Breathtaking Seascapes HDR Photography and Lot of Cool Tips on How to Shoot Seascapes by AtomicZen
A Bit About AtomicZen :
I started taking landscapes and seascapes photography and Hdr photography for almost two years. Australia and New Zealand are very beautiful country. Accordingly, staying in Sydney gives me a great opportunity to travel around and take some landscape photos. The goal of my photography is to illustrate the beauty of nature and hope that my photos would inspire some people to improve their Hdr photography skills in some ways. In my opinion, the more we take landscape photo, the lessen we know the world. Actually, it is a big planet, isn’t it?
Seascape Hdr photography is very challenging and enjoyable to me. I usually take seascape photos with a wide-angle lens, for example 16-21 mm. If we take a seascape shot too far from the foreground, the shot will not be prominent. However, when we get close to the foreground or subject, we are prone to damp and our camera gear is likely to be damaged from sea water. In 2010, I started to take seascape photo by travelling around Sydney beach on every weekend. Unfortunately, after having about 3-4 trips, I was splashed with a big wave at Tamarama beach and felt down. My Canon 5D camera with 3 lens got drowned and almost damaged. At that time, it was not worth the risk. Later, the more experience I have, the less I carry camera gears.To take seascape photo, most of the time I have three choices for presenting the scene.
His Inspiration :
First, I have surrounded by some close friends who fall in love taking landscape and seascape photos. We usually have a shooting trip on the weekend. I learn a lot from their point of view and hdr photography techniques.
Second, recently, I live in Sydney, Australia in which it has a lot of beaches. Some of them has interesting rock formation as well as powerful wave that challenge me to take some seascape photos. My favorite beaches in Sydney are Avalon, Turimetta, Little bay, Mahon Tidal pool, and Coogee.
Next, I love traveling. The more I visit a new place, the less I know about the world. We live in a huge planet, isn’t it? New Zealand is my most favorite country last forever. I have second trip in this gorgeous landscape on last December. In the end o f next year, I am planning to revisit with some of my close friends-photographers.
Moreover, hdr photography blog, website, magazine and online gallery always drive your inspiration. Thousands of AWESOME photos, created by renowned photographers, always drive me crazy and inspire me a lot. In a day, I see and comment more than 50 landscape photos in several social media sites. I learn how to take photo in a particular location, how each photo is taken, as well as some tips, techniques that are shared in hundred of photography blogs. We learn from other success and mistake at the same time. Other photos inspire me a lot and I hope that my photos could inspire other photographers in some ways :
Some Tips From AtomicZen :
First, if I want to have a very peaceful, dreamy shot, I consider using very slow speed shutter (e.g., 2 – 5 minutes). Lee 1.2ND (4 stops reduction) or Big stopper (10 stops reduction) will be employed.
Second, if I want to capture water detail and its a little bit movement, about 1 second speed shutter will be used.
Third, when I want to present water splash, I usually aim to set the speed shutter at 1/4 to 1/6 second. I always fix the aperture at f11.0 to make sure the overall sharpness.
ISO setting will be flexible and adjustable. Sometimes I need to push ISO from 200 to 1600 in order to have a targeted speed shutter (e.g., 1/4s.)
His Galleries :
Some of His Awesome Work :Coogee beach, located in Sydney, is a popular place to dine, surf, swim and take photos. This beach has beautiful rock formation at the left side and I like to visit it, especially in the high tide morning.In a windy morning, sea water strongly hit the rock, then creating a beautiful waterfall. This shot illustrated a second big splash following the first one in seconds. After taking these photos, my filter was sprayed with some seawater.
This photo was taken at Mahon Tidal Pool, located north of the Maroubra Beach Sydney. Mahon (or some people call it as ‘Maroubra rock pool’) is one of my most favorite location for seascape hdr photo shooting in the early morning. However, except for its beauty and challenge, Mahon is quite terribly dangerous in windy day with high tide. While it is impossible to replicate the fear feeling of being this location, I tried my best to capture the sea movement and a photographer’s story in this shot.
