Last week my Lee Filter Holder and HiTek Graduated ND Filters arrived. I grabbed em from the Post Office and went down to Davenport, CA to take photos at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach. Unfortunately the sky didn't light up at all and it was disappointing (not to mention I almost died/drowned on my way in from the beach…. that's a whole 'nother story).
The weather forecast for Wed, April 6th predicted that clouds would be rolling in towards the afternoon. My buddy and I grabbed our cameras, left work a bit early, and drove up to the Marin Headlands to take photos at Rodeo Beach. We knew these rock pillars were here and had seen some great photos of it and wanted to make our go.
I must say, after my experience at Hole-in-the-Wall Beach I was a little scared when I noticed the tide was REALLY high and almost blocked us in again. Fortunately the tied never became difficult and we got in, did our shoot, and got home safely.
Unlike last week, Mother Nature did not disappoint! As soon as I threw on the my circular polarizer and the Graduated Filters the sky LIT UP! It was like an explosion of color! These photos are NOT HDR and have had very little saturation edits (in fact, I had to lower the saturation a bit so that you wouldn't think it was fake)! The clouds kept the sun hidden so I didn't have any clipping from a bright sun. It also stayed behind the big rock monolith that you see in the center. The soft graduated filters worked great -- gave me some great color in the sky and let me slow the shutter for some neat wave movements. I'm quite pleased with how these came out!
While doing research on Rodeo Beach (via flickr) I stumbled upon a photo by Adam A (http://www.flickr.com/photos/28490541@N06/5135610750/) in which he used the water to make a horseshoe around some rocks. My friend and I thought this was wonderful and wanted to emulate his photo. The first shooting location we found had this rock in the foreground and when the water came up it created a little semi-circular pattern. Once the sun began to set and the sky lit up with color we knew we had a wonderful shot. The hardest part was timing it right, with the right exposure time, to get the water to look like it was circular!
It was pretty high tide and we couldn't get down to where most of the Flickr photos were taken. That's ok because we found our own great spot!
Nikon D300s w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/14, 1 sec, ISO 100, Tripod
B+W F-Pro Circular Polarizer + Hitech 0.9 soft Reverse ND grad filter, Hitech 0.6 soft ND grad filter, and Lee FK Filter holder