I’ve been to San Gregorio beach often enough to know the drill. You walk out on the bluffs two or three hours before sunset and shoot down across the beach towards the sun. The sun is still high enough to be out of the picture, but there is sparkle off the water and beachgoers in silhouette. This attractive combination of subject and lighting occurs only once in … well, actually, it’s every sunny day. Afternoon haze on a recent day added an extra measure of dream-like atmosphere.
An enlarged version of the photo is here.
San Gregorio State Beach is on the Pacific coast about 40 miles south of San Francisco, and it never fails to provide a photo opportunity. I recently acquired a Nikon D7000 camera headed to San Gregorio to try it out. The camera offers a raw mode with 14 bits; that means it should do well with scenes that have a wide range of bright and dark tones. San Gregorio provided the test.
I captured the image in 14-bits and later darkened the highlights and lightened the shadows in Photoshop™. That allows the image to be reduced to an eight-bit jpeg file without losing detail. Even with 14-bits, some blocked highlights are unavoidable in reflections of the sun off water. The goal is to have the solid white areas as small as possible. The thin cloud layer and haze helped reduce the glare, so it wasn’t entirely the consequence of more bits.
I like the result. Of course there are few recorded cases of a photo enthusiast with a new camera not liking his results. It will take more experience to see if the potential advantage is generally useful.