Ocean City is near Cape May, NJ. Both Cape May County and the town of Cape May are a photographer's delight. Cape May County is at the tip of NJ, affording views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay with opportunities for sunrise and sunset shots over the water.
This image was taken pre-dawn on an Ocean City, NJ beach. I parked in a public lot close to the beach. It was about an hour and a quarter before sunrise; it was still pitch dark, and I needed a flashlight to walk to the beach and set up my camera and tripod. I had scouted the site previously and taken some daytime and early morning photos of the ocean and the old remains of a prominent pier.
Initially, I could barely see the pier and autofocus was impossible. Although the pier was far, even at f /11, the image would not have been tack sharp. Fortunately, I had saved my focus number from a daytime shot, marking it on a notepad. Having prepared with an exposure calculator, I decided to use an ISO of 400 to be relatively noise-free and not take longer than a 4-minute exposure. My first try at 4 minutes resulted in too light an exposure. The second attempt was at 3 minutes and appeared just right. I repeated the 3-minute exposure and noticed a slight pink, not noticeable a few minutes earlier. This third attempt is the photo that is uploaded to Landscape Photography Magazine.
This image was taken prior to Hurricane Sandy in NJ. The pier could not withstand the storm. Fortunately, I took many photos of this site at different times, lighting, angles, and weather changes. Landscapes can change dramatically, especially due to weather and fires. As photographers, our archives preserve history.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor