I had the opportunity to see the most amazing thing, short of heading out to Antarctica or Greenland perhaps, right here in the USA…beautiful rainbows riding in very turbulent waves. This happened at Goat Rock Beach on the Northern California coastline. Gives credence to the right time and right place saying! It was around noon and there we were at the beach, so we were all looking for something that might work in the bright afternoon sun. I started with simply shooting the giant waves, mixed with dark sand and grit due to the undertow in the area, and some of the photos were looking pretty good, so they were a “maybe”. Then I realized I was seeing rainbows on the waves and I got really excited, jumping around like a kid in a candy store. I shot over 1,000 waves in the sequence. When I shoot sequence shots I generally start right at the beginning and go until I’m certain the sequence is over; it’s easy to delete and I have more certainty of getting a decent shot.
I started shooting the rainbow waves with my Nikon D800 as I normally shoot my landscape shots with that camera. I realized quickly, however, that I would not get the sequence shots and that is what I wanted. I ran to the car and changed to my Nikon D500. I shot wave sequence after wave sequence and got many usable shots. The fast action and large buffer of the D500 was right on target in getting the shots in action.
I processed the shots using Lightroom, my normal go-to processing program and it did a fairly good job overall. The brush tool worked well on the rainbows and the neutral density filter tool worked to take down the highlights on the hillside. All-in-all, a good day of shooting on the beach.