Ruby Beach Flows, Southern Washington Coast, 2011

I’ve been up and down the west coast many times. And each time, I never come up short of finding amazing shots. In 2011, my (future) wife and I flew into Seattle and proceeded to drive Route 101, around the outskirts of the Olympic Peninsula. Prior, we took a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. I had been on this route a number of times before, showing off how neat the ferry service was, she took it all in stride.

Ruby Beach Flows, Southern Washington Coast, 2011

Ruby Beach Flows, Southern Washington Coast, 2011
Phase One P45 Digital Back, 39mp, on a Hasselblad H2
HC 50-110 Lens @ 55mm : ISO 50 : 1/4 at f32
HDR Composite of 8 exposures using Photomatix Pro
This shot and others can be found on my westernspaces.com site

Many times in the past, the coastal drive brought me days of solid rain. This time though, we were blessed with wonderfully expressionistic overcast skies. After camping a few days deep in the Queets Rainforest, we continued south down the Washington coast.

We stopped and went for a walk along Ruby Beach. I took this opportunity to wander away from the main area- carefully walking along the narrow beach. To my back was a sea wall. While shooting in this spot, I knew that I could be trapped by the tide if I waited too long.

But I couldn’t help it. I had to get the shot I was seeing in my head. Shooting with a Phase One P45 on a Hasselblad H2, I took multiple exposures. They were long, photographically speaking. Many shots were under 1/30 second. What I knew though, was that if i kept the camera position stable, I could take these exposures and combine (composite) them later into an amazing shot.

The final shot shows wonderfully on Epson Exhibition Canvas, with a varnish of Breathing Color Timeless. I’ll talk about how I apply the varnish for my prints another time. The multiple slow exposures, then composited together into one shot, give a surreal, soft, almost creamy visual feel to the water. I love how the shadow of the rocks operates inside that area, and how the pebbles have their own micro representations of the larger scene. And being a fan of older photographic mediums (we’ll cover that more someday), I’m a sucker for warmer prints. In this case, that warmth worked out incredibly well.

Here are some other shots from Ruby Beach, also shot during this visit.

Ruby Beach Washed Up Logs, Southern Washington Coast, 2011
Phase One P45 Digital Back, 39mp, on a Hasselblad H2
HC 50-110 Lens @ 50mm : ISO 50 : 1/60 at f8
HDR Composite of 6 exposures using Photomatix Pro
This shot and others can be found on my westernspaces.com site

The northwest pacific coast is littered with washed up logs from old logging operations. I could shoot them all day. Stay away you swamp loggers… In the above shot, I love how the colors all work. We have the overcast/drab sky, foggy background and then the colors start to pop out in the mid range scrub. And then we have in the warmer foreground the logs placed within the more neutral/cold rocks. And these rocks have little color nods, the oranges, to the logs themselves. And of course, this shot has a bunch of diagonals- that can seldom hurt a composition.

Ruby Beach Boundary, Southern Washington Coast, 2011
Phase One P45 Digital Back, 39mp, on a Hasselblad H2
HC 50-110 Lens @ 35mm : ISO 50 : 1/4 at f32
HDR Composite of 7 exposures using Photomatix Pro
This shot and others can be found on my westernspaces.com site

In this final shot, I wanted to again capture the dynamic skies, while also showing the relationship of the ocean, washed up logs and the living forest that comes right up to the beach. By using the multiple exposure-composite technique, I was able to capture the dwindling light, while preserving the deep shadows of the standing trees.

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