Bowling Ball Beach – Long Exposure Photo of the California Coast

Bowling Ball Beach, Mendocino County, near Point Arena.

Please click on the photo to view it.  The algorithms for making it smaller seem to make it look blurry.  Thanks.

I mentioned to you that this trip, in contrast to the previous Alabama Hills/395 trip, was full of difficulty, didn’t I? The bulk of it began today.

I covered the camera with a plastic bag from Ralph’s, set up the tripod and got down low to photograph these incredible rocks, which were often in rows, very unusual. But such unusual formations produce unusual splashes. Five minutes in, I suddenly got nailed with water suddenly splashing very high up, surprising me. The water had gotten past the plastic bag I had wrapped around the camera. It didn’t look that bad, so I went back, wiped it off with a towel, and continued shooting.

That was to be Mistake #1: If your camera gets wet, do not turn it on again. You cannot fry a circuit if it doesn’t have any juice.

Title: Bowling Ball Beach 1
Info: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, Feisol tripod, f/14, ISO 200, 10-second exposure
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Bowling Ball Beach, Mendocino County, California, USA

The ebb and flow of the tide, when photographed for ten seconds, creates a misty otherworldly look. It’s a very calming, peaceful sort of look, ironic to me since I find long exposure photography at the coast to be anything but peaceful, contending with splashing water, high winds, salt water and sand pelting my camera, lens fogging up, the tide shifting the sand underneath the tripod, difficulty setting up shots, and other things.  It’s not the actual photography itself, but more the peripheral aspects that seem challenging to me. But that’s part of the reason I went on this trip: gaining experience in this kind of photography.

The Secret Coast: Where Is This???

Where is this?  Any guesses?

This is in the same location as the previous post. You can see more photos on my Eleven Shadows Virtual Photo Album page.

(Please click on the photo to see it properly – it always seems to look blurry when viewed here on the blog)

Title: The Secret Coast
Info: Nikon D7000Tokina AT-X 116 11-16mm f/2.8 with B+W 77mm ND 1.8 filter, ISO 400, 6 second exposure, f/14.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: ???

The challenge, as with the previous Mystery of the Secret Cave photo, is to try and keep the tripod still when the ocean water is ebbing and flowing, pulling on the tripod, pulling the soft wet sand away from the tripod and wrapping seaweed around the tripod legs!  I always jam the tripod in as hard as possible, and this certainly helps, although of course not always!

See if you can guess where this photo and the previous one were taken.  I think it may surprise some of you!  Thanks!

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116, Feisol Travel CT-3441S Rapid 4-Section Carbon Traveler Tripod

Where is this cool-looking sea cave?

Where do you suppose this is?

(please click on the photo to see it properly, thanks)

Over the summer, I drove to the Mendocino and the Santa Cruz coast to photograph the coastline, mostly using long exposure photography to get a beautiful silky look from the movement of the water.  I had a great trip, and got some beautiful photos of Bowling Ball Beach and around Santa Cruz, including Davenport, Four Mile, and Natural Bridges.

But this amazing sea cave isn’t in Mendocino.  Or anywhere near Santa Cruz.

See if you can guess where this is!  I’ll post another photo of the same beach in a few days.  Or if you can’t wait, you can see the other photos of this surprising locale on my Eleven Shadows Virtual Photo Album page right now!

Thanks for reading!!!

Title: The Mystery of the Secret Cave
Info: Nikon D7000Tokina AT-X 116 11-16mm f/2.8 with B+W 77mm ND 1.8. ISO 400, 10 second exposure, f/10.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Somewhere in California

Mono Lake Reflections – Long Exposure Light Painting

After visiting Bodie ghost town, located north of Mono Lake, I got fish tacos at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining by Vista Drive. I had no idea that this was such a popular hang-out for people coming or going to Yosemite, but it was filled with people hanging out, drinking beer, and talking about their climbs. The fish tacos were good, and I had the ranger at Schulman Grove to thank for this other tip. She had said, “We have a joke here…all the best restaurants in the Owens Valley are in gas stations.” And so it had been again, with the pleasant surprise of having mango salsa on one of the fish tacos.

I continued south after the meal, this time heading to the popular South Tufas instead of the Castle Tufas I had photographed earlier. As expected, there were many photographers there, although most of them left right after sunset. I continued shooting, getting this beautiful dusk shot.

Below:  please click on the photo to view it.  The miniaturization that WordPress is using makes this look awful.  Thanks.

Title: Mono Lake Reflections
Info: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, f/11, ISO 200, 30 second exposure. Light painted with a strong flash light.
Photography: Ken Lee
Location: Mono Lake, California, USA.

This long exposure photograph brought out the beautiful colors of dusk even though it looked really dark. There’s this very small window of time in which long exposures seem to bring out the warm colors of dusk even though our eyes cannot really see it any more.

And honestly, let’s face it:  tufas are ugly.  They look like enormous piles of bird crap stacked high.  They’re cool looking because of how the light plays on them, because of the beautiful setting of the lake, and because they’re unusual.  But in the harsh light of day, they’re not exactly the sort of beautiful sculpture of nature that you’d want in your front yard.

Storybook Bristlecone Pine: Night Sky Photography and Light Painting

The bristlecone pines are the oldest living things on the planet, living for longer than 4700 years. It’s fantastic to think that when Buddha or Jesus walked the earth, these trees were already ancient.

Furthermore, after the bristlecone pine finally goes on to that great forest in the sky, the tree can still remain standing for another 5000 years. It is conceivable that trees such as this could have been here for as long as 10000 years.

(please click on image to see it properly, thanks!)

One of the best things about being a night photographer is that you can double your shooting time. When the sun goes down, you can keep right on shooting.

There’s this odd, eerie storybook feel about this photo that really appeals to me, looking perhaps like something on a old children’s novel about witches.

Title: Storybook Bristlecone Pine
Info: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 30 second exposure at ISO 1250, f/11
11000 ft/3350 meters in elevation. Light painted with my handy head lamp.

Photography: Ken Lee

Location: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest near Big Pine, California, USA.