After three cloudy days, I didn’t expect much from my fourth day in California. Good landscape photography highly depends on one source-light, sun, and without it, even beautiful Pacific Ocean can be just flat and dull.
On the fourth day after patiently waiting all afternoon, finally my patience and persistence paid off. As the sun was almost ready to set on the horizon, clouds started getting thin for sun to peek and reflect on the ocean and the sky above.
This was the perfect condition for landscape photography. I had one camera mounted on Canon 45mm TS-E (tilt & shift lens) for shooting panorama and the other camera with Canon 17-40mm wide-angle lens.
- Graduated filter attached in front of the lens
For the one with wide-angle lens, I decided to put a polarizer filter to cut the glare of the ocean and add more contrast to the cloud. In addition, I also used a Singh-Ray graduated filter (-2 stops) to correct exposure of the sky. A duct tape comes in handy when shooting wild-angle lens, which already has a polarizer filter attached.
Right before the sun disappeared, I shot a panorama, which consisted of 14 images. I shifted my lens (tilt & shift lens) downward 10 degree to get more of the ocean and McWay Cove Fall. It took 4 minutes to shoot all 14 images. The final result was stunning. After printing the final image to 68 x 22 inches print and looking at the details of the print, it feels like I am there again.
One thing you have to be really careful with a long exposure like this is moving objects such as waves. Each wave moves differently, which could create a zagged image later. But if the exposure is long enough, it could create havoc when merging all images together.
Unfortunately, you can’t really do that with wildlife. That’s why I’m wishing for a digital panorama camera at a reasonable price. It will not only allow me to take a panorama with wildlife, but also save me a whole lot of time from stitching images together.