Photography lessons in the sun – on the beach without a textbook!


Michelle is a joy to teach. With a technical brain and a real passion for getting things right she has quickly grasped the technicalities behind shutter speeds, aperture and ISOs. After a first briefing session a few weeks ago which involved cups of coffee, scones and a notebook we realised that we would work really well together in the outdoors so have been heading down to The Haven in Tynemouth to work on leading lines, composition and framing. I can’t wait to see the shots she took down on the beach as a tiny fishing boat headed straight into our line of vision to complete the magic three composition with the pier and a breaking wave.

Michelle lines 'em up for the perfect shot.

We experimented with aperture and with half pressing the shutter to refocus the shot and waited for the sun to burn off the clouds as a huge cormorant dived into the shallows in front of us.

Heading out onto the pier itself we passed so many other people with cameras – the light was quite extraordinary. I said to Michelle that it almost felt like sunset, the light was soooo golden. She burst out laughing at that and pointed to my sunglasses which have brown lenses. Silly me!

The lighthouse was surrounded by rolling waves and we experimented with getting the ‘whooshy’ effect with the water to capture it curling around the steps in a white sheet of movement. Frustratingly the sun was way up above us and was, by this time, glaring down from the sky so that even the longest lens struggled to get the right combination of high aperture, low shutter speed and low ISO.

Tynemouth Lighthouse

I was super chuffed this afternoon when I got a message on Twitter from someone wanting to buy this print. The joy of the iPhone is all the nifty little apps you can use for photography and the fact that you can ‘post pics and go’ on Tweetdeck.

Check this out to see what I mean:

We wandered back and found the perfect place to shoot ‘whooshy’ water and Michelle took aim, fired and captured the surf crawling seductively around the rocks beneath Tynemouth Priory in what I know will be a truly beautiful photograph.

Happy days!


4 Responses to “Photography lessons in the sun – on the beach without a textbook!”

  1. This is quite a striking photo – the way the viewers eyes are drawn out to the lighthouse, and the glow behind the lighthouse, almost creating a silhouette effect. Very nice job!!

  2. Thanks Holly – Camerbag for the iPhone did most of the work! : )

  3. This sort of image really floats my boat (excuse the pun) I love contrasty monochrome images. They really express the mood, temperature & atmosphere & focus attention on the subject. Love it.

    • Thanks Steve, the light was so bright it ‘monochromed’ almost everything we shot!

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