Panning Waves

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Just after sunrise on the Atlantic ocean, I started composing images of backlit waves. First I tried raditional shots, just trying to catch the waves at the crest while freezing the action. It then occurred to me that waves might make a good candidate for panning. Using a range of shutter speeds from 1/4 to 1/2 sec I started panning the camera, tracking a single wave (just like panning on a moving car, bicycle, etc). The images come out quite painterly, a look I always like.

Shown here are a couple of my favorites.


  1. To get this slow of a shutter speed I was shooting at f36, ISO100 with a polarizer on.
  2. The blue and gold colors were created by the morning sun combined with the shadows in the waves. 
  3. As always with this type of shot you need to practice and capture several exposures to get one good one.

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Notice how the slow shutter speed captures the spray as it shoots in different directions. 

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Below is an image shot at 1/200 of a second, f9, ISO 200. A more traditional image.

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One Comment

  1. Rod Stroh January 21, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Your work is truly inspirational. I retired in 2005 and took up photography. I have stumbled upon some good shots but seeing your work inspires me to grow further. I am about to embark in a 1 month photo trip to India (doing my own thing) I hope to capture a story through my photos that will do it proud. I look forward to meeting you at the PDX photo group meeting on Feb. 7th

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