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Natural History

Natural History
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: 2005-09-24
Categories: Seascape, Ocean
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5700
Exposure: f/4.8, 1/256 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Natural History [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-08-28 6:28
Viewed: 5315
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The headland visible in my previous posting “ Laid-Back Laguna Sunset” is shown a little closer here so that we can see the forces that have shaped California’s coast and will continue to do so.

The diagonal lines here show that the once horizontal crust has been tilted. What you see is the edge of the Pacific Plate. This is one of a number of plates that float on top of a less solid underlying mantle that covers the earth. Adjacent to the Pacific Plate is the North American Plate, which supports most of the continent of North America.

About 250 million years ago, the two plates, which had slowly been moving toward each other, collided. Much of the Pacific Plate began to slide below the North American Plate where it heated and slowly melted, turning to magma. This molten rock began to push upward and form the coastal ranges.

About 30 million years ago the relative movements of the two plates changed from a head-on contact to an oblique skid against each other. This zone of slippage, which runs nearly the full length of California, is called the San Andreas Fault. Along this fault line, the folding of the sea floor against the margin of the North American Plate resulted in the creation of the Coast and Transverse ranges, which are composed of the crushed and crumpled sea floor sediments like you see here. Close inspection of those rocks would show you the tiny fossils of very ancient sea life, preserved in the petrified sediments.

The constant water action has since worked on those exposed surfaces, eroding the stone and creating new formations. Some of the rock has been slowly pulverized into sand, like that on the right. The waves continue to rush against the stone and slowly widen the cracks into tiny crevices. The splashes you see here are the water being forced straight up into the air, creating a sort of salty mist.

Tech: timing was everything here: I took about a dozen shots with my all-too-slow Coolpix 5700, trying to predict when the splashes would be at their best. And I had to time it carefully to avoid the dog-walkers then frequenting this part of the beach (where there were fewer bathers to worry about).
Was it worth the effort? I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for looking and have a wonderful day.

Thanks also to Bob Shannon, who knows far more about the Pacific coast than I do, for catching an omission in my earlier text.

eqshannon, earthtraveler, Kathleen, PaulH, Evelynn, gracious, nglen, mlines, jmirah, marhowie, angybone, pierrefonds, anel, Juyona, shelbeesmom has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To shelbeesmom: Oh Man!Silke 1 08-30 13:56
To eqshannon: family in subduction zoneSilke 2 08-28 15:07
To lawbert: rocksSilke 1 08-28 10:35
To eqshannon: oopsSilke 1 08-28 06:57
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Silke,
Lovely dynamic landscape composition with the angled rocks,watersplash and the palms in the BG. Deffinately see the rule of thirds in play here. Wish the BG was more sharp.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-08-28 6:43]

Hi Silke,
a great shot.
You can clearly see the where the sea has worn-down the rocks.
Sharp with excellent timing to capture the spray.
Well done,

Hi Silke.
Lovely image, a bit like a painting and interesting notes.
Natural and wild looking with great detail and colour, beautiful.


  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-08-28 7:30]

Hi Silke,
it's nice to see the effect of the shifting of the Earth in your part of world. So often it's the coastal areas which show us the best possible view of the results of this staggering process. Your notes are very interesting.
Great timing on the crashing waves (it's not easy is it??), which has helped show the seperate masses of rock and added depth to the shot.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-08-28 7:36]

Hi Silke,
You really have illustrated a global phenomemnon, even here our beaches are getting smaller and the sea is eating into huge natural habitats, washing away shoreline villages and creating havoc. The rising sea waters have flooded cultivable land and converted them into acres of saline fields. maybe these are the effects of 'global warming'. I like your POV here to portray the scene. Very nicely composed too. Kudos.

Let me reword a bit...as you have said it..'Twas a long time ago for humans, but only a drop for geology. Your notes are interesting and complete. Let me add this because I have so many family in the present subduction zone. Interesting that there is one now and one so long ago, so near...

An excellent study in the geology of tectonics..and may I add that NA and Pacific Plates are no longer subducting in this area. They have been strike slip fault for the last 100 million years. If you go further up north to Tomales Bay, north of the Gate, the strike slip continues but out 11 miles in the ocean. The subduction zone which is presently active (Cascadian) starts near the Mendocino triple Junction of NA, Pacific and locked Gorda Plate, as well as the San Juan DeFuca...

Great stuff tho..and nice pictures..I have owned an earthquake study group for going on 16 years now, which includes a few geologists and seismologists.:-) I am sure they would appreciate seeing this picture with your notes..!!!!


This is a nice photo as well as an educational one. I'm glad you got the timing just right for the splash. Including the palm trees really gives this a sense of place. I like the strong diagonals along with the vertical palms.

Evelynn : )

Hello Silke,
Good captured of the coast with details on the rocks with perfect texture and pattern
Good pov with beautiful colour and detail as a whole!
well composed and well seen

Hello Silke
A very good scene with a nice foreground (a strangely shaped rock!!) and the action centre..and a lovely background..perhaps the background could do with a little more focus or a little less..either way a great pic

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-08-28 11:43]

Hi Silke. a great seascape. dramatic looking sea. you have captured the view with great detail. you can hear the waves on the rocks.a good mix of colours . well done TFS. Great notes too.

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-08-28 14:15]

Hi Silke. Excellent to see and read about this setting today. It is always facinating to read the rocks as you have done here. Hope to see some more of this type. TFS. Murray

  • Great 
  • jmirah Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 509 W: 5 N: 1141] (4687)
  • [2007-08-28 14:30]

Hi Silke,
Excellent view of the rugged coastline. water is the most powerful source of energy on the planet. Great color and POV. Very well done.


Hi Silke,
I think you've captured the action very well..This is from a native Californian, born and raised :)
Very well done!

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-08-28 21:00]

Hello Silke

Just marking the post for now


Great notes!!!
Wonderful shot! Love the POV here ---very creative angle.
Good work!

Hi Silke,

A nice image of the rocks and of the waves rushing them, the photo has a good composition, DOF and nice colors. Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-08-29 4:24]

hello Silke,
That's a very interesting and impressive picture. You show the interference of water and rocks so well. We can feel the strength of natural forces. Also did you choose your point of view excellentely.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-08-30 3:10]

Hola Silke,
interesante vista,
escenario original,
buen trabajo amiga y nota.

WOW!! I love how the water just POPS out at you in this shot! Really just glows! I have a few folks that I would like to smash against rocks...how about you??

Hi Silke,
I like how the DOF, focal length and you distance compacted the scenery. It really add to the feeling as if you were really close to the break and if it was very big. I am also impressed about the fact that you got the foam perfectly sharp and frozen in mid air. It shows excellent control. I really love the action in this photo.

Calibration Check