Before and After
Hover over the photo to see what it looked like straight from the camera.
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at 18mm
Exposure settings: ISO 200, f/9, 1/40s
Cropped dimensions: 3387 x 2267 pixels
Other stuff: ND grad filter, -2/3 EV
How it Happened
I had the idea for this a while ago, but wanted to wait so I could make it my final photo for Year 4. My wife picked me up from work and we headed straight to the beach, so I had to have everything ready. In addition to camera gear, I packed the two wine glasses, mixed some red colored water (I wasn’t going to waste real wine), a hat and windbreaker, and two tripods. We paid $4 to park next to the beach so we didn’t have to walk very far to the waters edge. It was forecast to rain, but thankfully it didn’t, and the clouds were great. It was, however, very cold and windy.
We found a relatively flat spot where the waves slowly receded, leaving the glassy look on the wet sand that I was after. I picked a spot where the waves occasionally reached (but not every time) and stuck the wine glasses in the sand. I was planning on having to adjust them, but the initial placement turned out to be what I wanted. The glasses sank farther and farther into the sand as the waves passed.
To get the composition, I had to get dirty. My elbows and knees spent a lot of time in the sand, and I got soaked by several waves. It was very awkward to sit up after being in this position. In addition to taking this flattering photo of me, my wife was able to help me out with towels so at least my hands could stay sand-free. She also fetched me a microfiber cloth so I could clean off the front of the ND grad, as it got a lot of ocean spray. I’m not sure I would have done this if she hadn’t been there to help.
Back at the computer, I sifted through many similar photos, but the ones with good reflections and without overexposed clouds quickly stood out. The photo above had the best reflections and nice colors overall. The SOOC shot seemed a bit dull so I did bump the saturation a little, but mostly I just hit auto adjust and then did minor adjustments from there.
Overall, I got wetter and dirtier than I have for just about any other photo I’ve taken. As cold as it was, I should have worn shorts. It was really nice that my wife was there to help. Stopping by Yummy Cupcakes in downtown Santa Monica was nice, too.
Be sure to follow along during Year 5.