A colorful winter sunset at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse on the San Mateo County coast of California.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, 100.0-400.0 mm at 180 mm, 20 sec at f/11, ISO 200

Today I installed Lightroom 4 on my desktop computer while taking a break from culling safari pictures. I wanted to make sure the the old image catalog converted without errors so I selected a bunch of image folders, one after another, and spot-checked the images to make sure they were where they belonged. That is when I stumbled upon the image shown above.

Taken in February of 2011, this photograph of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was one of my first attempts to employ a 10-stop neutral-density filter. A filter of this type, which looks like a piece of opaque black glass, allows only 0.001% of the available light to pass through the lens. This allows the photographer to employ very slow shutter speeds even when the ambient light is relatively bright. Here I set the shutter speed to 20 seconds which allowed a surreal softening blur of the water, and to a lesser extent, to the clouds.

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