Monday, October 26, 2009

The Waiting Game

Sorry I've been absent from the blog. I often find myself wondering what to write, and then days pass by so quickly. I guess my only excuse is that I never kept a journal growing up, so I haven't formed the habit yet. :)

As I enter my second year of dedicating more time to landscape, or what I like to call seascape, photography, I have learned more about what it takes to get the shot.

You can have a "good eye", as some people call it, and this is very important. How you see the world around you helps define your imagery, your style.

You can know all the best spots, and certainly this can give you an edge.

You can have all the best gear, and that can help, but isn't necessary.

You can post process your images like a seasoned professional, but even then there is no guarantee of success (which by definition is different for all of us).

But even with all these factors, Mother Nature still has the upper hand. And thus, there is the waiting game. Nature, wildlife and landscape photographers, or at least those who have been doing it long enough, know that the elements can easily elevate your images to another level.

You see, I have been bookmarking spots along the coast near Santa Cruz using Stephen Trainor's The Photographer's Ephemeris. I must warn you first, if you are the type of person who enjoys randomly getting to a spot and guessing at where the sun or moon will rise or set, then don't click that link. You will be tainted forever if you do. :)

Anyway, the Photographer's Ephemeris is a wonderful tool for figuring out when the sun and moon will line up with the world around you. I personally feel it will help my photography in the long run. And it fuels the waiting game.

I've known for several months now that a local spot will have the sun setting down the middle of a rocky channel. Up until recently, I've been busy with the end of the art show season, and therefore my trips to the coast have been limited. I finally got to my spot, but the cloudless sky and my late arrival resulted in an unsuccessful shoot.

Fast forward three nights later, and the window of opportunity for my shot narrowing, and I got there just in time to catch the sun, a wedge of a cloud just happened to pass through the scene (and promptly left a few minutes later), and I got my shot.

I have another spot bookmarked for late October sunsets further up the coast. There is this nifty arcing reef of rock jutting into the Pacific. I want to get a shot with the sun ending that arc. The waiting game never stops.


  1. This is so beautiful and inviting! Thank you for posting it!

  2. Hi Jim! This is really a gorgeous scene what with that sky and tidal waterfall. Wow. I always love your seascapes! So dramatic! I'll check out that photographer's Ephemeris. I've been making it a goal to focus on selected spots in Pacifica. It sounds like that guide is very helpful. Oh, gosh...I hate the waiting

  3. Interesting tool Jim. I'll check it out.

  4. I stumbled on to your Flickr page and was just blown away. Your work is just amazing. I wanted to thank you for all the details you post with your photos. You inspire me to become a better photographer and to try something new.

    Now if I only had the same view from my house...

    Brian (delfry on Flickr)

  5. I enjoy your blog and your dedication to north coast seascape photography . I understand what you mean about the waiting game. Each morning I awake to see how the clouds are lining up before heading to Lighthouse Point to shoot the sunrise and then spend the rest of the day checking the sky looking for some potential sunset action. If you like, you can check out a sunrise I shot last week on my photo blog
    Love your work-it's really inspiring. Enjoy the November light.