If you were to ask me what is the best thing that a photographer could take on a beach photo shoot in stormy weather – my answer would not be:
- the lens cloth that you need to regularly wipe the spray from the front of the lens,
- the uv filter to protect the lens from the elements,
- waterproof covering to protect the camera when you are not using it,
- the right lens – as there is no way you want to change it in those conditions
- a tripod cause you are capturing landscapes …
My answer would instead be another human being, someone who is not spending there time looking through the view finder, instead they are watching the waves, warning you if you are getting to get soaked by the water, making sure you and your equipment stays safe and preventing you from taking unnecessary risks. Capturing “the photo” is not worth risking your life for.
Today I headed off to the beach – it was overcast, the wind was powerful, tide was hell and the swell was powerful, I had my Canon 7D Mark ii and 27-70mm lens. I worked in shutter priority, I had ISO fixed to 100 as I wanted a high quality image and worked with between 1/200 and 1/400 shutter speed – aiming to capture the power of the waves. I then processed the images in Lightroom to bring out the details in the foreground.
I loved how the sun was trying to peak through the clouds highlighting the Isle of Wight across the Solent, you could really see how in a gap in the clouds the light changes.
The waves were crashing onto the rocks and the base of the cliff, to walk along the shore we had to cross this section of beach and clamber over the rocks were they met the headland – with my camera gap…. which made it home almost dry.
Every time the waves crashed onto the rocks the patterns that the water made changed. The cloudy sky adds depth and interest in the photos and helps frame the photo too, as the sky appears to lighten in the horizon where it meets the sea.
Clambering abound you can capture the sea spray from all different angles and use the cliff to create leading lines which draw your eye further into the shot.
Take out the foreground image and you begin to loose your sense of scale. I find it fascinating how much the wind effects the clouds and how in every photo I took the sky brings something different to the photo, enhancing its mood, whereas with the foreground included you are able to capture the full force of the wave and it looks so much more dramatic.
Beach on a sunny day or a stormy day … on a storm day I feel there is so much more to capture!