There’s just something about the ocean

Sunsets are pretty compelling scenes, and photographers just love all those colors.

You stand there looking up and out…to the limitless reaches of the sky, the horizon…all that power and majesty.

And when it occurs over the ocean, there’s such an amazing added dimension…or two…or three.

The water that laps at your feet is the same water that stretches toward the sun, and stretches to either side…and it goes forever.

The waves keep coming…from somewhere.

The sound of the surf adds more of that power.

The reflections on the water, on the sand, on the rocks.DSC_8778

The eagle eye doesn’t miss

On our way back from seeing the Great Grey Owl, we passed a spot with two large abandoned nests.

We’ve passed them for three years now, and have repeatedly checked each one for signs of current occupancy. Nope.

But Eagle Eye Robyn noticed something else this time.

In the tree past the second nest, if you duck your head a bit, there was a large bird perched.

Great spot to fish from, because it overlooks a large fresh water lagoon immediately beside the ocean.

We turned around to look closer.

Terrible setting to view…backlit by the late afternoon sun…but the camera saw it better than our eyes.

Hmmmm….sure looks like a juvenile Bald Eagle….DSC_8721

No wonder it’s so quiet!

I’ve mentioned before how quiet the redwood forests are.

We drove up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to find a new trail to walk, but got distracted by news there was a Great Grey Owl hanging around.


Found this one on a fairly low branch of a redwood, along the edge of a large meadow. He seemed not to notice the dozen or more photographers and tripods set up between him and his prey, neither did he respond to the cacophony of tripping shutters whenever he’d turn his head!

And then he flew!DSC_8688

The flight was only about 20 feet to a slightly better vantage point for the meadow…atop the post for a missing antenna for the park campground kiosk. All the photographers were set up only 20 feet from this new roost!DSC_8675

This is door #2

Yesterday’s post showed a sunset photo I took that used a looooong exposure for that dream-like sunset quality.

Tonight, I present the photo taken at the same time that endeavors to capture the action of the scene.

There’s the obvious contrast here between the calm, soothing colors and tones of the sky after the sun has set, versus the contrasting tones and shapes of the surf…and the explosions of spray.

The ocean is constant action here at the shoreline, and this exposure portrays it more obviously than a looooong exposure. Even the wind gets in on the action as it blows spray from the curl of a wave!

I’m interested to hear which type of exposure appeals more to you.DSC_8279

Door #1 or door #2

We were in Crescent City again at sunset, and the place put on its usual show!

Shooting the shoreline and surf at a time when the light is dim always presents at least one basic challenge…try to shoot a fast exposure and catch the action, or shoot a looooong exposure and make a smoooooth shot.

Fast exposures usually take more light, but we can push the camera sensitivity and push the combination of time and f-stop and focus carefully, and stop the action enough….

The looooong exposure can create a dream-like smooth quality that’s pretty compelling when combined with the color of sunset. The small waves during the exposure create ghost-like shading along the edges of rocks….

I managed to shoot this scene both ways.

Today’s post shows the 20-second looooong exposure. Tomorrow’s post will have the short exposure.

I’ll be interested to hear which one you prefer.DSC_8225

Low down coverup

Our day on the beach at low low tide was coming to an end…the waves were beginning to catch us closer and closer to shore. We had to worry that our access to the steps up the hillside to the car would be blocked by the rising tide!

Across the remaining expanse of smooth, unwashed sand I noticed something odd.

The frazzled end of some colorful line…maybe connected to an old float that got buried under the sand.DSC_3172

Low down surfing

It seems waves push faster at low tide, and they certainly push up higher!

We spent hours on one side of Camel Rock beach…where the sand comes up so gradually that the waves break waaaaay out there and run uppppp toward shore.

On this day of a low low tide, we were walking out much farther from shore than usual.

On the other side of this beach, the surfers were going nuts…because the waves were really great.

My problem was that our view of them was blocked by Camel Rock.


I managed to catch sight of two kite surfers…and the head of one board surfer waiting to catch a wave….DSC_3132