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Trinidad Last Light - Trinidad, California

Oct 20, 2010, look for this photo in the next Nature's Best Photography Magazine as an honorable mention in the Windland Smith Rice Awards, Ocean's category!


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It is amazing what cloud layers moving in different directions for three minutes can do to a sky! 10-Stop circular ND. No HDR! Trinidad Beach, just north of Eureka, California! High tide.


See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 20

3-Minute exposure @F11

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.6

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

Hoya ndx400 (10-stop) very dark circular ND filter, very little vignetting @20mm wide!

ISO 200 (I had to bump up the ISO to keep it at 3 minutes)

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

Bare feet (soft sand)


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


So, as the sunset continued on, the colors became more intense. I usually wait to go for the long exposure once it is too dark for my shorter ones, but I have my new 10-stop filter so I have to give it a go. So why not use it while there is still good light in the sky? This exposure started about 5 minutes before sunset. The lower layer of cloud was moving one way while the higher clouds were moving another way. I had no idea it would turn out like this. I like the long streaks from a long exposure, but here, a streak would begin and then get erased by another cloud moving in to block it. The higher layer had all the colors, so the lower clouds would stop the streaks of colors. I'm going to experiment with crossing cloud layers more, now that I see what they do.


It was getting a bit darker, so I bumped the ISO up to 200 because my usual ISO 50 would have meant a 10 minute exposure perhaps. I studied where the waves broke on average, so I would know where to put the tripod so that over 3 minutes, a reflection would be visible.


I knew that in order to get reflections, I'd have to get hit many times by waves, so before starting the exposure I dug the tripod into the sand about 1 foot and let a few wave cycles wash through to stabilze the tripod. The full res image is totally sharp.


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