Plan your trip

Learn how to go about pre­par­ing for a re­ward­ing seascape shoot

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Suc­cess­ful shots are rarely the re­sult of chance and seascapes are no ex­cep­tion; great coastal shots are nearly al­ways the prod­uct of care­ful prepa­ra­tion. Once you’ve iden­ti­fied a po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion, plenty of re­search is nec­es­sary to make sure that you visit at the right time of day to cap­ture it in the best light. Usu­ally, you will want to make sure that light is fall­ing onto the shore and that bays and coves are not left in shadow, and it may be that your shoot has to be planned for a par­tic­u­lar time of year.

These days, there are many on­line re­sources and apps avail­able to help with plan­ning. Prob­a­bly the best-known of these is The Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Ephe­meris, avail­able as a free desk­top app or a paid-for smart­phone/tablet app, and it has be­come an in­valu­able aid for many land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers.

The app pro­vides a huge amount of use­ful in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing sun­rise and sun­set times and an­gles, the an­gle of the sun through­out the day, moon­rise and moon­set times, the times of dif­fer­ent phases of twi­light and more. For ba­sic in­for­ma­tion about sun­rise, sun­set, moon­rise and moon­set, you just need to search for a lo­ca­tion and place a pin there. To see sun and moon po­si­tions at dif­fer­ent times of day, sim­ply drag the time slider at the bot­tom of the screen. By plac­ing a sec­ondary pin on the map, you can also get in­for­ma­tion about the el­e­va­tion of the sur­round­ing ter­rain, which en­ables you to cal­cu­late when, for ex­am­ple, the sun will rise above or dip be­low a par­tic­u­lar hill.

When plan­ning coastal shoots, you will also need to con­sider the tides, which can have a huge im­pact on the ap­pear­ance of a lo­ca­tion, as tidal ranges in ex­cess of ten me­tres are not un­com­mon in the UK. The weather, too, plays an im­por­tant role in your plans and can dra­mat­i­cally change the mood and at­mos­phere of a scene, so when plan­ning, it’s vi­tal to check the weather fore­cast. Weather can be very lo­calised, so if pos­si­ble, get a lo­cal fore­cast; once you get to within 48 hours, these are gen­er­ally very re­li­able.


The re­sult of plan­ning

there is a win­dow of only about two weeks in the year when this com­po­si­tion is pos­si­ble. us­ing the in­for­ma­tion shown in tpe will en­able you to cal­cu­late when the thick or­ange line shows the an­gle of the sun at sun­set

sun­set, sun­rise, moon­set, moon­rise and times of dif­fer­ent phases of twi­light the thin or­ange line shows the sun’s an­gle at the time set on the slider the thick yel­low line shows the an­gle of the sun at sun­rise

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