IN THE FIELD: Yup, Got Wet

I love the movement that is captured when photographing waves. Especially waves crashing against rock outcroppings or jetties. Whenever I am in a place where the surf is especially active, I like to sit down on a good rock and just listen and watch. The sound and movement is mesmerizing. I will then get the camera out and scout for a good location to capture the power of the sea.

Getting close to the action can yield spectacular images. When using a short or wide angle lens versus a telephoto or zoom lens, it’s a good idea to have a spotter nearby to alert you of a rogue wave. While waves tend to follow a pattern, there is always a chance one wave will be larger and more forceful than previous waves in the series. You don’t want to be caught off guard and lose your footing and take a tumble, and have your equipment getting swept out to sea.

Timing is another aspect that needs to be considered. Use a fast shutter speed if you want to stop the action of the waves. In order to capture the perfect moment in time, I set my camera to fire a burst of shots. If you are shooting on a sunny day, and want the water to have a silky appearance, using a neutral density filter or a polarizing filter will restrict the amount of light through the lens, which in turn can help achieve a slower shutter speed.

This photo was taken hand-held at the water’s edge of Schoodic Point, Maine. While I was shooting a series of waves crashing on the rocks, I was warned that this incoming wave was larger than the previous four or five waves. I fired off a burst of shots, and quickly got up to get out of the way, but I still got soaked. Luckily the rest of my equipment was several yards behind me, safe and dry next to my spotter.

  1. July 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Great capture and glad only you got wet 😉

    • July 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks T, wouldn’t want to fall in there…the next point of land is Portugal…plus the water was pretty deep!

  2. July 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

    This sounds so exciting… You captured so beautiful, dear David, but I can’t say that I could take a photograph like that, probably I would get almost wet with everything 🙂 Thank you, love, nia

    • July 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      I did get pretty wet, thankfully it was a warm sunny day and I only had to dry off the front of me!

  3. July 23, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Nice shot!

    • July 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you A…it’s my favorite place in the world. It’s a lesser known part of Acadia, and you can find solitude there. My wife and I will sit on the rocks for hours, feel the breeze, listen to the water, watch the birds and occasional boat, and just let the world pass by.

      • July 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Not to sound too dumb, but where is Acadia ?

    • July 24, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Oops, I forgot to say where Acadia is. Acadia National Park and Schoodic Point, which is part of Acadia, are in the mid to northern part of Maine. It’s a beautiful part of the coast. There is camping, sightseeing, hiking and biking, shopping, fine dining, fishing, whale watching, and the list goes on and on, all available throughout the year. All of Maine is vacation land at its best!

  4. July 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Yes, I would worry about the equipment, and a spotter is a very good idea, but it is so much fun to be so close and have the big wave coming right at you! good shot of the action.

    • July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      It sure is exciting to get close…except these rocks were wet and they went straight down. Fall off and you are in deep doo doo. I would love to be there in a storm to watch the waves!

  5. July 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm


    • July 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Oh the sounds, the smells…it is a beautiful place. It’s a pink granite outcropping several hundred yards long and it juts right out to sea.

  6. July 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Waaaaay cool to get a shot like this! How exciting!

    • July 24, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Fergie, it’s one of my favorite places to be. I would love to live there year round…the ocean, boats, the outdoors…ahhhh

  7. Jo Woolf
    July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    That sounds like an excellent strategy – it obviously worked, you got a great shot! I sometimes try putting my (compact!) camera down on the sand to photograph the waves coming in, but so many times I’ve had to make a run for it!

    • July 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks Jo, I know what you mean by having to run for it…just when you think you’ve figured out the patter/timing of the waves, they either slow down and get smaller or come in faster and bigger! Never fails!

  8. July 25, 2012 at 12:04 am

    That’s a pretty cool shot! Worth getting wet for.

    • July 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Thanks Montucky, when it’s high tide, the waves in this spot are tremendous. We were a bit early this time, but we had a good show regardless!

  9. July 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I have a friend who now lives in Pacifica, CA, who also loves to hang out with the waves, sitting, watching, listening. He also enjoys photographing them and has gotten himself into a few precarious situations as he usually goes alone, no spotter in sight!

  10. July 26, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I can sit for hours watching waves, creeks, or rivers…I fall into a trance like state LOL. I have been a little too close at times myself…it can get a bit scary. I guess as one get older we are not so daring, so I like to have a spotter nowadays!

  11. July 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

    That’s amazing! So many times I tried to take a picture like this! I will keep on trying! 🙂 The water looks so refreshing, makes me thirsty! 😀

  12. July 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Keep on trying Kristina…it’s worth it…just be careful out there. It was a great day…warm in the sun with a nice breeze with crashing all around us!

  13. July 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    That looks so refreshing. Many times I’ve stood for long stretches trying to capture just the perfect wave shot. I never notice the time passing but it can be tough on a companion!

    • July 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      I know exactly what you mean…luckily my wife likes to sit and watch as much as I do!

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