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 Photoshop helped me not to violate the commonly enforced trademark ruling against commercially publishing a photograph of the Lone Cypress in Carmel California.  

Photoshop helped me not to violate the commonly enforced trademark ruling against commercially publishing a photograph of the Lone Cypress in Carmel California.  

As many of you know, the Lone Cypress in Carmel is trademarked.  The current trademark is held by the Pebble Beach Company and it declares that no commercial use of its image is allowed. By rule you are not allowed to publish photographs, paintings or drawings of the tree without written permission. Permission that they hardly ever grant. That includes the use of it on Facebook, Twitter or Blogs.  Though people take photographs of the sturdy cypress tree braving the elements on the point in the Pacific Ocean, every day by the thousands, few understand the trademark business. I don't agree with being able to trademark something in nature but I will respect it for now with my Photoshop protest image. 

Recently, after I finishing a shoot in Monterey, I made my way over to 17-Mile Drive and took in the sites. Like everyone else, I had a to shoot a shot of the Lone Cypress.

On this shot I used a 9-Stop Neutral Density filter to enable my camera to shoot down to 3 full seconds in broad daylight.  That allowed me to capture the silky water below.  

Of course I had to use a tripod and since the filter is so dark, you can hardly see through it. You also have to make all of your adjustments in advance.  You need to determine your exposer by test shooting or using a calculator like ND Timer for the iPhone.   Put your focus on manual, your camera on manual, then delicately place the filter over the lens.  You only have to thread it on lightly because you don't want to move the camera and thereby changing your composition or focus. Then use a cable release and mirror lock up to fire the shot. 

 Shot at an 80th of second at f/16 at a low ISO of below 100 - this is as slow as I could shoot at this time of day. (Image is blacked out so as not to violate trademark ruling.)

Shot at an 80th of second at f/16 at a low ISO of below 100 - this is as slow as I could shoot at this time of day. (Image is blacked out so as not to violate trademark ruling.)

While shooting, watch for the rhythm of the waves to capture the most dramatic water splashes.  Since that day was pretty calm, the use of the 9-stop ND filter was quite helpful in making the water look more special than it really was. 

Later in Photoshop, it took about an hour to take out the Lone Cypress.  I like to work in sections that I have selected in order to make the cloning look real.  I used the stamp tool and the healing brush both at different opacities to remove the tree and replace it with the hills in the background.  Another technique I like to use is copying the horizon from one part of the image and pasting in where you need it.  It's a lot easier to work with a mountain top that is real than one that is cloned. 

Lastly I cropped it and saturated some of the teal color in the ocean.  Now I'm going back to the computer to take the Golden Gate Bridge out of few shots.

Copyright 2015, Terry VanderHeiden