Marshall's Beach Sunset

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    Another shot from Marshall's Beach in San Francisco (last Sunday). While A sunset may be great to watch, without some other interesting element in the shot to pull you in a sunset photo usually isn't too interesting. So I was looking around the beach for something to catch my eye. The most interesting feature I spotted was this area right here where water drained from the adjacent hillside and around the beach back into the ocean. To give it a sense of exaggerated scale I got in close with my wide angle lens.

    I also used a couple of grad ND filters to tame the sky and let the foreground expose a little more.

    A couple problems I encountered (and didn't solve) were that in order to get the camera in close to the foreground I could barely get low enough to look in the viewfinder. I even managed to get crooked photos despite using a bubble level. Normally I wouldn't hesitate to lay down to look in the viewfinder, but with water flowing under the camera I thought it was a bad idea.

    The second problem was one of a sinking tripod. Even though this exposure wasn't very long it seems to be long enough for the tripod to visibly sink and leave a nasty bit of vertical blur on this shot. It's a problem I've encountered before and if anyone has any tips on how to work with a tripod in wet sand... I'm all ears.

    Nikon D40 | Sigma 10-20@16mm | ƒ/11 | 1/13s | ISO200 | Tripod

    Cal Bear 94, and 71 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 18 more comments

    1. Tyler Westcott 95 months ago | reply

      Thank you again to everyone for the really kind comments. I'm really thrilled with the lighting in this shot but, as I mentioned, disappointed by the tripod problems I had. I appreciate all the tips for working in the wet sand, both posted here and in a couple of messages as well. I'll keep my eyes open for something compact, flat and rigid to try under the legs next time - I think that will really help.

      If I can be even a fraction as helpful as others on Flickr have been for me than I'll be grateful (whether you're a fellow canuck or otherwise!)

      Ugh - this sort of thing drives me nuts. I actually considered posted the direct-from-camera shot just to make a point, but it's not worth the effort. It's essentially identical. I had a little too much ND at the top and lightened it. The colors are as they appeared in the original shot.

      With film you got one set color response per film (and certainly not all films rendered color the same, or nobody would bother with Velvia, or with the limitations of slide film in general). I don't doctor my shots, I like them to reflect the reality that I go out of my way to capture, as I think photography in general has an expectation to do so. But even shooting with my white balance fixed to 'sunlight', which should render the most neutral and film-esque color palette, sometime you just get these crazy colors. My previous upload had a lot of magenta tones, which are almost troubling to me (and I even desaturated them), yet in another shot taken a few minutes later I got a much more green cast. It's tough to know exactly what's 'correct' anymore when shooting digital, so if nothing else I always do my best to faithfully convey what I saw. I even like to go out at sunset and afterwards just to catch the best colors of the day faithfully. I could try to shoot during the day and doctor the shots in photoshop instead, but I don't - even though it would save me the hassle of hiking back to my car in the dark.

    2. Ivan Makarov 95 months ago | reply

      First problem is easily solved by using live-view mode on newer SLRs. I own a D300, and it comes very handy when the camera is either too low or too high for me to look through the viewfinder. It's actually a huge asset to landscape photographers.

      As to second problem, what worked for me sometimes was to secure a tripod legs with few rocks, but if the tide is too strong, you may need to zoom from a safer spot, but in that case you'll miss out on exaggerating rocks with wide angle lens, so it's a trade off.

    3. Tyler Westcott 95 months ago | reply

      You know, I even thought of Live View as a good tool in these circumstances. Then that made me think of the D300, and that made me think of you as a D40 owner turned D300 owner. Then I felt jealous. :)

      The sad thing is that I DID use my bubble-level, and still managed to get things crooked.

    4. [Christine] 95 months ago | reply

      This is a beautiful shot! You know... I saw something in Popular Photography recently about tripods sinking in the sand. They had a fix, but for the life of me... I can't remember what it is!
      Seen on your photo stream. (?)

    5. Geoff Main 95 months ago | reply

      Tyler - I wonder if the tripod sinking problem might be solved by using some small bags (say cotton, or similar) that could be filled with sand on location & placed under the leg(s)? They'd have the advantage of being lightweight with no bulk to carry. Again, great shot!

    6. Aldo Trim 95 months ago | reply

      Astounding atmosphere, love the textrure of the rocks, especially in the foreground.

      For the tripod - sand problem... Maybe sheet of thicker paper. Don´t weigh anything, flexible and devide the load of the legs...

    7. Grrrega 94 months ago | reply

      (I'd say more but I'd just spoil the mood)

    8. tomVALEN 93 months ago | reply

      this is a beautiful image...who knew there was such an amazing location so near to home. thanks for sharing...i was gonna offer some tips on the tripod sinking problem, but a few people have already offered what i was going to say. hope you have better luck next time.

    9. Jamey Pyles 93 months ago | reply

      awesome shot!!!! good job!

    10. Ana Claudia Gonzalez [deleted] 93 months ago | reply


    11. fordandrew10 91 months ago | reply

      A lovely picture once again, really love your shots they are truly inspirational.

    12. RLJ Photography NYC 85 months ago | reply

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

      Seen in the interestingness archives. (?)

    13. in2jazz 83 months ago | reply

      This is amazing.

    14. Enduring Promise 79 months ago | reply

      I like the sand bag idea for the tripod. I was thinking about thin blocks of wood. 4x4x1/8 under each leg. This would be light and would keep you away from the salt. I know I do not want my hands all gritty from sand and salt as I handle the camera, filters, and lenses.

      Thanks for sharing your techniques.

    15. Tyler Westcott 79 months ago | reply

      EnduringPromise: That seems like a good idea. Something thing and lightweight like that would probably work well. I never remember to take anything with me, but I should keep my eyes open for something like that that might work.

    16. Daveyheuser [deleted] 63 months ago | reply

      omg! speechlesss.

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