Shelley and I arrived on the Point Reyes Peninsula late in the afternoon. After checking into our lodging for the night, we headed for an early dinner. After eating, we headed out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse for sunset. The walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse is about a third of a mile. That’s nothing right? Wrong. Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific coast. And on that evening the winds were a-blowing.
Point Reyes Lighthouse
For the one and only composition that I made on that windy evening, I set up from the overlook point of the lighthouse. It was so windy that it was hard to stand, let alone set up my tripod and camera. The best part of the wind was the wave motion that was on the Pacific Ocean. It helped me to create a photograph with more depth in it at a location that could easily be boring. The angle of the sun was low in the sky. There were low-level clouds, which lead me to believe that we would not get a stellar sunset that evening. I forced myself to focus on making the best photograph that I could with the weather and light that mother nature had given me. I zoomed in to 112mm on my 70-300mm lens, which forced me to use f/5.6 as my aperture. Even at ISO 100, I was still able to get a shutter speed of 1/80 a second. The photograph is critically sharp, and I was able to pull more detail back into the final photograph during post-processing by layering a couple of exposures.
Point Reyes National Seashore
While Shelley and I were walking back to the parking lot, I found two different compositions of the Point Reyes National Seashore. For the first one, I wanted to shoot the seashore at an angle and not straight on. I was able to accomplish this by zooming my lens to 75mm and setting my aperture to f/5.0. I was still able to get a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second while maintaining my favorite ISO of 100.
Point Reyes National Seashore #2
I was looking for my second composition of the seashore as the light was starting to fade quickly. Shelley and I walked quicker, and I was able to find an arrangement looking straight down the shore with the waves of the Pacific breaking against it. There are even a few wildflowers in the foreground, although you might have to look very closely. I needed a little more depth of field for this composition to work. So, I bumped my aperture up to f/9, which meant that I had to increase my ISO to 1250 to maintain a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second. This was the last photograph that I was able to make that night.
Twisted – Cypress Tree
The next morning Shelley and I headed back into the National Seashore area for a golden hour photo shoot at the Cypress Tree Tunnel. This is where I found this lovely twisted tree. It called out to me, and I could not remember seeing any photographs for it when I did my research for the trip. I made this photograph from a set of three exposures. This allowed me to maintain the feeling and visuals that I remembered from that morning. The final photograph was made at ISO 100, 14mm, f/5.6, and 1/640 of a second.
Cypress Tree Tunnel
For my next composition, I decided to go for the classic photograph right down the middle of the Cypress Tree Tunnel. The old ranch house at the end of the drive pulls my eye through the tunnel. And the way the rising sun casts, shadows when it is obstructed by the trees, helps to add depth to this composition. For this composition, I zoomed to 95mm on my 70-300mm and used the widest aperture that was available to me, which was f/5.6. While I would have been able to handhold the camera for this shot, I still used my tripod. I did this mainly to slow down the process and allow me the time to look around the scene for another composition. The photograph was made with one exposure at ISO 100.
Cypress Tree Tunnel from the side – Point Reyes
Sometimes I am still amazed by what happens when you move your composition just a few feet and modify the angle. For this composition, I literally moved just a few feet to the left from the composition of the Cypress Tree Tunnel. By doing this, I also modified the angle to the end of the tunnel. This also allowed me to place the viewer closer to a cypress tree that is on the edge of the frame. The settings for the composition are almost identical to the previous composition, except for the shutter speed being 1/250 of a second.
With this final photograph in the bag, Shelley and I loaded back into the rental car and drove south along California Highway 1 to San Francisco. Tune in for the final installment of the North West Pacific Coast road trip.
Please check out the corresponding video over on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVEf9aXoQMPTAVTztNkNIxg.