Rodney Campbell's Blog

Surf’s Up…

by on Jan.30, 2017, under Life, Photography

In the five minutes of planning for this sunrise session with Gerry at Mahon Pool I typically check the following:
– Sunrise Time. I typically like being there early enough to start shooting anywhere from 45 mins to 1 hour beforehand. Personally I reckon the best time for shooting sunrise (here in Australia) is from about 60 mins to 15 mins before sunrise.
– Tide Conditions. Basically just want to know is the tide high, low, mid or whatever and is it going to be rising or falling whilst we are there.
– Cloud Estimate & anything else (e.g. rain, wind, etc). This one’s a lot more random and unpredictable :).

Surf’s Up

Surf's Up

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm, 1.3 sec at f/14, ISO 100

I’d done all that and more – looks like we’d be near high tide and predictions were for a partially cloudy and windy morning. Gerry mentions that there’s also a “dangerous surf” warning as well :). It was going to be one of those mornings.

We get there and windy and rough is right :). The water and waves were high, the pool and surrounds were drowned. No rain at least, but the wind and surf spray is pretty damn epic and annoying :).

We decided to stay well back from the water – every now and then a couple rogue waves come in. If I’d shot in the sorts of places I usually would, well the chance of being very wet damn high, possibly even dragged out to sea :(.

So unusually for me I find myself shooting seascapes with the 24-70 all morning. Instead of moving around I also find myself a relatively sheltered spot (out of the spray) and look to refine compositions rather than moving around everywhere :).

Flashes of Red

Flashes of Red

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm, 118 sec at f/14, ISO 100

Amazingly pretty much right on sunrise we started getting some nice colour in the sky. The best was early on but it did hang around for about ten minutes after sunrise. I’d settled on a composition (I was interested in this zig zag of man made lines set against the mystery of nature).

I first looked for some imagery with nice movement and texture to the water. With these types of images it’s a fine balance of shutter speed (not too short and not too long) that is half of the key. The other is all timing (when to expose) – where is the water going to be moving during the exposure. When I felt I had something in the can, I added the 6 Stop Lee LittleStopper to the mix to drag out the exposures to minutes instead. Let the surf turn to mist and let it all flow away…



NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm, 62 sec at f/14, ISO 100

Turned out to be a very nice morning after all.

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