Jon Gibbs explains in his guide to beach photography. Beaches with dune systems have always held a huge fascination for me. What we do have in my home county, though, are brilliant examples of fine, atmospheric,expansive beaches, and their dunes have become something of an obsession for me over the years. As my photography has developed over time, I have realised such places are not one-dimensional locations, either. While some may believe they lack a certain wow factor in this picture-hungry world, where dramatic lighting and locations are the order of the day, I have always gone for the subtler image with a subtle colour palette.
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Jon Gibbs explains in his guide to beach photography. Beaches with dune systems have always held a huge fascination for me. What we do have in my home county, though, are brilliant examples of fine, atmospheric,expansive beaches, and their dunes have become something of an obsession for me over the years.
As my photography has developed over time, I have realised such places are not one-dimensional locations, either. While some may believe they lack a certain wow factor in this picture-hungry world, where dramatic lighting and locations are the order of the day, I have always gone for the subtler image with a subtle colour palette. As such, these coastal environments suit the way I work perfectly. One reason I love photographing dunes is that I see it as a challenge to wrestle an image from such a location.
Increasingly, I use my mobile phone or a compact camera to record ideas and scenes that I can then work upon and expand. The weather conditions affect how I go about a shoot. One of the main draws for me when shooting dunes is the movement of grasses. I find it quite beautiful, and like to spend a while trying to find the correct shutter speed. I like to use neutral- density filters to drag out the exposure or reach for a Lee Filters Big Stopper if I want a particularly abstract effect.
Budle Bay, Northumberland. This was just a flurry of snow, which disappeared within half an hour, but it made for an interesting compositional element. They can be very beautiful, restful images. When processing, I frequently reduce sharpness. If the image is blurrier, I may look at reducing the Clarity slider in Lightroom to a negative setting to give the image a soft, dreamy feel.
At the very least, I scan the scene for something that draws me into the image and, ideally, through the frame. Setting up and simply having a bulky mass of grasses in the foreground, while ignoring the possibility of using diagonal lead-in lines, can work against an image. Paths through the dunes, curvatures of the grasses and sand patterns are all there to be featured in the image and, ideally, will help to create a flow. There is such a huge difference in atmosphere between lit and unlit dunes, especially at the extremes of the day, and both have their merits and appeal.
Cheswick, Northumberland. Intentional camera movement ICM can introduce a dream-like quality to your images. I find that the seasons can also influence your images greatly. Although summer is my least favourite time to shoot, there can be beautiful mists hanging among the dunes.
However, my favourite times to shoot are late summer and early autumn, when the dunes are awash with intense purple heather. In autumn, the grasses and mosses take on beautiful tones. I enjoy winter for its wild feel and the low light on the dunes.
The intense orange on dunes that comes at first or last light is a sight to behold. With the help of my images and words, I hope that I have highlighted what this type of environment means to me, and I hope I have encouraged you to visit somewhere a little less dramatic and look for images among the dunes. When I am on location, and after I have managed to make images I am happy with, I will often experiment and use intentional camera movement ICM to make images among the dunes.
The wonderful thing about this technique is that it is fun and full of surprises. In my opinion, though, with ICM there are no rules, just time to experiment.
Dunes are a great subject for this type of technique, especially in lower light where lovely orangey tones are prevalent. Just let your experimental side come to the fore. Select different shutter speeds and increase your movement during the exposure, or make your movements jerky or move in a pattern. Make sure you find a way to lead the eye through the picture.
Use pathways or natural curves in the dunes and grasses to lead into the frame. Avoid the bottom of your image being too busy, or bland and uninteresting. Spend time thinking if there is anything you can add to the picture or even subtract from it to make it stronger. Could you use a long exposure to emphasise movement? Take your time and analyse your set-up as there is often another picture within the composition you have chosen.
The delicate structures of the dunes in this photograph and the puff of cloud above look wonderful with such a soft tonal range. Once you start using long shutter speeds, a tripod is essential. Mine is fitted with spikes, so i can dig it into the sand for extra stability.
Use your mobile phone or compact camera to assess compositions before setting up your main camera. Jon Gibbs is a professional landscape photographer. He co-owns a photographic gallery and runs workshops in his home county of Norfolk. To see his work, visit www. Home Technique Landscape photography. The challenge of beach photography One reason I love photographing dunes is that I see it as a challenge to wrestle an image from such a location.
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Amateur Photography Favourites: June
If you are new to my whole monthly amateur photography favourites posts, you can go back and take a look at the previous two posts here: April Photography Favourites and May Photography Favourites. Ah, the playground days. Even while I was stuck using only my iPhone 5 for a week or so while my camera card was needing replaced, I found myself taking some neat shots, like this one from a high perspective.
Ebony and Ivory. The neighbour cat came over, and Z was delighted to invite him into her pool and down the slide. Kitty elected to stay and snuggle on the lawn. Chasing mama with some long, tickly grass. This has become one of my favourite amateur photography shots of all time. Childhood, pure and simple. Spontaneous yoga on the beach logs. Ah, the jellies.
And last but not least, a shot from the last day of June, when we were reunited with our summer girls for a beautiful beach day at Beddis. So fierce! Thanks for following along with my favourite amateur photography shots for the month!
Photography Favourites: June What's it look like from where you're sitting? Leave me a comment. Cancel reply.