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La Jolla Falls

By PatrickSmith  
This was a tough one to take and process.

The sunset was so intense that I had to desaturate the raw file by 10% to get back the detail in the clouds, which had turned into one big reddish blob when I first saw it in Photoshop!

Anyway, it was high tide and the waves were going right over the top of this 10 foot slab of sandstone, but I just had to get this sunset with the water flowing back down the rock face. The problem was that there was no place to run when the waves hit. Right behind the tripod in this shot is a 10 foot straight drop with a gradual drop to the left where I could slide down the slippery back side with tripod in hand.

After about 15 minutes of running up and down, I finally got this one shot which was my only shot of this sunset for this evening.

A bunch of people were watching me from the cliff and when I climbed back up, some of them wanted to see my shots in the camera. I sold two prints on the spot! They were laughing because I was soaked and it was not warm out.

0.4 second exposure @F8 with 2 ND grad 0.9's

Tags: California General Seascape La jolla San diego Landscape and travel

Voters: evelen, andytvcams, Bob_V and 172 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

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Bob_V 10 1 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 3:39PM
What a great shot Patrick, just a beautiful area, great composition, very well done.

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FredF 11 1 France
4 Feb 2008 3:41PM
Great risk and great shot.

JouŠo 13 56 Finland
4 Feb 2008 3:43PM
different from you, Patrick.....

Cormy 10 3 England
4 Feb 2008 3:44PM
My wife MickyMc,has just said "Cor,thats fabulous whose is that?" Need I say more.
jeanie Plus
14 6.0k 6 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 3:46PM
Beautiful work Patrick. Gorgeous colours in this.
Worth getting soaked for, for sure!

MickyMc 10 8 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 3:46PM
Mind blowing thats it.
tepot 13 4.4k United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 3:54PM
You always get great skies in your shots and this one is no exception, good timing on the water too.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 3:55PM
Thanks for your comments!

Yes Jouko, usually I point away from sunsets but I could not resist.

That says it all Alan, I'm glad you told me.

It was worht it Jeanie, though I barely got this one. And I thought that I would leave this place empty handed. I mean, to have a sunset like this and no shots to show for it?? But I had to try for it.

Thanks Terry, though I went out last night to Bodega Bay. Great light and skies, but 40mph winds sustained right off the ocean. I was getting spray 100 feet up the cliff. I came back with nothing but windburn!

Bodiewil 10 46 Wales
4 Feb 2008 3:58PM
Now thats a quality piece of pp work... stunning image

4 Feb 2008 4:01PM
Lovely pastel purple.
User_Removed 10 172 1 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:04PM
Excellent image, great comp and colours
MalcolmM Plus
12 876 5 Scotland
4 Feb 2008 4:05PM
Well worth your efforts - love the water streaming off the rocks. Beautiful image.
dawnmichelle 10 12 United States
4 Feb 2008 4:05PM
another stunning shot it
dianah 11 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:05PM
A wonderful blend of colour and light..just makes me want to stare and sink into the scene. Another superb seascape.
Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
4 Feb 2008 4:07PM
stangely enough I knew this was yours even though it's different for you.... Well worth the effort you had to put in to get this one Patrick and I'm not surpised at all that you sold two prints off the back of a 5D screen, I bet they were even more amazed at the finished print Grin
4 Feb 2008 4:08PM
Lovely blend of colours in the sky.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 4:10PM
Thanks for stopping by!

I was surprized Tony because that has never happened to me. Though usually I am on a deserted beach with nobody around at all. That is less embarassing considering what I do sometimes!

4 Feb 2008 4:11PM
jstock 10 2 Scotland
4 Feb 2008 4:20PM
I love the way you tell the story behind the picture - it adds so much more. That's a huge amount of exposure balancing you've had to do - 2 ND9s! The result is stunning as ever. Glad you persevered with this one Smile
Cheers, Jon
angej 13 479 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:20PM
Hi Patrick, hope you are well, sounds like you are up to your old tricks of getting wetSmile)

Dennis_Bromage 10 45 20 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:20PM
Truly wonderful. The light and movement in the water are first class.

Thanks for sharing it with us
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:21PM
Beautiful and well worth the effort!

Matman 10 37 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:25PM
Cracking shot again Patrick and well worth all your effort!

This should get an awful lot of votes!...Smile

Well done and keep up the descriptions you give in the phot information fields, I enjoy reading them.


taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
4 Feb 2008 4:27PM
The way the colors interplay with the lines in this image is outstanding --- an more!

Absolute pleasure to view-- 100%

ian walker 13 716 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 4:29PM
cracking as always.
JouŠo 13 56 Finland
4 Feb 2008 4:41PM
far from your best, IMO! Sorry!

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 4:50PM
Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you like the description.