This hdr photo was taken at Turimetta Beach, North Sydney, Australia. I used Lee Soft GND 0.9 to extend the dynamic range of the shot.
We, landscape hdr photographers, usually capture the beauty created by the nature. As seen in this shot, like a big painting, I witnessed its beauty painted by the sea.
Taken @ Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia. Note: Lee Soft GND 0.6 was used in this shot
Real wave, real photographers’ life. We usually spend weekend on Sydney’s beach. And, this location is one of my favourite beach, Tamarama beach. Tide of that day was so high and wave was also so strong. : )
Taken this photo at Kinloch beside Lake Wakatipu, south island, New Zealand on December 2011
I cannot imagine where is the most beautiful place for seascape hdr photography until I was there. Bermagui is amazing location that I wishes to be there every sunny day.
Taken this morning @ Mahon Tidal Pool, Sydney, Australia (Jan 29, 2012)
This picture was taken at Avalon Beach in 2011. In that windy morning, the 30km/hr wind and 1.2 m wave height were sufficient to cause serious damage if we are reckless. While I tried to find a good point of view, I saw a location which was expected to be a great spot of that day. However, I quite hesitated as the incoming strong waves and only little space to stand. Suddenly, I walked in to the sea and set my camera on tripod about 1 foot above the ground. Most of the time, I was hit with waves and got wet to the waist. To protect my gear, I lift the tripod up and down several times. However, the Nikon D700 wet and Lee GND filters watered everywhere. Five minutes later, I gave up and returned to shore with about 15-20 shots. Although I cleaned up those gears nicely and suddenly, later, sea water and salt had penetrated into the body and destroy the mechanism, costing me a hundred dollars to fix it.
My previous uploaded photo was taken in first day at Haywards beach, Bermagui, Australia. Yesterday, we drove from Sydney at 11.00PM and reached Bermagui about 04.30AM, then waited until sunrise. That was the first chance of taking sunrise photo here. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs for two days. Next morning, the sky was not beautiful as expected. The show must go on!! I took some shots from this location. With the structure of this rock formation, it is very difficult to capture overall light in one shot even I already apply Lee filter S-GND 0.9. Some post-processing steps were employed.
I witnessed one of very beautiful sky happening above lake Wakatipu in December 2010 during my trip to Glenorchy. I used 35mm. to take this photo with 5-6 vertical format, then stitching these shots in Photoshop.
I took this photo at the beginning of this year at Shark Point, NSW. If my memory serves, this was the first sunshine after having about seven consecutive shooting trips around Sydney’s beach. Finally, persistent photographers gained a small reward from the sun–sunshine : ) Note: Singh-Ray Reversed Soft GND 0.9 was used in this shot.
I’d confess that I fall in love Lake Tekapo, NZ since my first trip in 2010. Last two weeks I had another chance to visit this lake again. Everything is so beautiful as it was. Wishes to revisit in 2014
This photo was taken at Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia. It heavily rained last night. I didn’t expect the fiery sky like this one in the following morning : ) The sky was too colorful. Hence, in post processing, I need to reduce Yellow & Red color about -15 to -20 in saturation!! Note: Lee Hard GND 0.9 was used to extend the dynamic range of the shot.
It has rained cats and dogs for a whole week. Unfortunately, the weather in Sydney will be dim and terrible for several days. The rain, as well as storm, is either good or bad luck for me. I like to wake up early in the raining morning and hope for a fabulously beautiful sky after the rain. This hdr photo was taken by handheld in this morning (Feb 4, 2012) at North Curl Curl, Sydney. LEE Filter Hard GND 0.6 was used in this shot.
In December 2011, I spent two night at Milford Sound for my vacation. At night, we planned to hunt the stars at Mitre peak. Unfortunately, one essential factor was out of my control. It was almost full moon night. However, the show must go on : ) This photo was taken with the natural light with about 12 minute exposure x 3 shots. After the last shot, it was too bright to take long exposure because the moon was large and got higher position by the night. I wish to have next chance to revisit and take star trail hdr photo at this awesome place again in next two year. I really look forward to it.
