Rodney Campbell's Blog

Warriewood Sand, Rocks and Swirl…

by on Sep.12, 2014, under Life, Photography

Continuing the morning session with the Focus crew at Warriewood beach

When I’d first arrived at the rocks at the edge of the southern end of the beach I spied these four rocks isolated on the sand just at the edge of the water right near the end of the beach and knew I could do something with them



NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 3 sec at f/8, ISO 200

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

I wanted to get some shots in the can first on the rock shelf (since the tide was rising and it would soon be underwater) and I was hoping the water would rise a little more and start swirling around these rocks

So the previous post covers my shots on the jagged rock shelf and when I was done there I moved back to these rocks on the beach

It was just past 6:20AM and still a few minutes till sunrise so I continued with some vertical compositions (I’ve been doing a lot of these lately). I stuck with the Formatt-Hitech 0.9 Reverse Grad stacked with the Heliopan CPL for all the shots

I thought I’d turn my attention in this post to some of my thinking behind the scenes creating the images so you can see what I was on my mind when I was out there taking the images

The real trick with seascape images like this is:

Setting up a nice composition to start with

Here I’m trying to layer the scene with the deep orangy yellow sand covering the bottom of the frame surrounding my chosen rocks. Then the swirling white water from the rising tide and waves followed by the rocky shelf and ocean in the midground and finally the horizon and sky in the distance

I’m looking for a relatively simple scene so I’m excluding everything I can that doesn’t add to what I want. Since it’s those rocks in the sand which are my heroes I want to allow ample space around them (and ideally with something consistent – like this nice contrasting sand). Notice also how I’ve made sure the rocks don’t merge (i.e. there’s no overlapping (you can see them all individually) and they also don’t overlap with other objects in the frame. I’ve also taken care to not have them run into or get close to the edge of the frame (i.e. there’s space around them) which also allowed for the water swirls around them in some frames

Timing the shots

In this regard I’m probably referring both to the exact moment the shot is taken and also how long the exposure goes for

I find with these sorts of shots at the ocean on the rocks with waves rushing in and out I like to wait till the wave has already crashed in and the water starts to pull out (and is sometimes competing with the next wave coming in) before starting the shot (so I’m actually capturing the water flowing back out rather than in). Note that with the second shot just below however I’ve not done this and I’m capturing the movement of the wave coming in (so both can work and you’ll need to choose based on whats happening in front of you)

Exposure time wise for these types of images I like to use shutter speeds in the range of 1/2 to 3 seconds depending on the movement of the water (and sometimes a little shorter or longer can work too)

With most of these shots I’ve both upped the ISO a bit to 200 and opened the aperture to f/8 to shorten the shutter (2 stops) to get it in the ballpark for me

Just about on sunrise (6:25AM) – somewhere out there behind that very thick band of cloud right on the horizon…

Sea Shawl

Sea Shawl

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1.60 sec at f/8, ISO 200

Warrie Woosh

Warrie Woosh

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1.60 sec at f/8, ISO 200

Figured since all I was taking was vertical shots I should flip the camera around on the L-Bracket and try a horizontal as well – I’m not sold on it but here it is

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 4 sec at f/11, ISO 200

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