PHOTO WORKSHOP: COAST
PHOTOGRAPHERS LOVE THE COAST – SANDY BAYS, SEA- SCULPTED ROCKS, CRASHING WAVES AND REFLECTIVE POOLS COMBINE TO OFFER ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES. THEREFORE, THIS MONTH WE CHALLENGED READER ROB CRAGGY TO CAPTURE THREE GREAT COASTAL IMAGES, WITH ONE SLIGHT CATCH:
Pro Ross Hoddinott challenges one reader to complete three photo tasks in an hour at Porth Nanven, Cornwall
G RE AT L ANDSCAPES ARE of ten the result of time and planning. The light and conditions have to be just right before you begin taking photos. You of ten have to fine- tune composition over a period of time in order to per fect your framing, or experiment with settings to achieve the desired look. The picture- taking process is not to be rushed – if you do, you are more likely to make silly errors. However, reader Rob Craggy wouldn't have the benefit of time to fulfil this month ’s challenge. He would have just one hour, and within that time he' d need to capture three great coastal images to satisf y the theme. A hard task.
Normally, during The Photo Workshop, I would guide the reader to t wo or three locations to provide them oppor tunit y and variet y. Rob and I would have no such luxur y, though. With time so limited, we would only be able to visit one place. Therefore, location choice was impor tant – we needed to visit somewhere that offered plent y of picture potential . Af ter some deliberation, I opted for Por th Nanven – a little cove, near St Just in West Cornwall . Although hidden away, it is well known among landscape enthusiasts for it s beaut y. The beach is strewn with large, smooth boulders resembling dinosaur eggs. The rocks and cliffs are beautifully sculpted by the sea, making it a great spot for capturing texture, shape and form. It is a lovely evening location, with the sun setting out to sea. It is al so a small beach, which requires ver y little exploring – Rob would not have time to do too much walking, so it s size would be beneficial .
Rob is a keen landscape photographer, with a fondness for shooting the sea. However, living in High Wycombe, he is about as far away from the coast as he could be! Therefore, holidays to Cornwall provide welcome oppor tunities to get behind the camera and shoot the coast.
With an hour to capture three different shots, Rob would need to work quickly. This t ype of timed challenge can prove good discipline, teaching you to work efficiently, adapt quickly, and adjust settings intuitively. Useful skill s in situations when you can’t afford to hesitate – for example, when the light or tide is rapidly changing. I explained that he would need to be decisive. To help prevent Rob wasting time, I suggested we got down to the beach early and spent time exploring and pre- visualising shots – this would help him work efficiently when the timer began. It was presently low water, but by using an app called Ayetides, we were able to roughly predict where Rob would be able to shoot from come last light, when the tide would be over a metre higher. I suggested Rob got his camera out, had a wander, and began framing up a few shots. Rob clearly had good camera skill s and was experienced with filters. He didn’t need me to advise him to wear wellies while working close to the sea and his Canon kit was all securely housed in a large F- stop backpack.
With the sun setting just before 6pm, I chose not to begin the countdown until 5: 1 5pm. By doing so, Rob would not only benefit from the sof t, golden light leading up to sunset, but al so have the chance to shoot any colour that might form in the sk y once the sun vanished below the horizon. I told Rob his challenges would be to capture a great coastal abstract, long- exposure black and white, and a classic seascape. I began the countdown.