Stormy Windansea at Sunset (9 photos)

Returning to Windansea ten days after the sunny low-tide photos. It was raining more or less steadily – rather difficult conditions for long exposure photography because it’s next to impossible to keep the filter/lens free from raindrops, and boy do they show on wide angle photos…

On such days, conversations with friends usually go something like this: “Sorry, I can’t meet tonight, I’m going to the ocean to make photos” – “But it’s going to rain!” – “Exactly!” :-) …I just love these conditions. “Real weather” is rare enough in Southern California, so I’m enjoying winter storms a lot. A doctor once told me that exposing oneself to the elements is good for mental health – it certainly makes me feel more alive – the best part of the experience though is probably being able to change to dry clothes afterwards, crank up the heat in the car, and then meet a friend for a warm meal. :-)

The photos below are quite a mixed bag – long exposures mostly, but for sunset I got rid of the stronger neutral density filter and went with shorter exposure times to capture the sun. Unexpectedly, it briefly peeked through the clouds as it neared the horizon. As a result, color renditions and interpretations are rather inconsistent. I’m not too thrilled about that when I look at the entire gallery as a whole, but as stand-alone images I like all the photos (some more, some less, obviously).

Photo number two in the gallery is a bit unfortunate – I had so many raindrops on the lens by the end of my 2 minute exposure that the sky was entirely unusable. I swapped it out with the sky from one of my test exposures, which is at a very high sensitivity, and thus rather noisy. I still like the end result, but in similar conditions, I’ll make a short exposure without an ND filter just for the sky in the future. Another lesson learned!

Photo number five is another such test exposure, but I like the rendition of the water in it so much that I kept it. Photo number six is the actual long exposure version – I know it looks rather odd when compared side by side… (and initially it was actually much worse, until I remembered that I had profiled my 10-stop neutral density filter, and thus was able to neutralize the color shifts).

Sometimes, the appearance of landscape/seascape photos is so “unrealistic” because what we’re seeing with our own eyes and what the camera can actually capture is so vastly different. Of the photos above, two are blended from two different exposures simply because the camera can’t handle that much dynamic range – even though it’s a Nikon D800, one of the cameras with the best dynamic range out there.

So I have one exposure for the foreground and one solely for the sky and I develop them individually for their qualities to then blend the result together (a Photoshop task that is simple enough even for a total PS-klutz like me to perform) – but is that what it ACTUALLY looked like? I stayed away from the saturation slider(s) but despite that, the photos almost look overly saturated and unrealistic to me. I guess a lot of that is only happening in my head…

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6 Responses

  1. Sometimes there is nothing better than to embrace the elements, wrap up warm, keep as dry as possible. You often find you have the place to yourself too!!

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