Published: Wavelength Issue 237 – Part 1

Three photo’s I took at the end of last year feature in the latest issue of Wavelength magazine, I’m going to dedicate a post to each of them so you can see everything that went into preparing, capturing, processing and submitting each one.

If you have a copy of the magazine with you, turn to page 20 to follow along at home:

Wavelength Magazine issue237, page 20.
Wavelength Magazine issue 237, page 20/21

In part 1 I’m going to talk about the photo which is labelled number 3 in the magazine, it’s a black and white shot of Downend point, here’s the exact low-res, watermarked image that I first submitted to Wavelength a few days after it was shot:

Downend point, ISO 200, 210mm, f6.3, 1/1000 shot on my Sony a6000

Preparation

I had spent the morning surfing somewhere else on the coast, I’d had a fun session and taken a few photo’s afterwards with my most recent lens purchase – the Sony 55-210mm F4.5-6.3, it’s a relatively inexpensive telephoto zoom which I bought to replace my excellent Canon 70-200 f4 L lens.

After my surf I decided to head over to Croyde as I knew it would be getting the same swell and it was likely to get better as the tide dropped out, I picked up some food for lunch and parked my car up at Baggy point, I had a couple of hours to wait before the tide got low.

On the way I pulled over to get a shot of Saunton with the sun breaking through the pretty dense cloud, you can see a similar shot by Hugh Johnson on the opposite side of the spread which might have been taken on the same day.

Here’s the one I took, I posted a square crop of it on the learning surf photography instagram account:

Saunton from the cliff, I much prefer this panoramic aspect ratio to the square Instagram version, ISO 125, 89mm, f5, 1/1000
Saunton from the cliff, I much prefer this panoramic aspect ratio to the square Instagram version, ISO 125, 89mm, f5, 1/1000

Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t as dramatic around the corner at Croyde, but there were some good waves coming through on the point and if I waited for the sun to come through a break in the clouds I could get an angle which showed off the texture on the wave face caused by the offshore wind.

I walked up onto the dunes at the top of the beach and found a spot that would allow me to get the grass in the foreground, the surfers who parked on the opposite side of the bay paddle out in front of the rocks so I was pretty sure I’d get a couple of people in the foreground water.

There were also a few guys out surfing the point itself so I was hoping to get a silhouette of a rider as they made a bottom turn or cutback, but after snapping for a good 10 minutes or so from my position in the dunes I hadn’t seen anyone get a really good one yet so I moved down onto the beach and got some shots from ground level.

Capturing

I used a Sony a6000 with a Sony 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 lens, I didn’t use a tripod, just sat down in the sand and braced the camera against my knees, the lens has Sony’s optical Steady Shot stabilising system which helps when shooting hand held especially at the top end of the zoom.

DSC00577

I was in shutter priority mode at 1/1000 of a second, the camera selected the widest available aperture, f6.3 and an ISO of 200, this was fine, the light was quite variable and if it had got a bit darker and I’d seen the ISO creeping up to 400 I probably would have gone to 1/800 of a second to bring the ISO down a bit, but I don’t think it would have made much difference.

The fast shutter speed made sure that I didn’t get any motion blur in the wave or surfer, I know from experience that ISO 200 is not going to have any noise issues and f6.3 gives me enough depth of field to have the whole wave easily in crisp focus.

The Next Steps

I’ve covered the other shots in the next two parts, Part 2 covers the actual taking of the water shots and Part 3 deals with the post processing (which will include my Lightroom settings in the form of downloadable pre-sets) and submission to Wavelength.

Let me know if you have any questions about the processing or submission via e-mail at ben@learningsurfphotography.com and I’ll make sure to answer them in the following posts.

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