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Primordial Sea - Pebble Beach, San Mateo County, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Primordial Sea - Pebble Beach, San Mateo County, California

It was setting up to be a dramatic red sunset, and then ... a soupy fog settled in ... I think I got transported back to the late Devonian era about 375 million years ago. I believe I saw a strange amphibian-like creature hauling itself onto the rocks of the left side of the beach, so I got the shot and got outta there! No HDR.

 

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Settings etc.:

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Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 21

1/4-second exposure @F13

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

No polarizer.

ISO 100 (usually I keep it on 50 but I wanted that 1/4-second exposure)

Small Slik tripod with Manfrotto pistol grip ball head

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

 

Okay, actually the sunset was turning a brilliant red during high tide at (the other) Pebble Beach, south of Half Moon Bay. Then a bank of fog moved in to turn this scene into what a seascape may have looked like hundreds of millions of years ago, at least in my imagination. Or, possibly on some alien world, this is a common sight?

 

The red high clouds turned the entire scene an eerie red for just about 2 minutes, and made the red sandscone even more red. And the sky became a very unusual color. The beach consists of extremely colorful pebbles and alternating layers of red and blue tufoni sandstone.

 

The best time to photograph this beach is at a very high tide, so that the stone is wet and the colors come through. During low tide, you would walk past this scene and never give it a second look! Timing is everything. I got here with the tide a foot lower and the stone was dry and rather bland looking, though the structure is amazing at any time. So I sat there and hoped for the sea to rise.

 

The map shows exactly where this is. It is right near the Pebble Beach pullout. It says 'Bean Hollow' on the map but it really is Pebble Beach with the main Bean Hollow beach about 1/2 mile to the south.

 

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Taken on May 5, 2009