Morro Bay Harbor Panorama from Sweet Springs Nature Preserve

As I start to focus on my photography again I want to start talking about the stories of some of the images I’ve taken, show them off and explain why I like a specific image. This won’t be a “photo a day” project because I don’t plan on batching up a bunch of them for timed publication later, but I will be trying to do this two or three times a week…

Today’s image is actually two images, or more properly two renderings of the same image. Or perhaps it’s half a dozen images, because this is really a stitched panorama, and these kinds of confusions are a joy of digital photography, which enables these kinds of capabilities, and the bane of people who want to argue about what a “real” image is instead of looking at the result and deciding whether to like it. Me, I’ll stick with the results and not the internal guts of them.

It was taken with the Fuji X-T1 in vertical position and stitched together into a larger (7200 x 4200) image. I love taking panoramas, but I don’t do it as often as I should because I tend to do a lot of moving around and not on a tripod (something I should change). This, though, is a hand-held panorama which I seem to have good luck with.

It was taken at a favorite place of mine, Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos, which is on the southern edge of Morro Bay Harbor, and a place where you can look back and see the harbor and the rock out in the distance. When the weather is right, the view can lend itself to dramatic landscapes (and when the weather isn’t right, it’s a boring, hazy mess).

Sweet Springs is important to me for a number of reasons; it is about half-way between my place in Silicon Valley and my parent’s place in Southern California, so when I was doing the frequent trips south to help them while Dad was ill in the last year of his life, it because a place to stop on the way north to take a break and hide from reality for a bit. It was also the place I visited when I first started getting serious about my birding and went on my first non-local birding trip (the “do I really want to do this?”) trip — and while walking through the preserve, I had a male western tanager fly in and sit up on a branch for me to look at in all its glory, and that just ended any debate about whether I wanted to be a birder.

It’s a tiny space, and sometimes you go there and nothing’s happening, and sometimes you go there and it’s just stuffed full of birds. But it’s a great little walk, it’s always a beautiful place to sit on a bench and just stare at nature around you and unplug for a while, and it helped keep me sane as my dad was dying and I was trying to help mom deal with and cope with the situation.

Morro Bay Harbor Panorama from Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Los Osos, California

Morro Bay Harbor Panorama from Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Los Osos, California
This image is available for license exclusively from TandemStock Images. Find this image on Tandemstock here: https://tandemstock.com/assets/61160016

I think this is my favorite image of Sweet Springs because it really shows the vista you see there well, but as much as I like it, the color palette of pastels that it brings from the winter light mutes the drama of the view. So I did something else I need to do a lot more of and I decided to do a conversion to black and white (or more specifically a monochrome with a bit of a sepia toning), and that let me bring out the structure of the image and really show off the drama within in the image that was getting a bit lost in behind the color.

Morro Bay Harbor Panorama from Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Los Osos, California

Morro Bay Harbor Panorama from Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Los Osos, California. This is a black and white variation of this image. This image is available for license exclusively from TandemStock Images. Find this image on Tandemstock here: https://tandemstock.com/assets/67937291

And this image, the monochrome version, is one I absolutely love without any reservations or “gee, I’ll bet if I did it again I could improve it” thoughts, and I think it really makes this location sing in a way I’ve been trying to do for a few years and multiple visits.

Morro Bay is a favorite place of mine and I visit it once or twice a year, of course with the camera. You can see more of my images from the Morro Bay area, including my stops (and multiple panorama attempts) at Sweet Springs, over on my Smugmug gallery site.