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1116 Vista Point Ln
Concord, CA, 94521
United States

(925) 286 6721

The visual works and portfolios of Josh Harmon. Northern California native photographer, videographer, and seeker of moments specializing in portraits, landscapes, and water. 

California Weekend


California Weekend

Josh Harmon

Since coming home from college I have not had as much time to focus on video/photo work as I thought I would. For the most part I've been busy with many smaller things that have eaten my schedule up. I find it always ironic that I live in such a gorgeous place but have little time to explore and enjoy. Fortunately I was able to make time for a small video project a few weeks back.

Just south of SLO is a resort offering heated mineral spring spas

For a while I've been wanting to create a short film/video (what's the difference really?) focussing on the feeling and atmosphere of both summer but also nostalgia and youth. I have seen many examples that crop on facebook or reddit. Generally these videos show groups of friends doing activities. Beyond that generalization, the shot style, color, location, and lighting contribute these videos to be, in my opinion, very emotionally impactful. I can feel and relate to those videos; they make we want to make new friends and explore and recapture my youth. In essence I wanted to go for that same effect with this video.

Half Moon Bay sunset. Handheld with 28-135mm IS with 5x zoom

The opportunity for my take at this came when my good friend from college was visiting other friends in California. She was out here for several weeks and ended up spending the last few days up in the Bay in with. For the former portion of her vacation she was with a friend in the San Luis Obispo area, where I drove down to pick her up. Overall I would be hanging out with her, and her squad, for a weekend plus a few days. This was the perfect opportunity to capture the emotions I was looking for.

On the gear side of things, the only (video capable) camera I have is my Canon 7D which should work fine. I decided that I would shoot handheld as much as I could favoring wide angles over tight shots. Further I wanted to shoot it in RAW to have as much flexibility when it came time to color it as well as the HUGE jump in quality RAW has over the stock h.264 format. To do that I used the most recent build of Magic Lantern on a new KomputerBay 1066x 32gb CF card I bought recently. With that CF card I can record continuously at 30fps ~1700x750 (2.35:1 ratio), which upscales to 1080x820 beautifully.

Sea Lions at Fisherman's Warf in SF

Throughout the weekend I had the chance to capture those moments I was looking for. From In N Out to mineral hot springs to San Francisco to Mt Diablo, etc. I would just have my 7D around my shoulder ready to shoot a clip here or there whenever I found a good moment to do so.

An example of the 5x zoom feature. 135L with 5x zoom

The only time I used a tripod was on Mt Diablo were I couldn't resist trying the 5x zoom RAW recording feature on the fog rolling in across the bay. The only way I could easily capture it was with a tripod (300mm (480 on 1.6x crop) at 5x zoom is shaky beyond all recognition). The benefit of the ultra zoom was the awesome timelapse (500x speedup) of the fog churning like the ocean. I also used the 5x crop handheld with my 28-135mm IS lens along Highway One to capture birds and surfers far away. The quality I was getting from my ~6 year old 7D was amazing!

Surfer along Highway One. Handheld 28-135mm @ 135mm with 5x zoom. 

The weekend was a blast and I had a great time being around some good friends. It was sad to say goodbye for a while but I had the solace of editing the film together. The editing process really began once I found a song. Using the Vimeo Music Store yet again (there are some good tracks on there if you hunt a while) I ended up using a song called Gates by Bellevue. It was free and fit the vibe I was really going for.

From there the edit was simple and the coloring straightforward. I used FCPX and Davinci Resolve as I usually do. Specifically with color I just used the BMPC 4K v2 Rec709 LUT on the CNDGs from the 7D for most the look. I added sharpening, a vignette, and basic global adjustments (Generally highlight control). I didn't want to really alter or push the look beyond that "out of camera" feel. For titles I played around for a while until I came up with a cool 90s esc retro look using stock film grain footage I have. 

My favorite shot from the product. The light is amazing, but also notice the highlight control and dynamic range of the CDNG file

Overall I am quite happy with the project and how the product turned out. I am tempted to keep filming my life over the summer and edit a larger summer encompassing video. I will see if I am have the time and energy, or the social life, to be able to do that. Anyway I think I will take a break from video for a while and focus on my darkroom and film photo work.