Gualala River Estuary

Gualala River Estuary

It felt great to get out with my camera today after having been down with the flu for a few weeks.  We had rain on and off throughout the day, so when we had a break in the storm I headed up to the north end of the Ranch.   I’ve wanted to shoot the Gualala River estuary for some time now and this seemed like as good a time as any.  It was late in the day and the sun was peeking through the clouds with a nice warm light.  This image is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) compilation of 9 images, each bracketed by 1 full stop on either side of neutral (range = +4 EV to -4 EV.)  I tried a few composites with only 7 images and that didn’t quite capture the full dynamic range of the scene (scene was too bright and too dark.)

The Gualala River drains about 300 square miles of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and is the county line between these two counties where it runs into the ocean.  It’s designated as a State Wild and Scenic River, and still supports a small run of Coho salmon and steelhead.  Both of these species are on the State and Federal Endangered Species lists.  Increasing upstream development, especially conversion of forestland and grasslands to vineyards, continues to threaten not only these species’ health, but also the health of our drinking water quality as well.  This is a fairly small watershed, and during the summer months river flows diminish to the point where the estuary remains closed to the ocean.  But for today my interest was more focused on light, reflection, and well…focus.  Mother Nature was also kind enough to cooperate.

If you’re interested in more information on this river and its watershed, I recommend you use the link for Friends of Gualala River.


Equipment:  Nikon D3s; Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 lens.

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