After a long drive up the Pacific Coast highway from Los Angeles, I arrived at El Matador Beach just when the light was getting perfect. That sun started to creep towards the top of the rocks and cast long shadows. A crisp 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
I had managed to use all my Kodak Ektar 100 and Kodak Portra 400, leaving me with five rolls of Kodak Portra 800, which has quickly become my favorite film. It’s one of those films that doesn’t understand the meaning of overexposure. Shoot it at ISO 100, honey badger don’t give a shit. It’ll give you those soft pastels the more you overexpose. You want the saturated and punchy look? Shoot it closer to box speed and see how punchy those colors get.
As the sun set further, it gave me the opportunity to try out long exposures on Kodak Portra 800. It’s not a film I would ever even consider grabbing for long exposures. There are no data for Kodak Portra 800 reciprocity failure and compensation times. Lucky, with the latitude of Kodak Portra 800 and only needing roughly a second to capture the ocean movement, I wasn’t too concerned. Pop that Pentax 67 on a tripod, set it at 1 second and fire away.
Perfect. This gorgeous film captured those gorgeous pinks just after sundown, holding those highlights while getting great shadow detail. The water softened with the long exposure gives that dreamy affect. This would be an amazing place to capture super long exposures with ND filters and low ISO films, but I think the Kodak Portra 800 captured it just right.
El Matador Beach is worth a visit any time of year, at any time of the day. But dusk and dawn will give you that golden light with those soft hues just before sunrise, or just after sunset. Enjoy it with the peacefulness of the Pacific Ocean.