Seascape Photography

Photography is something new to me.  I only seriously took it up as a hobby just about a year ago and I was immediately hooked.  I was always fascinated with HDR images that I found and longed to create my own version of those images.  One of my favorite subjects is seascapes.  I don’t call it beach photography because it sometimes involves not just the beach, but rocks, jetties, cliffs, stones or anything that involves water and the sea.  One of the reasosn is the easy access that I have to seascapes as I am currently living in Indonesia, and Sydney my second home.

In this article, I am going to share some of my experiences and tips in shooting seascapes.  I like to thank Jimmy McIntyre for inviting me to write for the HDR One Magazine.  Some of the stuff here might be just common sense but it might be useful for people who wanted to try seascape photography.  This is my first attempt ever in writing an article, so please be easy on me and any feedback/criticism is welcome.

The Tale of Two Worlds – Sunrise at Sanur Beach, Bali, Indoensia

One very important aspect of seascape photography, as with any other type of photography is the quality of light.  You have to remember, if you want to capture amazing and great photos, you need to be there at the right moment.  That means waking up extra early to catch the sunrise or staying around for sunset.  Or if you’re really adventurous, stay behind until it’s pitch dark for some light painting or star photography (which will not be discussed here).  That is not to say that you cannot get a great photo, but HDR is about light and those hours provide the most wonderful and dramatic light.

Sunrise is always more challenging than sunset.  If possible, come the day before , take a look and plan your shot.  If you don’t have the luxury of scouting the place, it can be very daunting as you usually arrive at the location pitch dark without having any idea as to what the place looks like, let alone what to photograph.  Therefore, a good, bright torch or flashlight is considered essential in any seascape photographers’ bag.  Another plus side of shooting sunrise is usually the lack of people at the location, which can make composition much easier, compared to a sunset shot.

The Sand of Time – Sunset at Batu Belig Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Don’t be afraid to get your feet (and your tripod) wet.  Some of the best compositions are taken by treading into a little bit of water.  But at the same time also be conscious of your safety.  Wear proper footwear.  Beaches and oceans are full of sharp and slippery surfaces.  You don’t want to get pricked by something or fall down and get your gear wet!  Despite contrary belief, do no use thongs (flip flops), as they can easily get caught in the sand/rocks/things and break easily.  I personally use a semi enclosed beach sandal .  This type of footwear is very comfortable, durable and easy to clean afterwards.  You can also move very nimbly in the water as there is less resistance on your feet.

The Blue Tunnel – Formentera, Spain

Be extra careful with your gear.  Water, especially salt water is not friendly with electronics.  Always be mindful of waves and always be ready to move out of harm’s way, even in the middle of that 100 seconds long exposure.  Try to plan your shot so you don’t need to change lenses.  Wind and sands are not a good combination with an open camera sensor.  This is the major cause of sensor dust.  After you finish and got home, clean your camera, lenses and your tripod (especially if you dip it in the water).  Your equipment is your investment and make sure you take care of them.

The Rock Pool – Sunrise at Narabeen, Sydney, Australia

There are billions of kilometers of coast land to be explored in this world.  I urge you to go and explore, by going to places near your home and always make the time to visit some of them during your travels.  Not only they are great for photography but you will also have the time to marvel at our wonderful planet earth.  Happy shooting!

Behind his trusted Nikon, stands Franciscus Tan: a self-taught photographer. What started out as a hobby in late 2011 quickly developed into a passion when he realized how much joy he could accomplish with a camera.

A peek into Franciscus’ memory cards shows his subjects are mainly landscape/cityscape and HDR (High Dyanamic Range) photos. Apart from landscape pictures, he also enjoys taking portraits.

Combining with his love of traveling, he is always planning for new trips and revisiting places that he has visited before so he can pate picture of them them.  He is also always learning and researching different and new post processing methods to improve and differentiate his images.  For him, photography is a never ending journey of learning and discovery.

You can follow him on the following pages:

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