Friday, July 16, 2010

Sunset at Drake's Beach

Drake's Beach is a large beach on the southern end of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in western Marin county. The origin of the name come from the widely held opinion among historians that it is very likely the place where Sir Francis Drake landed in 1579 for repairs to his ships. No sign or artifact has ever been found to prove or disprove this assertion.

Either way, Pt. Reyes is one of Lisa and I favorite place to hike. We went out to Drake's Beach one Sunday afternoon for a hike and a picnic. The weather was unusually warm and sunny for a mid November afternoon on the Marin coast. We hiked about 8 kilometers along the beach at a very low tide. We were coming back to where we had parked the car just as twilight was ending.

What first caught my eye was yellow glow behind the hills, I then noticed the reflection of the light in shallow intertidal area between the shore and the breakers. Because of the failing light and the relatively slow lens on the camera (f/3.5 - 5.6) I had to push the ISO up to 400. I was without my tripod and I wanted a sharp image so I set the aperture as high as it would go (f/4) so I could get a high shutter speed (1/50). I was a little concerned about a loss of sharpness in the image but it seemed to work out.

I come from the old school of photography, I began taking photos in the early 70's with a Nikon F2 and Tri-X film stock, so I approach the digital file that comes out of a camera as a super negative and the work I do with Apple Aperture is similar to what I would do in a darkroom. In this case the image came out pretty close to what I wanted when I took the photo. I increased the contrast and decreased the exposure a bit as if was printing the image. I did a little playing around with the saturation and he vibrancy till I got a nice balance between the black shore and the muted but intense light of the fading twilight.

I'm mostly happy with this image. The one thing that annoys me is the horizon is in the middle third of the frame. I wanted to capture the pinkish glow in the upper right hand of the frame. I took the shot, noticed the horizon line and repositioned the camera with the horizon in the lower third but by this time the pinkish glow was gone but overall its' a pretty good image.