I woke up early the next couple of days trying to find another magical beach sunrise, but the clouds were really not cooperating. Wednesday morning the sky was clear and Thursday morning there were some thick clouds on the horizon.
My plan on this morning was long exposures to smooth the waves with a sunrise in the background, but before the sun made it out of the clouds these pictures turned out very cool and gray. Once the sun made it above the clouds it began to cast a long reflection across the sea and I was able to get some nice warm photos. Below is a 3 second exposure to blur out the waves near the shore and highlighting the long sun reflection. The sun also warms up the near-ground sand.
The above photo was taken at 16mm focal length with an ND filter. When shooting this wide with an ND filter you generally get quite a bit of vignette in the result and you can see plenty of it in the above image. I dialed it back a little in Lightroom but I generally don’t mind it.
Another problem is glass fogging. As you might imagine there is very high humidity along the beach and it was a very warm morning. My filters defogged in a few minutes of breeze as they have very little thermal mass, but the lens was a different story. I waited, and waited for the lens to heat up a bit in the breeze but finally just got out some lens wipes and cleaned the front and rear elements. Sometimes I get up a little early and go sit in my car with the heater on and blow hot air on the camera and lenses before I go out.
As you can see, the beach is mostly deserted at sunrise as all the vacationers have some strange notion about sleeping in. This means better photo opportunities for me. Along one of the paths to the beach there are these nice yellow flowers in full bloom among the dunes. I had looked at them for a few days and decided that they needed the early morning sunlight. So, after my long-exposures I went back to this path at the foot of the boardwalk and took some photos and the early morning light did work well.
The above shot is taken at 35mm focal length and the below was taken at 26mm. I was trying to decide which one I like better. The 35mm shot has a bit more beach and ocean, but the wider shot shows more of the flowers and path leading to the beach. I kind of like the wider shot. What do you think?
One thing that you don’t see in these photos is the large ugly sign proclaiming that any items left on the beach overnight will be discarded. This sign was right in the middle of the path as you get to the beach and cut across the sand water and horizon. So, I took about 10 minutes of careful work in Photoshop to remove this from each photo.
I hope the photo makes you want to take off your flip-flops and walk barefoot in the soft sand down to the beach to enjoy some morning solitude with the gulf breeze.
Thanks for reading.