We consider ourselves lucky to live about 300m from the ocean, and also that once a year we escape the city for Tofino on Vancouver Island’s wet coast. Both locations give us intimate contact with the ocean (sometimes more intimate than others 🌊). There are times when the ocean is very quiet, very smooth, and others where the ocean easily tosses about entire trees. We’ve learned to respect and enjoy both extremes.
Despite the title I haven’t made ocean waves but I have made many images of them. All of those used in this post have three things in common: the images are all of waves; they were all made last October; and they were all shot at 1/4000 second. Water is constantly moving, even when we can’t see it, and choice of shutter speed is something that responds to the situation at hand. Using a very slow shutter speed, say 1/4 or 1/8 second tends to add a smoothness, a silky texture to the movement of water. Going even slower can add a ghost-like, fog-like effect. That can work well for streams and even waterfalls, and when combined with a slow pan can create an interesting effect for waves.
For the most part, however, wave watching is an incredibly dynamic experience and when a wave meets the shore it happens very quickly. BOOM!! By shooting at a really high shutter speed we capture a very thin slice of that action in a way that the naked eye can’t quite visualize.
Most of the dozen images here are single frames; there are a few that are image stacks. These are sequences of photographs capturing the same scene, but with the photos superimposed over each other. Here we are privileged to see a period of time compressed into one moment. The stacks here are of 3-5 images; this too is scene dependent. Too many photographs used together blurs the impact. Finally, the last photo in the sequence is a triptych of three images – again showing a punctuation in time (less than two seconds) sequenced to bring you in and give you an opportunity to experience it for yourself. Continue Reading →