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Wide angle shot of Scripps Pier during sunset in La Jolla, San Diego, California



Wide angle shot of Scripps Pier with reflection during sunset in La Jolla, San Diego, California

Wide angle shot of Scripps Pier with reflection during sunset in La Jolla, San Diego, California
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1 Comment | Report
DaneMac
 
DaneMac April 28, 2018
This is great! Really love it!

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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo by Scripps pier in San Diego, California, which offers tons of photo opportunities, even though this place is probably one of the most photographed places in the city. Actually, there were so many photographers around me that I had to fight my way to an interesting spot. I only visited this pier once because I was on a cross-country trip in the United States at the time, which meant I took a year off from my obligations and traveled all over the country in my small car with my wife. Traveling provides tons of photo opportunities along the way and motivates me to improve my photography skills.
Time
Around 8pm on November 7, 2016. I just purchased a new wide-angle lens before taking this image, and was very eager to try it out in places that had inspiring perspectives during the golden hour in the evening. After waiting for a complete sundown, I took this picture and ran off with my wife to our car to warm up as it got kind of chilly. Surprisingly, I was one of the last photographers to call it a day, even though the lighting gets much more interesting after the sun disappears.
Lighting
After photographing the pier from various angles that evening, I decided to settle on this one and wait until complete sundown. From my other shoots of San Diego beaches, I knew that after the sun disappears over the horizon, the sky is illuminated with a glowing light that is not strong enough to cause lens flare. The shot was taken seconds after sundown.
Equipment
I used a Nikon D810 with a wide-angle Nikon lens 14-24mm f/2.8 on a Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod with a shutter release cable in mirror lockup mode.
Inspiration
As my wife and I traveled through numerous American cities, we always used the internet to scout for interesting places to photograph. In this case, I found out about Scripps pier from a blog of a local photographer, who put out photos of photogenic places in San Diego. I was immediately hooked on the pier because of the ocean view, fading lines and possibility to capture the evening sun. Getting there was hassle-free since it was the end of the surfing season and there were lots of free parking spots close to the beach.
Editing
While I typically proceed from Camera Raw to Photoshop to process images, in the case of this image, I ended up using only Camera Raw. To process this photo, I was inspired by a Youtube video of a photographer who showed a simple technique of using two graduated filters to give different white balances for the sea and the sky due to intense differences in colors. I also ended up dramatically reducing clarity for the sea to give it a silky, smooth feel.
In my camera bag
I have a fairly compact backpack to which I almost always attach my tripod. For landscape images, I mostly use my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, which is one of my favorite lenses for its sharpness and ultra wide-angle capability. I also have a Nikon 70-210mm f/4 lens, which is an old version of Nikon telephoto lenses that I hope to upgrade to a new one some day. I also have a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, which is great for street and portrait shots. I also carry a shutter release cable, and neutral density and polarized filters in case I need to alter the exposure or reduce glare.
Feedback
Be curious and scout for new locations, and do not get intimated to photograph places that have been photographed to death. Also, choose the right time of the day for optimal light. A different perspective, unique lighting conditions and creative post-processing can turn an oft-photographed subject into something new. I would also try to place structures such as piers in such a way that their lines go smoothly into the horizon without causing visual disruption. Technically, I violated the rule-of-thumb that tells you not to photograph a landscape with the horizon line equally dividing the image. However, because of the pier, it disrupts this equal division, making it almost unnoticeable. Most importantly, experiment and have fun photographing. During my trip to Scripps pier, not only did I take photographs for professional use, but I also made many fun snapshots of myself and my wife.

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