Over the winter holidays I took our boys on a “field trip” to Fort Ross State Historic Park. Fort Ross marks the furthest point south of the expansion of the Russians down the California coast in the early 1800s. It was erected as a counter-point to the burgeoning Spanish colony of Yuerba Buena, later to become San Francisco.
Part of the natural defences of Fort Ross lie in the remoteness and rugged nature of the Sonoma Coast. This is beautiful country, and I plan to come back for some extensive photography when I don’t have four boys in tow!
Fort Ross has been extensively restored. The ongoing effort is a jointly financed venture with a Russian organization—a very good thing considering the service reductions at California state parks.
The artifacts within the buildings are not all from the original fort, but they are from the right historic period, and make a natural subject for High Dynamic Range (HDR). I particularly enjoyed photographing the workshops and this workbench.
As with Agaves, I tried to achieve an effect closer to that of an etching than a conventional black & white photo when I photographed the workbench. I shot seven exposures at shutter speeds ranging from 1/8 of a second to 25 seconds. I used a tripod, and made each exposure at 46mm, f/9, and ISO 100. The exposures were combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro and hand-HDR layering Photoshop. Then I converted to black & white using Nik Silver Efex Pro, Photoshop Black & White Adjustment Layers, and the monochromatic presets in Nik HDR Efex Pro.
Multi-shot HDR photography does take a bit of care, not to mention some time. So I was lucky the boys were happy playing in the fort, and clambering on and off the canons. They are shown with one below.