Power of the Ocean

The “Make a Splash” theme was good fun, and we received many great photos. Some beautiful, some technically perfect, but none quite as surprising as the above image by Zachary Blackwood. It grabs your attention for obvious reasons, but when you notice the tiny person on the right side of the frame, you begin to wonder what, exactly, happened one second after this photo was taken. According to Zach, what happened was that his new camera, lens, and cellphone were all destroyed, as well as the phone and lens of his friend. How far will you go to get the shot? We’d like to think that winning this photo contest is some consolation for the loss of gear; it’s kind of a big deal, after all. 😉 Read on to learn how Zach made this stunning image.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What kind of photographer are you?

I am a bit of a mixed bag for the type of photographer I am. Absolutely an enthusiast with a weekend warrior side.  Landscapes are my passion, but I am known on occasion to do some portrait sessions and photo booths for events.  I enjoy getting out in nature and trying to capture all the beauty it holds, and love meeting new people and capturing their personalities.

Tell us a little about the image and how you shot it.

This image was taken at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. It was Monday, at the tail end of the big storm we had and a couple friends and I decided to head out to capture the sunset with the storm clouds and high surge.  Three days earlier I had purchased a new Nikon D7100 and this was my first outing to test it out. We got setup to shoot some of the wave crashes and all was going well until this huge wave in the picture came and wiped us out.  This was a lucky capture as less than a second later I was completely turned around and flat on the ground from the water.  The camera and lens being used at the time never came back to life (RIP).  The light was great as it was fairly even throughout the scene and allowed for easy capturing without the need to bracket exposures.

The gear:
Nikon D7100
Tokina 11-16 2.8 at 11mm
Manfrotto 055CXproB tripod
Surui K30x Ball Head

What was the post-production process for this image? What software did you use or what adjustments did you make (if any)?

Post processing for this image was done using my usual workflow. Import into Lightroom, make some adjustments with the white balance if necessary and then adjust the shadows and highlights till I feel it’s ready to throw over into Nik Color Efex.  Within Color Efex, I used the Brilliance/warmth adjustment selectively in parts of the sky and rock. Then Pro Contrast selectively as well to add the depth I wanted in the image. After that it went back into lightroom where I cleaned up some dust spots and exported out for sharing.

Where can people go to see more of your work?

People can check out more of my work at my two websites. For my landscape and more personal work you can go to www.zblackwood.com, and for my portrait/photo-booth type services visit zlbphotography.com.  I am also very active on many social networks but most active on Google+

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