The Pull of the Ocean | Shell Beach | California

Its been a few months since my visit to Shell Beach but I vividly recall the feel of the water as it rushed around my feet, burying them in the coarse sand. It was a beautiful day on the central coast: warm sun, cool breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.

For most photographers (including me), a cloudless sky can be a bummer. But this particular day I decided to focus my attention (and my lens) on the rocks as the water rushed back and forth between, around, and over them. It was mesmerizing.

The Pull of the Ocean | Shell Beach | California
The Pull of the Ocean  {1.3 sec at f/8, ISO 100}

There is a small cave tucked into the bluffs, just big enough to get into without feeling claustrophobic. At the back a conveniently placed rock functions as a seat for those who want a bit of privacy whilst they contemplate the ocean.

With the help of my wide-angle lens I was able to capture the entire aperture of the cave. The photo below is actually made of up of two shots – one exposed for the interior of the cave, and the other for the bright landscape beyond. I combined them in Photoshop.

Peering Out from the Cave | Shell Beach | California
Peering Out from the Cave [f/8, ISO 100, 30 seconds & 3.2 seconds}
If you time it just right, the waves take on the look of soft, fluffy cotton candy. 

Cotton Candy Waves | Shell Beach | California
Cotton Candy Waves {.6 sec at f/11, ISO 100}

All of the photos above were shot with my tripod mounted Canon 6D and 16-35mm f/4 L lens. I also made use of my Neutral Density filters to cut down on the light and slow down my exposures. Processing was done in Lightroom (and Photoshop for the cave composite).

A bit later that evening I captured the sunset about a mile north of this spot. Check it out here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase. I only share products that I believe will be valuable to my readers (most of which I personally use and love). All opinions are my own.

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