Time and tide… plus a famous lighthouse


I was excited that high tide and sunrise would almost coincide, and I had used a cool piece of software called “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to determine that the sun would rise directly behind the lighthouse. I was hoping for some fast-moving high clouds, and I had this vision of being able to capture the early rays beaming out from behind the lighthouse like some heavenly scene. Alas… no clouds, so on to plan B.

As I wandered around the shoreline looking for interesting foregrounds, I came across a couple of what I can best describe as “cracks” where the surge from the high tide would push its way in and then slowly retreat back to where it came from. I perched myself rather precariously on a small rocky outcrop, and waited for the “seventh” wave to roll in with its energy being funneled into the crack below me.

Now… I don’t really know if there is any scientific grounding in the notion of every seventh wave being stronger than the rest, but I do know that if you pay attention and watch for patterns, every so often on a fairly regular basis (maybe even every seventh wave), the swell definitely gets bigger. That means something to patiently wait for when pressing the shutter, and since the ocean can be a powerful thingΒ it is also something to be wary of.

19 thoughts on “Time and tide… plus a famous lighthouse

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Carol. These are both two-shot exposure blends to deal with the dynamic range in the scene. The foreground in each was shot at 4 seconds, and the rest of the scene was shot at 1 second. I could have achieved similar results in the field by using graduated neutral density filters, but I’m just not that big a fan of them.

  1. This is beautiful, sir! I was just about ask about the exposure time but I saw the previous comments. I am a beginner in photography – but I understand that you’ve just photoshopped the two sections of the photo then?

    • David Patterson

      Correct on the use of Photoshop to blend two different exposures. Without getting too technical, I used a simple gradient mask to create a smooth transition between the two different exposures. The four second exposure rendered the incoming wave in the foreground as “misty” – while the one second exposure was able to maintain pretty much what the sky and lighthouse looked like. I wrote a little more about this process here: https://storiesfromhome.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/digitally-blending-exposures/

  2. Thought yesterday’s Nubbly Sunrise was lovely but this is even better! Really beautiful. I’ve been taking shots of sunrises and sunsets recently but I am no photographer – I just point and shoot, so I appreciate the depth of your skill. I’m also new to blogging, but yours is one of the few that I follow and I love your work (and your posts).

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