Intro / Description
Historically, coquina’s been used as a building material. The Castillo de San Marco in St. Augustine and Bulow Plantation in Flagler Beach are made of it. But today I think the best use of coquina is for photography – it makes a great foreground in landscape photos!
Several locations on the Atlantic coast of Florida have deposits of coquina rocks exposed on the beach. Three that I know of are:
- Washington Oaks Gardens State Park (Palm Coast, Fl)
- Blowing Rocks Preserve (Jupiter Island, north of West Palm Beach, Fl)
- Marineland Beach (south of St. Augustine, Fl)
I’ve mentioned Blowing Rocks Preserve before and I haven’t been to Washington Oaks in a long while, so this post is about Marineland Beach.
Info for Photographers
This is a terrific sunrise site. There’s public parking right on the beach and the area isn’t closed at night, so you can arrive as early as you want to. If you do arrive before dawn, be careful – the footing on or close to the rocks is tricky in the dark. A misstep can result in broken camera equipment or broken photographers.
Bring a flashlight (or use your cell phone). Just be mindful of any other photographers nearby – you don’t want to spoil their images with your lights. And know how to use your camera in the dark so you don’t have to fumble with the flashlight – it will save you time and aggravation.
Bring a cable or remote release to help avoid camera shake. I usually use manual focus, at least until it’s bright enough for my camera’s autofocus to work. Many cameras will have a “live view” mode that lets you enlarge around the moon or a distant light so that you can carefully focus on infinity. If you don’t have live view, try using the markings on your lens. Just set it to the infinity mark and back off a little. How much? Experiment before hand. If you’re stopped down to f/8 or smaller, depth of field should help.
Before dawn and sunrise are very good times to shoot in RAW format. RAW will give you extra dynamic range to help control contrast in post processing. Also, learn about “long exposure noise reduction” and consider turning it on. For exposures over a second or so, it does well removing noise in camera (at the cost of some extra time after you make the image).
Yes – you must bring yours! You can even put your camera on it when you’re not using it for a walking stick! And make sure you always know where it is in the dark so you don’t knock it over.
You can use a variety of lenses. I’ve added the focal length to the captions for the three photos in this article. Don’t change lenses on the beach. It’s often windy and you don’t want salt spray or sand inside your camera. Choose a versatile zoom lens and leave it on, or retreat to your car to swap to a different one.
Best time to visit:
Sunrise occurs later in the winter and gives you more time to get to this beach. And check for high tide – it’s best for good water action near the rocks.
Wear good shoes. Flip flops could be a problem for your toes on the rocks in the dark.
Make sure you keep an eye on the waves. Every so often, a larger one will come along.
Marineland Beach is a wonderful place for landscape and sunrise photos. You can see larger versions of the photos above if you click on them. And this set on Flickr has several more photos I made there.
|My Gallery / Flickr photo set:||Marineland Beach on Flickr|
|Address / Phone:||
Just south of Marineland at
9600 N Oceanshore Blvd
St Augustine, FL 32080
|Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:||A must do sunrise spot!|
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.