Monday, February 2, 2015

"Coronación de la Puerta" new release by D."Bodhi" Smith

Entitled, "Coronación de la Puerta," this is my newest composition. It was captured last Sunday during a surprisingly low tide event at sunset on the extreme south end of Little Corona Beach in Corona Del Mar, CA. As the sun was setting, I never would have imagined that I would end up capturing this surreal little beauty with my camera.

Last Sunday, I was watching the clouds all day and hoping for something stellar at sunset. When it looked like maybe something special was going to occur, I headed off to Newport Beach with my dog, The Dude, as well as with my friend and fellow photog, Jeff Deveau. This area was selected for two reasons, Jeff had never really shot this part of Orange County, and it is a great low tide location to shoot, and it was a low tide on that evening.

We arrived slightly late after hitting a couple "detours" and traffic along the way, consequently it was only 20 minutes until sunset as we were walking down onto the beach at Little Corona. I quickly noticed that this low tide was much lower than it was supposed to be (according to my favorite app: "Tide Chart Free"). So, I decided to quickly hump the half mile trek southward down to the hidden arch; Jeff opted to stay at the north end of the beach by the sphinx and bypass the sketchy hike which can be tricky and slippery, especially when rushed.

The beach was overly crowded for a winter's evening, but I think that lots of people just all decided to try to watch/photograph a stellar sunset at this magnificent location on this particular night for some reason. Having all of the hordes of people present was yet another big part of my reasoning in my decision making process to head south to the hidden arch, especially since there is never more than 1-2 people tops ever down there as most people do not even know of the arch's existence.

My pup and I hustled down the beachline and actually safely made it before sunset in a record time. But, Wow, really?!? When I got there, I could not believe my eyes...there were 12 other people there. Twelve!? There was about 6 others photographing the arch, 3 on-lookers, and 3 people climbing on the arch. Never have I seen people climbing the arch, never. There actually might have been more people than pelicans and birds here for a change because of that fact.

Three of the photographers were set up pretty far back of the arch itself trying to catch reflections in the tide pools. This was not a composition I was crazy about, especially with the fact that the clouds were quickly dissipating at sunset as they often do here. Eventhough the climbers were in everyone's compositions as the sun was setting, I did not want to get in the way as well of the other photographers who were there before me by pushing forward to the spot I would rather have set up closer to the arch, so I set up in line with them and opted for my Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens for this shot.

However, it really looked like this was not going to be a night when I captured anything special as the sun was setting. The composition was really not doing anything for me. There were way too many people milling around for this spot, the light was off in the wrong direction, plus, the clouds and sky were stubbornly not cooperating well with me either.

From where I was set up, most of the rockband to the right of the arch was blocking out all of the wonderful colors in the clouds that were really glowing on the horizon five minutes after the sunset. The climbers were all standing on top of that side of the formation watching the cray reds in the sky absolutely going off like fireworks. Its brilliant colors pulled all of the other photographers around the side of the arch out of my sight to try to shoot it. This left the arch wide open all to myself for me to shoot. But, I did not move with them, for I was was just not crazy about the composition facing northwest, even though the colors of the sky were awesome. I decided to stick with my composition of the arch as "a door with no sky" in the scene except only those few glowing clouds that could be espied through the arch.

I actually could have moved forward to the spot I first wanted because everyone cleared out and headed back 20 mins after the sunset. But I was already set up and did not want to have to swap out my lens, filters, and then redial in my focus. I did get my wish of solitude, as all 12 people, including the climbers, evacuated the scene and were slowly making their way back north navigating through the slick and sharp rocks under the cliffs in the low light. Jeff said he saw the steady stream of headlamps slowly progressing their way towards his location. My pup and I were alone under the fading dim red glow of the sky.

I always overshoot. I usually will not leave the beach until the light is totally gone. I just do not give up that easily. Even on this night when I truly figured that a great shot was just not in the cards, I stuck it out just a little bit longer. More-often-than-not, I capture nothing as the light quickly falls of--it happens all too frequently, and unfortunately, is one of the banes of being a landscape photographer (if watching beautiful sunsets in isolated places on the beach can ever be any sort of a bane).

Ten minutes after sunset as the other people around me were clearing out, I had tried to capture a 15 minute (900 second) exposure using my Lee Proglass 3.0ND filter (10 stops) at f/11, but the image came out too dark in the dwindling light. Still, I decided one more shot (I am glad I made this decision!)...took the 3.0ND off and replace it with a Lee Proglass .9ND filter (3 stops), patted my pup on the head for luck, bumped my aperture up to f/8, re-focused at the new f/stop, set the timer for 500 seconds (8 mins 20 secs), and sat down on a rock next to my dog to enjoy the gorgeous colors still in the sky while my camera took its last shot of the night. Now, here before you are the results for your eyes to enjoy. :)

This ultra long exposure photograph helps me to ultimately fathom a deeper meaning of witnessing things before me that cross through into another dimension--sort of like the meaning behind the name of the famous rock group, "The Doors. " With chills running up my spine, I can imagine a partially delusional Jim Morrison watching a groovy surreal sunset such as this at this spot and afterwards finding enlightenment for a name that he would forever be linked with..

My title roughly translates in English to the "Crowning of the Door"... I was not going to put this image out there until after I finished processing my Easter Island series, but the Vice President of Sales at Dolica Tripods (Daniel C.) saw this image on the back of my camera when we were out shooting together last week. A big reason for me selecting my title in Spanish is to honor his heritage and parallel the name of the town where the picture was captured with my feelings of transcendence. Daniel's stoked reaction alone made me decide to process this image a little quicker...let me know if you think his reaction was right...

Camera settings:ISO-100, 80mm at f/8 for 500 secs using one Lee Proglass .9ND filter to drop the exposure 3 stops as the light was dropping off exponentially at 25 minutes after the sunset at 5:40pm.

This image is dedicated to VP of Sales, Daniel Calderon, at Dolica tripods for instilling the desire in me to process this image now and not wait until later...thank you Daniel.

I hope this message and image find you well.


#Lee Filters #Dolica #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #Sunse t#Long Exposure #Orange County #OC #Corona Del Mar #Newport Beach #Low Tide #Arch #Impressionist #Surreal #Doors #Bodhi Smith

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