Seascapes

The Observer - - HOLIDAY GUIDE LIFE -

Un­like most land­scapes where light is the vari­able, the sea is in con­stant move­ment, so even in the same light you can cap­ture a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent im­ages.

Next time you are at the beach, have a good look around and pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to all the move­ment and drama play­ing out around you. Waves crash­ing on jagged rocks, wind blowing through the grass and shrubs, sea gulls swoop­ing for food, sail­ing boats and tankers, clouds rolling in, peo­ple surf­ing and fish­er­men on the rocks. Cap­tur­ing move­ment in a seascape can add in­ter­est to an oth­er­wise static im­age.

Try get­ting down low for a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive or turn­ing your cam­era for a dif­fer­ent an­gle, just re­mem­ber to keep your hori­zons straight as noth­ing ru­ins a good im­age quicker that a slop­ing hori­zon. Re­flec­tions and sil­hou­ettes can also add an in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment to your wa­ter shots.

There are a cou­ple of very use­ful fil­ters you can use to im­prove con­di­tions when shoot­ing seascapes that will as­sist you in achiev­ing pleas­ing re­sults. In strong light­ing con­di­tions, use a

neu­tral den­sity fil­ter. This will en­able you to lengthen ex­po­sure times and give your waves a soft, smoky look. A grad­u­ated fil­ter will help to re­duce the con­trast be­tween the land­scape and the sky and a po­lar­is­ing fil­ter will darken skies and re­duce haze.

Be pre­pared to get wet when pho­tograph­ing seascapes. Wear wa­ter shoes with plenty of grip to pre­vent slipping and risk­ing not only your safety but that of your cam­era and equip­ment. Use a sky­light or UV fil­ter to pro­tect your lens from abra­sions caused by par­ti­cles of sand and al­ways pack a lens clean­ing kit and towel. Some pho­tog­ra­phers will also wrap their cam­era body in a plas­tic bag to pro­tect the cam­era from sea spray and ero­sion caused by the salt.

You’ll save your­self a lot of time if you do a bit of home­work be­fore you set out. Tide times and an­gles of the sun at sun­rise and sun­set can be ex­tremely use­ful in­for­ma­tion when plan­ning a visit to a site you’ve never been to be­fore. There is a very handy (and free), piece of soft­ware avail­able on the in­ter­net called “The Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Ephe­meris” that uses Google Earth to show ex­actly where the sun and moon rise and set in any lo­ca­tion on the planet, on any given day. There is even a ver­sion for iPhone. Apart from the soft­ware it­self you’ll also need to down­load Adobe Air but both are avail­able to down­load from www.pho­toephemeris.com.

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