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Friday Slide Show: Ocean Beach Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

13 March 2015

Just to the north of Fort Funston, Ocean Beach runs straight for three miles to the Cliff House. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, its surf is busy with fishermen and surfers, its sands yielding to the soles of many feet.

We were there on a bright afternoon recently, walking along the sea wall up the hill to the Cliff House, just below Lands End. We shot everything 16:9, as if we were scouting movie locations. But that's also the lay of the land there. The horizon stretches beyond your peripheral vision.

Horizons are the secret to this set of images. Ask yourself where on the frame they fall -- and why. We pretty much battered the rule of thirds here. Only a couple of the images conform to it. More put the horizon right in the middle of the frame, which those clickfarm tipsters are always warning you against.

The Giant Camera was an inspiration too (even if we only carried a small Micro Four Thirds camera). It always seems to be closed. But we don't mind because paying $3 to get in seems extravagant. But the building makes a funny prop.

In a couple of the images pointing south, you can see the Dutch Windmill and the Murphy Windmill at the edge of Golden Gate Park.

Exposures were uniform at ISO 200, f7.1 and a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 second. Most of the images were taken wide angle with the kit zoom but a few were zoomed in tighter. You can tell.

We did use Lightroom's Manual distortion correction to flatten one horizon that bowed upward at the top of the frame. Otherwise the crop you see is the crop we shot. Our favorite is the vertical shot. But the layers of sand, rock, sea and hills in several of the images really appeals to us.

They're almost abstract compositions.

Exposure got a lot of work. Clarity, Highlights and Shadows, some Contrast all were required to give some shape to the images, which were pretty flat DNGs. But that's all it took for them to spring to life.

If we'd been on a photo walk instead of a hike, we'd have shot these with a polarizer on a dSLR. That would have helped the sky, darkening it dramatically. But we're happy with the way the camera rendered these seascapes. If nothing else, it's a slightly different interpretation.

And if you're buried in snow and freezing your toes off, a slightly different interpretation may be just what you need.

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