Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador

Sea Stack - Cloudy Morning at El Matador

Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador

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I noticed this sea stack on a prior visit to El Matador State Beach. For the most part I never plan, but this time I began to put together a vision in my mind of how I would represent the scene when I returned. I decided it would be a bold, high contrast, monochrome image at sunrise. Arriving in predawn darkness, I set up my camera and tripod and framed for composition. An uneventful dawn came and went as I struggled with a wireless remote shutter release that refused to work. Then, at 8:32 (according to metadata) the sun burst through the clouds bathing the rockface with low-angle, golden light so strong it sliced the menacing storm clouds in half exposing peaceful, azure blue skies above. I tripped the shutter thinking the image must be color…and this is the end result. Next time, I will be guided only by sensation…the salt brine scent of an onshore wind, the call of hungry gulls, the slapping sound waves make splashing against rock…anything but a friggin’ plan!

Copyright 2016, O. Bisogno Scotti, All Rights Reserved

Nikon D810 DSLR  AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D, exposure:  f/5.6, 1/4 sec., ISO 64,  exposure program: Aperture Priority, shutter: M-up mode, Vello Wireless ShutterBoss Timer Remote, Manfrotto 3221 tripod with Manfrotto 3047 studio headdepth of field measurement: Simple DoF Calculator app.iPhone 6 +, capture date and time: 10/16/2016, 8:32 am, post processing: Photoshop CC 2015.5, Adobe Camera RAW, Adobe Bridge

18 thoughts on “Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador

  1. This is one of the most startling dramatic and stunningly beautiful images of yours I’ve ever seen….and I’ve seen hundreds of them. The light is amazing! The golden light on that sea stack, the glistening white sea foam, the calm and serene azure sky with the wild and tempestuous stormy clouds. Breathtaking. You do very well when you are guided by sensation rather than a plan. As Robert Burns said: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In this case, with an excellent result.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lezlie! Yes, the light is amazing, and that’s why I love El Matador Beach. Even when the weatherman predicts sunny skies, there is always some kind of early morning weather event going on at El Matador. As landscape photographers, we all must learn to wait for the light…and to recognize it as the zenith before it dissipates.
      You definitely can overthink an image. That’s for sure! I approach photography more like jazz musicians approach music. They have no idea what they will play when it’s solo time.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ron Hillmar: Thanks for liking Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador. El Matador is my favorite beach within an hour of Los Angeles. You can never relax there when the tide is coming in as was the case while making this capture. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the water comes up fast and there is only one way out. I got a little wet which only added to the joy that morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josephine: Thanks for liking my image Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador. We cannot close our eyes to feel like musicians can, but by leaving our eyes open we can feel with all our senses. Each sense is integrated at the moment the shutter is released.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Man of many thoughts: Thanks for liking “Sea Stack – Cloudy Morning at El Matador”. One can only guess how tough that shrub is atop the sea stack defiantly facing prevailing winds and thwarting the salty air. Not only is it alive, but it seems to be thriving up there!


  5. I am entranced by many things I see in this image.

    The sea stack being bathed in golden light bringing the surface of the rock alive with glowing beauty.
    The crevices and ruts on the surface looks like map of the how the wind and waves have etched time into it.

    I was intrigued that my first thought was how could I climb to the top of this rock, I wanted to see what it would be like to look down, and look out onto the rest of the world from this great height.
    I am not one for heights yet this is what I would have liked to do if I stood at it’s base.

    I like that the rock is giving life with all the vegetation growing on the surface.

    The ocean is a swirl of tempest like waves ravaging the base on one side yet on the other it is calm, soft waves as they gently float past.

    The shaft of blue in the sky is almost blinding in it’s brightness.

    The clouds though numerous, dark, heavy in the lower portion give way to the light, soft wispiness of the higher brighter clouds opening up the sky to it’s share of the beauty of this image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is aways interesting to hear what you have found in my photography. My initial idea for this image was monochrome, but when I got it on the computer I realized it must be in color. I will endure cold wind and rainy conditions…as long as I come away with an image.

      Liked by 1 person

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