Make it a shore thing!

Had enough of im­pos­si­bly smooth, milky-wa­ter seascapes? Ja­son Par­nell-Brookes ex­plains how to shoot images that cap­ture all the move­ment, en­ergy and drama of the sea

NPhoto - - Long-Exposure Sea Scapes -

For our big project this is­sue we took our Nikon to the sea­side. But shoot­ing a seas­cape isn’t just another land­scape shoot, as you’ve got the ad­di­tional el­e­ment of mov­ing wa­ter to con­tend with. The se­cret is to cap­ture waves as they crash onto land and con­vey that mo­tion in your im­age.

So tak­ing con­trol of shut­ter speed is the most im­por­tant thing, but while you’ll need to use long shut­ter speeds, they’re prob­a­bly not as long as you think. We’re talk­ing a range of around 1/4 sec to 4 secs – any quicker and you’ll freeze the waves and they’ll look bor­ingly static, but if the shut­ter is open for too long then you’ll end up with a shape­less wispy blur.

Due to the lengthy ex­po­sure times re­quired, you’ll need to keep your Nikon still and so a good qual­ity tri­pod is a must; and it’ll have to be rigid and tough enough to stay rock-steady as the surf washes around its legs.

Good fore­grounds are key; you want the sea to in­ter­act with it and form in­ter­est­ing shapes and pat­terns, so rocks or pools are good choice. It’s also de­sir­able to have a strik­ing back­ground to el­e­vate your im­age be­yond the stan­dard snap. They say the sea is a cruel mis­tress, and this is es­pe­cially true for seascapes, when the wind whips up the waves and bat­ters the end of your lens. If you don’t or­ga­nize your­self you’re in for blurry pho­to­graphs or, worse, a Nikon at the bot­tom of the ocean.

Turn the page to dis­cover all you need to know, from plan­ning your shoot to walk­ing away with your Nikon safe and sound, hav­ing bagged a fan­tas­tic shot.

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