Vancouver Island • Sooke to Port Renfrew: Part II… Mystic Beach

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, 1.6 sec + 1/10 sec @ f/14 – 2 exposure composite, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Tripod, Cable Release

A  2 km hike at the east end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail will take you to Mystic Beach. It is a  relatively easy hike through a coastal western hemlock forest with some steep steps to maneuver to which my knees did not take kindly too.  These steps were a reminder of the fact that I am in not in the greatest shape and also that my knees can no longer perform as they did as a twenty year old when I was young and  foolish or as I like to say…younger and even more foolish.  My intentions  for Mystic Beach was to hike in for the beautiful evening light and to hold out for a great sunset and put my flashlights to use for the hike out in the dark.  While scouting the trail upon my arrival, I found myself veering off the path and having to look ahead and sometimes backtracking to regain the trail. Now while I have done my fair share of hikes, my experience at night hikes is limited and my thoughts here were that if I am veering off the path in the daylight, what would happen in the dark? Would I be able to regain the trail?  Well,  I will apologize for those that will not understand this Star Trek reference but… to quote my favorite  Klingon Worf, my thought was perhaps “today is not a good day to die.”  I didn’t think getting lost hiking alone at night on a trail I wasn’t familiar with was a good idea and  while Mystic Beach is for the most part a sunset photographic location,  I opted and hoped that soft early morning light could produce some nice images.

Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca Trail
Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35mm f/4, 1 sec + 1/8 sec @ f/16 – 2 exposures composite, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Manfrotto Tripod, Cable Release

This beach is simply gorgeous with many possibilities for making great images.  I was happy to find the morning light  pleasant with some soft clouds providing texture to the sky.  I focused my shooting along the cliff walls making  images that emphasized the texture and size of these prodigious ocean facing cliff walls.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, 1/10 sec + .4 sec @ f/14 – 2 exposure composite, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Tripod, Cable Release

 I wanted to find some different perspectives and often found myself shooting close to the cliff walls.  Crouching down, getting low to the ground and as close to the walls as possible, I was oblivious of the fact that my back was brushing up against the green “slime” on the  walls.   Not the easiest stuff to clean off but I was thankful that there was no disgusting smell that would accompany me for the remainder of my trip.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35mm f/4, 1/3 sec + 1/13 sec @ f/13 – 2 exposure composite, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Tripod, Cable Release
Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, .5 sec @ f/14, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Tripod, Cable Release

I can only imaging how the image below image would look at sunset with the sun on the horizon to the right of the frame.  In my case here, I visualized this image in black and white and used texture and contrast to bring this image to life.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, .6 sec @ f/13, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Singh Ray 3 stop hard edge GND, Cable Release

 As high noon approached,  the clouds dispersed and sun beat down in all its glory.  I embraced this and decided shoot directly into the sun  and use it as a compositional element. Knowing that lens flare could not be avoided, I would not concern myself with it and  felt it would in fact add to the mood and feel of the final image. Despite the flares and challenges of dynamic range,  a single exposure was used in post processing to achieve the final result in the image below. I must have processed the image of this tree and log about 15 different ways using HDR and manual blending techniques in color and in black and white.  The black and white single exposure version was my  final choice and has become one of my favorites.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35mm f/4, 1.25 sec @ f/16, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Tripod, Cable Release

 My knees ached and burned as I hiked back to the trailhead and decided that I must return to this beach in the future and camp overnight to fully appreciate the area from sunrise through sunset and take advantage of the best light possible for making images.

Juan de Fuca Trail, Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island
Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, 1 sec @ f/14, ISO 50, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, Singh Ray 2 stop hard edge GND, Tripod, Cable Release

The journey continues in – Vancouver Island • Sooke to Port Renfrew:  Part III…

Cheers!

Fab   :cool:

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2 thoughts on “Vancouver Island • Sooke to Port Renfrew: Part II… Mystic Beach

  1. Fantastic! The contrast is great and the slime really “pops”.
    The clouds in the second photo partners nicely with the cliff.
    The colors of the beach “debris” in your overhang shot is the first thing my eye went to. Even though the size of the cliff makes the debris rather insignificant you were able to get the colors to bring out a certain “David and Goliath” look to it.
    Of course you already know my thoughts regarding the black and white so I’ll just leave my comments unsaid.
    Next time drag your macro lens along and give it a work out on that green slime.

    Keep travelling the Journey!
    Gord

    1. Gord, as always, thanks very much for your thoughts. As far as the macro work goes…I hang my head in shame. I did not pull out the macro…not even once! All the debris you noted is all washed up during the tides. You can see just how far the water would reach during high tide. Something that would become somewhat of a challenge on my Botanical Beach and Botany Bay leg of the trip. And you know it…the black and whites are for you my friend! :grin: Take care!

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