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Route 33 and the Los Padres National Forest

About

So stoked to be taking this class. I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at everyone's photos so far and reading your stories. The #withheartsskillshare tag is so fun to flip through on Instagram. Great work y'all!

My name is Zack and I'm currently living in Ojai, CA (an hour north of LA). If you're in the area let's go for a hike or get some coffee!

My Instagram

My Website

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The Route

I'll be shooting for this project along the Maricopa Highway, or the the California 33. It was originally built to promote tourism in the area, but that flopped when suburbs grew along the coast. Today, it is one of the least traveled highways in all of the state.

I have taken this route a number of times to get to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and every time I get a sense of space and an almost unnerving solitude. The road curves around jagged cliff edges and along mountain streams for what seems like forever. There are a couple ghost towns with abandoned pick-up trucks and tractors. There are burned forests, huge dry riverbeds, and coyotes are a common sight.

Autumn and winter are optimal times for capturing the essence of the place as clouds begin to move in after an almost completely cloudless summer. Occasionally there is a dense fog that fills the gorgeous valleys below and other times you will find yourself in cloud fog at 4-6,000 ft elevation. I have to keep my eye on the weather though. Timing is everything here.

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Editing

I loved watching Cory's editing process. Snapseed and Filterstorm are two very necessary apps that I didn't know I was missing. Huge thanks. 

Here is a before and after:

My editing process for this was basically the same as in Cory's videos. I sent it to Snapseed first to tune the image. Then, I took out the white poles, electric wire, road sign, and even the small leaf on the left side of the road. Next came Afterlight where I clarified it and added a bit of Russ to it. Finally, in VSCOcam I used a bit of the K1 filter. 

Cory's editing process showed me a couple of things: 1. That VSCO isn't everything. Before I was using primarily VSCOcam and while I still do loooove this app, I see the value in apps like Snapseed and Afterlight. 2. Detail! I love how effortless it is to zoom in on pictures in Filterstorm to cover up subtle distractions. 

The only thing to figure out now is how to best remove the half-edited photos and organize everything!

Here is another before and after:

1. Snapseed tune up and straighten

2. Filterstorm to remove top left tree and floating leaves in the bottom right.

3. Afterlight tune up and Russ filter.

4. VSCOcam M6 filter. 

Done.

Here are more shots from my first short trip up Route 33. It was so cool exploring around these tunnels and bridges. The land formed in such a way that they needed to build two tunnels next to each other with a bridge connecting them. 

Update 11/25: Route 33 after the rain

Southern California smells good. Seriously. There are wild herbs like sage, yerba santa, and bay. The mix is incredible. So, after a nice rainfall the scents are intensified creating an overwhelming aromatic experience. Too bad I can't share them with you. 

 I found this gorge with steam rising out of it and caught a good shot of my co-adventurer. Behind her is a 100 ft drop off!

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