Capturing the Sea in Motion: A Study

(Click on any image to enlarge)

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.

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