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Old Jan 16, 2012, 11:13 PM   #1
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Default Oceanside Pier, Various ways

We spent this past weekend staying in Oceanside and visiting the San Diego Zoo. I'll post my observations about the zoo in another thread, this one is just for some photo experiments.

Experiment #1: While I was taking pictures, I kept this month's challenge in mind (vanishing point/feeling of great depth). I sort-of want to change my entry to this picture - it has a great feeling of depth to me but no vanishing point at all. It's a 5 shot HDR done in Photomatix, 2 stops between frames. It was early enough in the morning that the foreground was black when the sky was properly exposed. I'm actually pretty happy with this - it's the first HDR shot I've processed in a long while that hasn't made me want to run screaming out of the room. (DA 12-24, f5.6, various shutter speeds)

Next morning and a change of location. This picture I thought got the vanishing point idea across, but not a lot of feeling of depth for some reason. Perhaps the breakers that show up limit how far away the end of the pier looks. (FA 31, .5 sec, f6.3, ISO 80)

Changed location again and took this one. I thought I got the vanishing point and feeling of depth all right, but it was later and I don't like the lighting as well. (FA31, 1.3 sec. f8, ISO 80)

Experiment #2 has to do with shutter speed. While it's easy to say "slow shutter speed makes water creamy smooth" but it's another to get an idea what various shutter speeds actually do. Also things don't always work quite the way I expect to when it comes to shooting ocean surf - it's quite different than shooting mountain streams. All these were taken with the FA 31.

Here's the first one, using a (relatively) fast shutter speed of 1/50 sec. (f3.5, ISO 1600)

Compare that with a shot using 1.6 seconds (f8, ISO 80)

While it's become much smoother, it still has the feeling/lines of surf, rather than a glassy lake. While there's things I really like about the first one, I like this second one, too.

Finally, 10 seconds (f20, ISO 80)

The water looks smoother, but I think that it looks rather strange here, and this is the one I like the least. Next time we go down to Oceanside I'll try to remember my wired remote, go out either earlier (or stay out later in the evening) and try something in the neighborhood of a minute or so. Or try a ND filter to cut the light and see if I like it any better than this one.

Does anyone have any comments about these two experiments or have preference among the pictures? I'm always curious how others perceive my pictures.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 3:10 AM   #2
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Lovely series - I like the glowing light on the water
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 5:26 AM   #3
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I like the feeling of isolation of the extreme end of the pier (right side of the picture) in the second one. While one's eye is drawn to the foreground, you really want to see the what happens at the end point.

In Experiment #2, the second photograph (1.6 seconds) works best for me. The reflection effects are the most effective because they do not seem too busy or too diffuse.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 6:22 AM   #4
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I really like the effect of the water.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 7:55 AM   #5
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Number 1 is an absolutely gorgeous picture.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 4:08 PM   #6
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I agree with pboerger. I love #1 and #3 is my second choice. The rock in the foreground really anchors the shot. All the shots are nicely taken.

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Old Jan 17, 2012, 6:53 PM   #7
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Must agree that #1 is something special - great use of HDR that looks natural!

Shutter speed "experiment" is both visually pleasing and very useful.

Agree that lighting on #2 is better than #3, but #3 is such a fine composition - those rocks really "anchor" the image.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 7:49 PM   #8
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I also really like how the rock in #3 works. That's a beauty. In the shutlter speed comparison, I guess I'm in the minority: I like the look of the water in the 10-second exposure. It has a dream-like quality that I find very appealing. I also love your HDR shot. The composition is lovely, and the scene looks very natural, not overworked, as so many HDR images look.
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:01 PM   #9
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I'll have to have some more time to figure what I like about each one. They are all very intriguing. I really like the first one. Not to diminish it, because it's lovely. But, it would be an even better shot if you had more to the right and left. You definitely don't want to cut the sky or sand out with those beautiful designs.

I'll come back later when I have more time to really look at these. I love piers. And, we don't have any around here. At least that I've ever found.

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Old Jan 17, 2012, 9:54 PM   #10
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Patty - next time I'm there I'll try doing a stitched panorama, so I can get more on either side - this one was taken at 12 mm. I'd have to switch to the 10-17 and deal with the distortion to get wider than this one. But it would be nice to have more of the ocean on the right and a bit more tidal river/drainage on the left (though not too much - there's a very ugly bridge not all that far to the left).

I'll also walk down to the pier faster next time, not bothering to stop so often along the way - like everyone else, I really like #3 the best as far as composition. Just wish I had gotten there a bit sooner so could have matched the light in #2. On the other hand, it might have been too dark to show the rock and I might have had to use HDR to show it.
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