January 22, 2014

the peculiar perils of photography

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Okay, nobody got hurt and I wasn't even in danger, but Sunday morning my jaw dropped when I saw some large wave action at the bottom of the cliffs at Black Sands Beach, located not far west of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a popular nude beach, but it was early and it was just me and the seagulls. You don't have to ask--my pants stayed on.

I was using my neutral-density filter which allows me to use a longer than normal shutter speed--these were 1/4 second exposures--suitable for recording the gracefulness of water splashes. I climbed up on a large rock at the west end of the beach and got to work.
The problem is that I do not yet own a cable-release and when I pressed the shutter I managed to introduce quite a bit of camera shake into the image. This didn't ruin the splash, but the tiny lighthouse in the distance and the dark rocks in the foreground required some Photoshop magic to restore them back half-way to somewhat acceptable sharpness. I don't think I'll ever be able to make a good large print from the image.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Now, I had better luck in avoiding camera shake with this image, but then I ended up with the problem of two competing areas of interest--the splash and the pinnacle. Some judicious cropping and reducing the color in the rocks and then darkening them helped somewhat, but the jury is still out on this photo (above). I was limited as to where I could set up my tripod. I was trying my best to stay dry. Working near the ocean's edge can be dangerous, but I managed to stay safe.

The major problem of going down to Black Sands Beach is having to climb back up. It seems to get more difficult each time I make the climb. A genuine slog. I was exhausted. I survived, but just barely. So there you have it--a little look into the perils of a pho-tog.
If the technical issues don't get us, the hike probably will. Sometimes both...

Photographing Marin County - the exhibit and book   


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

On my way back from the coast yesterday (yes, I went so put the whip away) I heard on the radio that there is a big storm out in the mid Pacific (no rain for us) which is suppose to generate some huge swells this Friday and the surf event at Mavericks may be held. Anyway, might produce some good wave action up north for us. I have one of those small battery operated remote shutter release doohickys. Works great and are cheap on eBay.

Civic Center said...

That hike is painful and dangerous, which I know from a few occasions where I did NOT keep my pants on. Be careful with that wave action, Don, or you'll be carried out to sea like that poor old man at Point Reyes earlier this week.

AphotoAday said...

Thanks for the reminder, Mike, to be careful. Those "sneaker" waves come out of nowhere, unexpectedly so they say. Hadn't heard of the poor soul at Point Reyes, but last year someone fell from a cliff near Rodeo Beach. The edges of the cliffs are tempting, but especially fragile when saturated by rain. Gotta drop you an email soon, so standby.

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