HOW I GOT THE SHOT: This photograph of Beit Yannay Beach at sunset is all about taking control of a setting and making it reflect your inner vision. I’ve seen this long-exposure technique used to great effect along coastlines and wanted to try it myself. The old pier pilings provide just the right accent and a dash of mystery to an evocative twilight view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
To capture this moody effect, tool and technique must be pushed to their limits. I used a 10-stop neutral -density filter, which significantly darkens the lens and, when combined with a low ISO and a small aperture, permits very long exposures in daylight. The greatest challenge, however, lies in composing the image. Because the camera is capturing a moving subject over an extended period of time – 10 seconds in this exposure – it is impossible to view the actual image prior to opening the shutter. There is a small amount of experimenting required, and I tried exposures of five, 20 and 30 seconds as well.
I like the result seen here best because the wave action is still visible. The longer the exposure, the more the water flattens out and takes on an appearance of stillness, which runs counter to the incessant and energetic movement of water toward and away from the shore. I had to place my tripod just beyond the reach of the tide or the rushing water would cause the legs to sink in the sand, throwing it off balance during the exposure. Small but interesting problems, best solved on a quiet summer afternoon at the beach.
TECHNICAL DATA: Camera: Nikon D700, tripod mounted, manual exposure, center-weighted metering mode, f/22 for 10 seconds, ISO 100. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 24-70mm zoom at 32mm. Date: Aug. 6, 2014 at 7:03 p.m. Location: Beit Yannay Beach.