SOME OF THE MOST DISAPPOINTING PHOTOGRAPHS to be found on the Web are those depicting the seaside. Like the original photograph, inset here, the combination of sun and sea forms a moist atmosphere containing millions of tiny water droplets that reflect the light in all directions. The effect is even more pronounced when you try to capture the foam produced by breakers, which toss many more droplets into the air and bleed the frame of colour.
The standard solution is to use a polarising filter to cut-out all the unwanted reflections in the scene and recover the natural colours; but it is those sparkling highlights that often give the image life.
Personally, I only attach a polariser when I need to remove the reflections from glass or water to photograph what lies behind – or beneath. Then it is out with the tripod and shuffling around for the correct Brewster’s angle. I rarely use a polariser to simply increase colour saturation, because I find that is easily handled in post processing.
Although not immediately obvious, the inset photograph was actually taken at the ‘golden hour,’ looking south with the sun providing a side-light as it began to set in the west. Unfortunately, all those wonderful colours have been muted by the prevailing atmosphere; but they are still present in the image.
Of course, colour saturation was not the only adjustment layer introduced during post processing in Photoshop. The sea, at the top of the image, was also burned to give it more depth and concentrate the viewers’ attention on the breakers and the weather beaten rocks in the foreground.
Arguably, had a polariser been used in the original photograph, the final result would have resulted in a much flatter image. Choosing not to use the filter has retained those sparkling highlights that give the image its life.
If you are a lover of seaside images, you might like to check out the Seaside Album on my Photobox Gallery, which I will be adding to over the forthcoming months. You cannot only view the images there, you can also choose to purchase those you like as a poster for your bedroom wall or a spectacular framed addition for your lounge or office. There are numerous other options as well for those seeking a unique gift for that special occasion – from photo mouse mats to puzzles, placemats, glass paperweights and coasters. The photographs can also be provided on various types of clothing and accessories.