Typically, no matter where I wonder in the world I take a morning walk to start my day.  Last Wednesday, I happened to be on my normal route through Heisler Park and the Main Beach Boardwalk in Laguna Beach, California when something quite unusual began to unfold.


As I approached the stairs leading down to the boardwalk, a line of CHP motorcyles first lined up and parked in a two column formation right next to the Life Guard building at the bottom of the stairs from Heisler Park.  They looked like they were in a staging pattern for a parade ride or an escort of some kind.  I thought to myself when I get down these stairs I am going to take a few clicks of this scene.

But just as I began to descend the stairs a column of bikes began to slowly ride off and I thought, well there went my big chance.  But instead of pulling onto PCH the lead bike slowly made its way down the boardwalk as all the other highly attractive CHP motorcycles followed as did virtually every eyeball on the beach.  I noticed cell phones in front of faces to my left and my right but I also noticed that everyone was keeping their distance as far as the ideal shot was concerned.  But they were in my direct path and I had to get the perfect angle of these CHP motorcycles lined-up along the boardwalk with the beautiful ocean side day blooming in the background.

As I moved in a crouched down to get the angle I wanted for my shot, an Officer started to make her way back towards her bike and said, are you about to get the shot?  To which I replied, I sure am.  She then asked if I would take a few with her camera and I happily said, Yes out loud, while in my head I was like, “Are you kidding me, I am the photographer extraordinaire, Don West, Jr., it is what I do, yes, yes, let me capture this special moment as a work of art for you.”  Then, unexpectedly, with a voice that boomed like Gunny Sgt. Whitfield when he was yelling at me for something back in my Navy ROTC days, Officer Handley barked, “Line Up.”

This here is something you are not gonna see every day. In honor of California Highway Patrol Officer Melissa Handley’s retirement, Wednesday was her last day after 24 years on the job, (most as CHP’s only female motorcycle officer), the squad makes one last ride to wherever she wants them to go, at the time of the 📸‘s their current destination was Main Beach Boardwalk in Laguna Beach, CA.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrIogwwimyk&w=560&h=315]

(After leaving the beach, I only had Officer Handley’s last name and wasn’t sure where the squad was from.  I did a Google search and found this awesome video done by CHP- South Los Angeles that details the heroine nature of Officer Hundley and her 24 years with CHP. Enjoy!)

I shared with Officer Handley that my mom had recently retired as a elementary school principal, [in Huntsville, Alabama] and Handley said, congratulations to my Mom on her recent retirement as well.

So, @shotsbydubbs Photography was there to get the snap 📸 for Officer Handley on her phone and of course I grabbed a few on my #redhydrogenone. It took me a couple days to get a little post-production processing done in Adobe Lightroom CC to get these shots ready for this post.  Honored to meet Officer Handley under the circumstance of celebrating her inspiring and trailblazing ride as a member of the CHP motorcyle corp.  Congratulations to Handley and a heartfelt thank you to her for 24 years of service to our community and to all first-responders who serve us every day.  I also send an early Happy Veterans Day to all my brothers and sisters of the American Armed Forces from a fellow non-combat Navy vet.  These are the best captures of the impromptu opportunity to brush up against and shoot a part of California history.


#californiahighwaypatrol #chp #melissahandley #shotsbydubbs #photography #dubbswanders #lagunabeach #mainbeach #lagunabeachboardwalk

Last month, I was out and I spotted this young man living his best life whilst enjoying the sunset while on vacation in Laguna Beach, CA. He struck a classic tree pose as he stood king 👑 of the rock. His friends didn’t get the 📸, however, as you can see, Dubbs clicked it. A timeless frame capturing the exhilarated spirit. I chose to use the auto-correct feature in Abobe Photoshop Express on my phone.

Below is the finished image that I posted on IG:

A Tree on a Cliff © 2019
A Tree on a Cliff © 2019

📸: Canon Rebel T6, ISO 800, 29mm, f/7.1, 1/200 sec, Yunteng monopod, auto-corrected in Photoshop Express.
Location: Heisler Park in Laguna Beach, CA, USA

#classic #vacation #bestlife #timeless #strikeapose #sunset #lagunabeach #photography #shotsbydubbs #treepose #pacificocean

I grabbed a few additional frames of the same gentleman and opted to apply the new techniques I acquired from Serge Ramelli’s Photo Serge® tutorial on Adobe Lightroom CC. I believe the results show a night and day difference.

Below is the frame I edited using Lightroom:

"King of the Mountain" © 2019
“King of the Mountain” © 2019

📸: Canon Rebel T6, ISO 800, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, Yunteng monopod, edited in Lightroom CC.
Location: Heisler Park in Laguna Beach, CA, USA

#shotsbydubbs #photography #landscapephotography
#travelphotography #sunset #pinksky #clouds #rocks #pacificocean #heislerpark #lagunabeach #kingofthemountain #vacationmemories

So, which of these two photos do you think looks more like a “professional” photograph?

Here is my first finished product from my modern day darkroom:

Local on a Road Less Traveled
“Local on a Road Less Traveled”

What I have come to understand is that what makes a great photograph only begins when we snap the shutter on our cameras. The real magic used to take place in dark rooms where artists worked their magic manipulating negatives before they developed their works. Nowadays, in the digital era folks flock to Adobe products like Photoshop and Lightroom to produce modern works of photographic art. So I entered in the post-production era of my photography with the assistance of a course that I purchased back in 2017 from Serge Ramelli and decided to finally put it to use.

I choose a photo that I thought had a lot of potential from a private tour back in 2017 around the southern portion on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. This particular photo was taken around sunset as we pulled over by the side of the road to take in the beauty.

📸:Nikon Coolpix B500, ISO 125, 4mm, f/3.0, 1/500 sec, handheld, edited in Lightroom CC.
Location: Southern Tahiti, somewhere near Papara, in French PolynesiaPhotoGrid_1554873236485-picsay

After following the step-by-step tutorial where Serge showed me how to clean up all the elements you see above I am excited to dive into my deep catalog of photographs and start applying and fine tuning my newly acquired Adobe Lightroom skills.

Who have you found to be exceptional resources for editing your photographs? Share in the comments below.

Yesterday, I had the joy of catching the beautiful spring scenes from above the Dana Point Harbor.  I am in the process of learning to shoot my new Canon T6 and was using the standard 18mm-55mm lens that comes with this camera.  I broke the landscape photography rules by shooting these handheld as opposed to utilizing a tripod, (rookie.)  Learning to manipulate the manual settings and getting off of the auto controls.  Here are a couple of my favorite shots from yesterday after some basic edits in Adobe Lightroom CC.


“One of the things I love most about a photograph is that it never changes, even when the things and/or the people in it do.” 

~ Don West, Jr.



Shot No.1 – “Wildflowers’ View”

📸: Canon T6, 18-55mm f/10.0 at 1/250 second, ISO-100, handheld, edited in Adobe Lightroom CC. April 7, 2019


Shot No. 2 – “Harbor Traffic”

📸: Canon T6, 18-55mm f/8.0 at 1/320 second, ISO-100, handheld, edited in Adobe Lightroom CC.  April 7, 2019


Shot No. 3 – “Historical Landmark No 189”

📸: Canon T6, 18-55mm f/8.0 at 1/160 second, ISO-100, handheld, edited in Adobe Lightroom CC.  April 7, 2019