Captivated by the sea

The coast of California has long been on my list of places to visit. I had the opportunity to do just that last spring. A family trip took us to San Diego where we were able to see some friends and take in some of the sites. Each evening, we spent some time at one of the many places you could sit and enjoy the setting sun. The experience of the warm light on the landscape, the soothing sound of the crashing waves and the warm breeze of the ocean was truly amazing. There are so many places to see along this coast it is hard to decide where to go first. My favorite of the trip was Sunset Cliffs. The coastline is a harsh volcanic looking rocky environment that has been battered and shaped by the Pacific Ocean. The tide determines how far out you can venture onto the rocky surface. Watching the waves crash back and forth is something I could do for hours seemingly slipping into a trance. When going out onto these rocks, you have to be extremely careful to not get too close to the edge. At any time a large wave could come up and knock you over or sweep you out to sea – a lesson that I learned the hard way on my way back to the stairs at Sunset Cliffs. After the sun has set – don’t pack up your gear right away. Stay a bit and watch the light change. You can continue to shoot and capture an entirely different feel. When shooting images of the coast, a tripod, remote shutter release and a polarizer is a must. I prefer to use an exposure that will help accentuate the movement of the sea. Depending on the strength of the tide, this can be anywhere from 1/15 of a second to several seconds with an aperture of at least F/11. If need be, I will use a Neutral Density filter to help extend my shutter speed.

If you have the opportunity to visit the San Diego area, make sure your agenda includes visiting one of these areas to experience the beauty and power of the sea. Thanks for taking a look and hope you enjoy…

Warm light blankets the coast, Sunset Cliffs Natural Point, San Diego, CA © Rob Loughrey
Warm light blankets the coast, Sunset Cliffs Natural Point, San Diego, CA © Rob Loughrey
Blue hour - Sunset Cliffs Natural Point, San Diego, CA © Rob Loughrey
Blue hour – Sunset Cliffs Natural Point, San Diego, CA © Rob Loughrey

Seascape Photography

I really enjoy going to the beach before the sun is up. At an hour or more before sunrise, it is usually empty and peaceful. The surf is slowly breaking with the breeze blowing as you stand at the edge of the ocean. It is amazing to think that out in front of you lies endless miles of water. It makes you feel so minimal in the grand scheme of things on our earth. I usually try to check google earth prior to visiting a beach to see if there are any interesting features. Just a sandy beach can be interesting, but I try to find other elements to include as well. Rocks, a pier or jetty – something to give the beach some character.
Jekyll Island State Park is one such beach. There is a stretch of beach on this island that has ancient trees that were once part of the island. As years have passed and the island slowly erodes, the trees have ended up out in the surf during high tide. While the tide is low, you can easily access the beach and walk among these trees. Some of them have been toppled over from hurricanes in recent past, totally uprooted from the ground, but still lining the beach.

For this shot, I arrived 90 min before the sun was up and was able to scout out a few locations. The tide was very low, but starting to come in. Some fishing ships were leaving for the morning, as can be scene on the horizon. I set my white balance to tungsten to give the image a cold feeling.  This is the first of several images I took while on the beach that morning.

Hope you enjoy…

Twilight at Driftwood Beach - Jekyll Island State Park, GA © Rob Loughrey