Yes John, the sky was so bright that even 2 ND grad 0.9's were barely enough!

True Ange, up to my old!

That's okay Jouko. I usually don't point into the sun, but I have a much different one planned for next week.

4 Feb 2008 4:53PM
Beatuful composition and detail Patrick, well done.

Nettles 10 England
4 Feb 2008 5:04PM
Quite different for you and the excellent write up explains why.
Another stunning image with super timing of the water.
Well worth the hard work. Annette
piccy 11 8 Wales
4 Feb 2008 5:15PM
Nice work.
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
4 Feb 2008 5:20PM
Different colorwise from the previous ones I've seen, but still definitely bears your fingerprint.
Superb timing on the waves. On my monitor there seems to be just a tiny green copper tint to the sunset which works really well with the foreground greens! The rose tones reflected on the water and foreground is also very appealing.
Congratulations on selling prints immediately. Smile
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 5:31PM
Thanks for looking!

Yes Annette and Ann, it is different because I usually don't shoot straight at the sunset. Everything to my eye had a red-pink tone to it. Even the greens looked different than they did just an hour before when I was doing some recon. The colour was so unusual, that other than desaturating, I just left it alone.

Yes Ann, I was surprized about that!

chase 12 1.1k 246 England
4 Feb 2008 5:33PM
How many times to I have to tell more careful,you might sell three next time !!
SKavanagh 10 312 5 England
4 Feb 2008 5:34PM
Superb shot love teh water movement and the colour in the sky
proz 13 205 United States
4 Feb 2008 5:38PM
gorgeous Patrick
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 5:50PM
One of thoes time when we wish we could float in the air 2 meters to the right.... because the water cascading off that rock is exceptional. Given our phisical limitations, I think you nailed this one Wink

Quote:A bunch of people were watching me from the cliff and when I climbed back up, some of them wanted to see my shots in the camera. I sold two prints on the spot! They were laughing because I was soaked and it was not warm out.
Round here they take bets upon weather the wave gets you or not - and they cheer on the waves, believe me Smile
JouŠo 13 56 Finland
4 Feb 2008 5:51PM
Colours, I mean colours! Must be my monitor then!???
Colors, in American language........

Weirdo colors! And You and Your dangerous life!?????
You should quit your day job and write a novel of these photo shooting sessions! Wink

ashley 14 167 1 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 6:12PM
worth all the effort patrick

well done

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 6:13PM
Thanks for looking in!

LOL Janet. You sure know how to scold me. If you were here, would you be 'chase' ing me around warning me about the next wave?? I finally checked out the filter. I'll send one over when I have a good one!

Yes Matt, I was over as far as I could get. I'm working on my meditation so hopefully I can float in mid-air like the yogis! Actually this is near a place called Yogi's beach because there is a SRF (Paramahansa Yogananda) retreat place nearby, so I could just go there to tune up! They cheer the waves over there? I'll have to go sometime.

Jouko, the colours were very unusual, even to my eye at the time. I wondered if anybody would even believe it. But this is as close as I can get to the real colours at the time. I just desaturated and left them alone after that. You don't even want to know what I tried yesterday. But I chickened out, due to 20 foot swells and 60 mile per hour gusts! And today it is calm and clear. I'm not quitting my day job yet.

lonely_oryx 10 61 55 England
4 Feb 2008 6:17PM
Great landscape
dp 14 163 3 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 6:31PM
I can see the effort that went into this Patrick. I had a stormy day at Southwold yesterday. I was completely shattered when I got home but as I said at the time 'what great fun!'

leons29 10 South Africa
4 Feb 2008 6:31PM
Lot of effort but the reward is great. Love your commitment and yes it is another stunner
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 6:34PM
Thanks for looking!

Yes Dave, it was stormy here too. Way too windy and salty to even take the camera out of the bag. My head got dizzy from being pounded by the wind!

Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
4 Feb 2008 6:36PM
Another breathtaking image Patrick, no matter what nature throws at you, you always come up with the goods!
JudeC 11 6 3 England
4 Feb 2008 6:36PM
A truly stunning image - Jude.
bayliner185 11 16 1 Northern Ireland
4 Feb 2008 6:39PM
Worth all the hassle Patrick, you have come up with a great image. I love taking seascapes myself and have had many a cold drench from the big wave that snuck up on me while I was busy framing a shot. How we suffer for our art Patrick lol!!!!!!

pmorgan 11 217 13 England
4 Feb 2008 6:47PM
Pretty special Patrick!

User_Removed 10 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 6:56PM
Persistence has its rewards. If it was so darn easy we'd all pack up and go home Grin Great work.
Chriscj 12 96 1 England
4 Feb 2008 7:44PM
The things we do for a shot and don't give up either. Smile

Well worth getting drenched for. Excellent photography. JNC
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 7:56PM
Thanks for having a look!

