Catch some waves

NPhoto - - Long-Exposure Sea Scapes -

1 Scout your lo­ca­tion

Look for rock for­ma­tions in the ground, sand pat­terns or pools where waves will col­lect and swirl around. Piers or jet­ties are good choices for ur­ban beaches. Keep an eye on the back­ground, too. Look out for hills and moun­tains or to add in­ter­est to your seas­cape shot.

2 Take it all in

We used the Zeiss Mil­vus 15mm f/2.8 man­ual fo­cus lens to take our shot, and for good rea­son; a wide-an­gle lens let us fit all that stun­ning scenery onto our sen­sor. How­ever, you’ll be able to get good re­sults at the wide end of a stan­dard zoom, such as an 18-55mm kit lens.

3 Get some sup­port

Your tri­pod is your best friend for seascapes. It needs to be sturdy enough to hold still when wa­ter pools around the legs. Car­bon fi­bre mod­els are ideal, as the legs won’t rust when wet with salty sea­wa­ter (though it’s still ad­vis­able to rinse them with fresh wa­ter af­ter a shoot).

4 Slow things down

Use Man­ual or Shut­ter Pri­or­ity mode and set ISO100 to keep noise low. You’ll need a slow shut­ter speed to cap­ture move­ment in the wa­ter (start at around 1 sec) and a nar­row aper­ture, such as f/11, to max­i­mize depth of field for an im­age that’s sharp from front to back.

5 At­tach a po­lar­izer

Po­lar­iz­ing fil­ters have a front el­e­ment that can be ro­tated to limit the an­gle at which light can en­ter the lens, re­duc­ing glare on shiny and wa­tery ob­jects, and so are par­tic­u­larly use­ful for seascapes. Plus a po­lar­izer is one fil­ter that you can’t em­u­late in Pho­to­shop later!

6 Catch some waves

Wait for the wave to reach its peak be­fore firing the shut­ter; cap­tur­ing the re­ced­ing wa­ter is what will give the shot form and move­ment. Re­view the re­sults on the LCD: if it looks too static, set a slower shut­ter speed; if it’s too wispy, in­crease the shut­ter speed.

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