Focus Editor Philip shares how he captured coastal shots in brutal weather conditions
I had wanted to visit Southerness Lighthouse for a while, after seeing shots of its brilliant structure and surroundings in magazines and by fellow photographers, and finally the worlds came together and I got the chance to visit last week.
When I arrived the location certainly didn't disappoint, and I happily started setting up. However, the weather wasn't on my side... it soon became evident, with the biting wind and persistent bands of rain and sleet, that it would be a battle with the elements.
While it can always be said that bad weather makes some of the best photographs... sometimes the weather is just going to work against you in every way possible. In this case it felt like it did and it got to the point where I became so cold that I couldn't press the shutter down anymore. Saying that, I did manage to get a couple of shots that I'm happy with. And you'll see an analysis and video diary of the shoot below:
What could I have done better?
- Worn more layers and appropriate - I had majorly underestimated the impact of the weather. I had checked the weather beforehand (something every photographer should always do when venturing out) but even so, the layers and clothing I had weren't enough
- Concentrated on finding a stronger foreground. While I'm happy with my results for a couple of my images, the weather seriously affected my concentration at the time of shooting, and I felt I could have had stronger foreground interest in my images. Ideally a full reflection of the lighthouse in the rock pool would have been ideal, as well as stronger leading lines or more interesting shapes in the rocks.
Bonus: Blue Hour hues after the storm
This is the second photo that I like from the shoot. After photographing the lighthouse from the front, the weather began to calm and the clouds shifted just in time for the Blue Hour. I decided to try photographing the lighthouse from the other side, and set up with the it looking out to the Cumbrian coast in England on the other side of the water, which was just starting to light up.
The composition is simple and subtle, and there's not too much drama in the scene but that's what I like about it - and how you can just see a very tiny amount of lights coming to life on the other side of the coast.
- For a full introduction to the coastal photography genre see our beginner's guide on how to photograph seascapes
- For more advanced techniques see our top tips for stunning coastal photography
- See our guide on how lens filters can improve your photography