Wednesday 24 October 2012

Along a Foggy Shoreline

At this time of year I find it’s one of the best times for photographing early morning landscapes due to the time of sunrise – not too early so that you have to get up at a ludicrous time, but any later in the year would mean temperatures at sunrise being much colder.  Even the equivalent time in Spring (sunrise at 7:30am) is colder. 

The problem with photographing a sunrise at the coast is that everything has to be just right.  Along with the above, I make sure the tide is going out (so that that you don’t get trapped by the incoming tide), and that it’s a couple of hours from high tide (so rocks are exposed but you don’t have to clamber over them in the gloom when getting to your set up point). The final ingredients, is the weather – in this country the most unreliable. Ideally, broken clouds which will hopefully give a ‘red’ sunrise as the rising sun hits the clouds.  Too fewer clouds or completely clear isn’t so dramatic, overcast is more bland without the bright, changing reds and oranges.

On this occasion the forecast was for an overcast but misty morning which I thought might give its own effect. I got on location with plenty of time before sunrise on a reasonably mild morning thanks to no wind.  Unfortunately  the tide was still quite high so the only exposed part of the beach was sand, but I set up my camera on a tripod and tried various exposures to give some different effects of the waves coming in.  I find starting the exposure just as the wave is at it’s peak and pulling back with the next just coming in to break, gives the best effect. With the mist and overcast conditions and just at the point of sunrise, gave a blue cast to the images.


Just before sunrise and completely calm


Different exposures - Above 1.6 seconds.  Below 331 seconds


As the sun got above the horizon, the colours changed from a bluish cast to a more typical grey you would expect from an overcast day.  I brought along my telephoto lens just in case any opportunities arose for wildlife, and there were various waders, but with the tide going out, this makes it less easier to photograph as they are following the tide out, so constantly moving away.  It wasn’t helped also by the very dull lighting conditions, making trying to ‘freeze’ one of these spritely birds, very difficult.  The images ended up looking almost black and white.


The Sun attempting to shine through the cloud cover