Another beach I've been trying to photograph for over a year now, this place really is fantastic.
At high tide, there is no beach, at low tide the rocks continue for ever out to sea. Shooting when the tide is coming in would be fatal, as there's no where to go, so it had to be when the tide was going out. I would have loved to get out onto those tramlines of rocks you can see in the distance, but the waves sweeping over them were pretty aggressive, and it really wouldn't have been a good idea.
Lots of spray in the air, so half the shots were unusable because of spray on the filters. I kept switching between soft and hard grads so I could keep shooting and cleaning filters at the same time. When I wasn't shooting, just composing, I kept a 2 stop NDG over the front of the camera...set up the shot, removed the filter (leaving just the 3 stop that I needed to keep the sky in check) took the photograph, and then replaced the filter again to try to keep the spray off.
This particular beach is pretty much inaccessible, the only way down to the beach is to go along gullies made by rain water and the occasional slick sheets of rock. Getting in was tricky, but getting out again was pretty scary. A storm came in from the Atlantic, and the high winds and rain were pretty intense (basically the same weather that's been doing all the damage in Madeira this last week). There's no cellphone coverage at all, and climbing back up was hard work. About two thirds of the way up I realised I'd followed the wrong gully and was at the bottom of an almost sheer slope of rock and shale about 5 meters below the ledge I wanted to be on. The light was almost gone, and I didn't want to go all the way back down to find the right path again in the dark. It would have been dangerous, and there was no guarantee I'd have found the gully I wanted anyway. So I tried to climb up to the ledge, and just kept sliding back down in the loose shale.
I was getting pretty tired, the waves were crashing into the cliff below me, the rain was almost horizontal and it was pretty dark. I started to think of all the statistics I'd heard of fishermen disappearing from these cliffs every year, and succeeded in scaring myself enough to really push myself up the slope...pulling out plants and getting all manner of cuts on my hands in the process.
So I got up to the ledge, sat down and gulped in mouthfuls of air and just looked out at the ocean, now being illuminated by lightening...Heart pumping, chest heaving, feeling really alive. I'm pretty sure studio photographers never get this kind of buzz...
Taken on Costa Vicentina, Algarve, Portugal
Nikon D3 w/ Nikkor 17-35mm 2.8
Gitzo GT2541 tripod w/ Gitzo GH1780QR ballhead
Lee 0.3 (3 stop) hard NDG | Lee 0.6 (2 stop) glass ND
3 secs | f22 | 17mm
Workflow in Nikon Capture NX2. Title in PS
Thanks in advance for any comments or faves.