Abalone Cove Tide Pool & Seascapes

A Sierra Club Camera Committee trip to Abalone Cove, just north of San Pedro where I live. In the Palos Verde Pennisula area. Lots to shoot in macro, but I didn’t have a macro lens so I faked it with my telephoto zoom lens (55-250mm & 18-55mm). Which I think worked out just fine. You be the judge of these photos. My most fun shot is this one of the waves crashing on the rocks. I took many shots and was trying to get a action shot of the waves. I’ll show you several here , but I like this the best. It looks like I got wet.

close up view of wave crahing on rocks

Wave crashing on rocks. f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 55-250@90mm

Timing is important when photographing waves, you want some action showing in the photograph and the only way to do this is to shoot several shots. If you are shooting film it is a bit expensive, because you don’t know if the shot works till you process the film and make a print. With digital I was able to just keep shooting frames and later edit them on the computer to see what I liked best. Composition with waves can be a real trick because the action dictates where the visual center of your photography is, cropping may be necessary to balance the photograph out. In the photo above it is as shot, I didn’t crop it any. Cropping was done with the telephoto lens in setting up the shot and waiting for a GOOD wave to splash.

In these next 2 shots I like the first one better, the rocks in the foreground make it more balance to me. All the foam in the foreground kind of washes out the effect in the second photo. Although the second one has the more interesting wave action on the far rocks in the background.

wave crashing on rocks

waves on rocks. f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

waves crashing on rocks

waves crashing on rocks. f/6.3, 1/500 sec., ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

Of course  I took landscape/horizontal photos too. I moved around to different spots and different camera settings as I moved.

wave breqking on rocks in foreground

wave breaking on the rocks in the foreground. f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 100, 18-55@25mm

large wave breaking on rocks in background.

Large wave breaking on rocks. f/13, 1/60 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

Here is another shot of the rocks and water. This one however is a composite photo. I took 2 shots with different shutter speeds to vary the light, one the foreground was more detailed and the sky was blown out, the other the sky was more or less the correct exposure but the rocks were very dark. I layered them in Photoshop and used a mask to hide part of the top photo layer so that the sky and the rocks seem to be better exposed.

layered photo of rocks and water

Layers study with rocks and water. f/6.3, 1/60 sec & 1/125 sec., ISO 100, 18-55@36mm

Of course, the object of the photography for the day was the wildlife and what trip to the tide pools isn’t complete without a starfish or 2. Again for these close up shots I’m setting up with the tripod at a distance that lets the telephoto lens focus, but zooming in so it looks real close.

Purple starfish on rocks

Purple starfish on rocks. f/13, 1/13 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

This starfish is bent up some like it was placed here by one of the many children not long before I got there. It was a spring tide, special very low tide, so there were a lot of people at the tide pools. Hard to take scenic shots without people in it. People stepping all over making waves in the pools and casting shadows on the pools. Good reason to practice patience.

Orange starfish on rocks

Orange starfish on rocks, curled like it had been on a different rock not long before. f/11, 1/5 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@74mm

Hermit crabs are another favorite of tide pools.

Close up of 2 hermit crabs

Hermit crabs on rocks. f/11, 1/3 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@250mm

I found this sea slug on the dry rocks and put in the water, it opened it’s back up and showed the stripes of color for a brief few moments and I got this one shot.

Sea Slug in tide pool

A sea slug, f/13, 1/4 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@116mm

I was lucky and near some people when they found an octopus hiding in the rocks, not much to see but the tentacle and the suckers on the bottom, plus the breathing hole/tube. Shot several shots but the shots with the water coming out of the breathing tube were all blurry. I was shooting at slow speeds due to the low ISO and it was just slow enough for the water to blur.

Octopus in rocks

Octopus hiding in rocks, a lucky find by sharp eyes. f/13, 1/8 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@163mm

Another familiar sight on the tide pools was sea urchins. There were so many that yes I stepped on some over the course of the day. The rocks are slippery and it was impossible to miss them trying to stay on my feet.

Purple sea urchins on the rocks.

Sea urchins, bright purple against the rocks. f/13, 1/5 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@55mm

Sea anemones were also abundant in the rocks, their colors varied some what most were a iridescent greenish blue.

Iridescent sea anemone in tide pool

Sea anemone in rocks of tide pool. f/11, 0.60 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@96mm

Here I found one with a white center.

Sea anemone with white center

Sea anemone with white center. f/5.6, 1/20 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@131mm

And of course here is another star of the day, didn’t see many of these crabs and those that I did see scurried under rocks pretty fast. But this one just sat there blowing bubbles so I had time to set up the camera and that a few shots.

Small crab blowing bubbles

Small crab blowing bubbles. f/5.6, 1/80 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@250mm

Here is a different shot of some wildlife. I shot this panning the camera to follow the bird. I wanted the action or motion in the shot. I took several shots but this one with the water and rocks in the background seemed the best. Noticed that the slow shutter speed blurred the wing tips too. The camera’s auto focus is pretty good as the head and body of the bird are in focus.

Bird flying past the rocks and shore

Bird flying past the rocks and shore. f/5.6, 1/50 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@146mm

As it got towards sunset, I was setting up to shoot a shot of tree on the cliff. So waiting and being bored somewhat I turned and saw the surfers on the waves next to the tide pools and decided that with the sun behind them it would make a nice shot if I could stop the action. Here are two of the best.

Surfer on a wave with the sunset light on him

Surfer in the sunset. f/5.6, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, 55-250@131mm

Surfer cutting back on a wave

Surfer cutting a wave. f/5.6, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, 55-250 @250mm

Here is the final picture, taken before sunset when the light lit up the colors in the rocks of the cliff. I used a graduated neutral density filter to darken the sky and balance out the photograph’s colors.

Cliff with tree at sunset

Cliff with tree at sunset. F/5.6, 1/10 sec., ISO 100 18-55@29mm Graduated ND filter.

Well there are the best photos of my trip to the Abalone Cove tide pool trip with the Sierra Club Camera Committee. It was fun and I learned a lot about trying to shoot macro shots with a telephoto lens. Hope that you learned some thing from this post. Let me know what you think of my photos.

All comments in artistic, opened minded opinions are welcome.

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