Quick guide: Stunning Seascapes

Although spring and summer times are the go-to days to shoot those seascapes, winter and stormy weather are the perfect timing to go to the coast for stunning seascapes. You will definitely need to remove the dust over your tripod to be able to use longer shutter speeds. After all this is a low light situation.

Start with these camera settings next time you are out shooting sunsets:

  • Exposure: Manual (M)
  • Focus Mode: Manual
  • Shutter speed: 1 sec or longer
  • Aperture: f/16
  • ISO: 100 or lower if your camera permits
  • Focal length: 12 to 24mm or the equivalent in cropped sensor (divide by 1.6)
  • Drive mode: Single-shot
  • White Balance: Daylight

Consider those additional tips when shooting sunset: 

  • Wear rain cover and take a pair of clean shirts.
  • Wear something special for sea rocks and water resistant material in your shoes.
  • Take extra nylon bags to protect your camera and lens.
  • A tripod is a must. Choose a sturdy one and a steady ground spot.
  • Include a foreground object in your frame, a log, a rock or a wrecked boat... this will make your photo more interesting.
  • Because you are shooting in Manual, always watch for your exposure needle.
  • Expose for the sky will give you the most saturated and vibrant colours. Meter in aperture priority from the sky near to the sun. Memorise the exposure numbers metered by AV and dial them in Manual mode then recompose.  
  •  Exposing from the sky will make your foreground very dark. You can recover the shadows it in Adobe Lightroom / Photoshop. You can also make use of a Neutral Density Filter to balance the exposure.
  • If you don't have a ND Filter, shoot twice - once exposed for the sky and another for the foreground. Combine them in Photoshop.