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How To Photograph What The Sea Washes Up

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Category: Landscape and Travel

Beachcomb Photography Tips - Take a walk along the beach and see what the tide's brought in.

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Beachcombers find all sorts of treasures that make perfect photographic subjects. So while you're at the coast, take a walk along the beach to see what interesting objects you the sea has washed up for you to photograph.

Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Gear Suggestions:


A good zoom lens with a macro feature or good close-focusing ability will help you get in close to the various items washed up on shore. A proper macro lens will get you in even closer.


If you're out with the family at a time when the sun's high in the sky a polarising filter will reduce reflection, glare and boost the colours of the items you discover.


If you need some extra support a monopod is more convenient than a tripod but generally, as you'll be on the move, it's easier to capture these shots hand-held. It all depends on who you are with and how much time you have got to linger. By the way, if you do use a monopod or tripod, wash the feet when you get home to get rid of the sand and salt.


Safety First

Before we cover what there's to photograph we need to talk about safety. The sea can be a very dangerous thing and it needs treating with respect. Make sure you know when high tide will be and always be aware of the incoming tide so you don't get swept away or stranded. Broken glass, nails and other sharp objects can be washed up so take care to not cut or injure yourself.

Walking along the coast, searching for washed up items can become rather addictive and before you know it you'll have been out on the beach for a couple of hours so don't forget your sun cream and if it's particularly sunny a hat!

Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Tide Lines

To find the most interesting objects you need to follow the tide lines just after a good storm or strong winds have blown in. head out not too late after high tide to give you the best chance of uncovering some photo treasures before they get picked up or the surround sand's spoilt with footprints.


Seashells, fossils, shards of pottery and glass objects, drift wood and large plastic objects thrown overboard all wash up on shore and all have photographic potential. The key is to get in close to photograph the scratches, marks and cracks that make these objects unique. If you find larger items such as driftwood try taking a step back to give the item context. You could even collect lots of smaller items up and shoot a seaside themed still life. Obviously we do not encourage you remove stones, pebbles and the like.

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