With backpacks loaded with goodies including freshly smoked Halibut and Black Cod from a friendly man we met in Neah Bay, fresh veggies, a bottle of wine, french cheese, whiskey, four logs of treated firewood, and other necessities, I headed down the muddy path to Shi Shi beach in Olympic National Park last weekend with my girlfriend, Aubrey. It was a spectacular afternoon with warm sunlight shining over Washington State for possibly the first time this year. Spring leaves were starting to show themselves, and yellow flowers were crawling out of the swamp. After setting up camp we wandered down to the beach to watch the sun say its farewells. Over the course of the next hour I watched as the sky faded to the deep blues of the night sky, dotted with twinkling stars. It’s amazing what you can see on a moonless night so crisp and clear as that, with not a cloud or wisp of mist in sight. It’s almost like wandering through a dream.

Please see my website for an extensive gallery of images from Olympic National Park.

Click image for larger view!

Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park

"Sea of Dreams" ~ Olympic National Park, WA
The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24, tripod
Exposure (sea): iso 1600, f/4, 82 sec
Exposure (sky): iso 3200, f/2.8, 15 sec
Processing: I blended two exposures, taken as a panorama of two horizontal images, in addition to one additional exposure to control for dynamic range in distant sea. The sky is entirely from a single exposure.

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10 Comments to “Sea of Dreams – Olympic National Park”

  1. Great shot and post-processing. Not many nights like that in the Spring time along the coast.

  2. Excellent post processing!

    I have one question to you (if you don’t mind). I usually work with filters and I’m not used to blend different exposures but the results I see with that technique are spectacular. If you try to blend images, do you use filters or not?

    Do you mind to recommend me some blending tutorials?

    Best wishes. Dani

  3. Thanks Steve and Daniel!

    The only filters I use these days are a polarizer and a Vari ND (though I have been meaning to get a stronger solid ND as well). I own several Grad ND’s, but never carry them with me anymore.

    I learned what I know from these tutorials, as well as spending many hours fiddling on photoshop on my own. Every image is a little different, but the fundamentals are well covered in these tutorials:


    – Floris

  4. OMFG you had liquor in a National Park! I’m telling! Ahaha, j/k of course. Nice work creating an original take on this oft-photographed spot. Great execution, too.

  5. Fortunately, Kory, there are no laws against having wine and whiskey in most National Parks, including Olympic, with the exception of some places like certain parking lots and government buildings. I would be sad indeed if they changed that! Glad you liked the image!

  6. Della says:

    SUPER sweet, Floris!

  7. Juan says:

    Fantastic! Magical!

  8. Sounds like a beautiful evening on and off camera. Your image is exquisite. What great colors.

  9. susan blick says:

    Love your blends, I’m starting to get better at it myself. If you dont mind, what software do you use to blend these exposures?


  10. Thanks Susan! I do all my blending by hand with Photoshop, using layers and layer masks.