Use the light as your paint source

Seeking the light

I’ve spent more than 20 years chasing perfect full sunlight, to shoot for surfing magazines, all over the globe. I’ve personally always had a real taste for the visually different, but for a long time there, all the magazines wanted to see was tight action in perfect bright sunlight, showing off all the sponsor logos etc. Some editors over the years would not even accept submissions unless the light was just that. I personally have always been strongly drawn to the visually different. I seek it out. I embrace it. There’s nothing more satisfying than nailing a photograph that is just completely different to anything that you’ve done before. I’ve photographed from the water for many years and I always enjoy seeking out really cool displays of light on the water. I’m might be shooting some waves or something and I find myself paying wayyyyy more attention to the light play on the water than the waves. So it’s at that point that the waves become a lot less important and it’s really much more coming down to how cool, the light looks on the water’s surface. Take these four samples.

In this 1st image, there is a long line of trees with ample area for light to come through. This is an ideal situation to set up the light play on the water. It’s nice because you get the contrast of the bright light on the water, but the sun being behind the trees, helps to stop any glare from looking directly at the sun. The result in the right conditions can be epic.

Rolled Gold

This second is a similar situation, with the sun is coming up behind at Seal beach. The structure has thrown a cool tiger pattern across the water, making quite a pretty image.

Tiger Curl

This 3rd image, again looking towards the sun, a bit more over the water, but the tree line has the same dramatic effect with the contrast..

A clean glassy wave approaching the shoreline.

A clean glassy wave approaching the shoreline.

And in this 4th image, I’m looking away from the sun, using it as my light source. As you can see, it’s still pretty, but the lighting is no where near as dramatic as the 1st three images where I’m pretty much confronting the light. …much less dramatic result.

Looking away from the sun presents a much less visually bright image.

Looking away from the sun presents a much less visually bright image.

2 Responses to “Use the light as your paint source”

  1. Eve says:

    thanks sean for the tips……..luv your work & appreciate your help

  2. admin says:

    You’re welcome Eve….

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