Sahsima Storm II

Sunday we had a major storm blowing for much of the day. On Harling Point, the neighbour’s weather station recorded gusts of 88 km/hour during the time I went out to take photos. A few days ago I posted some monochrome shots of Sahsima or Harpoon Rock found on the beach in front of the Chinese Cemetery. I mentioned it had many different personalities, depending on the weather. Here I show another sharply contrasting one, with 2 and perhaps even occasionally 3m waves breaking on the rock shelf that surrounds Sahsima.

I was glad for the Rainsleeve today. It was not raining, but the air was soaking with spray. There was so much spray that it interfered with taking pictures as it made everything seem foggy, even on quite short exposures. Also, there were limited vantage points because I had to get low to the ground and preferably in the lee of a bush or a bedrock outcrop so that the camera was disturbed less while on the tripod. Even then I had to push a leg of the tripod into the ground during the exposure to steady it. And, I pretty much had to point the camera down wind, or nearly so, to keep the lens filter free of spray long enough.

So, here are a couple of the shots. I expect I will show some more.  Though there was a very high failure rate for images as the filter was coated in spray quickly, the camera moved on the tripod, the Rainsleeve interfered with infinity focus, and calculating exposures in these conditions is tricky, especially with the plastic of the sleeve over the screen reducing visibility, compounded by having to keep my glasses in my pocket after they were blown off my face (along with my touque). Pretty exhilarating day to be out. When I got home I had to right my son’s 750cc motorcycle which had been blown off its kick stand and onto it’s side.


Canon EOS 5Dii, Canon 50/1.4 lens, Cameron fader ND filter set at about 6 to 7 f-stops density, ISO 100, f22, 30 second exposures for both shots.



27 thoughts on “Sahsima Storm II

  1. Pingback: Storm Ridge « burnt embers

  2. Neat shots! Two photographers were out to get pictures of me and my friend Marcus when we windsurfed Oak Bay that day. They used the opposite extreme in equipment and technique, they had enormous telephotos and extremely quick shutter speeds. The same troubles though, one of them said he’d never before had his whole tripod start to vibrate, and was almost knocked over. Those pics by ‘Randy’ and ‘Snapper 300’ are in the photo section of (as well as their own websites). It was a good one, the wind lasted most of the day.


    • Hi Morley, and welcome to my blog. I hope you come back again. I will look up those photos, I expect they will be completely different than anything I took, nice frozen waves and lots of greeny blue water.


  3. Wow, what amazing conditions to be out photographing! Good for you! And I like the photos, especially the first one. By contrast, I barely ventured out of our house yesterday, at least until the wind slowed down and we weren’t so much in danger of having a tree branch fall on us while walking about! I didn’t take my camera. I need to get some Rainsleeves – haven’t found any locally available yet.


    • Hi Laurie – rainsleeves are a good thing, pretty cheap (cheaply made too, but good for several uses and 2/packet), I got mine at Lens and Shutter on Broad St. in Victoria if you venture over onto a big island. I did not have to think about branches – very few trees in my neighbourhood for some reason (annual pruning by wind perhaps). I did have to dodge flying bits of asphalt roofing next to one house with an old peeling off roof.


    • Hi Paula – the fog is just an illusion from the waves washing by for 30 seconds. So, you need a tripod and a camera that allows a long exposure, and low light conditions and give it a try. That is why my camera is on ISO 100 (its lowest setting), and f22 to give the longest exposure possible and in this case I used a neutral density filter to cut out more light to allow a long exposure. But some of my photos are in near evening, or very early morning settings when a long exposure is possible without a filter. If you are not near an ocean, then try it on a stream or river or waterfall. Do lots of bracketing to make sure you have your shot. It really is not all that difficult if your camera either will take timed multi-second exposures, or has a “B” or bulb setting which means you can have the shutter open as long as you choose.


      • Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am not at all a technical photographer, but when shown how to achieve a shot, I find I can follow directions well!

        I am going on a vacation near water in a few months and look forward to giving it a try.


      • Good luck with it Paula. You can practice before then on other moving things: traffic, people, plants waving in the breeze (see tomorrow’s post in that regard), etc. On your seaside visit, just be prepared to get up really early (you will be wanting to shoot before sunrise) or staying up late, or else get a ND filter if your camera will accommodate one.


    • Chaos is what the ocean was up to for sure. A couple of neighbours had their dogs down there – in fact they kept on running through my shot but I knew that at 30 second exposure there would be no trace of them. I did worry when they went near the waves that they might get swept in, but they were smart enough to keep just out of their reach.


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