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Thalia Batista

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Photoshop Experiment with Liquid:
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"Asilomar Surf" , Pacific Grove, California

It was a refreshing sunrise, so I tried to capture that feeling!
(Expand the post, to see the big version! Download to see an even bigger version.)


Canon 5D 
Canon 17-40L @ 30
0.3-second exposure @F16
2 LEE soft ND grads (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75
Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring
ISO 50
No polarizer
RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One
TIFF file processed with Photoshop
Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod
Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head

The Story

This was such a complex situation that it was hard to keep the entire thing in my head without losing concentration!

Since California sits on the west coast of North America and there are usually mountains and cliffs behind the beaches, there are few places where you can capture good light at sunrise, but this north-facing point near Monterey does the job nicely.  It is much easier to wait for sunset usually.

The problem with this place is that when the surf is up, there are too many things happening all at once.  And any one of them could lead to you and your camera taking a swim in the Pacific.  When I get to the beach, I'll usually go to where the action is and stand there for a while without the camera and just take it all in.  Then I'll choose a spot as close to the action as possible.  Those are the most memorable places for me.

In the darkness before sunrise, it can be difficult to determine how the light will be, so I focus on the waves and how the water moves, and hope for the best when it comes to the light.  So I found this spot which is close to the road but requires a walk through a low spot where the waves sweep through at high tide, so you have to time it a bit.  

Every once in a while a wave would strike the rock to the left in back.  Sometimes nice waves would form out in the open ocean.  Sometimes the wave would hit the rock in the foreground.  And after some waves, the foam would gradually clear a bit allowing light to penetrate the water and show off the color in there.  The problem is, all these variables were not in synch with each other.  Also, the sunrise was a bright red but I was going for this shot, which at the time had little light on it.  So I ignored a great sunrise and waited for a hole in the clouds to let in the sun.

Since there was too much going on for me to keep in my head, I decided to focus on capturing the wave striking the distant rock.  That was the most dramatic thing.  I tried about 10 times before I captured the other elements I wanted in the frame.  See the notes for what I wanted.  Then the good light was gone for the day and this was my only photo I kept from this morning.

Other stuff

My pictures are featured on the front page of California Governor, Jerry Brown's website


I wrote a 325 eBook that describes exactly how I went about learning photography starting in 2006. I did not learn the usual way. I have studied the great masters of painting and hope to find that light in the real world.

For everything else, go to my website:

A great weather mashup map of the world with local temperatures, weather and nice popups. See where it is hot and not! (Must wait for slow commercials first, but worth it!)
Google Earth

Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.

Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)

Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)

Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:

Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.

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I have to take a pic like this someday.... maybe modernized to my taste, but  representing just this.. 
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If each of us can learn to relate to each other more out of compassion, with a sense of connection to each other and a deep recognition of our common humanity, and more important, to teach this to our children, I believe that this can go a long way in reducing many of the conflicts and problems that we see today.
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How sad!
His wife is seriously injured. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.
He brought her food and tended to her with love and compassion.
He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead.
He tried to move her....a rarely-seen effort for swallows.
Aware that his mate is dead, he cries with adoring love.
He stood beside her, saddened by her death.
Finally, he stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.
People cried after seeing these pictures when they were published
in the leading newspaper in France. All copies of the paper were
sold out on the day the pictures were released.
And many people think animals don't have emotions.
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This is for all them lovely ppl who like to think there summat special ;-)
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I'm looking for you, but all I see is blue!
Count the bluebonnets!
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