Favorite beach set up ?
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.
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!
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 :) .
Edit: oops, just noticed we're in the 35mm forum (sorry no assumptions intended).
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?
fav beach setup
Might try polarizer, ND's & graduated filters for balancing exposure in sky
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!
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...
I use the 300 mm beach ball and the largeformat towel and the super angulon flippers when I go to the beach.
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).
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.