Norman Silverstone captures the beauty of Miracle Beach.

Life’s a beach with a camera

Photographer Norman Silverstone captures the hidden beauty that no one else notices at Miracle Beach Provincial Park.

It was so sunny and hot here in town that we couldn’t take it anymore. “Let’s go to the beach,” I said.

At that moment I realized that to get to any sandy beach on salt water we would have to travel a distance. Should I use a quarter of a tank or one half tank of gas to get to the beach and return, I thought. Gas is always an issue now.

Decision made, off we went to Miracle Beach Provincial Park, somewhere past Courtenay. The walk from the parking lot to the beach was like a shot back in time; we walked through lush vegetation and giant trees, their tops ablaze with the hot sun. If you squinted you could just imagine the area unspoiled, pre-contact.

I was sporting my Nikon D300s with a Sigma 10-20mm fisheye lens, all ready to be amazed by that incredible lens. As backup for different angles of view I had my 18-70mm lens as well as a 2x teleconverter.

I started shooting almost right away, holding onto the dog leash with one hand and the camera with the other so that I could compose the image through the viewfinder. I have to take off my glasses to see through the viewfinder. I have a diopter knob beside my eyepiece that lets me adjust the viewfinder to the strength of my glasses.

Les came back from the pit-toilets and took the dog leash so that I could shoot. We walked out of the woods to a view of miles of beach. We were on the very rocky dog beach. Right beside us in plain view is the human beach that is sandy from the grass to the water.

That didn’t stop me; I find photographs everywhere. Checking out the driftwood and logs through the viewfinder, I got sucked right in to the entire image, with seemingly unending depth of field.

I wanted to see the depth for myself so I pressed the depth of field button on my camera and closed the lens down until I had everything sharp from the front edge of the image to infinity. This is the combination that I used for the log shot:

• File format–RAW

• Size of image–20.6 MB

• ISO–250

• 10–20mm zoom lens set at 10mm

• Aperture–f20

• Shutter speed– 1/160 of a second.

Walking through the minefield of stones, rocks, and pebbles we came to the water’s edge and looked in. Nope, no sand. We looked over at the human beach with its sand, kids making sandcastles and people frolicking in the water. C’est la vie.

I got bored with the limitations of the fisheye lens and switched to the 18-70mm lens. Not an easy feat switching lens at any time, especially at a windy, sandy beach. Of course I was very careful to protect the camera and lens in my jacket. Then I  took the new lens and placed it on the log bayonet side up, took off the lens cap, pointed my camera to the ground, took off the old lens and quickly snapped the new lens on. After switching lenses I did shoot one incredible shot.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net or see me online at www.silverstonephotos.com.

 

* Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege.

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