I have been enjoying different aspects of coastal photography and I've been inspired by Rachel Talibarts 'sirens' photographs of waves. In addition to photographing sand, big skies and piers etc I thought I would like to try photographing breaking waves. There is so much power in the water and I love the point at which the wave develops a sharp edge just before it breaks up into spray.
After poring over OS and google maps I decided to drive to Barmston beach which is about three miles south of Bridlington. The bay is open to allow waves to gather pace up to the beach and the cliff isn't high so I thought it would be easy to get to the beach.
I was right on the first count as there were quite a lot of reasonable waves breaking on shore but getting to beach level was really hard as there was no path. The cliff face is just compressed mud that shelves after heavy rain so I had to walk a distance to find a rocky access to the pier.
I haven't really photographed breaking waves so had to think about the technical aspects of the shoot. I needed to get the fastest shutter speed possible but as the light was bright this wasn't an issue. I wasn't concerned about having to use a high ISO as grain wouldn't show against the spray. I used my 70 - 300 lens handheld so that I could get close to the breaking waves further offshore. Depth of field and focus was an issue as the waves were rushing towards me so I decided to set the shutter to continuous so that I had a better chance of catching the wave at the critical moment. The waves were a distance away when breaking so I manually focused just short of infinity. I'll try the servo setting if I try to capture waves closer to shore.
The waves on this day at Barmston were able to break and roll towards the shore but I would love to go to a location where waves collide from different directions to achieve more spectacular spray.
Also see Yorkshire Coast Gallery