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Half An Hour At The Beach...

BreakI took my son Oliver to the beach today, even though it was overcast and threatening rain..

No, I'm not some sort of sadist, there's a cool skate park at Lee On Solent, so while he was riding up and down the half-pipe on his BMX, I was trying to take some photo's of a grey and threatening sea.

Break Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F4.5, 1/340th, ISO 100, Focal Length 9mm, Hand-held

I only had a small part of the beach to look at - I wanted to keep within shouting distance of Oliver, so I have to admit I didn't think I'd come away with any shots, it all just looked boring at the time.

Broke the cardinal rule of not splitting the horizon with this one, and there's a rather odd distracting cloud in the top left hand corner.

Converted to black and white in Photoshop Elements, playing around with the Levels in Adjustment Layers to try and get the blacks really black, and the whites really white. That didn't work out too well at this attempt, but some of the other shots are OK.

Swell Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F4.5, 1/400th, ISO 100, Focal Length 38mm, Hand-held

None of these shots are particularly sharp. Although it was the middle of the day, it was quite overcast, so to keep the shutter speed up I opened up the aperture, which narrowed my depth of field.

I'm not sure how well my S5700's auto-focus could deal with the waves, but the softness is also due to me shooting hand-held, and being blown around in the wind.

Roller Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/500th, ISO 100, Focal Length 63mm, Hand-held

I was on my knees for this one, at full zoom, so I opened up to f3.5 and tried to stay as steady as possible.

I was trying to capture the waves as they curled and broke - but they always seemed to do it in a different place than I was pointing my camera!

Crash Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F4, 1/850th, ISO 100, Focal Length 33mm, Hand-held

I look at these shots now and wish I had got even lower. I was on one knee anyway, but if I had lay down I maybe could have given the impression that these waves were bigger than they actually were, playing with perspective.

Surge Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/450th, ISO 100, Focal Length 63mm, Hand-held

Salt spray was everywhere - I protected my camera as best as I could, then when it started raining and we had to run back to the car, I gave my Fujifilm a good wipe down with a clean cloth, taking extra special care on the lens, LCD screen and viewfinder. Salt is horrible - it corrodes things and scratches almost anything, so you shouldn't expose any digital equipment to a trip to the seaside without a thorough cleaning afterwards.

My addiction to black and white conversions sated for today, I have to say it was another case of the "no sky" shots coming out best - what do you think?

Thanks, Rob.

ps, A note on camera exif data. Being a bridge camera, my S5700 has a crop factor because the sensor is a lot smaller than on a dSLR, so when you're looking at the focal lengths bear in mind that the S5700 has a focal length range of 6-63mm, which is the equivelent of 38-380mm in a 35mm dSLR. Also the aperture and shutter speeds given are approximate, as for some reason sometimes they're different in the PC exif data than what I actually took, but its usually just the next step up or down.

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