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Portal to Big Sur | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Portal to Big Sur

A November sunset provided a good angle of light.


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Settings etc.:




12-second exposure @F8

LEE soft ND Grad 0.9 (Angled at 10am-4pm)

Canon 5D

Canon 17-40L @34

ISO 50

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop


Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz is a great place to watch the sunset. This is one of the few remaining arches, as the other ones have been washed into the sea. New ones will replace them as the years go by. The tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the start of the Big Sur coast 40 miles away are shown in the middle of the arch.


In order to show this arch in the best light, I had to wait until November for the setting sun to be at the best angle to show the detail on the arch face. I also wanted some cloud cover, which becomes more common as the 7 month summer dry season comes to a close at this time of year. I used a long exposure to smooth the water, highlighting the arch and distant coastline. And I timed it for when the sand was at its most reflective state at low tide with the slow movement of the water painting lines in the sand.


There was an awesome sunset to the right of the frame, but I resisted the urge to point at the sun because the light was better on the seascape in this direction.




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Taken on November 12, 2006