A FIVE POINT PL AN FOR SEASCAPE SUCCESS
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.
5 READ THE SEA:
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.