“Ghosties Sea Cave”- Ghosties Beach, NSW, Australia – Steve Passlow – Guest Photographer
This is one of the best natural frames I have seen in a while. Steve really creates a 3D element that gives the illusion you are actually on the beach. Probably a wise decision to be in the cave with the rainstorm coming! Steve also has a ton of amazing photographs in his portfolio at 500px.com/StevePasslow. If you would like to see the original image or the entire Ghosties Cave portfolio then go to www.flickr.com/photos/stevpas68/sets/72157622944772279 or www.flickr.com/photos/stevpas68/5305224749/ (image) .
Take it away Steve:
“I am a regular visitor to the area and to Ghosties Beach in particular. Over the last few years, I have been building a collection of images from the area as my passion for photography has grown. One of my favorite subjects is this cave that I call Ghosties Cave. There are numerous other caves in the area but I find this one offers the best opportunities for photography. On this particular day I was photographing in the area as I noticed a huge storm cloud dropping rain several miles offshore moving its way along the coast. I predicted that it would eventually move into a position in front of the cave so I made my way to the cave, set up the camera and waited. This is the result. Often this cave is not accessible due to high tides or rough seas so on this occasion I was lucky that everything fell into place for a photo that now takes pride of place on my living room wall.
One thing that amazes me about this cave is how quickly and unpredictably it can change in a short period of time. Sometimes the floor of the cave will be a flat bed of sand with maybe a few rocks poking through. A few days later the sand can be totally gone and all the rocks are fully exposed. This unpredictability and variation is what keeps me taking the hike back there regularly, never knowing quite what I’ll find or what opportunities I will get for new photos.
To show detail in the walls of the cave, the sand in the foreground, the ocean waves in the middle ground and the clouds at the back I took several exposures and blending them together using High Dynamic Range (HDR) post-processing techniques. The shortest exposure was 1/320s @f/14, ISO100 which allowed me to capture the clouds with no blown highlights. The longest exposure, 1/20s @f14, ISO 100, allowed me to show detail in the ceiling and walls of the cave. Midpoint exposures showed detail in the sand and water with no blown highlights or clipped blacks. The multiple exposures were taken using on-camera auto-bracketing and a tripod was used to avoid camera movement between exposures. Post processing software used included Adobe Lightroom 3 for color and curves adjustment + noise reduction, Photomatix (for HDR processing) and Adobe Photoshop for final presentation.
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