I shot this photo a few years ago, obliquely facing the rugged cliffs along the outer Marin Headlands. Here’s the color version and partial backstory; the photo appeared in color in my Light & Exposure book with the following caption:
I was struck by the contrast between the dramatic surf in the sunset and the dark shore in the shadow. I decided to create an interesting photo by exposing for the sunlit-breaking wave and letting the cliff go dark. Actually, you can’t even really tell that it is a cliff, and the mystery about the dark shore helps make the image compelling.
The entire image was in focus at infinity, so depth of field wasn’t an issue. I really didn’t care what aperture I used. I used spot meter mode to get exposure settings based on the bright wave, and made sure that the shutter speed selected (1/250 of second) in shutter-preferred mode was fast enough to freeze the motion of the wave. With the shutter speed in place, I allowed the camera to select the aperture without worrying about it, and concentrated on depressing the shutter at the crucial moment when the wave was crashing on the shore.
18–200mm VR zoom lens at 200mm, 1/250 of a second at f/6.3 and ISO 100, hand-held.
I’ve been on a black & white conversion kick lately, and this one struck me as a good candidate for monchrome. The conversion took eleven separate black & white adjustment layers, each with its own mask, and one LAB inversion used as a layer, but I think it was worth the trouble.