Trusting in the Canon 5D Mk III: How Kay Brewer captured the wreck of the Peter Iredale

by Guest Contributor

posted Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8:01 AM EDT


By IR Reader Kay Brewer

The Peter Iredale sailing vessel ran ashore October 1906, on the Oregon coast. It was abandoned near Fort Stevens. It had sailed from Santa Cruz, Mexico, bound for Portland, Oregon with 1,000 tons of ballast and a crew of 27, including two stowaways.

The voyage was pretty routine until Captain Lawrence sighted the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and altered course to enter the mouth of the Columbia River in thick mist and a rising tide. Strong winds made the crew try to steer the ship away from shore, but a heavy northwest squall grounded the Peter Iredale on Clatsop Sands (now called Clatsop Spit), near Cannon Beach, Oregon. High seas and wind drove the ship ashore. Amazingly, no casualties occurred in the accident.

I used my  Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens, Manfrotto tripod. Good thing with both the camera and L-series lens because they were put to the test with the wind, sand, salt water. (They survived admirably.) A sturdy tripod was required since the tide was coming in and I was constantly being harassed by knee-high waves trying to take me and my equipment out to sea.  For the first time on that trip, I was happy to have that extra-heavy Manfrotto tripod which I’d cursed so many times in my travels. Generally I could stand holding my tripod while the water was coming up over my shoes.

Settings were F4, ISO 100, 20mm focal range, a 10-stop ND filter, exposed for 20 seconds. Post-processing included bringing the RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW for some adjustments, then I brought the tif file into Photoshop CS6. After Perfect Effects 8 HDR effects, Topaz Labs plug-ins (Clarity, Adjust, Denoise, Detail), I made a curves adjustment layer to bring up the golden color the sunrise was producing.

I was doing long exposures with a 100-stop ND filter, or HDRs so it wasn’t a case of snapping a picture and dashing away from the waves. But finally, I got smart when a rogue wave came up about halfway up to my rear end. I was in the middle of a long exposure and didn’t want to grab my tripod and run. But as the wave receded and wanted me to go with it, or at least fall and wreck a lot of expensive equipment, I struggled out of the water, soaked, and called it quits. Good thing? Camera didn’t get wet. The tripod got a good hot shower when I got home to get all the salt out.

Cropping in here to give a better view of the detail in the ship.

See more from Kay Brewer by visiting her website and her smugmug gallery!

(Thanks so much from your friends here at IR, Kay!)

•  •  •

How about you?
Do you have an instance you'd like to share with us where
a specific piece of gear helped you to to capture a special image?
Please click here to learn more about submitting your entry!


Reader Stories is a new column on our site, a platform for our readers
to share images and ideas with our community. It's a great way to share your creativity and passion with your fellow photographers out there! If you'd like to submit a story of your own, please visit this news story for more information on how to submit an entry. We look forward to hearing from you!