August 15, 2005

Bouchtouche Beach

I have always had a love for subtle tones in blocky compositions; horizons and skies have always been attractive to me for some mysterious reason. On this particular afternoon, I had a car but no available models so, for lack of a better plan, I drove to the beach for the early evening light.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
I spent almost the entire time at the beach with my camera on a tripod pointing out to sea. The horizon was so beautiful, with a narrow band of yellow and red on it, that I couldn't leave it alone as a subject. I explored a full range of shutter speeds, from 1/30th of a second down to 30 seconds (using neutral density filters and smaller apertures) over the evening, eventually settling on the 4 to 6 second range as my preferred shutter speed - just enough to seriously blur the movement of the ocean, but not enough to remove all traces of the surf caused by the waves breaking on the beach.
Digital original
As the evening moved on, I shifted from focusing on the sky, horizon and beach, to working with the repeating lines of the waves meeting the shore; the sun was setting over the land, and the bright sky leant some beautiful colours to the water and wet sand. Again, the real challenge here was finding the right shutter speeds - my intuition was that I'd need longer speeds, to blur the water as it pulled back from the beach, but as it turned out, the best looking images were made with much shorter exposures, in the range of 1/8 to 1/2 a second.
Digital infrared original
The disappearance of the sun below the horizon brought the evening at the beach to an end but I was very pleased with the results. More than many recent sessions, the beach images reinforced how much my photographic technique has changed since the introduction of digital photography. The LCD panel on back of the digital SLR proved invaluable for post-viewing the effect of the various shutter-speeds on the images, and while I certainly use the LCD regularly, usually it is for the viewing of the exposure results via histogram, as opposed to the image itself.

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