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Trinidad Surf - Humboldt County, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Trinidad Surf - Humboldt County, California

About 10 minutes after my last upload, I saw this at Trinidad Beach, just north of Eureka, California! High tide. Still raining. No HDR.


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Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 29

1/4-second exposure @F11

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.6

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

ISO 100

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

Keen water shoes


See my last upload for the trials and tribulations of getting to this spot at this time.


So, as the sunset continued, the colors continued to look totally unreal to my eye. I can't say I've really seen the sky like this. Usually when I get home and process the images, I can remember what it looked like and make sure the picture looks that way, but here I knew that I would not remember. So after each shot, I'd look at the viewfinder and then at the sky, to compare the two. The viewfinder looked very similar to the scene before me. Often, it looks much more flat and color-less. So when I got home, I had to look at the viewfinder in order to process this series. I really had no reference to go by!


It was getting a bit darker, so I bumped the ISO up to 100 to keep the 1/4-second exposure time that I like when I want to shoot a breaking wave moving at this speed. I've found that anywhere from 1/8-3/8-second exposures show waves at their best. Not always though. Slow moving water can look good at 1/2-second or longer if it is all moving in the same direction.


So, I noticed how much I liked the occasional wave strike on the rock, so I moved over to have the rock be right in front of the background island for extra contrast. Then I took several shots as the waves would strike until finally I got one with the sand in a good reflective state.


After this, I put on my very dark 10-stop Hoya ndx-400 circular filter for some long-exposure action while the sky was still full of color. No more waiting for things to get dark before going for a long-exposure now!


The map shows exactly where this is.


See my profile for a link to my website where I have limited edition prints and less expensive open edition prints.



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Taken on May 1, 2009