TS09860-75

TS09860-75  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 16 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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California Coast 8/29
California Coast 9/15

2022 Trip Chronicles:  Page 5

California Coast 8/29

After my productive Middle Fork of Bishop Creek backpack, I wasn't interested in further Sierra Nevada trips because of the dry droughty conditions and gasoline costs that were above $6 per gallon that would cost this person over $130 roundtrip minimally for the Eastern Sierra. So looking elsewhere, on Tuesday August 29, 2022, went back to nearby familiar Pacific Coast areas. The following coastline area has conglomerate geology that erodes out leaving rocks that sloshing endlessly in shore waves grinds and polishes them into smaller smooth stones. Stones that are otherwide dull due to rough polished surfaces, look much more aesthetic when wet. So there is a photographer tripod game involved at the edge of where variable waves wash up on stony shores. There is also a need for short term weather and tide planning as wet stones appear more aesthetic in hgiher altitude sun conditions on our frequently foggy and or overcast coast. And one won't want to make a visit when tides are moving in the wrong direction or worse are so moderate that other visitors have trampled otherwise pristine surfaces.

Without one eye on approaching waves, one may become soaked while trying to pay attention to surf further out. I always expect to get the outside of my waterproof boots wet and carry a rag in case any splashing reaches my gear. Much worse is the possibility of salty seawater splashing up on one's camera gear, sure to rust internal metal surfaces and short out electronic circuits. Also, especially on breezy days, the marine atmosphere itself is so heavy with salt that it can coat lens surfaces with an optically disrupting film. So I am constantly inserting and removing protective lens caps. Additionally, fine sand that is often wet and or sticky, can be picked up or blown in the air to easily get into small spaces on cameras that may cause mechanical issues.

TS09568-88

TS09568-88  6000x3800 pixels  1 frame 21 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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This first image above shows a wave smoothed surface of fine wet sand with seagull and raccoon tracks plus a pieces of loose seaweed.

TS09738-58

TS09738-58  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 21 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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This next image above contains some of the same loose seaweed on dry stones that shows a relatively weaker aesthetic with dry stones. Dry stones do not however, have bright spurious sun reflections from the sun.

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TS09791-12  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 22 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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A wet stone image taken within a few minutes of a wave washing up on this shore location with good sand matrix separation between individual stones. It only takes a few minutes given usual shore breezes for what were wet stones to increasingly show an unaesthetic barely wet to dry look, so one must work quickly. Of course sometimes after setting up my tripod, preparing to take a set of focus stack blend shots, another wave will slosh up high enough to totally change whatever subject I had tried to work. Because each new wave rearranges stones while burying some and unburying others, one can continually work a stone zone due to the constant renewal. Like all my work over decades, I never ever touch or manipulate elements I photograph.

TS09791-09828-1x2h

TS09791-09828-1x2h  6000x5400 pixels  1 frame 1 column 2 row image focus stack stiitch blend  A6000 56mm
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Another wet stone subject in a sand matrix that is a 2 row stitch blend that includes the frame of the previous image above rotated clockwise, demonstrating how seamlessly and accurate the Kolor Autopano stitching app works.

Most of my close-up photography does not use the tripod I use for landscapes, an Oben CT-2316 carbon fiber tripod with a Manfrotto MH054M0 magnesium ballhead plus a Nodal Ninja III MK II manual panoramic head for stitching panels. Instead over decades have used a Benbo Trekker with a simply ball head that is vastly more a flexible tool down low or on irregular surfaces. The Benbo is however a most dangerous tool to one's expensive lenses on a camera if not handled carefully as the center column if not held before tightening down may swing down smashing a lens against ground elements. Most of my close-up work is with a very sharp with flat edge to edge field Sigma 56mm F1.4 lens however occasionaly will use my Sigma 30mm F1.4 or Sony 85mm primes that are also exceptionally sharp. Due to the small nature of such stone subjects, there is not usually much aesthetic values in capturing larger stitch blended frames so most of this work is single frame subjects.

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TS09829-46  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 18 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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Another stone image this day just seconds after a wave sloshed across this spot.

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TS09849-59  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 11 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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There is a tendency in some limited locations due to seawater flows for sand and stones to filter stones by size. Thus areas where many similar sized stones are nicely displayed. Often such spots are also nicely level as in the image above.

The final stone close-up image I worked early afternoon was also my best, displayed at page top. Looking at the enlarged vertical slice view, one will notice the some of the seawater still draining down through the porous sands.

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TT00016-36  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 21 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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California Coast 9/15

Two weeks later given usable weather and tides, on Friday September 15, 2022, was back again for some more wet stone close-up work. The largest stones at center in the above image are 2 to 3 inches wide.

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TT00049-72  6000x4000 pixels  1 frame 24 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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Sometimes will notice particularly aesthetic stones. I then regularly check how they and surrounding stones look as new waves change positions. I watched this large yellow stone for over an hour before finally finding it in a good setting of other stones. Notice how there is no sand showing as this was within a large pile of stones.

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TT09892-05  5700x3900 pixels  1 frame 14 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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Above are dry stones beside wet sand and a colorful purple piece of loose seaweed. In the enlarged vertical slice view, note the frilly edge of the seaweed.

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TT09983-99  5600x3700 pixels  1 frame 17 image focus stack blend  A6000 56mm
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And my last image this trip and probably this year of 2022, was a large cyan hued boulder partially buried in stones.

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   David Senesac
   email: info@davidsenesac.com
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