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Photographing the British coastline

Photographing the British coastline - Janice Alamanou is a photographer who likes nothing better than heading to the beach. Here she gives her essential tips.

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Category : Landscape and Travel
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Photograph Copyright Janice Alamanou 2008.
Janice Alamanou's photography career started in a strange way – at a local summer craft event. After years working successfully but unsatisfied in another job, it was suggested to her by family and friends that she should show some of her images. That day she sold out and was asked for more.
 
I can't describe my elated feelings at that point - I hadn't taken much money but passion and realisation that I wanted photography as a career took a grip - so I began to study. I read from cameras to lighting to papers to ink and from there it began. Two years later I gave up the main job and several years later I now specialise in coastal scenes.
 
Janice is drawn by the sea, she finds nothing as relaxing and fulfilling as photographing the coast with all it's diversity and raw nature, capturing an uncontrolled moment in time to share with others. When she's producing work for her own personal collection she does this spontaneously with no plans or specifics about where or what she's doing. But if she's working on a commissioned piece she will always have a plan and recommends you do the same. She puts a lot of thought into an area before she goes as well as when she's there and even after. She's always thinking what could have been done differently, how the  same scene could  have been captured in a fresh way. She also plans her photography around the weather or for different times of the day as both can drastically change a landscape: “I like to capture a view in different ways to keep a fresh approach. With coastal landscapes, the weather and light change enormously. The only way is to be there and capture them. You have to remember that light can change dramatically so you need to be easy and work quickly so the perfect image isn't missed.”
 
Getting the right light creates the mood and style of the image and dictates what the camera will be able to capture. Colour will also guide the focal point and the vibrancy and essence of the photograph, something which filters can help with.
 
I always use a UV filter to protect the lens. When I photograph in black and white I also use  filters to bring out certain aspects that could be lost without. A yellow filter for instance makes the clouds crisp and highlights the whites of the waves.
 
As well as filters, a wide angled lens and a good, solid tripod can be found in Janice's kit bag. She always does a little post production work, making sure her images are clean and free from dust.
 
I shoot in RAW so any minor adjustments are usually done at the start when opening the file - but nothing is added or taken away and I keep the photograph as pure as possible.
 
Taking photographs at the coast does mean you have to try and avoid the tourists. Janice suggests you go early morning or late evening during peak seasons to avoid the avid day tripper and of course you have all the low seasons when only the brave venture to the sea. Knowing the area well will also help you avoid the tourist traps and also capture scenes not many see.
 
I grew up in Norfolk, I played on the sand, jumped my way over the marshland, swam in the harbour and cycled through the lanes. I feel I'm sharing a part of my life and the area I love through my photographs. I also learnt from these experiences, how to avoid getting cut off by the tide, what the currents are like and how to avoid the dangers of the sea. Our island is a diverse and beautiful one -enjoy our lovely coast but respect it.

Visit Coastal Photography to see more of Janice Alamanou's work.



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