Natural Bridges Seascape – black and white photo

Title: Natural Bridges I
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, Feisol tripod, f/6.3, ISO 200, 3-second exposure
Photography: Ken Lee

Location: Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, California, USA
I photographed this early morning, a little after 6am, and later went to hang out with my friend.  Felt it held more drama in black and white.
Go to for some more photos and stories about the photos and trip! Thanks for your love and support!

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116


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

Photo Tip: How To Take Long Exposure Photos of the People and the Sea During The Day

…and unfortunately for me, without a tripod!!!

Title: Sonoma, The Timeless Sea I

6-second long exposure shot, with my friends staying verrry still! Nikon D90, 18-200mm Nikkor VR at 32mm, F/29 ISO 200 for 6 seconds, two Tiffen 0.9 neutral density filters, camera on flat rock (forgot my tripod!). Photograph: Ken Lee. Location: Salt Point, Sonoma County, California, USA

Tip 1.  Have a better memory than me.  I forgot the tripod when I went to the ocean.  Fortunately Adam (pictured) found some relatively flat rocks for me to place the camera.  See?  This blog is already useful.

Tip 2.  Reduce Incoming Light.  Use an external filter called a neutral density filter.  These are like sunglasses for your camera, and reduce incoming light without affecting the color.  Cool.  I stacked two Tiffen ND filters together to double the amount of light being reduced, but you don’t have to do that if you have either an adjustable neutral density filter or one that is simply darker.  I just happen to own two of these.

Now, you can also reduce the amount of light coming in by reducing the aperture of your camera.  For this photo, I set the camera to f/29, a super tiny opening, and set the ISO for 200 so it wouldn’t be ultra sensitive to light.  Then I experimented around with the shutter speed.  The longest I could go was 6 seconds on this very bright day, but sometimes, I can get away with as long as ten seconds with those two filters.  Again, if you have darker filters than what I have, you can keep the shutter open for considerably longer.

Tip 3. Soft things help steady the camera if you have no tripod. Adam found some rocks nearby.  They weren’t quite flat enough, so I asked one of the kids for some clothing.  I forget, I may have used a hat or a hoodie, I don’t remember, but it helped balance the camera so I could help frame the subjects and keep the image relatively flat (almost…I leveled the horizon just a wee bit in Photoshop).

Tip 4.  Count Down!  The last time I did this, the subjects were far away, so I didn’t count down, and what happened occasionally was that the kids would turn around prematurely, wondering if I were finished.  This time, they were much closer, so I counted down:  “6…5…4…” so they’d have a sense of how long they had to stay still.  It worked.  When you can photograph 3 year old kids staying still for six seconds, you’re probably doing something right.  😀

Tip 5.  Cheat.  Because the day was foggy, the sky was very very white.  At first, I kept it white, as I don’t tend to monkey around with coloring my photos in Photoshop.  But after a while, I decided to add a graduated neutral density filter using Nik Software Efex Pro, adding a little blue to the sky, which looks a little better and helps add a nice highlight around the subjects as a bonus.

If you look closely, you can see what my friends are looking at:  some harbor seals laying on the rocks by the water.  They look like they were laying very still as well.  Tip 4 works really well, even for seals.

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lens, Tiffen 72mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter, Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras, and sadly, no tripod!

Featured Photo: Mystic Pier

Mystic Pier, Ventura (black and white)

This mystic pier photo is an early morning photo of the Ventura Pier in Caifornia.  Opening the shutter for a long time gives the ocean water a beautiful ethereal misty sort of feel, which I really love.

Ventura Pier, Nikon D90, 11-16mm f2/8 Tokina, f/22, 6 second exposure using B+W 1.8 ND filter. – at Ventura Pier, California