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Pacific Deception

Pacific  Deception
Photo Information
Copyright: Silke Force (Silke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-01-29
Categories: Seascape
Camera: Nikon D70S
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/431 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-09-15 4:55
Viewed: 3419
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The peaceful swish of water you see here turned out to be just a little more deceptive than I had imagined.

I had been watching the waves roll in for a while and shooting the rollers and their crests. But something was lacking. I needed to shoot from the side to get that long sweep of foam. Nothing else would really capture the power I could see in the crashing surf. Although the sand was wet far above the outer edges of the waves that rolled in, it was hardpacked, and wet feet were of no concern in the mission to catch the wave on camera. One bold wave rolled in a little farther than the rest; I couldn't outrun it and I got my feet wet. But the water was not cold, so it didn't stop me from following the receding wave down the slope a little way to position myself for a shot across the little cove just up the coast a little way.

I watched through the lens and saw a nice curl of foam rolling into sight and snapped, hoping that the composition would work. I dropped my hand and suddenly realized that that crest has signalled a much larger roller, now working its way toward me down the coast. I knew I’d get more than just my feet this time, but I ran up the slope. Suddenly the wave hit me behind the knees and I knew I was going down.

Mindful of the camera, I turned toward the sea as I fell, holding my hand high over my head... and landed hard on my behind onto the packed wet sand. At least by falling backward, I had kept the camera safe and dry. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the wave beginning to recede and held my seat digging in my heels. That's when the water gently lifted me off the sand and tugged hard on my sodden sweater, swinging me around to face the shore and I lost my purchase completely. The ocean was pulling me backwards out to sea. My feet scrambled for a hold, while still I kept the camera over my head. As I struggled, a thought flashed through my head. Would the slim disk in the camera survive the salt water? Would it show that last fantastic shot? Still I struggled and still born high by the salt water managed to get my feet firmly under me and fight my way back up to dry land.

It was only seconds, but I did manage to haul my wet self back up. I was soaked to the chest, but my camera was dry. Up on shore, I slogged my way up to an elderly couple who were oblivious to all that had happened. I asked the shocked gentleman to take my picture, and he complied, scolding me all the while. Lives had been lost in that undertow, he told me. After thanking him, I climbed up the little cliff again, eager to get back into my car.

But leaving would take a little longer. I stared at the plush seats and then at my clothes. The latter would have to come off to protect the former. I popped the trunk and opened my suitcase. But getting into dry slacks and a T-shirt out in the open would be impossible. I put back the slacks and pulled out the long dress instead. Bending over, I pulled the dress halfway over my head to form a screen so I could slip out of the T-shirt. With my top covered, I could wriggle out of the wet slacks and underwear under cover of the ankle-length dress. Only once I had clambered into the car after laying out my wet clothes across the seats could I pull on dry underwear. And then I was off again. My butt was rather sore, but that was nothing compared to what I knew I had just survived.

It wasn't until a day after I had returned to Montreal (and after having endured the two long plane rides and the drive from Boston to Montreal), that my doctor told me that I had cracked my coccyx. Was it worth it? You bet!

If you have managed to read this far, I offer you my congratulations and my thanks.
Have a safe weekend :D

pierrefonds, anel, uleko, eqshannon, ramthakur, jaycee, gracious, nglen, joey, marhowie, Alex99, jmirah, angybone, Evelynn, kessi has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To arfer: the answerSilke 1 09-17 04:38
To nglen: the picture of meSilke 1 09-15 12:51
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Silke,

A beautiful image of the waves coming to the beach and of the coastline, the photo has a very good composition, DOF and nice colors. It was quite an experience that you went through after taking the photo. Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-09-15 5:07]

HI Silke,
well it seems i'm not the only one to recieve a soaking then..what a great story and i admire you for admitting it! Well worth the effort and the the cracked coccyx (ouch!), the foreground is full of that streaming foam as it recedes back into the sea and the light is great too. I am off to the coast later myself, so i shall remember to be careful..

