Stormy Night – Windansea – La Jolla
I was after some surfer/surfboard shots this weekend and headed down to a popular local surf spot, Windansea in La Jolla. Although I did not come back with any of the shots I was originally after, I was able to get some decent seascape shots of the rocky coastline.
How to get this type of shot
One of the many challenges that photographers face is how to convey a sense of depth in a flat 2-dimensional image displayed either as a print or on screen. There are several techniques available to us including composing for a strong foreground, middle and background, the use of leading lines and layering an image just to name a few. I chose to use the layering technique by carefully composing my image so that the rocks formed layers between the incoming tide and ocean. Can you imagine the above image without the rocky ledge in the bottom of the image? Not including this would have resulted in less apparent depth in the image.
The image itself was taken around sunset, but even though the marine layer had already come in some light was still able to penetrate the clouds giving this image a dark stormy look. Despite the overcast conditions, I still needed a 3-stop graduated ND filter to balance the exposure of the sky and foreground rocks.
I used an f-stop of f/16 to get everything from the foreground rock to the horizon in focus. I wanted a relatively fast shutter speed to capture the motion in the ocean and retain most of the shapes of the incoming waves and not turn the ocean into a uniform mass which would have happened if I used a long shutter speed such as 15s. I also paid particular attention to the incoming and outgoing tide waters in the two foreground channels and wanted a photo showing the swirling pattern they created. It took around 15 minutes for me to get the combination of wave motion and swirl patterns which I feel make this photo successful.
Oh and those black spots you see in the ocean near the horizon line, those aren’t dust spots but surfers.