Long Exposure Photography

at the seaside

Coastal Landscape Photography

Long exposure coastal landscapes are very effective long exposures because they often have moving waves and stationary objects, like rocks and ice bergs. This gives the photograph a strong contrast between the temporary and the permanent. The sea has always conjured our imagination as both provider and take-th away-er, of both home and voyages. Coastal Landscapes (Sea-scapes) capture the interaction at the sea-side… at the edge of the ocean.

Shutter speeds

Generally I advise half to two second exposures for Coastal Landscapes. The purpose is to show some movement of the waves as they interact with the edge of the shore. The incoming or receding wave paints a white trail of blur during a long exposure, so timing is essential to capture a desirable movement. Observation is required to see where the interaction is most interesting. Pebbles scattered in sand create beautiful interactions with receding waves, so ideally the Coastal Landscape photographer would begin the exposure as soon as the wave starts to recede.

Magic Cloth Technique

The long exposures during a Magic Cloth photograph can be too long to capture delicate interactions, but with care it is possible to use the long exposure to your advantage. Sand, pebbles or stones photograph beautifully when they are wet because there is more reflected light and some polarisation.

Neutral Density Filter

long exposure photography

1/8th sec at f/7.1 iso800

Ice beach

25 sec at f/14 iso100

The shots above show the difference of a 6 stop Neutral Density Filter on the sea. Although the shutter speed on the right shows 25 seconds, the sea would have had half of this exposure.

Vestrahorn Mountain

5 sec @ f/9 iso200

The beach at Vestrahorn Mountain where a 5 second long exposure shows a beautiful wave run-off with the pebbles on the sand.

21 Carrots

Rose Tinted

Taken on February 5, 2013 Location: The ice beach at Jökulsarlon. The black sand beach with magical chunks of glacial ice. This is where the Atlantic Ocean interacts with Europe's largest glacier. Mode:...

Oskar Ice man

Taken on March 24, 2017 Location: In the ice caves under Vatnjökull glacier in South East Iceland. This is a very popular ice cave and is normally full of tourists. On this morning, we were in there hours before the tourists. The caves are formed by glacier melt water...

Velvet Beach

Taken on December 12 , 2010 Location: Ice beach near Jökulsarlon. The beach is the final land based resting place for ice chunks that calve from the retreating Vatnjökull ice cap. The ice eventually melts into the North Atlantic, but not before being washed up on this...

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