Marine layer, Rodeo Beach

I must go down to the sea again,
to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there –
I wonder if they’re dry?

Spike Milligan

It is finally raining in the Central Valley of California and I anticipate a quiet weekend at home watching this marvelous, rare natural phenomenon from my window!

But I do have a photo to show from a few weeks back. On the weekend of October the 3rd, I set out to the Marin Headlands with the intention to photograph yet another splash. I had two good ones in my “Ocean” portfolio, and I wanted a third. Furthermore, I really wanted to see the ocean.

Although splash photography did not work out due to the fog, I still had a good time. It was a beautiful morning on the Rodeo Beach. The thick marine layer took over the landscape, and in times, one could hardly see what was right in front. The moan of the Point Bonita Lighthouse could be heard from a distance, every sixty-seconds.

To obtain this type of effect, besides the fog, you need about 1/2 s shutter speed and a narrow aperture. Here, f/20. Refer to my portfolio if you want to see a selection of my ocean photographs, or click on the Ocean Photography category above for my previous posts on the theme.

10 thoughts on “Marine layer, Rodeo Beach

  1. Steve Schwartzman says:

    I remember the John Masefield poem “Sea Fever” from high school, so I wasn’t expecting the parodied third and fourth lines you quoted.

    Did you try shutter speeds other than half a second and conclude that half a second worked best for the conditions you encountered?

    I’ve occasionally brought something up with other photographers that I’ll bring up with you now. The sky is so bright that that the top part of the photograph tends to merge with the white of the “page” it’s on. Did you consider putting a frame, even a very thin one, around the photograph to fence in the sky and keep it from blending with the white outside the photograph? Or do you prefer that merging of whites?


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Very good point. It is hard to calibrate for all screens, but for a print, I would not have the sky as bright as the paper. On my two screens, I still can see the separation between the sky and the border, but after I save the file as a jpg and upload to WordPress I cannot see the separation anymore. As for the shutter speed, I like the effect of 1/2 a second and try to keep it like that, but I also experiment with other shutter speeds.


  2. shoreacres says:

    I memorized the Masefield poem in 8th grade, and was greatly surprised by the last lines here. I had to spend a little time sorting out Spike Milligan’s identity, though. Eventually I figured out I was confusing him with Spike Jones, a musician and comedian who was popular in the 1950s, when I was a child.

    We have a marine layer that appears here, but only occasionally, and usually in winter. This is beautifully rendered, and the Marin headlands were a favorite spot when I lived in the Bay Area. The photo brings back good memories.
    I read Steve’s comment about a lack of separation between the image and the page, but on my monitor, the separation is there. It’s not at all obtrusive, but it’s clear enough that there’s no worry about the eye wandering outside the frame.


    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Thanks for your comments. To make Steve justice (he has a keen eye), I re-worked the file to make sure that the sky was not too bright. I am glad that it worked on your screen.

      The Marin Headlands is a magical place and I wish I lived closer (it’s about 1 hour 15 min for me on a weekend morning, almost two hours to come back!). I have a few photos on my Ocean portfolio of that place, and no matter how many times I go there, I always find something new and exciting to photograph.

      Liked by 1 person

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