Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Contender Mike Wiley

American Landscape contest Contender Mike Wiley says, "Simple long exposure, coffee and patience" helped him capture his image

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Photographer: Mike Wiley

Location: Lanikai Beach, Oahu Hawaii

When did you take the photograph? April during a full moon at about 2am.

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm 2.8 lens, Gitzo tripod, no filters.

Describe how you got this photo.
I had been photographing Lanikai Beach on several occasions months prior. Of course, waiting for full moon photography means you get to shoot once or twice a month. Lanikai Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Oahu so sunrise and sunset photography are often challenges because of the masses of people. At night, I have the beach to myself.

For this image, I envisioned the cloud movement from long exposures but couldn't find a suitable and interesting foreground. As the moon moved across the sky, I noticed that the palm tree shadows would cast shadows on the (virtually) white sand beach. When the time came, I needed a little luck with clouds. The cloud movement really draws attention to the image so clouds are needed. A cloudless sky would make for a rather dull image. The problem with clouds is they also cover your light source (the moon). I had to wait to get several minutes of clouds in the distance without clouds covering the moon. I pushed the ISO to 500 and, after numerous attempts, got the three minutes I needed. Plus, I got to spend hours on Lanikai Beach without using an ounce of sunscreen.

Did you use any special techniques?
Simple long exposure photography. A cable release, coffee and a lot of patience is necessary. I was on the beach for 4 hours before I captured the image I wanted.

Why is this scene of the American Landscape special to you?
This image is special to me because it offers a different perspective of a place where most people long to visit. Most people envision their favorite beach locations from the daytime or from postcards and photos from sunrise/sunset. It reminds me that beauty is all around, at all times of the day.


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