Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer | Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography

Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography

June 20, 2015  •  12 Comments

Cove Shoreline LaJolla CA 1 BWCove Shoreline LaJolla CA 1 BW "To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim-the-rocks-the motion of waves-the-ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?" - Walt Whitman  Dreary Dawn at Shell Beach LaJolla California 1 BWDreary Dawn at Shell Beach LaJolla California 1 BW


This past Memorial Day weekend, we made a quick family trip to LaJolla, California.  While the days were filled with family activities, I was able to break away for some early morning – pre-dawn – photography on the rugged ocean shoreline.  

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

The first morning was chilly, with a palpable mist in the air. On the second morning, I encountered strong winds and intermittent spitting rains. My biggest challenge was keeping the camera and lenses dry, mainly by covering my camera with a protective plastic rain sleeve and using deep lens hoods.  Even then, on the second morning, I found myself wiping down my lenses and filters every few minutes.  Some of my shots were ruined by water spots and condensation on the lens. 

Juttting Seashore Ledges LaJolla CAJuttting Seashore Ledges LaJolla CA

< Nikon D810 5s at f/18 ISO 31

While these aren't the most comfortable conditions for sight seeing,  low light and gray skies make for some terrific photo opportunities.  On both days, overcast skies created a strong sense of doom and impending storms.  Being a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, it felt good to once again experience some weather and to photograph the dramatic ocean shoreline under unpredictable conditions.  Tidal Pools LaJolla, California BWTidal Pools LaJolla, California BW

< Nikon D810 1.3s at f/20 ISO 31

Under the low morning light, I was able to shoot fairly long time exposures of the surf moving across shoreline boulders until mid-morning.  For those planning to visit the area, the rock outcroppings at Shell Cove make for excellent foreground and a natural breaking point for the waves.  Just South of Shell Cove, the fascinating color palette displayed in tidal pools is particularly vibrant under flat, cloud-diffused lighting.  Misty Surf LaJolla CaMisty Surf LaJolla Ca


With such stormy weather, only a few other people were out walking on the otherwise busy beach areas.  For the most part, in composing my images, I was able to work around these folks and manmade objects. The one exception was a small, vacant lookout shelter, included in a few images for a sense of scale and a feeling of solitude. 

< Nikon D810 0.4s at f/18 ISO 31

Back at home, I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the color balance and other settings in Photoshop. In the end,  I found that  black and white versions of the scenes best captured the stormy mood and essence of the seashore environment. The conversion from color to monochrome was made with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2  (a Photoshop  plug-in),  using the  000-Neutral filter from the pre-set library and an orange digital filter. 

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

Ah, the wonders of digital photography. Vividly, I recall carrying a pouch of colored filters and BW sheet film when shooting a 4 x 5 inch format camera way back when.

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Related posts: Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography; Black and White Digital Photography:  A Peaceful Surrender.


Patti Rosenthal(non-registered)
really nice.
Claudio Trezzani(non-registered)
Paul Prappas(non-registered)
Love the monochromatic treatment. Thanks for sharing your art!
Victoria Jackson(non-registered)
Love your images.......
Marcus Reinkensmeyer(non-registered)
Thanks, everyone, for your kind words of support. So very much appreciated. Marcus
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