John Stumbos  

Big Hill Preserves by John Stumbos

November 2023 - Big Hill Preserves

About the Image(s)

The Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento have been under tremendous development pressure for many years. Farms, ranches and natural areas were too frequently giving way to new homes and subdivisions. Concerned citizens joined together in 1991 and formed the Placer Land Trust to work with landowners to buy development rights and preserve open spaces for watershed protection and conservation. More than 18,000 acres of natural and agricultural land have since been preserved in Placer County. One such area is called Big Hill Preserves. It contains 874 acres of oak woodlands near Raccoon Creek and the Bear River. Last spring the Placer Land Trust invited artists and photographers to visit the area and capture its beauty for an exhibition later in the year at a gallery in nearby Auburn, a rapidly growing community east of Sacramento.

I spent a beautiful, sunny day up there and was captivated by this outcropping of granite surrounded by the brilliant green of early spring growth in the blue oak forest and the ground vegetation. I set up my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV on a tripod and went to work. Lens: Canon EF 24-105 mm @24 mm. Exposure settings: ISO 100, f/18, 1/10 sec., aperture priority, pattern metering. In post, I made the following adjustments in Camera RAW: profile, Adobe landscape; white balance set to 5500 temp. (daylight preset) and +19 tint to remove some of the green cast; highlights -57, shadows +38; white point +15, black point +4. I added some texture and clarity (+11 each) because I wanted those granite rocks to really stand out. I also added a little dark vignetting (-17) for the same reason. Vibrance up +11 just to give things a little more pop (although it didn’t need much because early spring foliage in the foothills is brilliant to start with).

Land trusts are doing good work and offer opportunities for people like us who share in their goals and want to bring our creativity to bear for a good cause.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
3 comments posted

Leslie Larson   Leslie Larson
WIth so much bad news these days, it's lovely to hear some good news. It looks like a lovely respite area in an overcrowded world.   Posted: 11/07/2023 10:39:48

Judy Haran   Judy Haran
Beautiful area. I like how your focus on the granite rocks provides a nice foreground element to the photo. I like your editing, and I wonder if this would look good as a black and white also.   Posted: 11/15/2023 10:21:36

Sherry Icardi   Sherry Icardi
What a wonderful story of successful collaboration. The spring green foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for those granite rocks and the rocks pull your eyes into the image and background. Composition was clearly thoughtful and sure hope that the collaboration leads to some success! Nicely done, John.   Posted: 11/22/2023 15:47:12