Last week was all about the photographic trend of astrophotography and specifically image stacking. Didn't see it? Check it out Here
This week, keeping in the theme, is another photographic trend, which is closer to my heart...Backwash and the glorious chaos it creates. There are photographers who specialise in backwash photography, some even going so far as to claim it as Ocean Art. I think that's a bit verbose. But there is definitely a set of skills involved in getting good backwashes, or more correctly; where backwash collides with an incoming wave. That's easy for me, I live at a beach that has a very famous one, so that's a big tick.
Then you have to pick your times, personally I like backwash backlit, which means on the West coast, it's an evening shoot. Back lighting shows the opacity of the wave face and ideally you'll get a bit of golden light in the spray. Clean offshores are good too, you get more loft and hang time in with the spray, plus your kit doesn't get covered in incoming [deadly to expensive electronics] sea mist.
You want to be close, but not too close, using a tripod is always ideal, but it does mean you're committing to being stationary. Before you set up observe a few sets, time your session on an outgoing low tide, find a spot to set up that isn't going to get nailed by a random sweeper set... I pushed it once, trying to sneak a session in on an incoming tide in 1991, I learnt the hard, expensive way.
Timing is everything; here's my golden tip, while you're going to want the biggest set, sometimes they aren't the best explosions, it's about watching and following the backwash. So almost counter intuitively, you're studying the waves going out to sea, as much as you are the incoming set waves.
Get out there, have a go, good photos don't happen sitting around thinking about it.
Next week... well... you'll have to wait, but it's going to be different again.
From The Galleries
Chaos from the water, can't wait to be in this place again. Like this image? Check it out bigger HERE