Dueling lights

The night before a full moon, the moon rises just ahead of the time when the sun sets. If the weather is right, you can catch both great lights in the sky at the same time.

In opposite directions…so one photo that shows both is pretty challenging!

No problemmo: make a panorama image that includes both, by shooting four pictures that cover 180 degrees.

Found a suitable spot on the edge of a river near where it empties into the ocean…for reflections.

Clear skies.

Tested exposures and how much to turn the camera on the tripod for each image…and waited for the time indicated by my handy little phone app, The Photographer’s Ephemeris.

Bingo, the moon made its appearance right on schedule…I started shooting.

Got some great stuff. Went home to the computer to process the images and have Photoshop stitch them together.

Bzzzzz, failure. Not sure why, because I’ve stitched 7 images together before.

Sorry, you get just the two important ends of the pano:


This and that

I’ve taken some pictures that haven’t seemed to fit with others in a post, but thought you’d like them individually….

Heard ’em before we saw ’em…a trio of twin-rotor military helicopters.


Ross seems to really enjoy the seashore when the breeze is gentle and the waves are booming…although his face usually won’t show it!


Robyn found the tiniest starfish…long dead, and devoid of color…on a beach with dark sand. (What hard-working hands….)


Just outside the nearby town of Ferndale, we found this interesting cemetery on a hillside.


The final image is not a sunset. On a day when the sun had a terrible time trying to break through thick clouds, I managed a quick shot when there was a gleam that briefly punched through. Even though you can see the sun, it is still having to push through quite a bit of cloudy atmosphere…which allows us to clearly see its orb.


Why limit yourself to daylight?

Yep, I’m back on that “after midnight” kick.

Although none of these pictures were taken after midnight, the last two could have been.

The first one was taken nearly two hours after sunset on a moonless night. At the scene, there were almost no colors, just hints of light areas in the sky. There were no color reflections on the water to be seen with the eye. It’s so remarkable what the camera can register as it sits there soaking up light! [ISO: 50, 90mm, f/29, 30sec]

DSC_6860The second was taken about four hours after sunset with a 77% moon up high behind the camera. Notice the stars are not quite points of light (slightly oval), so the exposure was juuust a little too long for the lens I used. [ISO: 2000, 28mm, f/9, 26sec]

DSC_9499The third also was about 4 hours after sunset, with no help from a moon. When I opened the image in the computer, I was fascinated to see all the colors at the horizon and reflecting on the water, because the scene was so dark and plain in person! The exposure was very long, so the few stars you can see are trails in the sky. [ISO: 100, 32mm, f/16, 275 sec]


When to shoot?

Sunsets are such easy targets.

Is there any point in trying to shoot the rest of the day?

Ohhhh, I dunno, maybe sunrise….


And, you know, even dreaded High Noon can produce strong images…ones that emphasize all those shades of blue….


But sunset sure makes it easy….


From the sublime to the ridiculous

Those pictures in the previous post were almost….well, maybe the title of this post should have its words reversed.

Still, it’s hard to go wrong shooting a sunset at the beach.

All that color, all those reflections…you know, more like this, eh?


Actually, I spent nearly an hour shooting and scouting shots around the bay above….lovely crashing waves, lots of driftwood, fabulous rocks all over the place.

But. No. Sun. Heavy clouds overhead.

Suddenly, just as it was time for the sun to disappear into the ocean…a sliver opened in the clouds, and the sun shot out the color you see here.

And then it was gone.

Other times, the sun starts shouting half an hour beforehand, and I run around like a chicken with its head cut off…over here, over there, oooooo look at this!

But when I get home the shots are out of focus, or too busy, or clichéd….

Or almost too outrageous to be believed….



High drama

Thank goodness the only high drama in our lives is the scenery!

These two pictures are nearly unbelievable for several reasons.

The colors of the sky in this first one were in a different universe than anything I’ve ever seen! No one could explain to me where the color came from…no volcano somewhere, not even a meaningful storm for us!

And the colors only lasted about 5 minutes.


This second image very nearly didn’t happen.

We had left the beach at Trinidad, but were taking our time getting loaded into the car down from the beach.

The sunset hadn’t been much, but on a whim I drove back to the beach to see what might have developed. It was so dark I couldn’t see the water, but there was a very slight band of dark blue just above where I thought the horizon was.

I didn’t want to delay our getting home by setting up the tripod and testing exposures, etc, but I wanted to see what the camera might pick up with a longer exposure.

I SET THE CAMERA ON A WOODEN BENCH THAT RESTS ON SOME DRIFTWOOD, aimed it roughly in the direction of the waves I could hear, set it to auto focus and expose the scene (with some exposure compensation for the darkness), and set it on self-timer so I wouldn’t bump it.



Brook no boring sunsets

Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves…just gotta get in the car and roll….

Rolled 100 miles up the coast into Oregon, to the great little town of Brookings.

We’ve stopped there twice (a bunch of arch rocks along the 12 mile long state park), and knew we needed to come back and spend much more time exploring….

Landed at Lone Ranch Beach this time long enough before sunset that we could take a nice look around….


The high vantage point helped….

I was able to find a rock in the wash of surf that had a flat top about 6 feet up…that I could stand on with my tripod…to keep the camera & me out of the water but right in the action!

Hoo boy, was there ever some action!


The sky went nuts and the waves went nuts!

The beach was quite flat, so the surf could crash waaaay out there, then roll and roll, and finally crash on smaller rocks 200 yards farther in toward shore where I was standing.

Still, as the sunset quieted down, the waves became a little more subdued. This image seems completely placid…but that’s mostly due to it being a 30-second exposure.


Right in the very middle of that image, what looks like fog behind the low wall of dark rocks is actually the spray from waves repeatedly crashing in that area during the exposure!

Yet this sunset could never be called boring. Even after the sun had dropped below the horizon, it was creating colors in the high clouds that caused soft, shimmering colors on the surf. This exposure of 6 seconds shows a more accurate image of the active water. If you click on this image to have it fill your screen, you’ll see there is a large wave coming right at you that is about to curl and crash.


Are you sure this is the same place?

We frantically looked for access to the shoreline in an unfamiliar area south of Eureka, CA one evening…because the sunset was suddenly exploding with color.

Managed to find a narrow spot on Humboldt Bay with some old pilings to add character to the foreground!


The other evening we were driving near the same spot as the time for sunset approached, so we pulled off the highway to see what might develop.

The sky wasn’t nearly as spectacular….

Ah, but that means you just work a little harder to get something interesting!

I had a little fun with a 30-second exposure…and produced an image I find more compelling than an intense orange sky.

So different from each other!


Like I said

We left supper in a hurry this evening, because the pending sunset looked interesting.

Ran up to Moonstone Beach.

Almost turned into a dud…but…then it got interesting….


What a place!

The tide was waaay out, so as I trudged the 300 yards back toward shore, I spotted in the distance what looked like spinning flames.