Featured Photo – The Dreamy Pacific (Long Exposure Photo)

I’ve gotten a few questions about how I shot the main featured photo on the top, so it’s this week’s Featured Photo!

Northern California

I took this photo in the Lost Coast, the most isolated stretch of coastline on the West Coast of the United States. I love the rugged coastline here, and feel like I have the entire beach to myself.

This is probably one of the most difficult photos I’ve taken.  It was cold and windy, whipping the ocean spray onshore.  I had some issues with condensation and salt water spray, but managed okay by covering the camera with a plastic bag until it was time to shoot. Adding to the difficulty was that the beach was not sandy, but instead filled with rocks, so because of the strong wind, I jammed the Feisol Travel Tripod hard into the rocks to try and secure it, and then hung my camera bag on the hook provided in the middle.

I took this photo before sunrise using a 30-second exposure to achieve the ethereal, misty look from the movement of the ocean water. I think this look is beautiful. To try and minimize camera shake, I fired the camera using the Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord. I still managed to get a few spots of saltwater on the lens despite my best efforts, so I cloned them out as best I could.

I used a couple of Tiffen 72mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filters, a colorless filter that reduces the light entering the lens.  I did this to enable me to keep the shutter open longer to achieve the ethereal effect from the moving water.  And related to this, some of you may notice that I’m using a really small aperture.  Why?  Two reasons. One is that, once again, it lets in less light, which allows me to keep the shutter open longer, creating a more ethereal feel.  The other is that I have a larger depth of field, the range of distance in which things are in focus.  Or, to put it another way, more of the photo is sharper than if I had used a wide aperture.


Equipment:  Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200mm VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens, Feisol Travel CT-3441S Rapid 4-Section Carbon Traveler Tripod (I’m actually using the CT-3441T, which is extra tall), Tiffen 72mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter