Long Exposure Surf Photography

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Raw Transcript

so I talked quite a lot about shutter speed earlier in the course and I suggested that you go for a shutter speed of 1 1000 for the second or faster in order to freeze the surfing action or the wave as it breaks and in this part of course I’m going to discuss long exposure surf photography and that means you ignore the advice completely and you go totally the other direction and you go for a long shutter speed which blurs the image it basically lets in light for long enough that all of the things in the photo all the wave of the surfers move during the time that you’re you’ve got the shutter open and that movement is captured on your sensor as a blur and there’s lots of different types of surf photo which incorporate this technique so I’m going to run through some of the basic ones and some the ones I’ve got experience with shooting myself and give you some pretty straightforward tips so that you can start taking as yourself this is one of those types of surf photography where experimenting trial and error doing it yourself is really going to be the only way of cracking it of finding out what you like to see yourself it’s very subjective and there’s no I can’t tell you which one way is which way will be better for you to take these type of photos so you need to go out and experiment seeing that there are some good rules of thumb that you can follow in order to get off to a good start and while you’re on that creative journey to the one that you want in the end so first type of shot like this would be a long exposure of a wave breaking so no surfers or anything both just waves now one of my one of the really good times to do this is early in the morning or late in the evening and that’s because you need to open your shutter for quite a long time and that means you’re going to need quite a narrow aperture cause it’s going to let in lots of light over the long time that it’s open so you need to narrow your aperture and use a high F number to limit the amount light coming in and you want to obviously you usually in room you’ll get an auto ISO mode and you’ll drop the ISO camera will drop the ISO really far down so there weren’t much noise in the shot just so it doesn’t have to compensate for the lack of light so what I would do is get a reasonably get a zoom lens 55 210 is perfect 70 to 200 or your kit lens 16 to 50 or something like that I like using a zoom lens for this type because you’re going to have to experiment a lot with different angles and different how much of the way if you want in the shot you can do real extreme close-ups with this technique which sometimes look really really good and sometimes you want to do pull back so I think a zoom lens is really handy rather than having a prime and having to rip move forward and backwards and constantly zoom lens makes it easy to to do more trial and error over a shorter period so grab your handy zoom lens wait for evening or get up really early so it’s got a little bit less light than normal and you can get around that and do it in the middle of the day if you’ve got filters which blocks on the light so newcomb density filters for instance I’m going to that too much detail that’s just a stick to the basics for this one so I would um go and shutter priority mode that’s gonna say to your camera I’ll tell you how long to keep the shutter open you figure everything else out for me and then you want to change your shutter speed to ballpark figures here because again you need to experiment see what you prefer the look off and and throughout this video I’m going to show you some examples of photos I’ve taken at various shutter speeds and I’ll try and limit this each each type of shot to one day so you get an idea of different you can get using the same on the same day with the same condition seem very similar lighting and the same equipment so I’ll show you a shot of a wave say one 1000 for the second or faster which is what you’d I’d recommend to freeze the action the day I’m I’m going to actually was and it’s something that I think lends itself really well to this style of shop it had lots of seaweed in the shore break so it was relatively small waves this big lots of seaweed and I think the seaweed and anything else like seaweed which lends a texture to the surface of the water really really sets off this type of photo and you’ll see I think I hope you’ll see what I mean when I show you the examples so a really fast shot crisp you can see all the Cu and you can see what it looked like so next time you see something like that I’ll try on any day you can do it with waves where there is no seaweed obviously but I really like the way this looks then slow your shutter speed right down go way past if you do it around I don’t know six hundredth of a second 250th of a second stuff like that you still it’s not going to be obvious that you meant to make it blurry necessarily it might just look like your shutter speed was a bit slow you were trying to freeze the action so you’ve got to kind of exaggerate it quite a bit I think to get the look that we’re going for so go right down to maybe a tenth of a second or a quarter of a second or even longer if you want but I found like those kind of tenth to a quarter of a second shutter speed tends to work fairly well at least with this kind of smallish waves so the things you need to be aware of our it’s gonna sleep anything moving in the shot is going to move throughout the frame whilst the shutter is open so what I really like doing this technique is get into a position I kind of go quite low quite often with small ways like this and you can get intuition because the way waves work is the water on the bottom kind of goes out and then it folds over on itself in in to achieve I don’t don’t need to explain this to you but what you see if you get the the positioning right and you get the right amount of motion in your shot and it’s something you can’t see in a frozen frame thousand per second you can see the way you can you can capture the movement of the water out in one direction and in with the lip and the other at the same time and those two directions depending on where you are you can line them up so they’re parallel which isn’t as interesting perhaps and it’s makes it nice and uniform and you can see it’s a different look so try try that and then try making those those directions like perpendicular to each other because I think that is a nice image and what I try and what I’m trying to do when I do these shots is show you something that you can’t see with your naked eye so it’s more interesting to you and also highlight the way the water’s moving and that’s why I think with the seaweed on the surface especially or maybe it’s foam or maybe it’s just the texture from the wind on the surface but whatever it is it lets you see the movement and and visualize the movement in one still frame and that’s what makes these shots so magical so I’ll show you a few different shutter speeds let’s just speed down there in the corner so you can see but basically follow the same sort of guidelines that I went through with the land shooting basics find different angles go to a side go parallel with the waves pan with the waves with the movement of the ways if you wanna show next step that’s always quite a cool thing you can you get like this dreamy motion look quite a lot of the time with that try shorter shutter speeds longer shutter speeds try loads of different things I kind of settled I think on this day I was most happy with sit around one tenth of a second and I found nice low angles and like I said trying to get the directions of the movement to be a little bit out of the ordinary and I came up with a quite a few nice photos I think on this day