Moose Peterson, Bandon Beach

Moose Peterson

It started out being overcast. Standing on the bluff overlooking the beach, I wondered if venturing down the cliff was even worth the walk. I thought, “What the hey…” and down I went. The beach is wide and flat, and at low tide, it becomes a giant mirror that just invites the wide-angle lens.

I was shooting with the Nikon 14-24 AF-S and D3x body, and capturing the reflections required getting down low. I would be walking backwards with wet knees and a soggy rear end, but after all was said and done, the photos would be worth it. As it turned out, the overcast sky started to break as the sun was heading west. Then I searched for a stretch of beach with the most water for the biggest reflection.

With that, pointing the lens low to maximize foreground and the reflection was the key to composition, as was including a couple of sea stacks in the frame for visual depth. Finishing was simply done in Photoshop ACR, with the key bringing down the Blacks and Highlight slider. The only credit I can take for the photo was walking down the cliff; Mother Nature did all the heavy lifting!


  • Aperture Priority
  • Matrix Metering f/2.8
  • 1/250
  • -.05 exp comp
  • 21mm

About Moose Peterson: His true passion has always been, and remains, photographing the life history of our endangered wildlife and wild places. Since 1981 he and his wife, Sharon, have dedicated their lives to this pursuit. In recent years Peterson has added aviation photography to his pursuits, with the same goal of preserving our flying history, pictorial and oral, for future generations. He shares his knowledge through his writing, being published in more than 133 magazines worldwide, and is the author of 28 books including his latest, Photographic FUNdamentals, Taking Flight, and bestseller Captured. He lectures across the country to thousands of photographers every year. 

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It's truly inspiring and encouraging to know that such a stunning image was produced using the minimum of postprocessing tools! I like the way the dark reflections in the lower right act as a sort of foreground, balancing the dark of the cliffs near the upper left.

Excellent.  As a new aspiring photographer, I'm a bit confused on the settings.  F/2.8? Does this not lead to shallow depth of field? I've never tried 2.8 in landscape so I don't know the effect. I know it will get you a fast shutter speed but the DOF would be shallow?? Guess that's why Moose is the master. Awesome.

Moose I have always enjoyed your photographs. I love your teaching, and the blogs also.

F2.8 does lead to a shallow depth of field, however the depth when shooting with a super wide focal such as the 21mm focal Moose used in this photo is broader/deeper than the same aperture would be at higher focal lengths.  I was not able to locate a depth of field chart for this lens, nor could I get my hands on a copy of the lens to refer to the exact depth of field it would allow for at f2.8 at 21mm, but can tell you from experience with such wide focals the shallow depth of field in some instances is not as pronounced as with narrower focals.  He likely shot at that aperture so as to afford as high a shutter speed as possible and provide some latitude to work in the exposure compensation feature.