I took a break from the shop a couple of days ago to head out to Black Point and Arch Rock to check out the scenery. We’ve had a string of storms hit the coast here bringing some much needed rain, and now there was a nice albeit short break in the action. The first image captures some nice shore waves reflecting back off the bluffs; you can also see a small waterfall flowing off the bluff from the meadow above. The reflected wave makes for a nice focal point for the image and helps to carry the viewer’s eye into the image.
The second image shows Arch Rock just to the north of Black Point with some nice waves lingering from the prior storms. The sheep-stake fence in the foreground is also a reminder of the sheep ranching bygone days here in what is now Sea Ranch. I used a 6-stop ND filter for both these images so I was able to shoot at 1 to 3 seconds to allow for a little blurring of the ocean. Just a little. Now, it’s back to the shop.
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod; B&W 6-Stop ND filter
Right now there are five storms stacked up over the Pacific and heading towards the west coast. The first storm moved in late last night, but before that I went down to Bihler Point directly off the Sea Ranch Lodge to capture the last light of the day. I could see some really nice storm clouds building and the leading edge of the storm was moving in fast. I managed to beat the rain and captured some nice images of the storm’s low ceiling, which also created a visual sense of foreboding. I shot these images with a 3-stop ND filter which allowed for some slightly longer exposures adding some additional mood to the ocean shots. But the clouds were the subject here, and they were perfect for capturing the mood that was part of being in that space at that moment. I like this aspect of B&W, as it allows for more abstractness than color and provides more freedom to create a picture, or a mood.
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod: B&W 3-stop ND filter
We’ve been having some more traditional winter weather here on the North Coast and I wanted to head east up into the Gualala River watershed. I wanted to find some nice tree specimens to photograph while the clouds remain. In the first image the storm clouds provide a great backdrop to a stand of oaks barren of their foliage. I shot this image looking up a ravine where these oaks stood, thus providing an interesting perspective for these looming oaks.
The second image shows a lone Manzanita against a backdrop of old, moss-covered oaks. I shot this image looking downhill at this stand of trees. The dark and bark less Manzanita still stands out against this heavily vegetated background. This is an especially nice specimen of a mature Manzanita.
The last image was taken from the Annapolis Road Bridge looking downstream of the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River. It was nice to see a robust flow in the river when only a few months ago this stretch of river was totally dry. It’s great to see the rain again!
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod; Kirk ball head
We’ve been having some stormy weather here at Sea Ranch and between the storms we’ve had a bit of fog push in to the ridge top. I first headed up into the redwoods here along Timber Ridge and found the forest enveloped in a shroud of hazy fog in the late afternoon. The first three images capture that deep forest feeling and the overall stillness I felt as I stood in the midst of this almost primeval forest. You could actually hear the dew drops falling from the trees it was so quiet and still.
The last two images were taken a little later on in the day down at the Monterey Cypress hedgerow along Black Point Reach. I really couldn’t decide which of these images I liked better so I decided that I didn’t have to decide. These hedgerows are an iconic piece of the Sea Ranch “Experience” and hearken back to the days of sheep ranching throughout these coastal meadows. They were planted as a wind break.
The most compelling part of these images for me is that I was able to capture them all within about an hour or two without going more than a few miles from my house. The north coast is a pretty magical place with all it diverse environments all within a short walk. Life is good!
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Oben tripod, Kirk Ball Head
We had a pretty nice storm here along the North Coast a few days ago and I ventured out to one of my favorite spots to shoot the sunset. I’ve shot this scene at Galleon’s Point on Sea Ranch not too long ago focusing then on long exposure and its affect on the final image . This time I had a rather impressive sunset to work with creating some drama along the horizon. The density of the large storm cloud in the upper right prevented much of the color from penetrating deep into the scene so I decided to convert to B&W instead. It was cold, blustery and getting dark when I captured this image. For me at least, it captures the mood I experienced at the moment.
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Oben Tripod, Kirk Ball Head
Fall is settling in here along the north coast and I always enjoy going down to the Gualala River in the late afternoon this time of year. There is a rather thick stand of white alders at the junction of the South Fork and the Wheatfield Forks of the Gualala River (we call it the “Twin Bridges” area.) I enjoy photographing these trees especially late in the day as the sun is low in the sky.
The first two images are taken from deep in the woods and I chose B&W because the color range was pretty narrow and the texture of the bark stands out more in shades of grey.
The last image was taken slightly down stream and it obviously had a much broader range of fall colors than in the stand of alders. The river was not really flowing so the reflection of the trees in the still water was a nice bonus. We had some rain last night and the place from where I stood to take this picture is now under water. As always, this was a great way to spend a late afternoon, and yes we do get some fall color here.
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; B&W 6-stop ND filter; Oben Tripod
A few days ago, during the tail end of hurricane Patricia, we had some large surf here on the north coast. I wanted to continue my experimentation with black and white photography so I headed down to Galleon’s Point on the south end of Arched Rock Cove here on Sea Ranch. This spot is right down the path that goes through the meadow in back of our house. I can shoot there from some fairly wind-protected spots, which I needed for the long exposures I had in mind.
I shot all these images with a 10-stop ND filter (“Black Glass”) in late afternoon using exposures from 6 to 30 seconds. The large waves crashing against all the rocks in the cove produced a lot of sea spray (spin-drift) which is evident as soft white clouds in some of the longer exposures. The massive rock towers are a great feature to contrast against the ever-moving and turbulent surf as it makes its way to shore. The end result is a more abstract expression of what I saw, especially when mixing the long exposures with B&W.
I realize that fall is a time of great color change, but here on the north coast fall is more about changing ocean conditions and abrupt weather changes, at least for me. We have our share of changing fall colors, don’t get me wrong, but having grown up in the northeast it’s just not quite the same thing. But I revel in the differences and take each day, and wave, as it comes.
Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens, Oben Tripod wit Kirk ball head; Hoya 10-stop ND filter
We had our first light rain the other night and our first sense that fall has finally arrived here on the north coast. I spent a nice late afternoon at Walk-On Beach here at Sea Ranch, watching the heavy surf pound against the rocks. Watching the churning surf made me think that some extended exposures would provide an interesting mood from this scene. So I used my 10-stop ND filter and used a 25-second exposure to tame that powerful surf and create the sultry scene I had in my mind’s eye. The air was cold, the wind was up and fall was definitely in the air. These images show what I felt as I slowly filled all my senses with the sights, sounds and smells of a beautiful fall afternoon along the Sonoma coast. I’ve photographed here many times and each time is like I’m experiencing it for the very first time. Not bad for just another day at the beach.
Equipment: Nikon D810, Nikkor f2.8 24-70mm lens, Oben tripod, Kirk Ball head.