December Theme Challenge – “Seascapes”

For this month, December 2019, the theme challenge is “Seascapes”.

Seascape photography is a form of landscape photography with the ocean as an included element usually involving longer exposures. However, you can also capture images with faster shutter speeds that are just as impressive if you don’t have a tripod.

Mar 2019

f/16, 1/400, ISO 200, @24mm

To achieve longer exposures it may be necessary to use neutral density filters, however if you take images at the edge of daylight, whether that be around sunrise or sunset it is possible to obtain slow enough shutter speeds without filters to show the movement of the water. That special light and colour in the sky happens during “Civil twilight” which is approximately 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset due to the angle of the sunlight that’s hitting the clouds.


f/16, 2.5sec, ISO 100, @24mm

For camera settings choose Manual mode. Depending on your subject and focal length the aperture can be pretty much any thing just decide on how much depth of field you need for your subject and the overall image you are trying to create so an aperture anywhere between f/8 and f/16 and keep your ISO low say 100 or 200, remember this is just a starting point. This will allow for a slow shutter speed.

For Seascape Photography with long exposures you will need a tripod or something stationary to set your camera on. If you do not have a remote shutter release use the 2 second or 10 second timer. Adjust your shutter speed to get a proper exposure. The shutter speed when the light is low could be between 0.5 seconds to 2 seconds, this is just a guideline as it depends on the amount of light, your actual value may be different than the suggested setting.

For a focal length, typically you want a wide angle of view somewhere around 18 to 30 mm, as an example.


f/16, 0.5 sec, ISO 100, @24mm

Let’s talk Safety. Be careful around the ocean, check the weather and check to see if the tide is coming in or out Being close to the ocean you need to be mindful of the surf watch what is going on for at least 10 min or so to understand how far the ocean comes in and stay back from wet rocks unless the conditions allow you to be that close safely. Remember wet surfaces and seaweed can be extremely slippery so be careful, you do not want to fall and hurt yourself or damage your camera equipment. It is also good to go with a friend or as a minimum let a friend know your plans so they can check up on you. It’s always good to take a phone with you as well.

After a seascape adventure it may be necessary to clean your tripod with fresh water to minimize or eliminate rust and to wipe down your camera and lens with a slightly damp (minimal amount of fresh water) cloth and then a dry cloth to get rid of the salt mist that may have accumulated on your camera. You can also use an Op/Tech Rainsleeve or a plastic bag with elastics to keep you camera dry.

Students are encouraged to develop their ability to tell a story or invoke an emotion, as well as how to plan and troubleshoot while creating their images. As such it’s important to not only create the image but to also include a “title”, and write a short paragraph about; how they came up with the idea, any interesting back ground that compelled them to make the image, and describe any techniques on how they overcame any obstacles.

As always with our monthly theme challenges we try to seek out an instructional resource, below are a number of YouTube video links to help with some hints and ideas.

Seascape Photography instructional aids:
Seascape Photography Cheats, Tips & Tricks: by Karl Taylor (10min 20sec)
Seascape Photography – Experimenting with Long Exposures: by Nigel Danson (10min 59sec)
Landscape Photography Tips & Techniques: Seascapes: by Thomas Heaton (10min 8sec)
A Beautifully Simple Day of Seascape Photography: by First Man Photography (12min 39sec)

An important part of improving your photography is practice, which is one aspect of the monthly theme challenge, in addition you have an opportunity to learn about different genres, techniques and tips.

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