When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate: Corona Del Mar Photo

You’d think I’d be used to this lesson, but for some reason I seem to get it over and over again. I must be a slow learner :)
Anyway, last week while in Los Angeles, I did some research on 500px.com and found a great place called Corona Del Mar right along the coast about an hour south of LA. So I headed out there for a sunset shoot only to be greeted by large bank of clouds that engulfed the sun about 60 minutes before sunset. I tried to make the best out of it and concentrated on the rocks in the foreground as well as the large (naturally brighter than the rest) rock in the top left. It really caught my eye because I knew it would jump out of the photo since it was lighter than the rest of the rocks around it. Plus, with the drama of the clouds and gloomy skies I knew this would be a very different style of photo for me, since I usually like vibrant colorful sunsets.

(click to see the photo larger)
MJK_3386 copy

If you follow my photography you know that I’m never a fan of choppy water, so I threw a 3-stop ND filter on to get a longer 30-second exposure to smooth out the water. The photo was captured with my Nikon D800 with a 16-35mm lens. Processed in Lightroom 5 and onOne’s Perfect effects for some finishing touches.

Have a good one!

  • AvishaiF

    Love it!

    Sometimes, bad weather could provide more interesting photos than the normal ones you get with good weather, you just need to know how to use the weather.

  • Paul Collingridge

    Nice Pic. Sometimes, though, bad weather can be so bad it waits until you turn to get something from your bag, then it blows your tripod and lens clean over and down onto the rocks; THOSE are the days it would have been best not to venture out! Or am I the only one this has happened to?

    • http://twitter.com/DogmaMom Ginny T

      Horrible thought – I don’t go out in bad weather :-)

  • http://twitter.com/DogmaMom Ginny T

    Beautiful! I like the sky! Very powerful and intriguing. Your sky is much more interesting than a boring summertime cloudless CA sunset. Dime a dozen!

  • http://profiles.google.com/roosachristine Christine Roosa

    I had a similar problem last November. I live here and I should know about November storms, but i just wasn’t thinking. I desperately wanted a sunset over the ocean picture when I was staying at my MIL’s house. But it stormed. And while the storm stopped before sunset, the clouds remained.

    I focuses on the waves crashing into the giants rocks — cause I AM a fan of chopping water. I love the drama of waves crashing in.

    I did catch a small glimpse of a setting sun, but nothing quite as dramatic as the waves.

  • Les Howard

    I’ve always liked the drama that bad weather adds to a photo. Sometimes the weather itself IS the subject.

  • http://twitter.com/algia10 A.G. Photography


  • Jim

    Great shot. Where in Del Mar?

  • dirk

    nice shot! there are very sharp edges in green and magenta around the rocks and a cyan colored line at the horizon. is that CA from the lens? have you replaced the sky in post?

  • Don Lee Brown


    Would you believe my wife and I were married overlooking Corona Del Mar Beach 40 years ago this October? You did the event, the location, and the scene true justice!