On­the rocks

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

What’s the ef­fect? Pho­tograph­ing milky-wa­ter seascapes is rel­a­tively easy, and there are nu­mer­ous im­ages like this through­out pho­to­graphic mag­a­zines, but tak­ing one is not sim­ply a mat­ter of point­ing your cam­era out to sea and slap­ping on a fil­ter. You need to con­sider things care­fully be­fore mak­ing any ex­po­sures. Look for an in­ter­est­ing fore­ground of rocks, per­haps con­cen­trat­ing on one dis­tinc­tive rock, like the one here seem­ingly wedged be­tween the oth­ers. It’s best when the tide is at the right level around the rocks, and re­ced­ing, so you won’t be chased by the in­com­ing waves. Fi­nally, have a cen­tral point of in­ter­est for the eye to stop on, such as the moun­tain range in the back­ground. Oh, and the right amount of clouds wouldn’t go amiss ei­ther.

What’s the time? Se­lect an ex­po­sure time that will al­low the waves to make a few passes over the rocks, prefer­ably over the tops so they wet the sur­face; wet rocks look much bet­ter than dry ones as they glis­ten and re­flect the colour of the sky. To ob­tain an ex­po­sure of al­most one and a half min­utes, I used a Lee Big Stop­per ND fil­ter, along with a Lee land­scape po­lariser to re­move re­flec­tions from the rocks. A three­stop ND grad fil­ter over the sky helped to bal­ance the sky with the fore­ground. There was an open­ing in the clouds, so I waited un­til it lit up the dis­tant moun­tain. I chose an aper­ture of f/16 to in­crease the depth of field, re­sult­ing in an im­age that’s sharp from the fore­ground to the back­ground.

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