Sunrise@Haywards beach, Bermagui 2010This is my first time that I witnessed an extremely, beautiful rock formation. Bermagui, which is surrounded by secluded surf beaches, estuaries, wetlands and coastal lagoons, is an amazing location to take seascape photo. We drove from Sydney at 11.00PM and reached Bermagui about 04.30AM, then waited until sunrise. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs. I hope to have a chance to revisit this amazing place in the near future. Note: Lee Soft GND 0.9 was applied in this photo.
Back in 2009, HDR technique was very attractive to me in case that I could extend dynamic range of the photo as well as gain vivid color. I experimented several methods and programs to achieve a satisfied output. Although its outcome looks very fantasy, I, at that time, was very happy and used it for several months. Later, after buying some Lee GND filter, I rarely use this technique as I prefer my photo to be realistic as possible. Presented here is one of my most favorite HDR photo taken in June 2009. Observatory hill park, located in Sydney, is a very popular attraction for tourists and locals. I took this shot with +2, 0, -2 from my previous Canon 5D and Carl Zeiss ZF21mm. at f11.0
At that morning, standing in front of the powerful wave, I witnessed its rhythm and breath. Unexpectable wave allowed me only a couple chance to capture its beautiful movement thru rock formation path. I, and my camera gears partly wet after this shot. I really enjoy taking sunrise photo at this place, Narrabeen Beach, North Sydney, Australia. Note: Lee Hard GND 0.9 was used in this shot.
I employed Lee Big Stopper (10 stops reduction) for this shot. It reduce the shutter speed from 1/30s. to 30 seconds that made the water dreamy smooth. The ratio (1/30s to 30seconds) is my personal fomular in quick situation that cannot waste any second. I adjust only ISO and fix the aperture to f11.0 as keepting the sharpness through the shot.
This photo was taken on Hooker Valley track, Mt. Cook. Although I fear of heights, I am very happy every time I walk in this walking track.
@Little Bay, Sydney (18-02-2012). This morning weather was forcasted as 35% raining, 1.6 meter tide, and 40% cloud coverage. We experienced red-pink and blue sky with no rain. Even though there were a lot of mosquitos in this area, we still had a very good morning. Note 1: Lee Hard GND 0.9 was used in this shot. Note 2: The photographer in this shot was separately taken at the same scene @ f11.0, 1/4s., ISO 800
In december 2011, one month before my birthday, I had a photography trip with my friends in New Zealand. As a photographer, I want to be here, one of the most beautiful places in the world, in order to take the best photo as I could. Then, I’d like to send this photo to my best, beloved mom. I waited until midnight. It was so cold and windy night that made me chill. Unfortunately, one essential factor was out of my control. It was almost full moon night. However, the show must go on : ) This photo was taken with the natural light with about 30 seconds exposure. I setup the camera (Nikon D700 + Carl Zeiss ZF 35mm.) on tripod, then I used Nikon SB-900 speedlight for manually shooting the foreground. Taking Long exposure photo allowed me to walk and fill light with the flash for several times. If my memory served, I set up the flash about 1/16 or 1/32 power then fired 5-6 times from foreground to the church–the Church of the Good Shepherd. The favourite shot looked like a scene from childhood fairy tales. And, I hope this will be the greatest gift to my mom. On my birthday, 16 January 2012, I sent this photo to my mom and wrote this message to her: “Dear Mom, I cannot thank you enough for all your always supporting and believing in me. I would not be the person I am today without your constant patience, guidance and love. Thank Mom!! For giving me birth : ) Love you so much.”
We cannot know until the show begins!! I usually check weather (e.g., clouds coverage, humid, rain forecast) before going to take seascape or landscape photo. Most of the time, it ends up with disappointment because the sky is not beautiful as I expected. Taking photo depends on a lot of LUCK!!! I believe in this way. I pray for good luck every early morning or late evening in hoping that I would have a very beautiful sky in my shot. As you can see in this shot, I took this photo at Queenstown in my last visit on December 2011. I spent only two night there and the first morning I have only a little bit orange-gray sky : ( However, on the second morning, I was very lucky to witness a very beautiful, fiery sky over the Remarkables.