Andrew Marr
Andrew Marr | Photography

Journal

Two trips for a Sunset at Burns Beach

While consistent bright blue skies without a cloud in sight, might sound like the perfect day, it’s ideal conditions for landscape or seascape photography. A little cloud creates interest in the sky and helps make for a better image. After weeks of nothing but blues skies, finally some thin cloud started rolling in. So I didn’t hesitate and grabbed my gear and headed out to Burns Beach to capture a stunning long exposure seascape.

Once I arrived on the beach, I found the conditions were not ideal. The seas were rough and the wind was surprisingly strong. I did all I could to protect the front of the lens from the sea spray being wiped up by the crashing waves and wind gusts. Even though I was prepared with cleaning cloths I just wasn’t able to keep the lens glass clean. Unfortunately when I arrived home and went through the images I had taken, I discovered that everyone of them had water droplet marks on them.

While a little disappointed, I saw the opportunity to take a trip down to Beach Burns again the following day the see if I could capture another seascape image.

When I strived the second day, the immediately noticed the conditions were better then the previous day. The sea was calmer, the wind wasn’t as strong, and there wasn’t nearly as much spray being blown around, this was hopefully going to make things a little easier.

After find a position along the beach, I set up my tripod and pushed the leg into the sand so the tripod wouldn’t move. This created a stable base for my camera. On the 17-35mm lens I mounted a polariser (to cut through the glare coming off the wet rocks and water surface), I also added a 0.6 ND hard graduated filter to reduce the light in the sky. With this set up, I had an f-stop of 13 and a shutter speed of 1/2 second.

I found a simple composition, a small waterfall created by the sea water falling between two rocks. The waves were cycling through in different sizes so I not only needed to watch for the right wave, I was also need to time when I took the shot to ensure the water falling over the rocks had some definitions and there was some water in front of the rocks moving towards the camera.

After a couple of attempts which resulted a too much water with no definition, I reduced the exposure by increasing the shutter speed to 1/4 second.

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