Sunrises at the Beach

I went to vacation in Galveston for a week. My intent was not to take a lot of photos, but to mainly spend time with the family. I did manage to sneak down to the beach at sunrise a few days while everyone else was in bed.

Every morning that I went down there were heavy clouds on the horizon, so I didn’t get a spectacular beach sunrise. I did try to find ways to make the best of it even with the cloud cover. In the photo below, the sun is rising behind those dark clouds in the distance, so I framed a leftover sandcastle in the foreground to provide something to look at. I think it turned out OK. I imagine that some dad built this for his kids (and also for himself).

A couple of days later I also tried to frame in some flowers on the dunes at the entrance to the beach. I struggled here trying to get dunes and sea in the picture together. In the photo below, I shot very wide with the camera close to the flowers, but you can barely tell that there is water in the distance. You can see where the sun is rising beyond the thick clouds on the horizon.

A little while later the sun managed to get above the clouds and I got up higher to show some sea as well. This was a 7-frame HDR merge and rather difficult to edit. I put a lot of contrast in the dunes to show off the sunlight, but I am not sure I got the horizon correct. I also digitally removed the discarded frame to a canopy someone left on the beach. Every year I see people bring the fold-out canopies to the beach to have them destroyed by the wind and left for someone else to collect.

The morning clouds did look a bit stormy, but generally cleared up after the sun had been up for a couple of hours and we only had once day with a short storm in the afternoon.

It might be fun to hang out at the beach specifically to shoot photos at some point, but usually the beach is fun time with the kids for me and hiking somewhere is my alone, photography time. So, if I don’t get lucky with a shot at the beach, I don’t worry too much about it.

69 thoughts on “Sunrises at the Beach

  1. For me, getting lucky with a shot at the beach involves finding nude sunbathers. I’m torn between the sandcastle shot, and the bottom photo, as to which I like best. I really like how you used HDR to bring out contrasts in the foreground of the bottom photo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I kept my swimsuit on while I was on the beach so I hope that didn’t disappoint anyone. Or maybe I hope it did disappoint anyone. I don’t know.

      HDR is a mixed bag, it does allow you to quickly merge and get a huge dynamic range, but you do have to fight ghosting and halos especially on the horizon. I actually took some other HDR captures from a different vantage point they were a complete mess when I merged them. This is the only one that turned out nicely enough.

      I tried to edit so that the flowers were bright and warm and the greenery was darker to provide the contrast. But, I probably spent the most time getting rid of the trash on the beach in Photoshop.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. Haha! As long as they don’t poop around me or on me, then all is fine. My friend is waiting for them to target me, but I keep telling her it isn’t going to happen. I am the seagull whisperer after all.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I like both photos; being partial to sunrises, I like that one the best, especially the way it is set with the plants in the foreground and the strip of buildings in the distance.
    I’ve long wanted to visit Galveston. Mostly the photos I’ve seen are of the pier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I generally go to the far west end of Galveston because it is less crowded than the beaches and areas closer into the main part of the city. I kind of prefer the quietness even though it is away from stores and restaurants and such. So, this photo is taken on the beach in the Pointe West area of Galveston.

      I also plan my trips no later than the end of July as in August tropical storm activity starts to heat up in the Atlantic and I don’t want to risk my vacation being ruined by a big storm.


      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have thought about it, but when I am on the beach I want the kids there so I can watch them enjoying it. I don’t know if I’d want to sit on the beach all day by myself. Nobody wants to go hiking in the middle of no where with me, so that is my alone time. I was thinking about camping down at Padre Island National Seashore some time and maybe bringing a kayak.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoying family is priceless! The sandcastle one is my favorite, it shows the whole beach and ocean. The billowing storm clouds add to the picture. But the sun in that last shot is wonderful too.
    Counting the days….though September seems so far away. But it is worth the wait to have the beach more to yourself! I prefer to be able to walk on the beach without bumping into crowds of people and not worrying about stepping on someone’s towel or hand as you walk to your spot. Its so crowded here in the summer time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I may have built a sand castle for some my little ponies on the beach. I was lucky to find the sand castle on that morning as it made my trip down to the beach somewhat worth it. I did do several morning walks in the surf as the sun was rising and enjoyed the solitude, sounds, smells, and breeze.


