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General Blog

Sea Mist In America

Gray Whale Cove Beach, California.
Phase One XF, IQ180, 110mm lens, 15 seconds @ f12, ISO 35, 10x ND Filter

Tony Hewitt and I spent a speedy four days reconnoitering the space between San Francisco and Las Vegas, with a view to running a small travelling workshop in South West USA early next year (send me an email if you're interested in details as it may be almost full already)!

Stepping off our plane and finding ourselves on location six hours earlier than when we left, we took a drive south toward the home (at some stage) of both Edward Weston and Ansel Adams and the famous landscape of Point Lobos. However, the entire coast between San Fran and LA is punctuated with great landscapes and, even better for us, there was a giant swell, adding to the drama.

It wasn't really winter. In fact, we heard on the radio that the temperature for February had been two degrees warmer than the average, so the fact we were in cotton shirts was possibly a little unusual. However, the light was low in the sky and silky. It's hard to describe, but even in the middle of the day when this photograph was taken, there was a softness that we don't often see in Australia. Perhaps it was a combination of low light, sea mist and pollution!

We first saw this scene from the road, just half an hour south of San Francisco. We had to double back to a parking spot and walk a few hundred metres up a headland from where there were great views both north and south. After scouting around, I dropped back down the headland a little so the other headlands in the distance lined up in a more pleasing formation. So, step one, find the viewpoint that works best.

I shot a series of images at normal shutter speeds, but then I added a 10 stop neutral density filter which gave me between 10 and 30 seconds, depending on my aperture. This image is 15 seconds. Naturally the camera is tripod mounted.

The image is processed in Capture One using several Local Adjustment layers to darken the sky, bring out some detail in the broken water, and emphasise the foreground headland. The degree of control you have in Capture One means I don't have to visit Photoshop so often - it's very much like the relationship between Lightroom and Photoshop, except I find Capture One gives me better colour and contrast than Lightroom. However, don't send me hate mail! I'm not anti-Lightroom and many of my friends love what it does for their photographs. It's just that I much prefer what Capture One does for mine at this point in time.

If you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, Whitsundays, New Zealand and Bhutan. Full details on the Better Photography website!

And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.

Processed raw file before adjustments.

Looking at this file, you can see how much sea mist was involved - it was quite a moody scene and there are still a few more frames I have yet to play with!

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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