Sometimes Edmond (GlosTomcat), but not always!

True Jim, but that is often the only way to get close enough to really have the drama of the sea come through in the image.

Yes, Chris and, it seems like the easy ones have been done so it's time to push the envelope a bit.

MikeA 13 1.3k England
4 Feb 2008 8:18PM
Colours, textures, movement and full of contrasts.... Super image Patrick.

Nigel_95 Plus
12 262 2 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 8:25PM
Wonderful sky and fg drama Patrick. I'm glad too that you were able to sell prints on the spot.

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 8:31PM
Thanks Mike and Nigel!

wamp 11 276 8 England
4 Feb 2008 8:35PM
Two sales on the spot! Well you can't argue with that Smile

Lovely colours Patrick & I bet you gave them a laugh or two running back and forth Wink

Briwooly 12 452 5 England
4 Feb 2008 8:36PM
Another winner Patrick great light detail and movement

bricurtis Plus
12 2.2k 49 England
4 Feb 2008 8:47PM
Looking at your settings and Grads that was some light Patrick.Super movement in the falls but it is hard not to be drawn to that tremendous sky.
4 Feb 2008 9:10PM
There's a strong essence of colour in this picture, which look silky and rich, just like an oil painting, where Artists have used layer upon layer to get the final result, which is seen here and looks Superb.

jaktis 14 84 Sweden
4 Feb 2008 9:25PM
You work hard for your images and the result is always great

uggyy 12 2.1k 9 Scotland
4 Feb 2008 9:35PM
Its not a great image unless you got :

Looked an idiot

Thats my golden rules Smile

Good image bro, love the soft colors...Ive had it once where a set of images I had from a sunset where so intense I couldnt use them lol, just could never get them to look real.

chesh 14 45 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2008 9:36PM
Another superb shot from you Patrick and having read the story behind it you get a real sense of a lull between drenches. I hope you wear a life-jacket and torch/flashlight while plying your skills in locations like this.
In awe, as usual,
Joline Plus
11 30 53 United States
4 Feb 2008 9:40PM
It was worth the effort, but dangerous. Someone I knew didn't make it taking images of high tide surges. Great image though.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Feb 2008 9:52PM
Thanks for stopping by!

Can't argue either Sean, it was totally unexpected.

It was quite extreme Brian, with a desperate F8 so I could stay on ISO 50! Still came out sharp in front and back though.

Thanks Yogedra, if only I had the talent to paint like that.

It does seem to often end up that way Tommy. And I've also had to throw away a few where the colours were just too much.

Yes Dave, I had just enough time between waves to get back up, put the tripod exactly where it had been before and try again.

Thanks Joline. I am very careful, though I do get scratched up from time to time!

thorn 13 124 2 Scotland
4 Feb 2008 9:56PM
Hi Patrick,
for a minute i thought it was called La Jolli Falls then i put my reading glasses Amazing colours,lead in,textures and lighting. I worry about you and your shenanigans on those cliffs Patrick. I'm not surprised you sold two straight off to the people waiting to see what you had caught at the top,apart from a soaking,cold and maybe some scrapes. I agree you should write a book about the life,fun,adventures and times of being a photographer..................and that's before you actually get to take the pictures.take care,AnnSmile
chrissd 12 304 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2008 5:48AM
how do you get those colours Patrick, just an amazing image
johnjrp 14 432 5 Australia
5 Feb 2008 6:00AM
Well worth the effort Patrick. Like the water movement. John
49er 11 564
5 Feb 2008 8:38AM
My eyes went straight to the cloud formation/colour.. A great colour considering the probs you had. The green in the FG adds to the shot really well, breaking up the rock. The waves returning to the sea completes the whole shot wonderfully...

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
5 Feb 2008 3:21PM
Thanks for looking!

Great idea Ann, La Jolli Falls! A book? maybe someday.

Chris, it just happened to be a colourful sunset. It made everything red which is why I desaturated. Not only was the sky a red blob, but the sandstone is already red in normal light.

I agree John, though I wondered at the time!

Thanks Edgar, it was a tough one!

Sezz 13 617 15 England
5 Feb 2008 4:09PM
I really don't know what to add to all the worthy comments above Patrick, it is simply beautiful and I like it very much Smile "Sold two on the spot" I'm impressed!

Sarah *
BarbaraB 12 53 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2008 7:50PM
Definitely worth the trouble! Excellent capture!
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
5 Feb 2008 8:00PM
Oh man...AWESOME capture...and congrats on the on-the-spot sales! Wink

MarkT 13 119 2 England
5 Feb 2008 9:56PM
Worth all the effort Patrick and two sales - nice one Smile

Dotrob 12 Wales
5 Feb 2008 11:12PM
Super shot as above well worth all the effort, congratulations on your sales.
GillyB Plus
12 317 8 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 3:37AM
Fabulous depth Patrick, and I love the movement of water over the rocks.

