahogany chaparral.

This was only a brief visit, in bright afternoon light. I (finally!) met my Twitter friend Jeff “Doc” Hubbard (website: for lunch, together with Joe – and since we were in a restaurant nearby (what a coincidence!;-) I just had to show this incredible place to them.

I brought my camera with a lightweight prime and made a couple of photos, more for fun, but after processing them (some words on that below the gallery, for those who are interested) I actually like them quite a bit.

Technical Notes

Dappled light in forests is always a challenging situation to photograph. I expose to preserve the highlights, and then bring the hot-spots down with local adjustments (brushing), in Lightroom. I can then bring up overall exposure and lift up the shadows. This works far better and yields more natural looking results than using the global “Highlights” control. For the same reason, I do not apply “Clarity” globally to such scenes, but only locally, with the brush – only accentuating those areas where I really want the effect.

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All images and content © by Alexander S. Kunz, unless otherwise noted. No re-use without express written permission. Most images are available as prints and for commercial licensing. Please contact me if you’re interested. Prints and licensed images are NOT watermarked, of course.

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