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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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