Photography at the seaside

Photography at the seaside

Coastal Landscapes

Long exposure coastal landscapes are very effective long exposures because they often have moving waves and stationary objects, like rocks and ice bergs. This gives the photograph a strong contrast between the temporary and the permanent. The sea has always conjured our imagination as both provider and take-th away-er, of both home and voyages. Coastal Landscapes (Sea-scapes) capture the interaction at the sea-side… at the edge of the ocean.

Shutter speeds

Generally I advise half to two second exposures for Coastal Landscapes. The purpose is to show some movement of the waves as they interact with the edge of the shore. The incoming or receding wave paints a white trail of blur during a long exposure, so timing is essential to capture a desirable movement. Observation is required to see where the interaction is most interesting. Pebbles scattered in sand create beautiful interactions with receding waves, so ideally the Coastal Landscape photographer would begin the exposure as soon as the wave starts to recede.

Magic Cloth Technique

The long exposures during a Magic Cloth photograph can be too long to capture delicate interactions, but with care it is possible to use the long exposure to your advantage. Sand, pebbles or stones photograph beautifully when they are wet because there is more reflected light and some polarisation.

Neutral Density Filter

long exposure photography

1/8th sec at f/7.1 iso800

Ice beach

25 sec at f/14 iso100

The shots above show the difference of a 6 stop Neutral Density Filter on the sea. Although the shutter speed on the right shows 25 seconds, the sea would have had half of this exposure.

Vestrahorn Mountain

5 sec @ f/9 iso200

The beach at Vestrahorn Mountain where a 5 second long exposure shows a beautiful wave run-off with the pebbles on the sand. Timing and composition are essential for the success of this photograph.

High Tide

The position of the tide is critical for the foreground. If you arrive when the tide is too low, you might have very few foreground objects to compose with. If you arrive when the tide is too high you might not even be able to parts of the shoreline. If you are at an unfamiliar location it is important not to ignore any tide warning signs. The wrong decision could be your last.

Ronnie's finger
Magical Dawn

Magical Dawn

A beautiful Summer morning at Jokulsarlon with some icebergs reflecting in the glacier lagoon.

Goðafoss waterfall – 175 second exposure

Goðafoss waterfall – 175 second exposure

I love visiting Goðafoss Waterfall in the late Summer. The sunset colours work so well with this dynamic, North Iceland waterfall. I was facing West around 20.30 on this September evening on a tour around Iceland.

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