Capturing the Sea in Motion – Continuing the Study

(Click on any image to enlarge)


Cormorants at Del Mar Cove Del Mar Cove Del Mar Point

These images from Del Mar Cove here on Sea Ranch continue the study of the sea in motion.  For these images I used an extended exposure from 6 to 30 seconds.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, extended exposure like this adds considerable chaos in the final image.  Now, while one can’t control every aspect of the outcome in long exposures, some trial and error as well as having an idea ahead of time as to what effect I am trying to achieve reduces the level of chaos in the final image.  I also shot these images in color and I really don’t know the full extent how the images will translate to something I want when processed into B&W.  But having shot many, many mid-day long exposures with a 10-stop ND filter provides a pretty firm base from which to start.

The light and clouds are also major players here in adding to the overall effect of the sea’s motion extended over time.  This is one of my favorite spots to shoot along the ten-mile stretch of Sea Ranch.  I call this area ‘Cormorant Rock’ because, as you can see in the first image, there is often a cormorant or two sitting atop the pyramid-shaped rock just offshore.  The amazing thing is that in this image where the cormorants are perched atop the rock, the exposure was 30 seconds long.  These guys really don’t move much…how nice for me.  And finally, the B&W really seems to bring out the textures and tonal quality in the layered rocks and the intertidal creatures covering the rocks.

I hope you enjoyed my focus on how extended exposure can capture the sea in motion in a very unique way.  Having the rocks there for the sea to work against and around also adds to the overall visual complexity of the image.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 lens; Hoya 10-stop ND filter; Oben Tripod


Posted in Beach, Black and White, Geologic Formations, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography, Seascapes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Capturing the Sea in Motion: A Study

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Sea ranch off Stengel Beach Tide against the Rocks

I often enjoy going down to the beach in late afternoon.  And while not quite the golden hour, it’s a time of day that seems to suit me and my subject.  This day I was at the bluff just north of Stengel Beach here in Sea Ranch where there are rock outcroppings close to shore.  I have a nice vantage point slightly above eye level with the rocks and I can capture a broad enough scene with a wide angle lens.  Today I was interested in contrasting the movement of the surf and the power of the rocks against the sea.  For my “Study” here I used a 10-stop ND filter and shot at between 15 and 25 seconds at 24mm.

As you can see in the images the extended exposure blurred the movement of the surf as it wrapped around the rocks.  I chose B&W as part of my study because I prefer the way it highlites the texture of the rocks and the geologic features of the broader coastline.   The interplay of the “smokey” surf, the heavily striated cliffs, and the clouds is captivating, to me at least.   By extending the duration of the shutter opening it adds a certain abstractness to the scene that is unique to each capture.  It adds a random, uncontrolled factor to the final outcome of the image.    This is often counter to most photography where the intent is to control as much of the scene as possible.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy my little ‘study’ here.  There will be some follow-up images which extend the ‘study’ a little further.



Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Hoya 10-stop ND filter; Oben Tripod.

Posted in Beach, Black and White, Geologic Formations, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography, Seascapes | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Some Spring Color Along Black Point Bluff

Spring at Black Point Poppies and Daisies along Black Point April At Black Point

I shot these images back in April when the profusion of ice plant and poppies and many other plants were first coming into their own.   I always hesitate a little bit when it comes to showcasing invasive species like ice plant, but beauty is where you find it.  The power of these colors is difficult to ignore and art makes no judgement about its subject.   So I post these images here for the shear beauty and joy they bring to the beholder.  I hope you find them as compelling as I do.  ENJOY!


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 14-24mm, f2.8 lens; Oben tripod.

Posted in Beach, Coastal meadows, Environmental Issues, Landscapes, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography, Seascapes, Wildflowers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Return to Old Salt Point Homestead

Salt Point Barn Old Shack at Salt Point Old Homestead at Salt point

A few years ago I posted a short story about an old dilapidated homestead in Salt Point State Park.  I thought I would revisit this place as its aging structures continue to be overtaken by time and their surroundings.  The first structure was an old barn, and as you can see from the sagging roof this old building is being consumed from the inside.  The second little building is a tiny shack whose original purpose is unknown to me.  As you can see this shake-roofed little shack is being overtaken by its natural surroundings.  The last image is what’s left of an old home that has been beaten down over the decades by wind and rain and time.  The leaning chimney, already separated from what’s left of the main house, is all that’s recognizable amidst the rubble surrounding it.

