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How to take the Best Pictures of the Ocean

written by: Ariala•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/22/2008

There is something majestic and powerful about the ocean. From the mood and movement of its tides to its changing colors and force, the ocean beckons digital photographers to be their subject. In this article, we'll consider ways to take the best photos possible of the ocean.

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    Shutter Speed and Light

    10-9-2005-26 To take the best pictures of the ocean, you need to consider your shutter speed. To capture more light and movement, slow your shutter speed down. The slower it is, the more of the ocean you’ll capture. Also, consider the light of the sun or moon. Will it enhance the photo or distract from the actual subject of the ocean? Most people love a beautiful sunrise or sunset or the moon’s reflection on the water, and with the right shutter speed, you can get the perfect mood.

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    Try to take pictures with the sun behind you so that the ocean is lit up with natural light. In this case, you can use faster shutter speeds and lower your ISO settings. Shadows help define an object and if the light is coming from all over, you may not get the depth you’re after. Sunny days are always more likely to result in better photos than cloudy days for that very reason.

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    If you happen to have a cloudy day at the ocean and there are some majestic dark storm clouds, carefully focus your lens on those clouds and snap away. Observe the light and dark shadows reflecting on the ocean, and capture those for intense, moody ocean photos.

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    Focus is important

    In the excitement to capture random photos, amateur digital photographers sometimes click away without focusing. If you’re using a camera with an automatic focus, you’ll probably do just fine. Most cameras let you press down lightly to focus right before you click. Manual focus can be tricky, especially if the light is low or if you’re trying to take a close-up of something very small.

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    When it comes to taking the best ocean photos, focus your camera on something like a crashing wave, the reflection of the light from the moon, a sailboat or mountains in the distance. You can always crop the photo later if the focus wasn’t exactly where you wanted it. It may still have something very interesting in it that you didn’t expect.

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    The best photos of the ocean aren’t taken straight on with the digital photographer looking out at the ocean, but rather from a side view, carefully composing the snapshot in his or her mind. Is there an interesting view including palm trees on the side, a hotel, a sandcastle, maybe a large abandoned piece of driftwood or someone fishing from the shore?

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    Considering the composition will help make each picture you take interesting and worth sharing with others, perhaps even turning into profit. Ocean photos are among favorites for many. Your challenge is to take the best pictures of the ocean by knowing your camera and the basics of good digital photography.

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    Turning your ocean photos into “digital paintings"

    Ocean light A really cool thing that I like to do is take ocean photos and turn them into what I call enhanced digital paintings. I do this with more than just ocean photos, but the ocean happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Using artistic tools in Photoshop, you can create these types of “paintings." Some look like oil paintings while others look like water colors. I’ve even created a few “Monets." Photoshop and other photo editing programs let you get as creative as you want. These types of “paintings" make good keepsakes for you and your family, as well as great gifts as postcards, greeting cards or colorful framed prints.Fishing for Dreams OrmondDreams