Favorite beach set up ?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by joeyk49, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I've been playing with my Minolta X-700 at the beach with very mixed results. Part of the problem is me. I've been a little A.D.D. about my resources and techniques; bouncing from color to black and white and film speeds, not settling into any particular groove. I also don't print my own stuff. (Alas income and space constraints don't permit it.) I must even admit to using, shamefully, (Dare I even say it?) Wal Mart, when the need for immediate gratification got the best of me.

    What setup and techniques have proven the most successful for you and why?

    I ask about the beach because its proven to be fun and challenging for me and has a peculiar bunch of demands on the photographer.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    I've used a canon AE-1 on beaches before, and it worked for me. Unfortunately, the sea breeze made the mirror gummy, and it started sticking up after each frame. Nothing a little tap wouldn't solve. Just something for you to keep in mind: don't take an expensive setup to the beach. It will get sand, sun, and salt damage.

    Just make sure you meter right as well. Good luck!
     
  3. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    You've asked about one of my favourite haunts (as anyone who looks at my images will testify to - yawn). The thing I've found is - the coast has two or three big things going for it.
    1. Colours. If you like shooting colour, the sunrise/sunset (pref) colours are great when they are reflected off wet rocks/the sea/ sand etc. Wide panoramas of sea and rugged coastline always make great landscapes. Wide angle lenses and a tripod essential, film to maximise the benefit of the colour like Velvia works well too. I find B&W works well for mood as well.
    2. Nature. If you like shooting birdlife; then long focal-length, fast (F2.8) lenses with an additional 1.4 or 2x converter are helpful for more success. Else a stealthful approach, a bit of knowledge about bird habits and patience go a long way towards success.
    3. Texture and form. This is the area that attracts me, and the coastline has plenty. The best way to exploit the T & F is to use fine grain B & W on large format gear. Takes more time to set up and as a consequence needs some forethought, but is very satisfying in the end result. I mainly use two focal lengths - 150 mm (= approx 50mm in 35mm format) and 90mm (= approx 28mm in 35mm format). Mainly use the 150 for isolating compositions I find interesting, and I think I'd use a longer focal length more if I had one. The difficult and changing extremes of lighting also make for a good challenge. If you don't have LF (yet) and want to try this type of image, use the finest grained film you can get.

    So for me a lightweight 4x5 LF field camera, fine grain B&W film to capture the detail, texture & of sand and rocks. A couple of lenses, a good waterproof bag (got a story I could tell about that), and coffee if it's winter like here.

    Re subjects, I find the sunsets and rises a bit unpredictable and overdone to keep my interest (but I keep some Velvia in the bag just in case). I like to find an area that seems to have potential for texture and form and Practice. Not adverse to going back to the same place several times and trying the same thing in a different way. You may find that could help with channeling the interest into a particular theme, until boredom really takes over and it's time to try something else. Have Fun :smile: .

    Edit: oops, just noticed we're in the 35mm forum (sorry no assumptions intended).
     
  4. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Trusty X700 is about 20 yoa now and gets a thorough cleaning everytime I venture to the beach.

    Large format looks really interesting, but I'm too green to play there, yet. Your preferences on focal length has gotten me thinking...I was using higher speed films to capture people in the surf (mostly candids) at the expense of detail.

    I picked up some Tura 100 asa b/w that I plan to use for composed shots. We'll see how it goes.

    Does anyone have ideas/preferences for lens and filter usage in the 100 and 200 asa range? I over exposed my first try in an attempt to play with depth of field.

    What turned out to be your best image from the beach?
     
  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    fav beach setup

    Might try polarizer, ND's & graduated filters for balancing exposure in sky
     
  6. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I recently shot a couple of 100ASA 35mm rolls at my local beach. I used my Praktica slr with 50mm lens and 28mm-200mm zoom. I used no filters, and paid the price of getting some 'hazy' shots back from the lab.

    Bearing in mind our beach (or mudflats) is on the mouth of the Thames Estuary and we get a lot of shipping on the horizon, some of the hazy shots are ok (with cargo vessels in the haze). However, the close up stuff where I used depth of field for effect came out quite well. I think those shots were saved by the lens hood reducing flare etc.

    I have yet to repeat this using a linear polar filter, but it is my intention to do so soon.

    Anyhow, thats my most recent experience of beach photography. The results encouraged me to think I could improve on them with the addition of red and/or polar filter, depending on whether I'm shooting colour or b+w.

    Sorry if this has not helped, but I am in no way an expert!

    Andy
     
  7. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Thanks guys.

    My lenses don't even come out of the bag without a uv or skylight on them. I just shot a roll of some of New Jersey's lighthouses with a ND4. They're not back from the lab yet, so I don't know how I fared.

    With each post I seem to get more ideas, but also more questions...

    Does the ND filter effect the cameras light meter? It seemed to me that the camera was suggesting lower shutter speeds at moderately open apertures. Even with 100 asa, I was expecting 1/250 or 1/500 from the camera and it was telling me 1/125 on a bright day. Needless to say, I trusted the camera instead of my instincts...the camera's proven me wrong far more than not...
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    I use the 300 mm beach ball and the largeformat towel and the super angulon flippers when I go to the beach.

    lee\c
     
  9. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    For the hazy shots... Just remember that the sea breeze will deposit salt on the lenses, and as a result soften your shots. This was not a problem to me in Rio de Janeiro, but it was in Salvador (much closer to the equator, if that makes any difference).

