Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Calm. Panther Beach


Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California


Like few drops in the desert can not quench its thirst, this is Calm in Panther Beach. Uncomfortable and calm. A rare moment to remember the time spent aimlessly around lakes and waterfalls, when still accompanied by beauty and grace.


I composed the shot to give as much prominence as possible to the puddle in front me that was reflecting a beautiful sky made of pink and red striping clouds. The stretched puddle forms a visual line that leads the viewer further into the image towards the sky in the background.
I closed the aperture to f/11 to get most of the scene in sharp focus, which, given the time of day right past sunset, yielded a shutter speed of about 20s, that further smoothed out the water, playing into the idea of stillness and calmness. The usual graduated neutral density filter helped retaining the color of the sky and the pink clouds, by matching the exposure with the reflection in the foreground.
In post I tweaked the brightness of the foreground and improved both contrast and saturation to get closer to the beautiful view I witnessed in the field.

This image is best appreciated at high resolution. Click on the image for an even better view. Beautiful fine art prints in various formats are available from FineArtAmerica.

Torment is the second piece in a three images series at Panther Beach:
Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California

SONY SLT-A99V, f/11 @ 22 mm, 20s, ISO 50

Monday, November 4, 2013

Torment. Panther Beach


Panther's Beach, Santa Cruz, California

The waves were unforgiving, smashing Panther Beach in Santa Cruz over and over and over again with increasing force and rendering each attempt to get closer to the edge of the water at least dangerous, both for us and our equipment. But when the Light is just right, there is no turning back: each shot became more daring, I inched forward every time, planted the tripod, composed, shot and closer again until I got right where I first wanted to be, when the waves calmed down briefly before growing strong again. I managed to fire few shots of exactly the scene I had in mind, when the sun was at the right angle and the light was dim enough, but so red to make the moss look like fire. It was like standing by the river Styx, the entrance to Dante's Inferno. Few seconds later I was knee deep in the cold Pacific water.

This is Torment, where the Fallen soul desperately waits to be finally delivered from his lost fairy. There is no future here. And never never again, will be back.

I was looking for chaos and movement in this image, which is what I got in large quantities by simply standing on the edge of the water. I dialed f/11 to get enough depth of field, and the shutter speed between 1.5s and 2.0s, where the sweet spot is to get the milky effect on the waves that I love so much. This shutter speed usually gives me the sense of motion I was after, without the foamy and calming quality of long exposures. The triangle composition gives even more dynamism to the scene. A graduated neutral density filter, again, kept the sky exposure in check. The background comes from another exposure with a more interesting wave approaching. In post processing, I slightly dodged the waves to give the idea of white flames licking up to complete the image.

This image is best appreciated at high resolution. Click on the image for an even better view. Beautiful fine art prints in various formats are available from FineArtAmerica.

Torment is the second piece in a three images series at Panther Beach:
Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California


SONY SLT-A99V, f/11 @ 24 mm, 1.6s, ISO 50

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Falling. Panther Beach


Panther Beach, Santa Cruz, California

Chasing the Light is more often then not an exercise in frustration, almost as frustrating as chasing Beauty and Grace, now that is gone and will not come back. But the Light was kind this time with +Jagadeesh Pakaravoor  (gallery) and me on our way to Panther Beach, a beautiful and iconic stretch of coast few miles north of Santa Cruz in California. More than kind, the Light was gorgeous. The sky falling suit.
This image is the first of a series of three taken in the same spot and around the same time, connected by space, time and feelings. They form a storyline that is worth telling: this is Falling down a steep slope without the means and the will to stop. Falling into the crashing waves down below. Falling into Torment.


The theme of this image is leading lines, guiding the viewer to the hint of crashing waves that will be the theme of the next image of the series, with several elements of the composition contributing to the dynamism I had in mind when I saw the scene. The vertical composition with a wide angle strengthens the idea of movement. The side light from the right of the frame coming from the setting sun is giving contrast to the image and casting a gorgeous warm light.
I chose a very small aperture to have as much as possible of the frame in focus in one single capture, with a soft graduated neutral density filter to keep the sky exposure in check behind a polarizer. The key for this image (and the following ones too) was using a piece of cloth to wipe the lens clean of water every few minutes: waves were crashing left and right.

This image is best appreciated at high resolution. Click on the image for an even better view. Beautiful fine art prints in various formats are available from FineArtAmerica.

Calm is the first piece in a three images series at Panther Beach:

SONY SLT-A99V, f/13 @ 22 mm, 1s, ISO 50