Sandcastle on Morro Strand State Beach, with Morro Rock visible in background, after sunset 24 Aug 2009

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    Sandcastle (looking a bit like a volcano) on Morro Strand State Beach, with Morro Rock visible in background, 19 minutes after sunset 24 August 2009. Illuminated with one 580EXII external flash and one 580EX external flash controlled by Pocket Wizards. One flash at fractional power in manual mode is laying on tin foil (both to protect the flash from the sand, as well as to create a dish effect for bouncing the light up the internal walls of the castle) inside the castle's fort (no diffuser used, probably should have used one), and one light camera right 45 degrees on light stand with white shoot-thru umbrella, also on fractional power, manual mode. Note that the light inside the castle fort is much whiter than the natural ambient sunlight - the sun had set 19 minutes earlier - (probably should have use a Color Temperature Orange CTO gel over both flashes). Liveview mode was used for composition and manual focus. Voice-Activated Light stand (VAL) was Dawn Beattie holding a flashlight on the front wall of the castle to enable manual focusing at 100% pixel zoom in such low light. Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird, mike at mikebaird d o t com,, Canon 1D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm (set at 27mm) f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens, on tripod, circular polarizer (not much expected effect, acting more as an unneeded neutral density filter). Used low ISO of 100 to minimize noise. Ambient light and light from the flash sources was balanced to achieve the effects seen. Basically, in manual exposure mode, the aperture setting (f/7.1 used here) throttled how much of the flash (typ. 1/1000th second duration +-) was captured, and then, once the flash effect was set as desired, varying the shutter speed (5 second exposure used here) modulated the amount of ambient light that was captured (some call this the David Hobby Strobist technique - see Minor global adjustments made in Lightroom during RAW conversion. Harsh critique welcomed. Do you want to use one of my images?

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    1. GIGEO 68 months ago | reply

      Mike, this is fabulous.

    2. Ed.Stockard 68 months ago | reply

      Absolutely stunning Mike. Great use of the flash and preserving the background of the beach and Morro Rock. bravo!

    3. RolandBP 68 months ago | reply

      WOW... great capture, great eye!

    4. Pets4Dawn 68 months ago | reply

      from the Voice-Activated Light...I know Mars is supposed to get close to the Earth, but not THIS close...

    5. © Vasken Spiru 68 months ago | reply

      simply fantastic!

    6. Ronspics [deleted] 68 months ago | reply

      What a cool shot! The sand castle looks like a mountain.

    7. dianejp 68 months ago | reply

      Incredible shot and description of how it was achieved! Also like the soft colors on the sand, water, and rock behind the sandcastle.

    8. Ingrid Taylar 68 months ago | reply

      So cool, Mike.

    9. Slappy Vandelay 68 months ago | reply

      Surreal looking image! Love the textures and lighting. This is a brilliantly set up and executed shot.

    10. Empire pressphoto 67 months ago | reply

      That really is fantastic light

      My favourite time of day to shot!

    11. Hey I'm Just Taking Pictures 63 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called UWA - Ultra Wide Angle, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

      Found in a search. (?)

    12. mikebaird 59 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the Creative Commons use and use note... re: wrote

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called, and we'd love to have this added to the

      We have posted your photo here
      Add this photo to No thanks Submitting photo to the group Hooray! You added it!

    13. puliarf 56 months ago | reply

      very creative. without the rock & water it would have a surface-of-mars look.

    14. Beth Sargent 56 months ago | reply

      Killer shot Mike. Absolutely Awesome

    15. cheryl strahl 55 months ago | reply

      All of your planning certainly paid off - this is so unique!

    16. AndyMüller [deleted] 35 months ago | reply

      stunning image!

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