Friday, January 28, 2011

Northern California Seascapes

Point Arena Lighthouse

Just add water and you get a better photograph.  I am particularly drawn to seascapes, nautical photography, and water in general.  The shots featured in this post were taken on my recent visit to California and range from Point Arenas to the north and south to the Golden Gate Strait.  For each of the four photographs featured here, I provide a related tip for improving your seascape photography.

Tip 1:  Get the lighthouse off center.  This is a basic compositional point, but how many shots have you seen of lighthouses centered in the photograph.  As you can see from the example in the first photograph (Point Arena Light), by composing the shot with the lighthouse in the upper right corner, there is greater context and room for some interesting foreground.

Point Reyes

Tip 2:  Use the coast as a leading line.  The photograph above of the coastline heading out toward Point Reyes naturally leads the eye through the photograph.  Use the natural lines of the coast to draw the observer through the composition.

Golden Gate Strait

Tip 3:  Use HDR for sunrise/set shots on the water.  The wonderful colors your eye sees during those dramatic sunsets on the water is difficult to reproduce in the camera.  Shooting in HDR gives you the opportunity to come closer to what you saw when you took the shot.


Tip 4:  Include objects that provide a sense of scale.  Seascapes can be confusing when there is lack of a reference point for scale.  Scale references help the mind understand relationships, distance, and size.  In the photograph of San Francisco taken from the Marin headlands, there are several scale references; the two people in the foreground, the sailboat at the left edge, and the faint rows of houses mid-frame on the left.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


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