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Ocean Mist - Grey Whale Cove, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Ocean Mist - Grey Whale Cove, California

This photo is on the front of the newly designed state of California website along with several other photos of mine!


A big pacific storm this week churned up the ocean into a sea of spray and mist. Then, it all turned this unusual glowing yellow orange for a minute just as the sun set. The RAW file looks just like this, though it looks unreal! No HDR.


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @19

1/5-second exposure @F11

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75

Lee foundation Kit filter holder

No polarizer.

ISO 50

Small Slik tripod with Manfrotto pistol grip ball head

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

Bare feet and shorts for the ineviable drenching






The ocean turned into a white frothing fury all of this week as squalls of heavy rain passed through the area. I waited it out behind a cliff under my umbrella and then went out during the sunny openings in the clouds. I was being careful about my back, which is getting better but I made sure to carefully plan my exits for when the water surged up the beach.


And it really surged. This was different than when you get the occasional 'sneaker wave' when 3 waves may occasionally combine at the last moment. This looked more like the tsunami videos I've seen. There were big waves all the time, but sometimes you could look out and see the entire ocean become frothing white and rise high above the horizon until the horizon was blocked from my view. You can see it starting on the left horizon. When that happens, I knew that I had about 30 seconds to get my shot and get out of there. It was not really shoot and run from each wave, but more like shoot a few and then retreat back much further than it may seem necessary.


About 1 minute after this moment, this spot was literally under 10 feet of water, which did not subside for another minute. I have never seen water this dangerous. Strangely enough, there was a family playing in the surf after they got totally drenched.


I have a fairly extreme shot when the sea was really angry, which I may show later. And last night was unbelievable, I may show that too eventually.




The map shows exactly where this is.


See my Flickr profile for a link to my newly designed website.







Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:


Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


I get my cameras, filters, etc. here:






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Taken on January 18, 2010