Manual Settings for Surf photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cpimp, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. cpimp

    cpimp TPF Noob!

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    I took out the camera the other day and shot some crappy surf, I used the auto setting most the time.

    Given a situation of a bright morning (so surfers are frontlit) and not too much chop making for less glare, etc. what would be my ideal manual settings?

    I am still getting familiar with aperature and stuff but I am rather forgetful, any ideas?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's pretty hard to suggest a specific manual setting...it really depends on the light levels and what you want from the photos. I'd guess that proper exposure would be close to the sunny 16 rule...F16 with shutter speed at 1/ISO. (or equivalent settings)

    Rather than using manual mode, why not use aperture or shutter priority?

    If you want to get the fastest shutter speed to stop the action...use aperture priority and set it to max (smallest number)...your DOF will be shallower but if you are already at infinity focus, it shouldn't be a problem. The camera will then use the fastest shutter speed that will still give you proper exposure.

    *edit*
    By proper exposure...I mean that the camera will try to make the scene into a middle tone. If you want the sun lit surfers to be nicely exposed...irreguardless of what the sky & sun will be....try to use the sunny 16 rule and extrapolate to get a usable shutter speed. If you could spot meter the surfers, that would help but that's probably not practical.
     
  3. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

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    Sunny 16 should work for you. Also you might want to try underexposing by a stop or so since the water is gonna be bright and might throw your light meter too high.

    Also, are you using a polarizer? I think that would be a good choice since you'll have polarized reflections coming off the water.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wouldn't bright water make the camera's meter try to use less exposure? And then wouldn't you need to add exposure to compensate?

    Good call on the polarizer.
     
  5. cpimp

    cpimp TPF Noob!

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    I dont even know what a polarizer is. How much are they?
    Also, how does the depth of field affect the focus on the surfer and the wave?
     
  6. DIRT

    DIRT TPF Noob!

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    you will need a fast shuter speed for good surf shots so you can use the shutter speed priority mode if you want. it will allow you to set a fast shutter speed and it will adjust the aperture automatically. but you will need a fast lens if it is early morning.
     
  7. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    What camera/lens are you using?
     
  8. cpimp

    cpimp TPF Noob!

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    I am using the fuji s5100 with the stock lens (10x optical, thats all i know about it)--- thanks for the replies
     
  9. DIRT

    DIRT TPF Noob!

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    where are you shooting? if you are shooting a break where the line up is way outside (i.e. huntington) you will need some focal length. i have shot at base (point mugu) with a 105mm and got good results.
     
  10. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Choose film/iso carefully. Some of my first/only shots I have taken came out horrible because of over exposure and grainy. Like stated, zoom capabilities is a must. Shooting in Hunington with a 300mm lense turned out not the greatest shots. I'd suggest going down to San Diego and shooting in Trestles. Very close breaks and only some of the best surfers surf there. But make sure to watch your back. Trestles is a bad place to be if they don't like you.. I've gotten' my fair share of looks walking down without a board. But if your shooting and look like a pro photog they might try harder for you. Hehe.

    P.S. Sometimes you can get your questions answered by Larry "Flame" Moore (Head of photography for SURFING Mag), one of the best photogs ever in my book. He is an awesome guy. I've emailed him a few times before. Get his e-mail from the SURFING website.
     
  11. cpimp

    cpimp TPF Noob!

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    DIRT- Last time I shot was at Silver Strand in Ventura and I plan on shooting around Newport this weekend. I am guessing I'll be doing a lot at Windansea and Mission beach this summer.

    Thanks for the tips Ghoste. I've surfed trestles once and they were super cool to me, but that was because they thought I was a pro surfer (not photogrpaher)... my board has sponsor stickers all over it because I bought it from my buddy who actually is a pro. Its rather fun to have actually, the locals are much nicer.
     
  12. DIRT

    DIRT TPF Noob!

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    like ghoste stated larry mmore is an awsome guy. i have asked him for advice and he is very helpful to new photogs. he mentored some greats like aaron chang and others. if your in the area, go down to salt creek any given morning (early) and youll most likely see him sitting there on the sand with the big glass shooting away.
     

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