Cape Disappointment Lighthouse - The light towers above Wakiki Beach where you can find monster surf pounding the cliffs when conditions are right.

Cape Disappointment Light

This lighthouse atop the cliffs at Cape Disappointment was built in 1856 to show the position of the northern point at the entrance to the Columbia River.

You may notice that this shot looks a bit different from the one I posted earlier, Return to Cape Disappointment.

Read on to find out how I built this composite…

A Composite

So the featured image here is a composite. I created it out of these two images:

The first one, the one with the smaller wave, I shot to capture the environment. To give you some context. To show you the full view of the cape and the lighthouse. I was focused on getting a wave, an OK wave, below the lighthouse. This meant keeping the lighthouse in the frame and catching some wave that was at least large.

Later, as I was searching through the over 1500 images I shot that day, I found the second wave which is, you must admit, much more impressive. Of course, I had decapitated the lighthouse. Darn!

Merging two images

Looking at these two images, you can see that they both have a lot of similar features: the cliffs, the base of the light, the ocean.

From Lightroom I loaded both images into Photoshop as layers in one image file. Next, I used the align images tool to have Photoshop align them. This is the same technique I used to focus stack the 28 images which make up Yellow Orchid. The difference is that the images weren’t quite so similar. The result looked like this:

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse - The light towers above Wakiki Beach where you can find monster surf pounding the cliffs when conditions are right.

As you can see, I have laid the bigger wave over the smaller one. I used a mask to remove the in-camera crop of the lighthouse leaving only the best part of this fan-shaped wave over the ho-hum wave underneath. Judicious use of the crop tool, some more processing in Lightroom, and…

We have a finished product.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse - The light towers above Wakiki Beach where you can find monster surf pounding the cliffs when conditions are right.
The light towers above Waikiki Beach where you can find monster surf pounding the cliffs when conditions are right.

A much stronger, and more impressive image don’t you think?

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