Pack the right gear
The first step to successful seascapes is having the right kit with you
What gear do we need for effective seascape photography? First off, a range of lenses from wide angle to moderate telephoto will cover most eventualities. It’s tempting to think of the coast as being mostly wide-angle territory, to exploit the foreground interest, but longer lenses also have their uses – the ‘stacking’ effect of telephotos can create layered compositions with distant headlands.
The most important accessory in landscape photography is the tripod. For seascapes, you’ll need a sturdy model; when shooting on the shore, there’s a good chance that the tripod will have waves washing around it and on clifftops there is always the possibility that it will be buffeted by strong winds. Carbon fibre models are generally preferred, as not only are they lighter, but they also absorb vibrations better. A hook underneath is useful, as you can hang your bag from it for extra stability. A tripod is only as good as the head, so select a decent model with a good payload. There are two basic types – ball heads and pan and tilt heads. Ball heads are popular because they are easy to operate and have a good weight-to-strength ratio, but pan and tilt heads, especially those that have geared movements, offer greater control.
The next thing to pack is a filter system. There are three types of filter that are useful for landscape photography: polarisers for reducing glare, graduated filters for controlling contrast and neutral density filters for manipulating exposure times. Along with this, make sure that you have some cleaning kit – a microfibre cloth and some lens cleaning fluid for helping to keep lenses and filters clear of sea spray.
Wide-angle prime to exploit foreground interest and enhance depth and perspective Filters: a grad to prevent the bright sky from overexposing and nD to lengthen exposure solid carbon fibre tripod and three-way geared head for finetuning compositions strong location, with good foreground interest and natural focal point