Whale Rock at Sunset

Solana Beach, California

Nikon D800, Nikkor 16mm f3.5 ai lens, Nikon fill flash, Gitzo tripod and remote shutter release. 1/60th second exposure at f5.6 and ISO 100.


I love this old rock. Its mass offers an initial appearance of unchanging solidity. But observation, over time, tells a different and very interesting story. Once attached to the coastal bluff, Whale Rock broke free years ago and it is slowly moving out to sea. During the summer, covered by shifting sand, it is nearly unrecognizable. In winter the sand retreats leaving it exposed to storms that have sculpted, and significantly changed, its rugged features.

This close-up of Whale Rock was made with a 16mm Nikkor fisheye lens. The lens is wide, sharp and can make foreground elements appear that they are moving out of the frame toward a viewer. I like this effect, but through trial and many errors I've found that I need to use it in moderation. Up to a point, it can be used to capture an attractively enhanced foreground perspective. But taken too far the curved qualities of the lens can turn an image into a caricature. For landscape shots, getting low and close to the principal subject is important. Also, centering the horizon in the middle of the frame seems to help avoid an "overdone" image. In this shot, a tripod was used to get close to the rock while keeping the horizon close to the center of the frame.

Thanks for looking!

Date Added
December 18, 2016