Just finished a year of big change, the disruptive kind that builds up stress regardless of how mellow you may consider yourself. This year has brought a new job, the new house buying experience, old house selling routine, temporary living at a hotel and the not-so-much-fun-anymore packing, transporting and unpacking of all our worldly possessions. Now that we’ve just about gotten settled in our new home, it’s time for some celebration and relaxation. What better place to return to for this than Monterey, CA.
The central coast around Christmas is a pretty laid-back place. The sun goes down around 5pm, the stores close around 6pm and the sidewalks roll up right after that. A few restaurants stay open here and there but commerce stops to the point you just have to slow down and take it easy.
And for a photographer that means getting out and trying some new techniques.
I really like the long exposure images of water, where the details merge into a milky flow around whatever object is visible. The important aspect for this type image, though, is moving water. Oh, and a little light. Set up your composition and then make really long exposures (up to a minute or more) and let the moving water turn into a constant blur. Fortunate for me, there was a full moon and clear skies over the Monterey peninsula while we were there. And a Pacific storm pushing 6-8 foot swells against the rocks off Asilomar beach.
ISO 100, 73mm, 60 sec., f/6.3
ISO 200, 35mm, 60 sec., f/6.3
ISO 200, 19mm, 60 sec., f/5
ISO 200, 29mm, 30 sec., f/5.6
At first I was worried about getting the focus right. Even with manual focus you have to have light to see the subject! Fortunately I carry a really bright LED flashlight in my camera bag so I as able to illuminate the rocks enough to get them focused via Live View. Then I realized for this type of image perfectly sharp focusing really isn’t critical so I just cranked the focus ring over to infinity and left it there.
That flashlight came in handy when I decided to try my hand at light painting breakers offshore to bring out the foam brightness. Any boater crazy enough to be out those nights probably thought there was some wacko beachcomber wandering around checking out the tidal pools.
Some B&W conversion in NIK Silver Efex Pro and I’m done. Standing in the moonlight listening to waves crash on the shore waiting for your shutter to close is a great way to relax!