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Jubata Grass

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 7 October 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

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In many area's along the Big Sur coast, one will spot hillsides decorated with wild Jubata grass. Also known as Andean Pampas/Jubata, it typically colonizes near roadsides, cutbanks, dunes, coastal bluffs, rock outcrops, landslides ... well you get the point; the darn stuff can grow just about anywhere!

For photographers, it makes a wonderful subject. I found this colony growing on a hillside at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along the Big Sur coast and was intrigued by its warm backlit glow and rim light courtesy of a setting sun. This image was captured about 15 minutes prior to posted sunset. I liked the diagonal line created by the foreground Jubata stems as they lent for visual movement and served as a visual anchor. Because some of the background grasses were growing in the opposite direction, it also created some visual tension (how many times can we say "visual")? I made sure I moved just enough so the third stem from the left fell into the shadow line and avoided nipping the tips of the background grasses.

A telephoto lens (300 mm f/4 plus a 1.4x converter) compressed the grasses. I settled on an aperture of f/11 to allow separation between the foreground and background grasses. The resulting shutter was 1/50 and I had to wait until a soft breeze died out prior to tripping the shutter.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/50 second F/11.0 ISO 400 420 mm

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