My beautiful reward

I am a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, and though I like his music, I love his writing.  His lyrics are fantastic and if you really listen to them, you can see that he has the soul of a poet.  I like that and it shows through his writing.  I mention that because the title of this photo is also the title of one of his songs.  The song is about love and longing, and hope and searching for that which makes you happy.  At least it is to me.  If you ask Bruce, he will likely have a different interpretation of his lyrics.  I haven't had a chance to ask him yet.

Anyways, I like the title so I borrowed it for this photo.  I was on Laguna Beach down in Orange County, and a big storm that ruined my photo attempts that afternoon had blown through.  I had spent the entire afternoon holed up inside, waiting on the rain to stop.  Finally, after the rain stopped, I drove for a bit and then I parked the rental car on the street, plugged the meter with some quarters (I had 3, so I had 45 minutes - run!) and took off to the beach.  I was searching as well, and it was my first time here so I wasn't sure what I was going to find.  I ended up taking a lot of photos in that short 45 minute span.  I guess time does fly when you are having fun, because that 45 minutes felt like a blink.

After I got back and was able to process my shots, I felt like this was the best one I took that day.  It was my beautiful reward.  

This is a 6 exposure HDR, taken at f/11.  The exposures range from +2 to -3.  There was a lot of wind, due to the storm, and as you can see the waves were smashing about.  I created the HDR in Photomatix, then made some adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) and a final touch in Topaz Adjust.