Willie and I haven't had a good photo shoot in a while. All of our Death Valley shoots were a bust and we hoped that Sunday would change our luck. We watched as Saturday and Sunday morning brought amazing sunsets and sunrises yet we stayed in bed out of laziness. Not wanting to miss another good opportunity we hoped in the car and decided to try our luck at Marshall Beach in San Francisco. Neither of us had been here before and Willie was exhausted after a 10 mile hike the day before so I drove us through traffic as we found our way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Due to unexpected traffic we arrived at Marshall Beach much later than we intended. We raced down the mile long hike to the beach (it's pretty steep, but luckily the city of SF built a bunch of steps to make the trail down nice and easy). We got to the beach and quickly realized there were numerous compositions and we ran back and forth trying to find a good one before the sun got low and started lighting up the sky. Eventually we settled on a spot in the back that gave us a composition with rocks that would direct the incoming waves and provide some nice foreground motion. After finding a spot that I liked I got my Lee filter holder, remote shutter, and filters out and began to setup my tripod….
As I pulled open my tripod legs and went to attach my camera to the tripod my heart skipped a beat …. my ball-head looked strange. It was then that I noticed the knob that turns the quick release head to clamp my camera to the tripod was missing. Not a big deal I thought, I can at least use my fingers to turn the screw. Oh wait …. the quick release clamp (that moves in and holds the camera in) was gone too!!! Completely missing!!!! I have no idea how the entire thing fell off but it meant that my tripod was useless! Useless!
(Update: I called Acratech this morning and once they receive my ball-head they will replace the quick release clamp for free and send it back to me! Man their service rocks!).
I was forced to hand-hold my shots for this shoot. Knowing that we needed long shutters to provide foreground motion Willie suggested that I use a rock to balance the camera. This was a great idea because it gave me a little extra stability without my tripod but it also meant that my compositions were limited to a couple spots. My thoughts of catching waves crashing over some other rocks were dashed. Despite the lack of tripod I still managed to get a number of shots that came out decent and since I was slightly higher up the beach I also managed to stay more dry than Willie, who took a splash over his new rain boots.
Unfortunately for us, Mamma Nature is still mad at us and although there were *perfect* clouds above the Golden Gate Bridge, a bunch of low, thick clouds rolled in at the horizon behind us and blocked the light from reaching anywhere. Oh well, Black and White it is, which turned out kinda neat!
Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
48mm, f/13, 0.4 sec, ISO 640, "Rock" Tripod (see above)
Lee Filter Holder + 0.9 HiTech Soft ND Grad