Point Reyes Tundra

ok, by definition, vegetation in the coastal dunes of Point Reyes is NOT tundra. However, for those of you who have been able to see real Tundra in Alaska (or elsewhere,) would hopefully agree the colors - and the wide range of colors is just amazing. THIS is what was so inspiring to me during our recent mini-NPN gathering last week. These dunes and vegetation reminded me of the Alaskan tundra. This image was captured just down the road a hundred yards or so from where Tony captured his image posted a few days ago.

Needless to say, I had a field day in this area. A “dog with a bone”… I was enamored of this place. While the landscape isn’t epic and rather static, the diversity of colors; a tapestry of colors is the story. Well, at least for me. And of course as many plant varieties as there are colors. The non-native iceplant during this time of year is showing many different colors - from yellow/green, to orange, to a deep maroon.

Specific Feedback Requested

I tend to push colors to stopping point where I want to keep things realistice, but really show off the colors. Not sure if I’ve gone too far, or if the colors are within the believability range. Yeah, right on the edge of the personal choice vs. believability.

Are there enough vegetation elements to keep the eye and mind engaged?

As always, your response, feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Technical Details

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @112mm, f/13 1/100 iso 200, 3-image focus stack in Helicon


Those ice plants can have pretty amazing colors. I think they’re called ice plants. You often like to mention the story behind an image. This one has a story, to an ecologist. There is a grouping of one type of plant that’s encircled by those ice plants. That’s usually due to competition. But which side is winning? Is the ice plant keeping the other from expanding or are those plants keeping the ice plants out? There is a battle going on but to the nature lover it’s just patterns.

This image needs to be seen large for greatest benefit. You could exaggerate the color differences between the oranges and the yellows here. I feel like the background orange/browns could be stronger. Oh heck, I’ll just try it.

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Thank you Igor! I was worried colors were too strong, but you’ve shown that they’re not. The change is subtle, but I’m really loving the changes. Thank you!

Well, I think the consensus is that the non-native species is choking out the natural vegetation. So I think the answer is the ice plant is winning… Intersting history of this plant if anyone wants to google it…

Lon, I totally agree with @Igor_Doncov . This should be seen BIG and his rework really pushes the colors, but not too far. Happy to hear you had a field day on your trip and got some great shots to boot.

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I hadn’t thought of tundra, but it works!! This area was fascinating and I could see that you and Tony were overjoyed when we got out of our cars. Actually I sensed it on the way in. I was the lead car and somehow just knew I should pull into a parking spot on this end of the large parking lot instead of the far end which was the more obvious way to the beach. Picking up brain waves??

I love tapestries like this! I wonder about the WB though – it seems a bit too warm. I was shooting with daylight WB and my shots (and memory) have more green. Here’s a quick and dirty WB to the gray dead vegetation around the ice plant. I remember that as a pretty neutral gray. The reds and greens deserve more saturation, though.

I am loving all the Point Reyes images. I feeling inspired to head out there soon. I feel drawn to @Diane_Miller’s version. A bit subdued compared to the others but just sits with me best. Just my humble opinion.

Thank you @Igor_Doncov , @Donna_Callais , @Diane_Miller and @DeanRoyer for your comments and suggestions. Much appreciated, and I agree with the color changes!

I haven’t had time, but will be reworking my master. I hadn’t thought about using the dead gray ice plant for a WB reference, but great suggestion Diane and I think I’ll go back and rework this one.

Thanks all! Others to come when I return from a quick vacation to the Sierra.


Loving this image, Lon. I am leaning towards @Diane_Miller rework with @Igor_Doncov reds/browns. Igor bring up a really interesting story/concept about plant competition and who’s winning the battle. I know that Ice plant is abundant and at nearly every beach from San Diego to the northern California border so I think it’s winning. I don’t mind. I think it’s beautiful but it is invasive for sure. Wonderful image, Lon!