so I really not want to try when the way the small there is anyone surfing and it’s dark darker than usual and try out that one it’s really fun fun type of photograph to try so that’s one kind of basic long exposure technique I have done similar experiments in the water with wider angle lenses nice one to try there and I think I ended up I ended up plumping for a slightly faster shutter speed 180th of a second again I’ll show you a couple of examples so you can see what I’m talking about and one thing I tried in the water is is rotating the housing as I click the shutter speed so that it kind of what I’m attempting to do there is match the rotation of the wave with the with the rotation of the camera to almost freeze those those sections in position whilst other things are rotating you know this is why it’s a lot of fun to do this type of photography because you’re normally going to get something that you weren’t expecting and it’s definitely not gonna look like something you can see or any other anyone can see just with their normal eyes so dry that went out in the water as well I think it’s it seems that our techniques apply trying to narrow basically so another one that’s actually quite popular is I kind of left to right or right to left pan of looking straight out to sea especially with lines of swell going off into the distance so I’ve got an I’ve got a link below which goes through a few of my tips on how to do that I I think there’s a few key things is is make sure you keep your your camera level and level throughout the pan try not to put anything too distracting or busy on the horizon if there’s like a ship out to sea or a rock or something that that breaks the horizon line if you’re panning like that then often that can be really distracting and look a bit weird if you can get a little bit higher that’s sometimes better because you can see all the lines going out to sea that’s quite cool um it really shows off the the swell coming in and then start your pan and then hold down the shutter like I said you’re in shutter priority mode on a slower shutter speed so you can just I don’t mean let me do it for you now so you can usually set that up so I’m gonna go for a shutter speed of let’s try 125th just as an example and I’m gonna pop it in focus mode you can leave as continuous or focus usually you might want to set it to auto focus and just focus on a swell line focus isn’t super critical because it’s going to be quite blurry anyway but it is a good idea to get that focus logged in so that gives you an idea of what that sounds like let me go to a slower shutter speed says you’re more pronounced let’s try a tenth of a second that’s what I said worked quite good let’s go to its good half a second because that makes it a lot easier future notes bring a close I’m doing so see that so what you want to do is start the pan press the button hold it down keep going and what that will do is blur the lines are willing to one and it all and it cameras on a really fantastic shot one little tip I’ve done for is it hold it in portrait orientation this makes it easier if you have got things on the horizon that you don’t want to get in the pan then doing that makes it quite easy if you’re high up especially with lots of lines as well just gives you more opportunity to get those lines stacked to the horizon get those parallel lines so try it in portrait orientation it’s quite a nice one and I found experimenting with that quite nice you generally because nothing’s going to be in super sharp focus colors are really important in this type of shot so that’s a bit of a bonus at some sunrise and sunset because you want to be doing this when there’s not much light same as a previous one any long exposure helps if there’s a little less light than normal so when it’s really really nice light you’re gonna the colors are really gonna get set off by this kind of technique and it’s all about the colors really this type of shop the colors and shapes and lines and definitely more of an abstract image but it’s become a really popular and I think I think a lot of people and not people doing this type of shot and there’s a good reason it looks it looks really cool when it’s relatively simple to do um so definitely try it out and perhaps after you’ve had a day’s shooting of regular stuff it’s a nice one to try out a few of these you’re going to get quite a lot of misses on this one and you’re not necessarily going to nail it every time but it’s good fun so the last one I’ll talk about is planning with a surfer in the shop so it’s really tricky to get this nailed spawn you’ve got to essentially match the speed of the surfer through the viewfinder so I find I find you use your normal technique so I discuss so elbows locked to your body three points of contact so you can keep it as tight as possible obviously if you’re using a tripod go for the pay for that team your tripod or monopod whatever you’re using but I do handheld nearly wartime so you want to match the speed of the surfer and you want to experiment again with faster or slower shutter speeds I haven’t got any great examples of this it’s really tricky and the types of waves I think that worked really well for this hour-long point breaks or about any sort of long wave basically and there’s not too many of them around where I live unfortunately shorter waves beach break shifty any frames and things like that is harder to lock in and just because what you really want to do is a bit like we did like I did with that day at the beach with the seaweed is just spend an hour hour and a half just going taking shot after shot and adjusting things and just kind of refining it but that’s really hard to do if the breaks unpredictable and people are moving in different speeds and so I think if you’re in that situation then you can spend a bit of time doing it and you’ll slowly but surely develop the type of look that you want one top tip I’ve I’ve used is to practice this type of shot and like I said I didn’t get practice it very much with surfers in the ocean but turns out there are lots and lots of things that move in the same way to a surfer out in general everyday life so if you live in a city then go and hang out on a busy junction and whenever there’s a cyclist or a moped or a pedestrian or a jogger or something then it’s like lists are probably the best because they move in a similar way there’s like parts of them and their legs are moving but they’re generally stationary above the waist and and they move a consistent rate and they’re not normally as fast as the cars that are going past so and I mean it’s a it’s a nice technique to use when you sleep when you’re shooting cyclists as well so you might guess my first I use it to practice for saying so follow the person get them locked in and then you just snap away and as they go past you your idea is to make the image that that hits the center of them stays in exactly the same place on the sensor whilst everything else moves around it so it means that everything else is really blurry but they are quite crisp and that means the longer the shutter speed the harder it is to keep that main subject crisp but the more blurry and more dynamic the background becomes so if they’re going quite fast and you’re able to match their fast quite their speed really well then you can get away of question fast shutter speed but if they’re going quite slowly then you need a longer one to make it worthwhile and well I’ll let you experiment this is a good one for you to practice and to really like I say it’s quite subjective the results quite subjective anyway so that’s giving you hopefully an idea of how to start taking these shots that you can run with and there might be something that you you really get on with





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