Monday, April 12, 2010

Instructor's Tip: Dramatic Coastal Shots

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Photo by Russ Burden

Two quick things:
1) There won’t be a Photo Tip of the Week next week as Russ will be in Monument Valley and The Slot Canyons of Arizona leading my photo tour. He'd love to have each of you join him on one so he can share his knowledge and enthusiasm with you.
2) Great News - if you’ve been following his weekly tips on Take Great Pictures, you noticed they weren’t being updated these past few months. Well that’s all changed and they’re back along with a new "Photoshop Tip of the Month." See below for all the details.

Dramatic Coastal Shots
Having lived on the east coast for many years, I developed a strong love for the ocean. While I was living there, I made many photo excursions to capture coastal light at both sunrise and sunset. Since moving to the Denver area, I now get my once a year ocean fix when I run my photo tour to Oregon and northern California in late May (one opening left - hint hint). The sunrises and sunsets of the landscape are gorgeous, but coastal photography goes far beyond capturing a fantastic seascape. The subject matter in any coastal area is endless. As a nature photographer I try to incorporate natural subjects into my images, but I’ve also shot my fair share of lobster traps, fishing villages, old salts working their boats, and many other subjects found in these areas.

As with most subject matter in photography, getting out early and staying out late to capture the sweet light of sunrise and sunset is key to getting the best images. The colors are richer, the tones are warmer, and the sidelight emphasizes the textures and patterns that grace these areas. Don’t overlook getting to each location at dawn and staying till dusk to capture the subtle colors at these times. If Mother Nature doesn’t provide you with a light show in the sky, try using colored filters to add some punch. Another filter you’ll find quite useful is a graduated neutral density to tame the contrast of the rising or setting sun if you include darker foreground areas in your composition.

Tides are important to coastal shots. Low tide means tide pools teeming with life and provide lots of subject matter. Low tide also means having rocks revealed that can be used as strong foregrounds. High tide may bring more dramatic wave action crashing on rocks or simply make for better subjects unto themselves. You’ll also want to be aware of the tide times for the sake of safety as you don’t want to get caught in an area from where you can’t escape if the tide comes in while you’re wrapped up in your photography.

Please help spread the word about my Nature Photo Tours so I’ll be able to continue sending The Tip Of The Week year after year. As I’ve re-designated 2010 to be The Year of the Photo Tour, I’d love to have you join me so I can share with you first hand all the great free tips I’ve sent out over the years. I look forward to seeing you on a tour.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Check out Burden's "How To Tips" featured on Outdoor Photographer's website. The seven that are dated February 4th are his. Just underneath the articles, be sure to click on page 1 to see an additional 9.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Burden's most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

To learn more about this subject, join Burden on one of his photo tours.

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