The art of sea‑ing
Capture the essence of a landscape without land and sky, says Lauren Scott
When I recently found myself back in Cornwall, it would have been all too easy to put on my wide-angle lens and capture a ream of traditional postcardstyle landscape images of the sea and the surrounding harbour. Instead, when I headed out for the not-too-early winter sunrise, I mounted a zoom lens and worked only at the maximum focal length of 85mm. Instead, too, of gazing into the distance at the expansive ocean, I pointed the camera down at the harbour, and focused on the colourful details found below the quay.
In this project, I’m encouraging a more abstract and emotional approach to shooting landscapes. There aren’t any key settings or subjects to follow, or right and wrong approaches, although there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re in your chosen location. First, take the time to explore a different shooting angle. Could you look up at the sky, capturing a tree canopy or layer of clouds above you? You might, for example, turn eyes to your feet, snapping layers of leaves on the floor, or repeating patterns found in sand.
It’s best to stick to longer focal lengths – think 50mm and beyond – as this will hone in on details and keep the viewer’s eye in the frame. Use Manual mode for full control over your exposure, and manual focus if you’re shooting towards a bright sky, or onto reflective water. Editing impact
My shot looked very dull straight out of the camera, and nothing like I’d seen it at the time in the warm morning sunlight. Because I’d shot a raw file, however, I knew I had plenty of room to up the Clarity, Contrast and Vibrance levels (in Camera Raw) to make the hues pop. Here, the colours of the water and the leaves did benefit from an injection of colour, but how much you edit or change your image is down to personal taste and what suits the subject. I also preferred the shot in a portrait orientation, so I rotated the image by 90 degrees.
before IN RAW