      1. I am sure the little ponies enjoyed the sandcastle, and I bet you made a little girl smile too.
        Yay on the morning walks! There are some things worth getting up early for and the beach is one of them. πŸ™‚ Glad you found time for solitude amidst the family time.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. LOL! Well yes, sea gulls are smart, they know what is good.
              Thanks! Hoping all works out. My friend is in the process of moving so going nuts. She will be ready for a beach break in Sept.

              Liked by 1 person

            1. You need to just stay at Galveston for the summer. πŸ™‚
              Brad and I have talked many times about moving South but the problem is the summer! Unless we were to move to the beach then I am all for it.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. You don’t mind it as much probably because you are at the beach. If I could take a walk every morning by the beach I would be in better shape. Yes , I know, lame excuse. I do walk here, but I would walk more there. At least thats the argument I try to persuade Brad with. πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

            3. The nice thing about Galveston is that it is good most of the year as the weather there is never very cold thanks to the warm Gulf of Mexico. I went in October last year and it was perfect.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I LOVE the sand castle! So glad you caught it before it was destroyed.

    I couldn’t find the water in the picture with the flowers until you showed the next one. But I still think it’s good by itself.

    Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am always drawn to the flowery dunes photographically, and don’t always get the beach and water it. There are signs and a trash can right at the path to the beach and I try to shoot around them so I don’t have to spend so much time in photoshop making them disappear. Thanks for the nice comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thought of you when cleaning out the fridge this morning… came across some unused rolls of old Fuji Provia 100 and Velvia 50, my favorites for doing skin tones, outdoors (beach, usually) and indoors respectively. Properly exposed, the 50 produced creamy 8x10s. Looks like Fuji still produces the film, but B&H list both as “backordered”. Those were the days… 50-cents per frame just to expose the film. Processing in the US was something else entirely.

    I like the third shot… a little more with my “…state of mind”. That said, how much post-processing do you use, (though cameras can now do a great deal internally)? HDR?
    I really need to get out with a camera. Traveling through some post-apocalyptic burn zones yesterday, I’m thinking to return with a camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mainly do some Lightroom processing to get the warmth, shadows/highlights, color saturation like I want.
      The last photo above is an HDR merge of 7 images in Lightroom; then in to Photoshop to remove garbage on the beach; then back to Lightroom to work on all the adjustments I mentioned above. I also (attempted to) masked out the different yellow flowers to get their exposure and color right. I worked on the hue of the lit grass verses the shadowed grass, worked on the contrast of the clouds and then I tried to touch up some haloing around the beach houses.

      The first photo with the sandcastle, I think I mainly just warmed up the sand on the beach. So, not much there.

      So, sometimes a lot of processing. Sometimes, I just adjust a few things.

      I find that the basic profile out of the camera has not enough contrast and too much color saturation for my tastes, so that is where I start.

      I haven’t shot a lot of film, though I have a couple of 35mm film cameras sitting behind me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m impressed. Having never risen to the learning curve for Lightroom, I’ll use PhotoImpact Pro, often just for leveling a pathological tilt. Sometimes, I’ll adjust the saturation and contrast, or maybe even the hue a little… and I’ll admit to a few erasures. I haven’t messed around too much with post processing HDR. But my Canon PAS and a little Sony APS-c mirrorless will do a decent job with internal, 3-shot processing.

        I’m probably revealing my age with the film. I had my own enlarger and occasionally left the bathroom smelling like stop bath. But mostly I stuck to just developing my own film (though not the Fuji). Things have certainly changed. I remember considering the purchase of a 4-megapixel digital camera-back in the late 90s when somebody (Sinar?) finally made one to fit onto the back of an SLR (though almost as big as the camera)… $6,000, if I recall correctly.

        Liked by 1 person

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