    As for filters and lenses, 99% of the time I use a normal lens (50mm in 35, 80mm in 6x6), and NO filters at all. Not even UV. But then and again, that's my personal work practices, and should not influence your photography. Just so you keep in mind that a ultra-tech zoom, and 28 different filters are not necessary. A good lens shade, on the other hand, is a must have. I like metal/hard-plastic ones, since they protect the lens from scratches when I bump into things.

    No insult was intended by the previous generalization/exageration. (just covering my bases).
     
  10. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    It makes for good practice always to use a UV filter if only to protect your lens from scratches etc.
    Another thing: film sees things, esp. haziness, differently than the human eye does.
    Hans
     
  11. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Hope this might be helpfull. I think they are worth knowing (if you don't already of course) ...

    ND Grad will bring the exposure of the sky closer to the water/sand so it doesn't overexpose and 'blow out'.
    Polarizer Filter will increase the colour saturation significantly.
    UV great for reducing the haze.
    In B&W, to increase the contrast on v cloudy days red (more) or orange (less) filter, yellow to reduce it (bright sunny days).
    81B or C to 'warm up' the colour and take out the blue cast that can appear be captured on film on clear sunny days.

    :D Those Ebony snorkels are great too!!! and mustn't forget the UV filter lotion :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2004
  12. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Most of the days I've been to the beach it's been overcast, and the high key landscape nearly always fools me into underexposing the film a bit or more. Infrared on the other hand give very interesting contrast between the sea and sand. I've used everything from 35mm to 4x5 and had my best images with the 4x5 and spotmeter.

    Gotta remember to fudge the exposure for the light toned sand....grumble.
     
  13. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I almost always bring my flash umbrella...you know, the multi colored one. Its only useful when attempting to more shield the subject, usually me, from excessive glare. Of course its sometimes useful as a prop in color shots...

    I also prefer terry cloth over the muslin back drops...

    Okay, this thread has definitely taken a strange turn...
     
  14. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    Beaches are my favourite subject too. There is so much scope for photographers.

    Try a wide angle lens, and a very low viewpoint, preferably with an interesting feature in the foreground; like a sand pattern or a boulder or some seaweed.

    Slow shutter speeds and a tripod in its lowest position. I have one of those Mantrotto's that has special knobs that make the tripod legs go almost horizontal. Works a treat!

    I own an X700 (and even older Minolta's that I have had for 24 years) too, and use it when I want to shoot Scala slides......... on the beach. :smile:

    Good luck and let us see some pictures!
    Anne Marieke
     
  15. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Yes - looking forward to seeing your pictures!
     
  16. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. More beach opportunities in August. Most of your suggestions, I'll admit, surprized me. I expected more gadget and gear recommendations. I am happy to learn, as I suspect that I always had an feeling about, that the image has more to do with knowledge and technique, rather than with technology. After all, Ansel Adams didn't have an auto-everything camera and lenses the size of a truck muffler when he did his thing.

    Images to post soon, I hope.
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I know it's overkill, but I have Nikonos V that I take to the beach or boating or backpacking. Any time that I might be in camera-destroying situations. On the beach, I don't have to worry about sand and it can go right into the water with me. I put a deep lenshood on it to keep raindrops off the lens and shooting even in a driving rainstorm is not a problem. That 35mm 2.8 delivers beautiful results.
     
  18. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Hey Hey .... a diver!!
     
  19. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Actually, come to think of it the newsletter for my old University dive club was called Flotsam too!
     
  20. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    I meet a photo journalist once who used a Nikonos. Built like a tank
     
  21. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I am a bit embarassed to admit that I've never scuba'd.
    I used to love the watersports, bodyboarding, snorkling, canoeing, even the Xtreme deathsport of floating on an inflatable raft in a swimming pool while tossing back an icy rum drink with a parasol in it (You could put your eye out). I also enjoyed backpacking trips that seemed to draw the wrath of the rain gods without fail.
    It seemed prudent to invest in a camera that wouldn't have to be pitched if it got wet. Back then the nikonos was about the only choice and could be found used at a fairly reasonable price.

    If you are looking to talk diving and underwater photography, ericr is your man.
     
  22. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    he he, yes love those extreme sports myself, those Caruba's can get very nasty. sorry I had just assumed about the diving, with the whole bubbles thing . . . . :smile:



    er anyway, we were talking about beach setups!?
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    I don't particularly believe in protective filters except in crowds and in places like the beach, where sand and salt sea spray are hazards.

    Other than that, I supposed I've used everything from a Yashica T4 to an 8x10" camera at the beach. I don't really see it as a special situation per se. I'm more likely to be thinking about what kinds of subjects I'm planning to photograph. For this shot I used a Canon F-1N and a 600mm/4.5 lens, but that wouldn't be a good choice for landscapes, street style candids, or family snapshots.
     
  24. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    My beach/snow/pool/spa :wink: camera is a Nikon ActionTouch, which is a 35/2.8 lensed P&S. Can be submerged to about 5m. Don't make em anymore but there's a Canon a bit similar and now a few digicams are coming out (Ricoh has one) with similar features.