Patrick thank you so much for your comments on my pictures! I had a look at your website and it is really great. I found your tutorial extremely clarifying and hope to get to where you a couple of decades!!! Thanks for your input mate!!
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
6 Feb 2008 5:32AM
Thanks for stopping by for a look!

I was surprised Sarah!

No problem David. I've only been doing photography for 3 years now, so you are well on your way.

terry_cavner 13 332 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 8:15AM
Great Work Patrick
Pegon 12 78 1 England
6 Feb 2008 2:33PM
A superb shot Patrick, you've done a great job on the sky.
11 12 1 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 3:44PM
Really like this image Patrick, it looks like HDR.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
6 Feb 2008 3:49PM
Thanks Terry and Pete!

Glad you liked it Simon. LOL - But I'll have everyone know that this is an all organic image with no added pesticides, GMO's, HDR's or saturation!

JimL Plus
11 206 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 4:22PM
worth the soaking Patrick, excellent image.
steve_r 10 England
6 Feb 2008 5:05PM
GREAT SHOT.Great work love it thank's regards Steve.
alyismad 12 9 Wales
6 Feb 2008 5:24PM
Great shot love the color and the sea going over the rocks great timing

newy17 12 273 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 7:22PM
Simply stunning as always,,
6 Feb 2008 7:24PM
Sounds like all your hard work and endeavours payed off Patrick. Not only did u get the sale but you got fit and got paid for it too. Cant be bad. Well done.
chris-p Plus
12 67 England
6 Feb 2008 8:05PM
Super quality image..
kinfatric 13 550 9 Scotland
6 Feb 2008 8:16PM
this is very good Patrick the detail, colour and comp' are all first class.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
6 Feb 2008 8:32PM
Thanks for looking in!

True John, it did all pay off. And I am in better shape now!

rangerpaul 10 19 7 England
6 Feb 2008 8:39PM
Complimentary tones right through the image.
Very nice indeed.
ColouredImages 13 47 35 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2008 8:48PM
Nice movement in the water patrick but it's those soft tones in the sky that does it for me

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
6 Feb 2008 9:36PM
Thanks Paul and Mike!

GlenD 11 United States
7 Feb 2008 12:14AM
Mavis Plus
16 143 2 England
7 Feb 2008 6:01AM
Your perseverance paid off Patrick . A wonderful image . Glad you and your camera lived to tell the tale and that you sold some SmileSmile xx
Maiwand 11 3 73 England
7 Feb 2008 8:43AM
A stunningly beautiful composition Patrick. I envy you your talent !!.
Bluke 13 303 1 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2008 8:44AM
Awsome as always patrick...
exposure Plus
13 5.5k England
7 Feb 2008 9:19AM
Just Beautiful
Beautiful tones exposure water detail and movement Tints and tones detail light and a beautiful composition.
imander 11 388 7 United Kingdom
7 Feb 2008 12:30PM
cant add more to the above, its just awesum,
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
7 Feb 2008 3:23PM
Thanks for your comments! As long as you hold the tripod over your head when the wave comes, it all works out fine.

rmr 10 1 Wales
7 Feb 2008 8:32PM
simply stunning ,as are all you"r images
well done
8 Feb 2008 8:29PM
The kind of scene that makes you feel relaxed Patrick, love the way you've captured the ebb and flow, with the soft tones, beautiful, Adrian
9 Feb 2008 5:22PM
Amazing and stunning, great work.

olbell 10 47 1 England
11 Feb 2008 11:14AM
Cracking shot, well processed!

Rgds Ollie
davidbailie 14 457 7 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2008 11:35AM
love it - well rewarded

Kim Walton 14 145 30 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2008 3:13PM
Well taken Patrick.
13 Feb 2008 9:46PM
Beautiful colours, composition & treatment!
brownsilent 11 7 2 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2008 6:34PM
HUMIE 11 2 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2008 5:04PM
Amazing !!

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
23 Feb 2008 5:30AM
Thanks for your comments!

TEASE 11 10 England
25 Feb 2008 3:09PM
Beautiful shot the colours are excellent...Smile
Vicalli 10 Scotland
11 Mar 2008 4:00PM
Gorgeous shot full of beautiful colours!
ricochico 12 6 United States
22 Apr 2008 4:48AM
OUCH!!!!!! A good OUCH!!!!! I knew I was gonna have to be prepared to say that when I came knocking on your portfolioWink Got just what I wanted..hehe... Good to see you again Patrick.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2008 9:04PM
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Sep 2008 5:17PM
Thanks for your kind comments!


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