Seascape Photography is Meant to be Seen

Seascape Photography is a relativeIy new passion and subject for me. I spent the majority of my life in Ohio where I was born and grew up. Then, in the mountains of Montana, Idaho and Colorado where I schooled and had a family from about 18-45. But not long after the turn of the century, I moved to California. After 25 years in the ski industry, the excuse to move was to start a sailing club which I did. But the main intent was to get closer to the ocean and... quite frankly, like many people, I was completely finished with snow and winter. I had done it all including several 100+ day years of skiing back to back to back. The few years before I made this move I had begun finding small trailerable sailboats in California for next to nothing in cost. I would bring them back to Colorado and refurbish them. Sail them and then sell them to sailboat starved Coloradans. In one week, though, I slipped on the ice opening my garage door, breaking 3 toes and discovered a sailing club franchise. The die was cast! I put the two sailboats I had, up for sale and they sold within days. I took that money and used it to start my sailing club in Oxnard, CA at the Channel Island Harbor. It was a great period in my life as my partner was my son. We planned and escorted our members on sailing trips around the world when we weren't having fun in our own back yard there. At first I lived in a condo that had a beautiful view of the harbor and the club boats right out my living room window. Then I found another rental that had ocean and harbor views and the sunsets! Oh the sunsets! 

The 2008 recession came along and trashed the little sailing club which I was fortunate enough to be able to sell out from under me in 2009 to at least break even on it all! I moved South to San Diego and found a 1 year lease on an ocean front condo in Solana Beach!  I swear I shot about 350 sunsets that year from that condo deck; never two nights the same. It was about this time I got serious about timelapse photography and shot lots of ocean based timelapses. During those sessions, as the timelapse clicked away for 15-30 minutes at a time, I found myself with time on my hands and began to get excited about the potential to expand my shooting to sunset seascape photography.

Since then I've taken, literally, thousands of seascape photos, mostly during the sunset hours and mostly in the winter as I get impatient in the summer! My method of operation is to put my Sigma 20mm lens on my full frame camera, a Canon 5D3, with filter holder attached. I mount that on my tripod and I take a small shoulder bag that contains a variety of filters I may need, spare camera battery for the inevitable and my other camera, a Canon 80D crop frame, mounted with a Tamron 70-200mm lens. This has me prepared for just about any sort of seascape photography I might come across that I would like to shoot. I try to get to where I am going to shoot at least an hour before sunset. Sometimes this means visiting a few potential locations before picking one. That decision is made based on the tides and crowds.

"Sunset Serenity" is my newest seascape photography image taken on December 10, 2021. I had stopped at two other beaches but the tide was fairly high and the crowds were surprisingly robust despite the majority of the day being rainy. Mind you, Californians generally have a collective ritual of watching the sun go down. Its why i try to get to my location long before the event because in the last 15-20 minutes the viewers swell into a mass of ooohs, ahhhs, high-fives and applause. Windansea beach in La Jolla is only about 1/4 mile long and when the tide is high there is hardly any beach at all. Like most of Southern California the spot is mainly a bluff, but here it is not a sheer drop off, but more like a grassy, rocky dune. I was late at this point and only had about a 1/2 hour before the sunset. I found a parking spot, grabbed my gear and surveyed the possibilities. There really was only 2 or 3 locations to pick from. So, I pushed through a large wedding party that was, fortunately, vacating the beach steps after the two planes flew by with giant worded streamers proclaiming the couples' love for each other and thanking their well wishers. The second plane message seemed over the top but then you should have seen the couple! At the bottom of the stairs there was a group of, 2 or 3 dozen teens having a beach birthday party. Believe it or not they are just left of this photo frame whooping it up. But for some reason they stayed out of this little canyon beach and let me get some shots before their football game coaxed them down onto the beach. Mind you it filled up with water every 5th wave.

I especially enjoy this photo because it reflects the clear and crisp moments found after a rain here. It takes several attempts to find just the right amount of light, water movement and framing. I shoot in what is called RAW format that is remarkable to work with as long as you do not allow the shadows to go pitch black and the sunlight to peak out with overexposure. This photo allowed that, had spot on white balance and was sharp as a tack. The curlew at the waters edge completed the moment and guaranteed its place amongst some of my most favorite seascape photography captures I've ever gotten. I think this will look magnificent on metal allowing for all the depth of the light to show,

I will be adding some of my most favorite older seascape photography images in the future and announce them here when I do. So, keep an eye out for them. Better yet, sign up for my Collectors Club newsletter and i will notify you right in your email box when that happens.

I'd be remiss if the song I dropped with this blog post was not The Beach Boys, right? I was a Beatles fan as a kid. I didn't warm up to The Beach Boys till later. And then I saw "Love and Mercy." The first time it was on a plane ride. But I have now watched it at least four or five times and have a greater understanding of that incredible time when rock and roll was evolving from its original invention. There is all sorts of huge hits by the this band. But this particular haunting tune sums up the period without having to offer up one of their other million sellers that can sound cliché in this age. Pet Sounds was released in 1966, spurred on by Brians enamored response to The Beatles Rubber Soul album! I was too young to understand that then but do now!