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December at the Beach

Whew! The past couple months have been busy as hell! That's good news because there's nothing I hate more than being idle, but that also means I'm building up a hefty backlog of image editing. Luckily I had some time today to at least get through a couple days of shooting from back in December. I have pictures here from 2 different beaches (Crystal Cove State Park and a beach in Laguna).

The first set is from Crystal Cove taken on December 23rd. This was actually during a lesson with a student of mine, Kim Murphy (her work is awesome).

We started the evening photographing the gorgeous clouds reflected in the wet sand. Ahh, gotta love that blue sky. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you I did remove some of the lens flare on the following picture once I got it in the computer (shame on me).

Once the sunset rolled around, I continued playing with the reflections and the motion of the waves. Couldn't decide which of the following 2 I liked better, so I posted both.

Then twilight rolled around and the blues in the sky made for a good, cold mood - perfect for December at the beach.

The second day was at a little beach in Laguna...not sure of the name...on December 29th. We'd been having heavy storms here in SoCal and the skies were breaking up into some pretty dramatic clouds and light. I rushed down to the beach and got there just in time for a few good shots.

Strong winds and passing rain made the job extra difficult, but also extra fun. I had to juggle holding an umbrella, wiping down my filters and avoiding the waves throughout the shoot. I loved it.

The waves were so choppy and tumultuous, I decided to make that the communication in these shots. I made the motion of the water the focal point in these compositions by using slower (but not too slow) shutter speeds. I also slightly under-exposed the pictures to add to the stormy feel.

And lastly, a panorama just as the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds. Click it to see a bigger version.

Thanks for viewing!

“New” Pictures from the Archives

I was going through a backlog of images and found a batch of pictures I realized had never been posted on my blog. They were taken in January at Crystal Cove State Park. I like 'em, so I thought I'd pull them out of the archives and post them up for you guys. Especially with the ugly weather of summer setting in (ugly for photography, not sun-bathing), I figured it might be awhile before I have any new material for you.

These first shots are my favorite from that day. I went out into - literally IN to - a large tidepool and shot back towards the mainland where the beautiful warm light of the sunset was bathing the cliffs nicely. The reflections off the water were stunning. I liked how the scene looked more like a mountain landscape than it did a beach - almost like a serene lake with a sun-kissed mountain in the background.

I know, the following picture is a lot like the one up top. I couldn't decide which one to post over the other and I think they are different enough to have their own merits. I was really diggin' the textures and colors in the rocks above and below the water surface, so I worked with that in several of the shots.

The following picture, especially, really looked more like a mountain scene to me than a beach. It must be the rocks under the water's surface and the stick floating off to the left. But I think that's why I photographed the hell out of this area - I can get a little bored shooting out towards the ocean all the time (you guys outside California are probably shaking your heads in disgust at that comment). It was nice to get a unique view for a change.

Then I moved out to the beach to capture a more classic seascape with ocean, rock and sand. The sunset, as you can see, was gorgeous. Ah, how I miss the skies of winter and fall...

Thanks for stopping by!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

This past Saturday, I decided to check out Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in Del Mar, CA. I'd never been there before and I'd only seen a few pictures of it online, so I didn't really know what to expect. But with gorgeous weather prevailing and some free time on my hands, I figured it would be a perfect time to visit a new location for potential photo ops.

After spending the whole day there, hiking/running about 5 miles of its trails and then taking pictures through sunset, I can safely say that Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve will be one of my most frequented parks from here on out. In fact, I'd say it's going to give my favorite place to shoot in Southern California, Crystal Cove State Park, a run for its money.

Home to America's rarest pine tree (the Torrey Pine, which is only found in this park and on Santa Rosa Island off the California coast), Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has some of the most unique geology and flora of any park I've visited. As I ran through the winding, narrow trails, I felt like I was transported to someplace further north - where pine forest meets the ocean. The eroded hillsides and cliffs at the edge of the water are reminiscent of San Onofre State Park, but even more beautiful.

Wildflowers were already blooming and I'm sure this place will absolutely explode with color in the next few weeks. It was quite crowded through the first half of the day, but what do you expect when you combine such a beautiful day with such a gorgeous park? The sunset turned out to be fantastic - just as I predicted. Some great clouds drifted in just in time to give the sunset some color. I also found a Torrey Pine tree with limbs shaped in such a way that they were just begging to be photographed. I took several similar shots of it but couldn't decide which was my favorite.

Here are the rest of my shots from the day:

Well, there you have it. My pictures from my first encounter with Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. I hope you enjoyed them and expect to see more where those came from.