Bowling Balls, Wave Cut Lanes, Ocean

Bowling Ball Beach, Point Arena, CA

A slow unveil of the bowling balls at Bowling Ball Beach, 3 miles south of the little town of Point Arena, CA.

(click on the photo for the usual 700px expanded version)

Once lodged in the sandstone bluffs backing the beaches, the bluffs surrounding the bowling ball concretions have eroded faster over time than the balls, dislodging them to join the other bowling balls in the sand below.  The straight lines that form the bowling lanes consist of sandstone and shale and extend from the beach and back up to the cliffs.

This was another full-day photography trip I decided to embark upon due to the extended Labor Day weekend and having the right conditions with the tides.  Low tide matched up with both sunrise and sunset.  There was possible added bonus of the remnants of the last blue moon until 2015 setting an hour after sunrise.  Being that low tide would be at 6:07am, sunrise at 6:44am, and moon set at 7:57am…and the drive to Point Arena taking a little less than 5 hours, it meant that if I wanted a chance at photographing all of this coming together, I would need to leave in the middle of the night.  So neglecting sleep, I packed up the camera gear, food stuffs, extra clothes and was on the road by 1:00am.

A word on driving to Point Arena from all points east and south.  There are two practical routes to Point Arena.  Up Pacific Coast Hwy from Bodega Bay or up further the US 101 to Cloverdale then SR-128 to Boonville and then 30 miles along Mountain View Road.  My advice, travel up PCH.  Mountain View Road is a curvy and narrow road that in some areas is so narrow that the middle dividing yellow line doesn’t exist.  Not the best road to take when you are sleep deprived.  On the other hand, I did get to see the nice little town of Boonville, near the Anderson Valley AVA wineries specializing in Pinot Noirs.

Sadly, the fog bank in the morning prevented viewing of the moon set and heavily muted any colors that would have been brought on by the sunrise.  At least I was given my first view of Bowling Ball Beach, leading to possible compositions when I returned for low tide in the afternoon.

This photograph was taken in the afternoon while waiting for the setting sun.  Using the 10-stop neutral density filter (ND-110),  I was able to take a shutter speed of 1/40 second into an equally long exposed 25 second shot, smoothing out the waves and producing the silky water feel.

Previous post from Bowling Ball Beach:

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 48mm, ISO 100, 25 sec, f/16

Bowling Balls, Wave Cut Lanes, Ocean.  Bowling Ball Beach, Point Arena, California. September 1, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


3 thoughts on “Bowling Balls, Wave Cut Lanes, Ocean

    1. Thanks Melinda. It was exciting to try and figure out how compositions would turn out with long exposure. A few times I realized one leg of the tripod had slowly sunk into the wet sand during the exposure, making for an unintentional slight ghosting effect. Oops.


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