Login or Join Now

Upload your photos, chat, win prizes and much more

Username:
Password:
Remember Me

Can't Access your Account?

New to ePHOTOzine? Join ePHOTOzine for free!

How To Photograph Stormy Seas

Join Now

Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!

55% OFF new PortraitPro 12 - use code EPHZROS414.
Category: Landscape and Travel

Photographing Crashing Waves - How to capture waves crashing against seawalls and cliffs.

Posted:
Print Article Add Comment Add CommentJargon Buster: Off Jargon Buster: Off


Lands End Storm

Photo by David Clapp. 
 

This is a technique that's worth reading up on now so when the harsher winter winds come around, you can be ready with your kit. Please do take care when taking this sort of image and never put yourself in danger. We will mention this further into the text but it can't be said too many times as safety is very important when dealing with extreme weather and huge waves. 
 

You need a range of focal lengths ensuring you have a telephoto such as the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II or a super telephoto lens such as the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR so cliff side wave explosions can be picked out from a safe distance and long range shots can be captured. You'll also need a tripod to keep the longer lenses steady and it'll stop you having to hold the lenses which at these focal lengths, can feel heavy after a while. You also need a lens cloth to deal with sea spray that lands on your lens and it's also worth packing an ND filter just in case.


If you've checked the weather and a weekend of strong winds and huge sea swells are predicted, before you walk out of the door with all your wet gear on please remember that no photo is worth you getting pulled into the swell by a wave that's caught you off guard. Standing along the coast during high waves or a storm can be dangerous – even if you think you're in a safe location. It only takes one rogue wave to drench you, your camera gear and drag the whole lot back into the sea so make sure you have your wits about you at all times.

Safety briefing over, you need a location that gives you a vantage point that looks down onto a cliff or sea wall but still puts enough distance between you and the sea. As mentioned above, you'll need the sturdiest tripod you can as this is crucial for image sharpness. Use Live View on your Nikon camera to manually focus with precision on your subject as bad visibility will play havoc with the camera's auto focus. Make sure you have your lens cloth with you as you'll be constantly wiping sea spray off the lens every few minutes if you are shooting from the cliffs and shield your lens with a hood or even your hand when you're not taking a photo.

To capture the raw power on display you'll need a quick-ish shutter speed and you may need to switch to a slightly higher ISO to help you get the higher shutter speed you need without compromising image quality. Try starting at around 1/125 then have a play around with much slower speeds to turn the white of the waves into swirling shapes.

Timing is key when photographing waves but with the right composition, patience and the ability to withstand cold, wet weather some truly spectacular images can be captured.

Once you're home, wipe all your kit with a damp cloth to remove any traces of salt. Take off your tripod plates and wipe them too to stop your kit rusting away.



Nikon

Web: www.iamnikon.co.uk
Tel: 020 8541 4440

Explore More

Lens Choices For Landscape Photography

Make The Most Of Your Lenses For Scenics

Here's ePHOTOzine's guide for lenses in the landscape and a ...

Pier Photography Advice

Tips On Photographing Piers

If you're heading to the coast over the Easter weekend here ...

Drag Landscape Technique

Shoot A Spring Drag Landscape

Shots don't always have to be sharp and perfect in fact drag...

Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Comments

There are no comments here! Be the first!
- Original Poster Comments
- Your Posts

Add a Comment

You must be a member to leave a comment

Username:
Password:
Remember me:
Un-tick this box if you want to login each time you visit.