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Oceanside Surf - Oceanside Pier, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Oceanside Surf - Oceanside Pier, California

A lone surfer waits for a wave as people stroll the pier watching a brilliant sunset at the end of a winter day. No HDR.


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


See the 1200 pixel version!!



Details about the entire panorama.:



Canon 5D mark II

Canon 17-40L lens @28mm

1/4-sec. exposure @F11

ISO 100

ND Grads 0.9 + 0.9

No polarizer.

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop cs4

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod

Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head



The Story



I have a bit of a backlog of photos made during the past two months so here is one from December 30th in Oceanside, California just north of San Diego.


It had been clear all day and by noon, things were looking grim for any sort of a dramatic sunset. I was watching the satellite movies during the day and this very same band of clouds had set in over the ocean but too far out to be very interesting. Most of the time the weather and winds come from the west off of the ocean. But about 3 hours before sunset, the band evaporated and reformed almost overhead. Then I started to worry whether it would stick around for sunset. Of course there is always something to worry about, right?


Fortunately, the cloud bank held up all the way to sunset and I saw this amazing scene just as I had hoped. It extended to the north and south for at least 50 miles in each direction. The cloud was moving quickly but it was evaporating on the backside and forming in the front side, so overall it remained in place for hours. It was still there at 10 at night!


Needless to say, it is really important to study the clouds to know whether it is worth your effort to drive 40 miles as I did to capture this scene. I watched the cloud and realized that it would hold in place despite how it seemed to move so quickly.


Also, I just learned that I will have a photo in the 2012 Nature Conservancy Calendar. That makes three years in a row. Voting is going on to see which one will be the cover photo, but at least I know I'm in there!


The map shows the exact location.



Other stuff



My pictures are featured on the front page of the

state Government. of California website and the new Governor, Jerry Brown's website too. Have a look! It is Flash with my pics cut into layers for a 3-d slideshow. If you are into building apps, the State has opened up lots of data to the public, so check it out!






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.


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Taken on December 30, 2010