Just a glimmer

ISO 100, 100mm, 1/8000 sec., f/4.5

Off Seal Rock, Pt. Lobos, Carmel, CA – ISO 100, 100mm, 1/8000 sec., f/4.5


Shooting right into the sun usually produces a dull image – big blown-out subject surrounded by really dark objects.  One thing I learned in school, however, is you can make interesting images composing toward the sun, but leaving it out of the picture.

I liked how the sunlight was playing around on the water’s surface here.  The sun is actually out of the field of view toward the top hiding behind some thin clouds, waiting to set in a few hours.  But far out to sea there was an opening in the clouds and the sunshine was pouring down directly into the ocean.  It was far enough offshore that all we were seeing was just a small sliver of the light on the water’s surface but that sliver was obvious among the hazy sky and horizon.  Adding just a little color to this B&W version emphasizes how I saw the scene.

With this shutter speed I was freezing motion everywhere in the image, which worked out well to get the birds in the composition and show the ripply surface of the water.  I feel it makes the image textured without appearing busy, especially as the details fade to the back of the image into the smooth grey of the sky.  I didn’t need details in the foreground rocks – they are just there for perspective and to add some tonality with their shadows – so I’m OK with the big black objects.

I see lots of images with color in a B&W and unfortunately many of them just look gimmicky (maybe this one does as well but not to me).  That shouldn’t deter you from trying it, though.  Consider the color just another tool to direct the viewer’s eye where you want it to go and where it should linger.


2 thoughts on “Just a glimmer

  1. I think that you tiny splash of color works well here (and I appreciate your explanation of why you shot and processed in the way that you did). For me, it’s always interesting and enlightening to learn what is going on in a photographers when they are making the kind of creative choices that we make all of the time.


    • Thanks, Mike. I also appreciate it when a photographer reveals a bit about they why and how of an image. We are part of a craft and learn our skills more from the experience of others than from a book or class.


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