Broad Horizons

1968_--_Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 11, ISO 100

Though I had the privilege of being in many picturesque places over the month of May, I chose this simple sea-scape because I needed to remind myself that every-once-in-a-while it is important to keep capturing beauty in even the simplest of subjects. It’s good to be creative and diligent and adventurous to get better and better pictures, but in so doing, one must never forget the simple subjects that inspired them to strive for something better in the first place.

Another reason I wanted to post this picture was to answer a comment I received on a post not too long ago. Anna asked if I could “please post some tips on taking pictures of oceans”. I love receiving comments like this because first, it helps me know what to blog about, and second, it motivates me to think through why I take pictures the way I do so I can move the knowledge from my head onto paper (or should I say “the computer”?) in a format that will help other photographers take better pictures too..

So, tips for the ocean?

1. Consciously keep horizons straight

Perhaps it’s strange to start out with something so basic. But I figured that regardless of what ocean in the world you are shooting or what foreground object may be your subject, if you’re taking a picture of an ocean, you will have to keep your horizon straight every time!

So, are your horizons straight? It doesn’t come naturally. I distinctly remember one time looking through my view-finder and thinking that I had the horizon positively straight when to my amazement I saw that it was still crooked when I looked at my LDC screen! This little incident seems to always come to mind when I’m shooting horizons and it helps me make a conscious effort to keep them straight.

Straight horizons are critical to ocean pictures. Even a slight tilt is amazingly noticeable. And if you don’t get it right when you actually release the shutter, make sure to straighten it during post-processing on the computer. But who wants to spend the time to fix it later? If you can remember, it only takes a millisecond to get it right in the field; it’s just that sometimes it takes a while to get into the habit of remembering.

So, get in the habit it. Even now, I still have to coconsciously raise the right side of the camera to compensate for how I naturally tilt that side down. I’m learning slowly but surely: Broad Horizons only needed about 1 degree of correction in Lightroom. Smile

I’ll be writing more tips in the next few posts!

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