Alabama Hills: Great photography along scenic US 395!

Alabama Hills-Lone Pine, CA

California’s Alabama Hills

While processing this HDR tonight, I experienced a “note-to-self” moment. “Next time I’m over on highway 395, plan at least one extra day at Lone Pine for some quality time photographing the Alabama Hills!” This place is incredible, if you like weird rocks piled in odd formations, which I do. Guilty.

Movie Rd.

An added bonus here is all the movie history! Almost all the old cowboy movies were made here so they named the main road through the area, Movie Rd. All the action was out here and all the memorabilia is in town. Much of it is at the Mt. Whitney restaurant. The walls are plastered with photos of the old cowboy movie stars. Many are autographed; John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood… all of ’em.

Mt Whitney

Maybe I really need to add another day to this stop. Right here are also the best views of Mt. Whitney. It would be great to explore deeper, that aspect of this place too. The whole eastern Sierra range is intriguing to me. These mountains are beautiful to see on every trip to Death Valley or Mono Lake. All this scenery all along the Owens Valley has US 395 is right up there next to CA 1 as my favorite scenic roads in California.

This Photo

As always, I experiment a lot inside of Aurora HDR Pro. Three exposures (-2,0, +2) were fed into Aurora and I always start by resetting all the preset sliders. Small changes of sliders can make big changes to the HDR image. Halos are the biggest thing that HDR photographers fight with. You have to watch yourself with Aurora HDR Pro too. Things can go wrong. Not nearly like they could go wrong when using Photomatix Pro, but I’ve had to go back and start over on a photo more than once because I wasn’t watching those high contrast edges.  *Tsk tsk*

Building up your image in Aurora reminds me of those Live-Vis Humanoids they always had in science class. Remember those? Clear pages with the human skeleton, another with the muscles, another with organs, another with nerves, etc. Then when you put them all on top of one another, you get the final masterpiece!

Yeah, it’s just like that when you create with Aurora HDR Pro. You start with your unprocessed image (skeleton) and add layer after layer of fixes and enhancements, until the final masterpiece is revealed! It’s always so fun brushing in subtle effects just to your liking to make the final photo. That’s that part I really love!

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