Photographing On and In The Water



It’s summer! A heat wave hits the west, and people flock to the water; but watersports are tough to capture on camera. Things are moving, water droplets cloud your lens, and you don’t want to drop an expensive camera in the water. Here are some tricks to photographing the watery parts of the world.

Water Has Personality
Humans are 70% water, and when you shoot things happening in the watery places of the world, don’t let the water simply become part of the setting. Make it a character, part of the story itself. In this image taken on British Columbia’s central coast, it’s vibe is still, reflective, and brackish, qualities unique to rainforest coasts. In this image, it’s aerated, sharp, and punchy. Give water a personality.

Let It Move
Blurring the motion of water is as old as photography itself, and rightly so. Let it blur and give your shots a sense of motion.  It can be tricky and often requires a tripod and polarizing filter.

A Mirror Up To Nature
Water is a great mirror. It’s at its best at sunrise and sunset, and there are few good excuses for not having your camera out if you’re near the sea at those times of day.

Shoot the Not-So Fancy Critters
Everyone takes photos of whales and dolphins when they can. Spend some time photographing the less glamorous denizens of the sea, like the humble, spineless jellyfish, drifting in a dark space full  of plankton that resembles outer space.

Show People In Situ
When you’re shooting people, it doesn’t mean they need to be front and center and taking up most of the frame. We come to the sea to be part of the ocean environment: show how people are part of a scene, rather than the scene itself. This image of a kayaker near the famous Browning Wall  shows a human as being part of a larger experience rather than being the focal point themselves.

Get in the Water
It will require shelling out some bucks, since you’ll need to either buy a waterproof camera or put yours in a housing. It’s the only way you can get some shots. And if you’re telling the story of water, you’ll need to take the plunge.

Now head out there and shoot. Just remember to put Rain-X on the lens first.

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