We’ve all seen them before.  Those classic seascape scenes at sunrise or sunset where the the sky is a brilliant orange and the water is silky smooth.  Beautiful aren’t they?

Well you too can produce photographs like these.  It’s not really all that hard, you just need a little know how and some special equipment.

Coastal scenery is full of photographic potential, but if you’re looking to take your own milky-watered seascape you will need to get up early!  That’s right, no more weekend sleep ins.

The first thing you should do is work out where the sun rises.  You don’t want to find yourself on a beach at 4:30 in the morning only to have the sun rise at an inappropriate spot.  Next, work out the tides.  The level of the water can have a big impact on the type of shot you’re going to end up with.  At low tide sandbars, rock pools, and seaweed can all be uncovered giving you more scope to be creative.  On the other hand you might be wanting a shot of the water against a sea wall or a pier, in which case high tide might be better.  All this should be done the day before to save yourself time in the morning.

Once you know the type of shot you would like it’s time to talk about equipment.

A tripod is essential of course.  It’s a photographers best friend when it comes to taking photos that aren’t blurry.  Secondly, get yourself a cable release, they’re not expensive and they really do help in stopping camera shake.  You can release the shutter at the exact moment the waves come crashing over the rocks as opposed to the using the self-timer which is a lot less accurate.

The main piece of equipment you should invest in is a set of graduated ND (Neutral Density) filters.  These are essential for accurately exposing both the sky and the foreground.  Without them the sky has a tendency to ‘blow out’ if you expose for the foreground and the foreground will end up way too dark if you expose for the sky.  Also helpful is a straight ND filter, which limits the amount if light entering the lens, allowing you to use even slower shutter speeds for even milkier water.

And lastly, don’t forget to take a clean, lint free, lens cloth with you.  Sea spray will most probably end up on the front of your lens or ND filter and because you will be using apertures of f16 or f22, the large depth of field will make it look like you’re shooting through a rain spattered window.  You will need to give the front of your rig a quick swipe with the lens cloth to rid yourself of any unwanted obstructions.

So, now that you know how, all that’s left to do is set your alarm.

Happy Shooting!

Pics By Nick - Morning Mist

Pics By Nick - Sunset

Pics By Nick - Camerons Bight