The Beach!

Earlier this week I went to the beach at Galveston Island State Park on the Gulf of Mexico. I was mainly there for a mini family vacation, so I didn’t spend a lot of time shooting pictures. About halfway through the day, I did drag the camera and tripod down to the water to take some long exposures of the waves. The sand was wet and the wind wasn’t really blowing it around, so I wasn’t very worried about sand getting in my camera.

My thought was to shoot mostly down the beach toward some tall clouds on the horizon. I tried to time the shutter with some waves rolling into shore. The below photo is a 4 second exposure looking down the beach to the west.

Beach on Galveston Island - 4s Exposure
Beach on Galveston Island – 4s Exposure

There was so much light that even with the 10-stop ND filter, I had to dial down the aperture to f/18 to get a 4 second exposure. I didn’t think that I’d want an exposure much longer than this as I was just trying to catch some waves running into the beach.

At the water’s edge, the waves were very small because of a sand bar a few meters off shore. So, I waded out into the water and put the tripod in the shallow water of the sand bar. I did have to wait a few waves for the tripod to settle to a steady position. From this position, the waves were breaking closer to the camera and I got better white foam lines to the horizon plus some rippled sand under the water in the foreground.

Beach at Galveston Island State Park - 2s Exposure
Beach at Galveston Island State Park – 2s Exposure

Critically, these aren’t the best beach pictures around, but I was mainly just having fun and experimenting with the long exposures as I don’t make it down to the beach very often.

One issue with using an ND filter that was very apparent in these pictures was the color cast by the filter. For processing, I put a photo without the ND filter next to the filtered photo in LightRoom and adjusted color hues, saturation, and luminance as well as added some contrast until I got the correct colors. This generally involved adjusting the blue tint of the sky and taking some green out of the sand. Side by side below are the images before and after the color adjustments. Both copies of the image have the same exposure and lens correction applied.

Before and After Correcting Color for ND Filter

Another issue that I have found when editing pictures for the webpage is that my monitor is brighter than most others. I have noticed this when viewing photos from my web page on various other monitors. To deal with this, I now usually edit my photos with the monitor brightness dialed down by two clicks. I find that this results in an image that doesn’t look too dark on other monitors. Let me know what you think below.

One of the reasons that I went down to the state park was because I thought it would be much less crowded than the beach in Galveston where all the hotels are, and I was right. There were not very many people at the state park beach on a Monday afternoon. Not that I don’t like people, I just like my space. I didn’t spend any time exploring the park; just played on the beach. There are kayak paddling trails that might be fun to come back and explore in cooler weather.

The map below shows Galveston Island State Park on the island south of the city of Galveston with the entrance to the Houston ship channel at the top.


The following day we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is a fantastic museum if you find yourself in Houston. In the fossil exhibit, I saw this fish fossil that I thought would go well with my beach photos so I took a photo.

Fish Fossil - Houston Museum of Natural Science
Fish Fossil – Houston Museum of Natural Science

There wasn’t much light for photography in the exhibit and flash photography is not allowed, so this is a high ISO photo. I think that the texture hides the small amount of noise. I boosted the contrast and reduced the saturation to focus more on the texture. I don’t know what ancient fish this was, but I like the way the fossil looks. There were also a lot of dinosaurs and other creatures that were fun to see.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below if you like.


16 thoughts on “The Beach!

    1. It wasn’t too windy and there wasn’t a lot of sand blowing around. There were few people around and the water is very shallow until you get a long way off shore. So, it was just within my comfort zone.

      I can wade out a long way before the water is up to my chest and there are high places just off shore where the water is quite shallow. I don’t know if this helps or hinders the sharks. I seldom hear of shark incidents on the Texas coast anyway; maybe the oils rigs have scared them all away.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember going down to the beach on a visit to LA a few years ago and the water was really cold. In the Gulf the water temperature is in the high 80s F in summer so it is like a tepid bath. Also, the waves are never really very big unless there is a hurricane coming in. Also at times of the year, a lot of seaweed and/or jellyfish washes in and that isn’t really pleasant so you have to watch for that. But we had calm and breezy conditions, so that was nice.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. On our side of the Pacific ocean, the water circulates down from the north, so it stays cool year round. I’d prefer it to be warm, like the Gulf. But on the other hand, then we’d have to put up with hurricanes.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Those are nice. I haven’t been to Galveston in a very long time.

    Hey–I’m planning to camp at Guadalupe Mountains national park next Friday, August 16-18, and hike Guadalupe Peak. Want to go? You could get some fantastic photos up there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was actually looking to plan something out there or Big Bend for the next new moon for some astro-photography at the end of August. It is really dark at night out that way. Those dates you listed are right in the middle of the full moon, which is no good for milky way photos. By the next weekend the moon, will be setting just after midnight.

      I have never been up to Guadalupe Peak though I have considered it. I have frankly gotten into worse shape this summer and put on some pounds. I now wonder if that is within my capability. I am very frustrated with myself lately. If only bread didn’t exist.

      I also have my 18 year-old daughter about to start college and I have to plan around helping her get set-up for that and getting into a dorm. Not to mention my 16 year old daughter starting her junior year in high school. I remember when summer break went to September and now school starts at the midway point of August.

      I will have to stew on this. I do appreciate the offer and am interested in these things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand. My three are starting back to school next week, too. I’d wait until later in August, but the following weekend I have to leave for a week of work in Lubbock, and then the next weekend my wife and one daughter are leaving for a hiking trip, so I have to be at home with the other two (who have school activities and don’t want to go hiking). Though it’s only 8 miles round trip, I do think it’s tough. But the offer stands. I will have the campsite paid for regardless.


    1. No, I haven’t been there but I would certainly like to. I was considering throwing my kayak on the roof and going down for some of the paddling trails later in the year. Maybe camp on the beach.

      Thanks for the recommendation.

      Liked by 1 person

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