Sea to Summit Workshop – Santa Cruz
I finally got around to join the Sea to Summit Workshops in Santa Cruz ran by Jim Patterson and Josh Cripps. They hold landscape workshops up and down California coast; and every once in a while, they venture out to the sierras. Boy, did I learn a lot.
- It gets cold in Santa Cruz. Even when the sun is out. In August!
- Be prepared to get wet if you want to capture interesting shots.
- Your lens gets dirty (salt spray) even you can’t feel the mist.
- Your tripod will get sand in the legs. Be prepared to wash them.
- Sky is boring unless there are clouds. Keep as little of it as possible.
- You need a decent graduated neutral density filter. Get the 4×6 so you have room to move the edge to the top or bottom of your frame (see previous bullet).
- There is a difference between landscape and seascape when it comes to graduated neutral density filters: a) soft edge works well for landscape, b) hard edge works better for seascape since there is usually a very clear horizon and when the sun sets, it gets very bright right at the horizon.
- Experiment with the timing of the wave when doing long exposure. Shots taken while waves crash in vs. while waves recede have very different look.
- Composition is everything. Having a leading line definitely helps.
- You CAN shoot into the sun, see picture below; provided that you have the correct graduated ND filter. This is something I avoided at all cost in the past.
The location of these pictures is what locals call Hole-in-the-Wall beach. Because, you literally need to walk through a hole in the wall (cliff) to get to the beach. I need to find time to go back there when there are killer clouds. The hole should also a great location for portraits. I need to figure out how to convince Ann to let me do her swim wear catalog.
I did have to post-process the picture to bring out the contrast and details. For the above picture, I didn’t have the hard edge GND filter. So I processed the raw file in two exposures – one for the ocean and the rock, then the 2nd about -1.5 stops for the sky. I then overlay the sky on top of the normal exposure using mask.