Thanks for the compliment. And yes, I am proud of the progress I've made.
The merge is done with layers and masking. Each different exposure is a new layer. I then mask the parts of each layer that I do not want to see in the final result. As for the grasses and leaves in the FG, this was done by zooming in and be very patient. I think the total time of doing this multiple merge was close to 3 hours. The smaller parts with high contrast are the most difficult areas also because there is movement of leaves inbetween the different exposures.
As for good use of this ND filter, try to first meter the composition without and then calculate the new shutter speed with 10 steps down. I use a little tool on my cellphone for the calculation otherwise I am lost way too fast.
I am glad you were able to locate the spot, and I hope that someday you will be able to make a few photos of it. Its a steep climb down to the beach but a short one. I didn't get down to the actual beach and did not stick a toe in the water. But, I've done so at the beach near Port Orford, and it was too cold to swim in it.
Secret Bay (36) *