Getting close on the beach

To see the best view you definitely want to click on the pictures.

Solana Beach

During a recent trip to Del Mar, California I wandered away from the condo and headed a couple miles north to Solana Beach. I could have walked to the point in the foreground of the picture above, but would have had to walk across the mouth of the San Dieguito River in waist deep water. With a camera, tripod and two lenses in tow this did not seem practical.

Instead I drove to the far end of the cliffs in the picture and walked. The following four shots were made at that rock about one-third up from the bottom and one-third in from the right. Did you catch that allusion to the rule of thirds?

The walk was definitely worth it.

Prints of these photos are available.

Getting close on the beach


Who doesn’t like pictures of waves crashing against rocks on the beach. There is something powerful in the visual of water spraying up over a rock as a wave hits full force. It contains a beauty that is rarely seen simply because it is hard to capture, to freeze.

But what if you could go deeper? What if you got close on the beach?


There is nothing wrong with the first shot. The thing is, most people stop there. They are satisfied with capturing the wave smashing against the rock. One of the most common things I see people do when they make pictures is try to include too much. This next shot was taken from the same spot, just zoomed in tighter.


This one too. Same spot, different wave.

A fast shutter speed combined with a wide aperture stops the action and focuses clearly on the main subject, the wave. In post, I did adjust the white balance and saturation a bit.


This one is also from the same spot. The wave covers the rock and rolls back out.

I’m not saying you should always get in close. There is no right or wrong when it comes to art, and sometimes you want to include more in a shot to tell the story. Other times getting in close makes a better story by cutting out irrelevant clutter. It all depends on the story you are trying to tell.

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Thank you.