Sunset from another planet

If you’ve spent any time in the Sacramento area this time of year you know it can be dreary.  The topology of the valley makes for idea fog conditions. While it may be sunny and bright 30 miles from here, in the valley it’s dark and grey; sometimes for weeks at a time.  When an opportunity to escape the gloom presents itself, we take it.  Last Friday was the annual member’s Christmas party at the Monterey Bay Aquarium so we made a weekend of it.

We spent Saturday at Point Lobos, a California State Preserve just South of Monterey, hiking and crawling around tide pools.  The real show began at sunset.  The amazing colors captured were the result of a very specialized polarizing filter, and some other filters, made by Singh-Ray; they weren’t produced in Photoshop or by any other software.   It gives a really interesting, somewhat unnatural, effect that can be modified by rotating the filter.  Unlike a normal polarizer it really impacts your white balance setting so shooting RAW is almost a necessity.


Canon 5D, Canon 17-40 f/4L @ 17mm, f/16, ISO 400 @ 3 seconds. Threaded onto the lens is a Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue polarizer. The top 1/3 of the image was really hot so I used a combination of a 3 stop hard-edge split graduated filter as well as a 3 stop soft-edge filter, stacked on top of one another.  I held the filters by hand in front of the lens.  A tripod, of course, was required.

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