This year I had the greatest personal losses of my life. Some people may not have survived. But then for some strange reason I have also had some of the greatest gains as well. All in all, I have learned a lot more about compassion (com-passion = to suffer with) and understanding for those who may have it hard. On the coast this last week with a fabulous workshop client we finished our new year at Bandon Beach, Oregon. We got great light both that evening and morning. We both parted with huge smiles. I entitled this "New Beginnings" because it was taken on New Years morning and it is what this new year is for me. Out with the old, and in with the new. I hope you have a great new year too and if you find yourself suffering, that you too receive great grace to get through.

As always, more details on my Facebook page.

The approach (for those who have asked me to post it):

Canon 5D Mark2
Canon 16-35L2 at 16mm
100 ISO
1.6 seconds.

The tide was high here and the wave action fairly radical. My client and I wanted to target the "Wizard Hat" rock, one of the most prominent features on the beach at Bandon, and certainty my favorite. Using in camera "live view" as my eyes I scoured the scene for a composition that I liked the most keeping the rock and horizon near thirds and trying to eliminate most of the distractions. I wanted a huge streaked foreground and when the waves when out I found this to be the best approach I could find at the time. Then with a moderately high camera position (it took me years of this type of thing to find that really low positions don't work nearly as well) to maximize/exaggerate the dynamic streaking of the waves I chose an f/stop and shutter speed that would get me loosely in the 1/2 to 2 second range (my generally favorite speed for ocean waves/streaks). I had auto exposure bracketing ON (+ and - 1 stop) to get a variety of exposures/shutter speeds and used "live view metering" with the meter 1/2 way into the horizon (bright area) and 1/2 into the land (dark area) in AV mode.

As the soft morning light came I literally held my ground in crashing waves up to my ankles and then sometimes knees (any higher than the knees - sometimes even less - and you are risking being taken out to sea by a rip tide - so be CAREFUL). I really pushed my tripod down hard into the sand for much better camera stability. I also wore chest waders with the neoprene booties built in, with over sized boots, and had a down jacket on. This type of set up really helps avoiding the "I don't want to get my feet wet / get dirty" syndrome from coming over you - massively limiting the possibilities of a scene.

Lastly, with a fresh 32 gig card, I shot literally hundreds of shots (like 300-400) until my client and I were done. I kept shooting a series of images in rapid fire as the waves came and also as they retreated, almost never letting up. I believe in situations like this you really can not have overkill.

In post production I put in about 1-2 hours adjusting all (300-400) raw file exposures so that they could be seen/evaluated really well. Next, I chose my favorite. This one was chosen for the main reason that I loved the foreground streaking and water texture the most. Secondly, and fortunately, it was also shot when the pink sunrise was at its peak.

Most simple adjustments were done in Raw starting with excellent presets (never JPEG presets). A little bit of tonal control/subtle fine tuning was employed using my unique approach with the Layer Style "Blend If" sliders. Those who follow my instructional videos may know how powerful yet ultra simple these can be.

Lastly, our eyes do not, in any way, see like our cameras do, especially when using the ultra-wides. One of the most important, yet sometimes difficult things I teach clients (I hear Mark A teaches this a lot too) is to take the camera OFF the tripod, use the "live view" as your very eyes and REALLY explore and even exhaust the possibilities. You may find hundreds of new better approaches than you would have otherwise.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

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