Master mono seascapes
Take a minimalist approach by learning how to create ethereal long-exposure seascapes, with James Paterson
Discover how to capture a minimalist coastal scene
Few things highlight the engineered magic of photography more than a long exposure
Photographers often obsess about detail, sharpness and resolution. But simplicity can be just as powerful. By paring down images to the bare elements we can create beautiful, minimalist artwork. In this project we’ll show you how, from setting up and shooting long exposures, to stripping out the colour for a gorgeous monochrome finish.
There are few things that highlight the engineered magic of photography more than a long exposure. When we stretch out our shutter speeds to several seconds, or even minutes, any motion in the scene is recorded as a beautiful silky blur. The ability it gives us to present everyday scenes in a completely different way can be hugely effective. It gives them a surreal, calm quality that feels minimalist.
This is because, for certain scenes, the smoothing effect of motion blur is a great simplifier. Seas are a perfect example of this. Photographed normally, choppy seas are full of detail – there are all the dips and ridges on the surface, foaming waves, spray and even floating debris. But when a longer shutter speed is used, all of this is eradicated, transforming those distracting, busy details into a smooth, glossy surface.
Extending your shutter speed to entire minutes during the day requires a strong, near-opaque Neutral Density (ND) filter to slow the flow of light into your camera, plus a tripod and a few simple camera skills. This all takes meticulous attention to detail and you might only come away with one or two good shots, but that’s all you need…