Three trips to the beach

No matter how many apps, or channels on the TV you watch to gauge what the weather will turn out to be on any day out with the camera, there are still times (more than not actually) where you have to just roll with what you get and adjust.

Taking to the opportunity to head out to the beach for 3 days, trying to find a weather pattern that would give some dramatic cloud action. Being on the west coast, a sunrise at the beach is impossible, but having the sun hit any clouds and highlighting them while waiting for the sun to rise enough to clear the cliffs. On Sunsets – you really want a condition where enough clouds exist to give detail and color to the sky, but not so many that you can’t see the actual sun travel through the sky. The couple of weeks covering the 3 trips in this gallery all had a rain front having gone through the area the day/night before. Since the fronts usually travel from the west inland, if there is any decent wind the clouds can come from open water and streak across to land, and usually they stay compacted until just then and start to slowly lose cohesion.

First Trip out (shots 1-28): Sunrise trip. PLAN: as the weather report noted partly cloudy at sunrise and clearing within 2 hours to mostly sunny. Heading out with ND filters in hand, the expectation was to go for some extra long exposure photography as the tide came in, only rising 1ft from sun up until high tide of 3 ft for the day; then as the clouds changed over to partly sunny switch to some larger overall views to capture their movement overhead. ACTUALLY:The “partly cloudy” forecast was really a “thick layer of depression” which manifested as a sky of nothing but grey overcast skies.
The lack of direct sunlight helped overall in the few hours at the location as it allowed the ability to slow down the shutter and force scenes into long exposure land far longer into the morning than usual. The Pelicans were heading up the coast and skirting the waves, with a few diving quickly once they caught site of a meal. Even combining shots into an HDR which would usually bring some detail out in the sky on the greyest of days failed to result in anything more than a slightly more detailed blanket of doom in the skies.

Second Trip out(shots 29-48): Sunset trip #1. PLAN: The winds were supposed to pick up and push through a cloud front, so the idea was to head out and try to capture the clouds over open water with the desire to catch the sun just dipping over the horizon. ACTUALLY: No clouds. None. Clear open skies. Nice golden tones, but absolutely no detail to focus on in the sky.
So with those conditions, you focus lower and pull out details of the beach. Once again forcing a slower the shutter speed to bring drama into the picture, and with the light changing into the golden hues of the evening, it was easy to change the color tones just by turning away or into the sunset. Without any clouds, the best solution for highlighting the sun going down is to zoom out on your lens as far as you can to compress the view and make the big ball of fire look as big as you can in the last 2 minutes before it disappears. Since at this time of day, you aren’t really looking at the sun (google the science around lenses of the sun around the earth’s horizon if you want to know more), it is the one time you can directly look at the sun and not lose your vision.

Third Trip out (shots 49-60): Sunset Trip #2: PLAN: The weather apps said more clouds, so a second try on the following evening to attempt to get the clouds blowing through at sunset from the upper cliff on the beach for a different vantage point. ACTUALLY:The clouds were running 20 minutes later than the sunset and really got good, once it was too dark to take anything of value. The one cool opportunity was when the sun briefly traveled behind a line of clouds and resulted in sun rays emanating in all directions without the ball of fire searing eye sockets.
A few clouds were floating in on the far horizon and gave some opportunities in the distance to zoom in on the scene and bring out some detail. While waiting for conditions to present for the sunset, it was a good opportunity to catch the beach birds which are usually flying overhead, unless they are skirting the waves (Pelicans), from a higher vantage point. This allowed taking them from the top and gave a slightly different background as the waves below could be blurred. Hopefully some overall vantage shots showcase the preferred local beach for what is mostly seen here on the photoblog galleries.

Overall, you can never really complain about spending a few hours at the beach. Even on days when the weather isn’t perfect (too windy, chilly, etc, etc) it is still not a bad ride.

[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_9723.jpg]20Brown Pelican wave running
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_9739.jpg]20Western Sandpiper
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[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_9922.jpg]00Brown Pelican - split second prior to splash down
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_9950.jpg]00Least Sandpiper
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_9974.jpg]00Marbled Godwit
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0005.jpg]00Western Sandpipers
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0017.jpg]00Western Sandpipers
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0028.jpg]00Western Sandpipers flying among the waves
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[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0054.jpg]00Brown pelican
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[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0194.jpg]00The Two fisherman (dolphin)
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0242.jpg]00Western Gulls
[img src=http://pandtdavis.net/wp-content/flagallery/morning-grey-coastal-skies/thumbs/thumbs_mg_0274.jpg]00Brown Pelicans over fishing Dolphin
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