Shooting At Seal Beach

As mentioned yesterday, Saturday was the annual Worldwide Photo Walk. I signed up to walk in Seal Beach. Nice people. Lackluster setting.

I was very disappointed in what I brought home. Part of it was my self imposed lens limit. Part had to do with experimenting with neutral density filters. Part had to do with Seal Beach itself and the fact SB sunset shots include the oil derricks in Long Beach.

Oh–hazy too.

However, there’s a nice payoff in spite of my ineptitude. I just got this email from Gena.

We were so fortunate to have you photograph us last night. We talked about it being a magical moment. We were talking about our hopes and dreams and you captured the moment. We would love it if you could send the photo our way. We are going to be grandparents this week and would love to share with our grandkids some day. Thank you! We are eternally grateful!



I came across Gena and her husband after the Sun had set. They were on the wet sand above the high water mark just north of the Seal Beach Pier. They were alone on the beach… except for the guy with camera gear moving toward them.

If I wanted I could have started snapping away without asking. The law says you have no expectation of privacy in a public place. That’s not how I operate.

They were in a conversation. I stood three or four feet back and tried to get their attention. It took a few tries over the sound of the waves before I made contact.

I told them they would make a beautiful shot, from the rear with no identifiable faces. Would it be OK?

All I asked was for them to be still. I didn’t want to pop a flash. This would be a long exposure. I planted my tripod in the sand, got it as low as possible and hoped for the best.

I used my 8mm fisheye for the shot. It’s totally manual, even focusing.

Here’s the rest of my catch. You’ll notice no pictures of the sunset itself! I found the ’47 Packard while walking to my car.







BTW — if there are seals at Seal Beach, I didn’t see them.

Today’s The Photo Walk

My goal is to experiment with very slow shutter speed, the exact opposite of the way I usually shoot. The neutral density filters will block light. It will be daytime, but my camera will only have as much light as it gets at night. The shutter will have to stay open longer. That changes everything.


Clicky and I are driving to Seal Beach this afternoon. It’s the annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. There are over 1,000 walks scheduled with 20,000 scheduled to attend.

Volunteers around-the-world organize groups of photographers who meet and take photos nearby. We’ll start at the Red Car Museum (if you saw “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” those red cars… well, the real ones) then end at the beach for sunset.

I’ve done these before with my friend Steve. We did the New Haven and Brooklyn Bridge walks a few years back. Lots of fun.

IMAG1510[1]Overpacking has been a problem for me in the past. Today will be different. Three wider lenses, neutral density filters and a tripod–that’s it! No long impressive football sideline telephotos. It will all fit in a shoulder bag.

My goal is to experiment with very slow shutter speed. The neutral density filters will block light. It will be daytime, but based on incoming light my camera will be set as if it was dark. Shutter/aperture combinations not normally possible will be needed.

It’s an experiment. My experience with this kind of shooting is near zero. It’s a radically different way of taking pictures. Who knows if it will work when I try it?

By the way, I know no one who’ll be there today. Looking forward to it.