Hello Silke,
Strong surf coming in from the Pacific!
Good point of view, well composed with fine division of the frame...
Good colours all over, in particular an attractive blue sky!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-09-15 6:26]

hallo Silke,
Was für eine Geschichte! Und doch das Bild zeigt etwas ganz anderes. Eine sehr harmonische Meersicht, harmlos und so friedlich. Das Leben ist doch voller Kontraste.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-09-15 6:31]

Hi Silke,
Wow, I'm glad the camera wasn't hurt! ;-) Excellent capture of this shoreline with the surf coming in. Beautiful sun-lit cliffs and lovely colours. Very well composed too!
I can imagine your struggle, the coastline here is very treacherous too.
TFS and regards, Ulla

I have felt this undertow many times. Quite the experience. Another thing one might note, this was a nice day:-) A beautiful day as captured in your vast depth of the shoreline. But when the surf is 20 feet, and waves even higher , as I have seen many times during severe El Nino years, the waves are as powerful as anything on Earth. It is my belief that they ever have an affect on the strike slip plates, but I am in the minority.
As grand a view as any I have seen. Very nice. I hope to get back home some day and picture it.

Another great sea scape in the series, Silke.
The white waves create a striking contrast with the blue sky and the land features merge well with the composition.
I also read and enjoyed your well written note.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-09-15 8:48]

Hi Silke,

What an adventure you had! Glad you lived through it. That can be dangerous. But you succeeded in getting a wonderful coastal shot from a marvelous angle. I love to see the waves approaching the beach so I might look at this picture very often.


Hello my friend Silke,
Just be careful in the future when taking landscape photographing especially on the coast or cliff! It happened to me before and I learned the hard way too!
Anywhere, this is a good photo well earned by your hard effort and sharing!
good low pov with perfect sharpness, exposure, focus and details on the shore and sky!
thank you for sharing
best wishes

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-09-15 12:38]
  • [+]

Hi Silke. Have read all your notes, what happened to the picture the old man took of you !!. yes it was worth it you captured a fine seascape. great detail in the incoming waves. with good colours.with a good low POV !!! well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-09-15 12:59]

Hi Silke,
a lovely landscape shot.
What an ordeal!! That must have been painful cracking your coccyx!
+++ Great composition, good colours, very sharp and a brilliant note..
--- Nothing :)
Well done,

Interesting narrative Silke, and a fine shot/POV of this very aptly titled escapade ;}
As a fellow photo nut case :),
I think many here will find your story not only "entertaining" but will empathize will the predicament you found yourself in..I often think I'm in over my head ;}}
Very well done!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-09-15 22:36]

Hi Silke.
I am amazed with your note as well as the nice picture. I like sea and seashore. You managed to reproduce its beautifulness very well. Especially I like the clearness of the air and colors, crisp sharpness of the image and perfectly selected impressive POV and composition of the shot. My best wishes and TFS.

Hi Silke,
It's funny, our first reaction is to protect the camera at all costs. And growing up surfing, I can empathize with you on trying to change at the beach. A beautiful shot of the coastline but to me the water always looks cold in California. Hope your rear is OK.


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-09-16 1:50]

Silke very nice portait and lovely scene. The scene brings back my memory of child hood. Lovely waves and great landscape. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-09-16 4:26]

Hello Silke,
Nice sea-shore shot showing the Pacific breakers with a fine perspective and composition in the shot. I read your well written note with interest and it shows once again that we may not underestimate the powers of nature. I have never had a fractured coccyx but I can imagine what it must have felt like. Even so, the shot must have been worth it.
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

What a story!!!
And I think you should post your photo either on your profile for a while so we can see or in the workshop here. :)

Wonderful shot and for all the effort you put into this I would love to give you a lot more than two points. :)

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-09-16 20:00]
  • [+]

Hello Silke

You must have got your feet wet on this one.I like the POV,it puts the viewer right into the subject.The colours are vivid and well saturated.The lighting is well done.TFS


Oh my. What a tale. I'm sorry you were injured in the process of getting a nice beach shot. I grew up not far from the coast in California. I don't remember sleeper waves ( those that sneak up on you) there as much as they seem to have them here in Oregon. The biggest danger here is the logs on the long, wide sandy beaches. People are killed with startling frequency from climbing on logs that seem high and dry. Then sleeper waves roll in and move the logs.
I remember surfers changing in and out of black wet suits all the time along the coast. Knowing California, probably no one would have noticed you!

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • kessi Gold Star Critiquer [C: 80 W: 5 N: 74] (221)
  • [2007-09-19 1:27]

Hello Silke,
What a story. You had me captivated to the end. It must have been quite scary. I am glad you made it and were able to post this image.
Nice balance between the waves and the coastal embankment. The pebbled sand has a lovely sheen as the water recedes.


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