Shorelines are usually filled with all kinds of activity and are home to a variety of life. A simple walk along the shore of the nearest water body can provide you with plenty of shooting opportunities.
People Everywhere You Look
Any waterbody attracts people, be it a seaside village, city or even the bank of a river or waterfall. These places are thronged by tourists who come for sightseeing or locals who live along the coast. All these people are potential subjects. For instance, it could be a father helping his toddler walk, an old couple sharing a quiet moment, vendors hawking their wares or even fisherman looking for their daily catch. You can capture joggers early in the morning, people taking a nap in the afternoon under palm trees, the flurry of activity in the evening and so on. You might even be able to spot a ritual or a festival taking place on the shore.
An Assortment of Creatures
Tiny animals like shellfish, snails, molluscs, crabs and other amphibious creatures can be found in abundance along the coast. You might be able to find plenty of shells, which when coupled with waves breaking on the shore, can make for striking photographs. Scavenging birds like seagulls, albatrosses and crows can provide you with action-packed shots as they soar and dive in flocks, to look for food. Some shorelines might attract certain rare species of birds as well. Besides these, you can enliven an otherwise dull sunset or sunrise shot by including a stray dog or cat walking on the shore.
Undulating Patterns of Sand
Water cutting across sand leaves textures that are rendered uniquely with each wave. You might discover an entire series of images just on the changing textures of sand created by rivulets of water. Footprints, animal tracks, tyre-marks, dry and cracked earth, half-buried objects and even burrows of small creatures can make for great pictures. You can even try exploring bubbles left behind by frothing waves, sandcastles built by people or even sentences written on the wet sand.
A Sparkling Play of Light
Whenever you visit the shore, one thing that will almost always catch your eye is the play of light on water. Depending on where you are, the morning, as well as the evening sun, can cause the water to sparkle and look as if hundreds of diamonds have been scattered across the waves. You might even be able to find gleaming reflections on sand or in water that has collected in and around large rocks. You could also keep an eye out for changing currents—they form distinct patterns when the wind blows across them and light catches their surface.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of Better Photography.
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