taylorjohnturner
taylorjohnturner

Spaceship from the past



An old battery built along the California coast to fend off any potential invaders during WWII. As the platform it was built upon decays and more artists cover ...
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An old battery built along the California coast to fend off any potential invaders during WWII. As the platform it was built upon decays and more artists cover the structure in paint it's beginning to look less like a bunker and more like a eerie spaceship.
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3 Comments | Report
adavies PRO
 
adavies May 03, 2017
Very cool! Nicely captured! If you haven't done so already, please consider joining my Street Art and Graffiti challenge:)
https:// viewbug.com/challenge/street-art-and-graffiti-photo-challenge-by-adavies
Farozookeeper PRO
 
Farozookeeper August 07, 2017
Great photo! I also would be thrilled if you joined my graffiti challenge. :-)
Robreyimages Premium
 
Robreyimages May 20, 2018
Awesome shot I know where that is Devils Slide

Behind The Lens

Location
This was taken above Gray Whale Cove State Beach near Pacifica, CA. This was actually one of my first experimental long exposure shots as I tend to focus on wildlife photography.
Time
This bunker has always captured my imagination and I have seen hundreds of photographs of it but I wanted to portray it in a slightly different way. I thought that if I could get a good long exposure of it backlit by the city lights on the other side of the mountains I could better communicate my vision of it. So I headed out at around 8 pm on Sep 6, 2015 to try and capture the shot rapidly before anyone noticed there was a car parked at the state beach after sundown...
Lighting
In this case light was one of the most powerful tactics in making this image unique. I liked the way that the city lights on the other side of the mountains backlit the strange structure as it made the bunker feel a little more ominous. Meanwhile, the ambient light from a cluster of street lamps along the highway provided a dramatic, Rembrandt-esque side light. After taking a couple test shots I noticed the ambient light was a little too overpowering, so to really bring out the colors of the artwork on the bunker I used a handheld strobe to throw some light onto a couple key areas.
Equipment
I shot this on a Canon 5D Mark iii with a 16-35 mm f/2.8 lens and a Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT. The camera was mounted on an old lightweight tripod I picked up at a thrift store.
Inspiration
This bunker has always captured my imagination as I frequently drive past it going home from work. Its bizarre shape combined with the pedestal of earth underneath it gives the appearance of a stranded spacecraft; an alien from a bygone world existing in the modernity of the Bay Area. To me it represented the slow decay of fear, the last remaining vestige of a mindset that's died following the last World War. It was once a manned military outpost with its soldiers vigilantly scanning the horizon, weapons readied. Now it's become a canvas for artists, a wildly popular tourist attraction, and the occasional home to passing vagabonds.
Editing
I tend to avoid heavy post processing with my images as I want them to appear true to life. In this case I did all the work in Lightroom: aside from a slight boost in color and contrast all i did was add a little more dynamic range in the bunker itself, brought out the stars by darkeing the sky a touch, lowered the highlights in the overly bright clouds, and that's it!
In my camera bag
As a result of years of backpacking and saving as much room in my bag as possible for research equipment, my gear bag is pretty minimal, at least compared to many of my friends. Inside you'll find a Canon 5D Mark iii body (my baby), a 16-35 f/2.8 lens (easily my favorite lens because of its versatility and wicked image quality), a 28-70mm f/2.8 hand-me-down lens (for those incredibly crisp shots and beautiful portraits), and a Speedlite 600 EX-RT. Aside from these I always a carry a set of polarizers and ND filters, two GoPro Hero4 Blacks, a copy of The Portable William Blake (my favorite author), and a tripod. There's usually a sketchbook floating around in there somewhere alongside a big bag of goji berry trail mix and an emergency poncho.
Feedback
The biggest lessons I have learned over the years from chasing landscape images are the following: never pass up a good photo op, revisit the same location numerous times, learn the local weather patterns/sun path, and always have at least some intention of what shots you want before setting out. For this photo it was key that I picked one of the rare nights when the coast was not socked in with fog. It just so happened that the perfect night was right after a particularly exhausting day at work and I had no choice but to pull over even though all I could think about was how badly I wanted to go home and sleep. Since I had learned the dynamics of the coast and had visited the site several times I knew exactly where I wanted to stand and could envision the shot I wanted before I even got out of the car. I quickly ran out to the point, set up, took a few test shots, and BAM! It all came together in one final 15 second exposure. Persistence and a little research go a very long way.

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