A Frigid Morning on the Beach

This coming weekend should be a good one.  With the warm and beautiful weather making a full frontal assault, if almost feels like summer.  A few friends are putting their boat in this weekend so expect some cool photos from the ocean early next week.  Now to just get through the next 3 days of work…

Digging back in to the archives once again, I found a gem that just needed a little bit of dedicated polishing.  Originally, I processed this and the two other matching bracketed images as a HDR photo, but the result was less than appealing.  Quickly forgetting about the photos and moving on, they fell out of the “important shots” category and in to photo archive purgatory.  As I was searching for another photo to re-format and send to a client, I stumbled across this one.  The third and overexposed photo of the three brackets, this shot had the best wave movement, but the sky really needed some love.  With some graduated filters in Lightroom, saturation bump, and contrast increase, it was just about perfect.

The location of this nice little seascape is the rocky Miseno Beach near my house.  I took this in the early dawn hours one day in January, where the temperature was low and my patience even lower.  These vivid colors are usually present about 20-30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset.  If you take the time to actually get out of bed early enough for sunrise or stick around late enough for sunset, it is worth it to invest an extra half hour to ensure you get the absolute the best colors and light.

To get wave movement like this you would need a tripod (or very steady arm) and a relatively “long” exposure.  I put that in quotes because the long exposure could be half a second or more, just enough to get a little movement in the water but not to make it look like a sea of fog.  Make sense?  You can read a tutorial about how to take long exposure photos here!  Enjoy, and please leave your comments below!

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  1. Fabulous. I am a HUGE fan of long exposure and this is a beautiful one. I think foggy might have been okay for this one as well because the color is what reached out a grabbed me first!

  2. Mark says:

    Great shot Adam, like you said, it’s just the right amount of movement in the water.

  3. Len Saltiel says:

    Boy that is some beautiful light and color Adam and it’s right near your house. You are very lucky, my friend.

  4. Dave DiCello says:

    I love the hint of movement you’ve captured in the waves, really makes the scene come alive! Awesome colors too!

  5. Mark Neal says:

    Beautiful image, Adam. I like your short/long exposure effect. That sea of fog effect you mentioned is much less effective. This shot still shows movement and emotes more drama.

  6. Rich McPeek says:

    Awesome shot Adam! Love the water and colors here! Great work!

  7. Jimi Jones says:

    Really nice processing on this, Adam. Great image, man.
    Part of the fun of going back through images is finding those we’ve forgotten about. Often, they somehow look different than the first peek at them. Nice recovery of this one.

  8. Jim Nix says:

    that is a beautiful scene Adam, well done!

  9. Angeline says:

    Beautiful shot. I love the horizon, the clouds and color. Worth getting up early for!

  10. A.Barlow says:

    Very cool sir. Good job!

  11. LensScaper says:

    That’s worked out a treat. The water is just right. Love the sky too which despite your work does not look in any way artificial.

  12. Marc Collins says:

    Love those early morning colours! This is stunning Adam, nice work.

  13. ken bello says:

    I, for one, am glad you made it out of bed early for this. Great shot.

  14. Rick Louie says:

    Wow, right near the house? So envious!

  15. Doug Hickok says:

    Wonderful result. I like the mood and the capture of sea spray with just the right texture. This looks like an awesome spot for photography!

  16. Justin says:

    I once froze my ass off repeatedly as I spent early mornings next to the frozen lake that bounds Chicago. Having spent nearly 2 years in California, I think I’ve forgotten what frigid feels like.

  17. Nice one, its amazing how much hard work goes into making a picture truly stand out even after its taken…so much creativity there as well…

  18. Nice one, its amazing how much hard work goes into making a picture truly stand out even after its taken…so much creativity there as well!

  19. Edith Levy says:

    Fantastic shot Adam. I just order the B&W 10 stop ND filter from B&H and I am super excited to get it and try some long exposures.

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A Frigid Morning on the Beach