Even though I live in the Rocky Mountains, landlocked in a high desert, I often get sea-sick; as in homesick and missing the ocean. When I am able to go back east and visit my family, I want to see, smell, touch and hear that ocean. So in my visit home two weeks ago, when my mother suggested we ride the Salem Ferry into Boston instead of driving to it, I welcomed the idea.
While we waited for the Ferry to arrive, I experimented, without my tripod, and snapped enough shots to composite a 360 degree panorama. The sky was so blue; the gangplanks were empty; the railings were shiny; there were boats moored in Salem Harbor; mom was boldly dressed in hot pink and game for a photo. This was the first time I’ve executed this type of photograph digitally. The results were pretty cool; at least I think so. I think I’m hooked on making 360s. If anyone has tips on how best to obtain reasonably priced, quality large prints of their panoramas, I invite you to leave us comments, please!
A set of grandparents were bringing their 18-month old grandson to the Boston Aquarium for the first time. Like us, they tossed the hassle of the car and opted for the Ferry ride. Romeo had a head of hair that matched the exuberance of his personality. Today he was braid-free. He asked to wear those wayfarers, and when he put them on, I could no longer resist the click.
This is a reminder to you, dear reader, that wide-angle lenses will distort any subjects placed on the peripheries of the composition. You could lose a friend over wide bottoms or big heads. In this case, Mom didn’t mind (or realize) that I gave her long dreamy legs. She’ll see this post and at least I can duck and cover from 3,000 miles away.
While we were leaving Salem Harbor, we faced the West side of Marblehead. A charter boat with the word FAME on its main mast flag was in full sail and rounding Peaches Point. The passengers waved excitedly at our large motorized vessel. AHOY!
Getting this shot with the sails billowing and the flag blowing in a readable manner took a bit of patience, though the moment of the encounter lasted no longer than 20 seconds. In taking this photo, I was reminded of trials and tribulations from my photography in the days of film. Those were the days when one didn’t find out the shot was bombed until after the roll was developed and prints processed. It’s mostly common sense, but when taking photos with a digital camera on a moving boat consider these tips:
Wear a hat with a chin strap to keep the item from blowing off in a gust. You may feel dowdy, but it’s better than losing your hat overboard. Make sure you secure that neck or wrist strap on your camera to you before you lean over a rail. Yes, I’m a mom: wear plenty of sunscreen. Oh, and if you expect to get seasick, keep your lunch on the light side.
1) Use your camera’s screen guides to line up your composition and snap quickly. The motion of the ocean causes the frame to move around. Even though you are standing still on your vessel, the vessel is moving, and so may be your subject. Perspectives in your frame will change rapidly as you are moving away from or towards your subject(s.)
2) If you are standing on a motorized vessel you may undoubtedly experience unwanted vibrations from the engine(s) that will make your images blurry if you don’t use a fast shutter speed.
3) Overcompensate for the light reflections and sun bounce on the water. Saturate the image more in camera and lighten up the tones or exposure setting in post-processing. So Leslie, in your manually performed exposure compensation: tick a few stops to the negative side of the light meter reading; even if the histogram or light meter tells you you’ve got balance. That sensor could be fooled.
4) Your vessel is moving. The water is moving. There is a rise and fall rhythm to that motion. Is your horizon in flux? Be aware of the movement. Snap that shutter before, during, and after you expect your shot to be perfect. One of them is bound to be what you were expecting to see. Trial and error is par for the course.
5) Sun glare makes it hard to see the LCD screen on your live view window, but do try to see if you captured what you hoped for, before those ephemeral moments of passing ships and breaching whales are out of view.
6) Take away some great memories.
Let us know if you have any other useful oceanic photo tips!