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Bean Hollow Surf #1 - San Mateo County, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Bean Hollow Surf #1 - San Mateo County, California

I'm writing an e-book about how to create dramatic photos by studying the great landscape artists of the past. Perhaps I got a bit too inspired? hehe... No HDR.


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See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @28

1/8-second exposure @F14

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + inverted 0.75

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

No polarizer.

ISO 50

Small Slik tripod.. a 2x4 is not recommended on solid rock!

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop






So, I've been writing about hundreds of my favorite paintings, and some of them are just so hyper-dramatic that I got this unstoppable urge to go to extremes. So I headed out into the stormy weather to find the most drama that I could pack into a photo.


I must admit that although I have lots of spots picked out ahead of time, I rarely know where I will end up. It really is more about where the best conditions are versus where the best spots are. The sky was looking ominous but too dark to show up well in a photo, but I found a hole in the clouds and followed it to Bean Hollow state beach, south of Half Moon Bay (and 30 miles south of San Francisco)


The wind was strong and the surf was agressive, so I found a good composition with a nice escape route and headed in. It all came together really quickly and then the light moved on towards the north. So once I had this one in the bag and I had reviewed it thoroughly, I headed north to another spot where I had earlier noticed some nice reflections.


The light was awesome there, so may show those later. I went to that place for the reflections and came back with something completely different. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but be open to the possibilities and spot them when they come your way!


I'll let you know when the book is ready.




The map shows exactly where this is. It is just a few steps from the car park but these rocks rarely look like this.


See my Flickr profile for a link to my newly designed website.







Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)

Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:


Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


I get my cameras, filters, etc. here:






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Taken on February 5, 2010