Boulders in early morning light (25 minutes before sunrise), Boulder Beach, Otter Cliff

Boulders in early morning light (25 minutes before sunrise), Boulder Beach, Otter Cliff

Taken in 2008, I arrived early at the popular Boulder Beach to photograph the sun coming up on the iconic Otter Cliff. Unfortunately, there were already several photographers on the beach, marking their territory with their tripods. I have a thing about photographing what everyone else is photographing... I move on to something else. I'm always striving for an original image that is equally born out of the landscape in front of me and my interpretation of it. So what did I do? I turned my camera 180 degrees from Otter Cliff and photographed the wet, round rocks right in front of me.

Half an hour before the sun comes up, it's really quite dark. There's a faint glow on the eastern horizon, but to the naked eye, the landscape is gray, colorless and dim. You need a long exposure, often several seconds long, to get a good image. But a magical thing happens after you wait for the shutter to close and you see your picture for the first time. You realize there's really a lot of color in the sky. The cold light of day reflects the deep blue of the sky onto any reflective surface– in this case the wet boulders at the water's edge. And that faint light on the horizon warms up with a faint orange glow. The longer exposure also caused the small incoming waves to blur into a milky froth.

I made this image with an exposure of twenty seconds at f/10 (ISO 100), with a 16mm lens.

Comment