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Canon 1Ds Mk III, 4 min @f/16, ISO 100, 19mm (17-40mm f/4 L)

Having scouted this beach the day before, I was up at 4am to get to this spot before sunrise. Noticing there was probably not going to be much color given the clouds on the horizon, I decided to work with long exposures and the strong blue color of twilight. It took some time to work out a composition that was pleasing to me given all of the rocks along the shore. I am always looking for simplicity, and I struggled quite a bit to come to terms with the the patterns here. But I just couldn’t get away from the beautiful rhythm these rocks create and how the balance the sky so well moving from left to right. Telling a story is the point of it all, and I was in awe of how these rocks were formed over millions of years and how they are constantly shaped by the forces of the sea.


For this image, I used my 6 stop ND filter to cut down the light significantly and allow me to use a 4 minute exposure. This enhances the blue color as well as create a more surreal effect with the water and rocks – nothing new but I still love the effect! Using an ND filter this strong can be tricky since I can barely see what I’m looking at once it’s on, so I set up the composition and exposure beforehand, then put the filter on and calculate the new exposure based on reducing the light 6 stops. For example, at f/16 the exposure was 4 sec, but once I add the 6 stop filter, the exposure becomes 240 sec, or 4 mintes. Calculating exposures in the field is critical for this type of work, but the calculator in my iphone works great, and there are also iphone apps (Photo Buddy) that will calculate this as well.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Great image Robert! Love the long exposure and what it does to the water as it surrounds the foreground elements! Look forward to more of your work from the area.

    1. It is a wonderful effect when you have the right conditions – not always a given when venturing into nature – thanks as always!


  2. Long exposure..very complex with amazing results. I will leave those images to the experts..and enjoy them even more knowing how hard it was to do and how breathtaking the results!

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