Cor­nish Seascapes


Digital SLR Photography - - Photography Holiday & Courses 2018 - Right: Plan to match the tidal state with lo­ca­tion fea­tures. Be­low: Know­ing where the sun will hit the hori­zon helps get the shot.

Chris Sim­mons of­fers his ex­pert ad­vice on plan­ning a suc­cess­ful seas­cape shoot

T HEY SAY ‘ TIDE and time wait for no man’ and with Seas­cape pho­tog­ra­phy, noth­ing could be more apt. For each mo­ment of ev­ery day of­fers unique op­por­tu­ni­ties to cap­ture stun­ning coastal im­agery. That is if you have done your home­work. Be­cause be­yond sim­ply turn­ing up at a beach and keep­ing your fin­gers crossed, there’s much to take into ac­count if you con­sis­tently want to get ‘ the shot’.

The sea’s con­stant state of change, the sun rov­ing the hori­zon and the per­vad­ing weather con­di­tions can all be con­jured with to gain mag­i­cal re­sults. So if you want to get the best from time out with your cam­era, prior plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion is key. For if you have an ob­jec­tive mapped- out be­fore you set foot on the sand, your mind­set is clearer, let­ting you fo­cus on the mat­ter in hand.

So here’s my five point plan to plan­ning a Seas­cape shoot: 1 AP­PLY APPS: Aside from printed OS Maps and tide ta­bles, there are a host of dig­i­tal apps that as­sist the creative process. I mainly use Met Of­fice for weather fore­cast­ing, Sun Seeker and The Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Ephe­meris with Sky­fire for sun po­si­tion and so­lar ac­tiv­ity, Magic

Sea­weed for wave height and sun­set fore­cast­ing, Tide Pro for tide times and OS Mapfinder for lo­ca­tion ori­en­ta­tion. I build a pic­ture of what will be hap­pen­ing where and when, then choose the best place to go. 2 LO­CA­TION KNOWL­EDGE:

Un­der­stand­ing a lo­ca­tion is im­por­tant. You can never know enough about the sur­round­ings. For ex­am­ple, know­ing what fea­tures are go­ing to be vis­i­ble at a cer­tain state of the tide, or how you can bal­ance where the sun is go­ing to be hit­ting the hori­zon with rock for­ma­tions and tex­tu­ral struc­ture, all help in achiev­ing suc­cess. 3 SET OB­JEC­TIVES:

De­cide where you are go­ing to shoot and the im­agery you want to cap­ture. Where on the lo­ca­tion are you go­ing to set- up, start and end? Where will the sun rise or drop? Where will the tide be when it does? What di­rec­tion will cloud for­ma­tions come from? Form a men­tal pic­ture of what you are go­ing to shoot and pre­pare your kit ac­cord­ingly.


Al­low plenty of time to walk the lo­ca­tion and pre­pare, es­pe­cially if you are new to the place. This avoids rush­ing your set- up, lets you set­tle in to the sur­round­ings and re­vert to a ‘ Plan B’ lo­ca­tion if need be.


The Magic Sea­weed app gives an in­sight, but when you ar­rive on lo­ca­tion, take ten min­utes to ob­serve the sea and get an idea of the wave set tim­ing. This will let you bring the clean breaks into your com­po­si­tions.

Be­yond this prepa­ra­tion comes the ac­tual shoot­ing. Choos­ing man­ual cam­era set­tings and fil­ter­ing tech­niques that truly cap­ture the at­mo­spheric dy­nam­ics ‘ in cam­era’. This part takes years of hands- on ex­pe­ri­ence and is pre­cisely what I fo­cus my teach­ing upon in my one- to- one res­i­den­tial work­shops.

Rang­ing from two to five days in du­ra­tion, I run these highly suc­cess­ful cour­ses all year round. I of­fer all lev­els of pho­tog­ra­pher, from DSLR begin­ners through to di­ver­si­fy­ing pro­fes­sion­als, the chance to stay on the mag­nif­i­cent North Coast of Corn­wall and ex­pe­ri­ence a truly unique seas­cape mas­ter­class. Please visit my web­site for more de­tails.

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