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Saturday, 29 September 2012 21:47

Waving to Whitefish

In the northeastern corner of Michigan's Upper Peninsula Whitefish Point sits like a shark's fin protruding into the chilly water of Lake Superior and pointing itself across Whitefish Bay to the shores of Ontario and the wind turbine-lined hills beyond. It is the Graveyard of Ships of the Great Lakes, where more vessels have gone down than in any other part of these mighy waters. Yet for all of its foreboding presence, it is a place of great beauty where white sand beaches, littered with the lithic remnants of ancient cataclysmic geologic forces, meet head-on the pounding surf that Kitchi Gami throws its way. As I stood on a jutting edge of sand looking back across to the tip of the point I was struck by the patterns formed by the on-coming waves as they raced toward the rocky beach. Placing the camera at an angle to catch the breakers as they hit the shallows, I waited until I saw a sequence that was visually appealing and released the shutter. I had already narrowed my angle of view to a specific area by zooming out to a focal length of 168mm. I maximized my depth-of-field by using an aperture of f/22. In the ambient light of the moment that aperture gave me a shutter speed of 1/30th second for an overall medium exosure. If I had needed a faster shutter speed, an aperture of f/16 would have given me sufficient depth and a faster speed as well. My ISO for the image was 100.

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  • Comment Link EstherRip Monday, 01 June 2020 11:05 posted by EstherRip

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  • Comment Link Don McGowan Friday, 05 October 2012 17:51 posted by Don McGowan

    Thanks Everyone,
    The past week has been incredibly busy. We've just ended the UP workshop. It was a wonderful group and the color has been absolutely magnificent; perhaps the best I have seen in all my years of coming here. There are so many fantastic locations that it's ust not possible to experience them all in a single visit. Dorsey, what helped with DOF was the camera-to-subject distance and focusing closer to halfway into the scene between foreground and camera infinity. Those two things will give the most depth possible in a given situation. Thanks Bonnie, Nancy, and Margene; I'm always glad to hear from each of you. Horace, that is one of the aspects of the image that was appealing to me - the rocks on the beach just ahead of the waves. I loved the triangles that those rocks formed with the waves themselves, and the textural contrast they created with the waves. And Bruce, I agree with your observations completely. It is much more of an intimate landscape than a telephoto image, focal length notwithstanding. Fay, it's good to hear from you; I hope all is well in the Lower Peninsula.

  • Comment Link Fay Longhofer Sunday, 30 September 2012 23:34 posted by Fay Longhofer


    It looks as cold as Lake Superior is. Brings back wonderful memories of "swimming" in Superior and spending hours searching those shores for agates...

  • Comment Link bruce hogle Sunday, 30 September 2012 13:02 posted by bruce hogle

    I normally prefer longer exposures that result in "silky" water Don, but your "frozen" water works for me in this case. Great job on your choice of when to trip the shutter, capturing multiple waves, all with separation from each other (an important key, in my tiny mind :). Even though your focal length was on the long side, the image strikes me as a larger portion of the landscape (which I like for this scene). Good choice, I think, to include about 1/3 sky & 2/3s waves & shoreline. For me, the finger of shoreline toward the top is also an important element, sort of a visual break and transition from waves to sky & clouds.

  • Comment Link Horace Hamilton Sunday, 30 September 2012 10:47 posted by Horace Hamilton

    Wonderful image. I especially like your choice of shutter speed, freezing the action of the water to retain detail as well as providing detail in the rocks just ahead of the waves.

  • Comment Link margene odom Sunday, 30 September 2012 08:56 posted by margene odom

    Amazing photography and prose!

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 30 September 2012 08:29 posted by Nancy Tripp

    You're back in the U.P. ENJOY! This is a great capture of twins in nature. It looks like a beautiful day with enough wind to give you great water photos. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link bonnie Sunday, 30 September 2012 08:00 posted by bonnie

    striking - i always like your photos, but enjoy the stories also bonnie

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Saturday, 29 September 2012 23:30 posted by Dorsey Davis

    I have photographed this area many times, Don. This is a really different view and the somewhat fast shutter speed gives us a different way of looking at the waves coming in. I hope you didn't get your camera wet! I am surprised that you got this much DOF at 168mm even at f22. One of the reasons I don't use my longer glass any more than I do is that I am never happy with my DOF. As always, a nice job with your composition and interpretation.

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