There is something captivating, at least to me, about these old buildings in that I just can’t help from imagining what life must have been like here in its’ heyday.  What dreams and aspirations have came and gone for the inhabitants of this place who left these dwellings to the elements and to time to fend for themselves.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens, Oben tripod

Posted in Black and White, History, Landscapes | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Lens on the Past

Fresnel Lens


I took this image back in 2009 at the Point Arena Lighthouse.  I thought it would be interesting to take another look at this shot of a segment of the lens that was used in the reconstructed lighthouse after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The Lens is called a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, and is over six feet in diameter and weighs more than six tons. The lens was made in France at a cost of $3.5 million and consists of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bullseyes. It was these bullseyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique “light signature” of two flashes every six seconds.

In June 1977 the installation of an automated aircraft-type beacon on the balcony tower retired the historic Fresnel Lens forever.

I’ve been looking through my images on my newly installed iMac and saw the original color version of this subject.  I thought it might be interesting to see it in an even more abstract B&W rendition.


Equipment: Nikon D300; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 len

Posted in Black and White, Lighthouse | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Meet the “Flockers”

Attitude The Dancer Stately Shy


Well it’s that time of year again when Sea Ranch’s local sheep flock makes its appearance in the meadow behind our house.  I just can’t pass up the opportunity to capture a few of these lovelies, especially right after lambing.  These images pretty much speak for themselves.  The flock continually moves through the Ranch munching unwanted fuel for fires.  It’s cheaper than mowing and it adds a little fertilizer back to the soil.

Equipment:  Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens, Monopod.

P. S. Those of you who routinely follow my blog are probably wondering where I’ve been for so long. Well, blame it on my really bad judgment in loading Windows 10 on my PC.  It totally destabilized my machine and made photo editing impossible.  I finally bit the bullet and switched to an iMac and haven’t looked back.  If you’re thinking about updating to Windows 10…don’t!

P.P.S.  Anyone want to buy a PC…cheap?

Posted in Coastal meadows, Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch Photography | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Old Redwood Barn

Old Redwood Barn

I’ve posted a couple of other old barns and structures before and I guess I just love these aging structures.  This one is located a block north of River Road near the Russian River east of Guerneville, right in the Russian River wine country area.  I’ve been past this barn many times and always wanted to photograph it but never quite made it happen.  So a week or so ago I took a day trip through the Alexander Valley looking for the wild mustard blooms and came away a little disappointed.  Then I remembered that old barn.  It was late in the day and I got some nice lighting and shadows to enhance the scene.  The English daisies were also blooming close to the ground which added a nice carpet of color as well.  For me, these old weathered barns hearken back to a time when we worked the land by hand.  I’m just glad I finally got a chance to give this old barn a second look.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens (at 24mm); monopod.

Posted in History, Landscapes, Old Buildings, Sonoma County | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Petaluma: Its History Remains


I spent a few hours on my own walking through the back alleys of Petaluma a week or so ago.  From the main street Petaluma looks like most other northern California small towns with newish facades on older buildings.  But a trip through the back alleys along the Petaluma River reveals much of the older parts of Petaluma that was originally founded in 1859.  One of the oldest towns in California it was also the only town in proximity to San Francisco to survive the 1906 earthquake relatively intact.  This is evident from the remaining cobblestone alleys and abandoned rail tracks that run along the river bank.  Like so many other California towns with river frontage, the town backs to the river rather than fronting along the river as I am accustomed to having grown up in Long Island.

In these images I’ve tried to capture some of the textures that reflect the true age of this special city.  Petaluma seems to embrace its history by retaining the remnants of its past development, yet also tries to show a more modern face to its main street.  This day my interest was in the historic “Back” story as I think it’s what distinguishes it from many other more redeveloped cities in Northern California.  The abandoned train tracks, the back doors, the cobblestones, all tell a tale of resilience and pride in the history of this little town on the river.  I love hanging out here.


Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens

Posted in History, Old Buildings, Sonoma County, Street Photography | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment