Ross Hod­dinott on... De­vel­op­ing your own style

Practical Photography (UK) - - Coastal Masterclass -

“I of­ten head to the coast with a spe­cific shot in mind and I will have stud­ied tide charts, the weather fore­cast – and also be aware of the sun’s po­si­tion – to help en­sure I’m in the right place at just the right time. How­ever, in re­al­ity, I rarely re­turn home with the shot I in­tended to cap­ture. Air pres­sure can sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter tide height, while the sea might be messy or the fore­shore un­ex­pect­edly lit­tered with de­bris. Sea spray might be an is­sue or the sky cloud­less and bor­ing in the di­rec­tion I had hoped to shoot. There are so many vari­ables that may dic­tate a com­plete change of ap­proach or view­point. You need to be able to re­act to the sit­u­a­tion and di­ver­sify if nec­es­sary. In other words, don’t be so fo­cused or pre­oc­cu­pied on shoot­ing a par­tic­u­lar view­point that you over­look other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Be re­ac­tive and spon­ta­neous to the light and con­di­tions on the day. Coastal scenes are for­ever chang­ing, so you need to be able to adapt quickly. When shoot­ing at beach level, I like to be close to the wa­ter’s edge, so I’m reg­u­larly mov­ing for­ward – or re­treat­ing, if it is an in­com­ing tide – in or­der to stay close to the ac­tion. Do­ing so of­ten re­quires me to work quickly and in­stinc­tively. Shots tend to evolve and im­prove as you go along. I like black & white, but rarely see it for my own shots – it is un­usual for me to con­vert shots to mono. How­ever, I do like shoot­ing de­tail, shape and form and the coast is a great place for shoot­ing the ‘in­ti­mate land­scape’. I will of­ten look for slightly more ab­stract beach images – swap­ping wide-an­gle lenses for a short tele­photo length in or­der to high­light pat­terns in the sand, in­ter­est­ing ge­ol­ogy, tex­ture and de­sign. This can pro­duce very un­con­ven­tional coastal shots that can stand out from the crowd.”

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