Empty beach

It is wonderful to take photos, especially at sunset, and doubly so when you have a beach like this all to yourself.  When I arrived, there were plenty of folks walking around, exploring the various nooks and crannies that exist along this wonderful stretch of coastline.  But when the sun was about gone, and the light was fading fast, most of those folks were gone too.  I find that weird.  I mean, it's awesome to have this all to yourself, especially when you are trying to take some photos, but doesn't everyone like to stick around for a gorgeous sunset?  Maybe they didn't get the memo.

Anyways, I enjoyed it.  That is one great thing about HDR - you can shoot straight into the sun.  With a single exposure it is nearly impossible to capture anything but a glare when you are shooting straight into the sun, but with the multiple exposures that HDR requires you can get it done, and get decent (and sometimes amazing) results despite the fact that you are staring through your camera into the absolutely brightest thing in the universe.  BTW, this was taken on Laguna Beach in Orange County, CA.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/13 while staring into a hot ball of fire.  The exposures range from +2 to -3 and were merged into an HDR in Photomatix.  The HDR was then adjusted in Photoshop Elements for Contrast and Shadows, and a finishing touch in Topaz Adjust.  The dark exposures really helped tone down the brightness of the image while the brighter exposures lend some detail in the foreground elements.