See differently

Alternatives to the head-level viewpoint…

On the Surf Coast, the majority of landscape photographs are coastal and seascape shots. After all, that’s the attraction for the majority of visitors and the best-selling postcards or wall-hangings!

For those of us who have the good fortune to live here, we have the opportunity to observe the changing of the seasons, tides, skies and waves. Naturally, we are attracted to taking pictures of seascapes and coastal shots too and, speaking for myself, it’s easy for a lot of pictures to have that ‘sameness’ about them.

It’s always a good time to expand the way we observe a scene, and there are always different and new things to capture from that scene.

For example, Point Danger (Torquay) is a small headland overlooking a couple of different beaches (Cosy Corner and Torquay Back Beach). At low tide, there is also an extensive shallow rock platform extending from the headland, and Cosy Corner has a large area of open sand across the bay.

NOTE: because of the shallow angle of the beach, changing tides come in and go out a long way quite quickly because it’s not pushing ‘uphill’. Don’t get caught out by swift incoming tides!

That said, it’s a useful photography skill to experiment with observing a scene with the intention of capturing something representative but different from the ‘standard’ scene.

Here’s a shot of Point Danger taken from the rock platform (very low tide). At first glance, it looks quite bland and unassuming.

With a slightly different perspective, the focus of the image can change from the weedy rock platform and low headland to a much closer inspection of the little rock pools around your feet. A pool or weed by itself is hard to capture without a particular reason (i.e. biology, wildlife, underwater viewpoint) so it has to show its CONTEXT; the environment around it.

Here, the rockpool in the foreground is the focus of the image. It requires getting down to a much lower angle, much closer to the ground level, and using a reasonably wide angle lens (in this case 12mm on a mirrorless camera = 24mm equivalent on a full frame camera). I don’t like lying down on the ground so I specifically bought a camera with a screen that can be tilted to almost any angle! The focus point is about 1/3 the way up the image and I used an aperture of f10 so the headland is out of focus. This keeps the attention on the foreground. The image isn’t brilliant but it’s slightly different.

Point Danger rock platform pool.

This image and the following one use the same technique of focusing on the foreground and giving the image context (the surfers in the shore break or the ‘iconic’ Norfolk Island Pines on the shore). The sand was looking very attractive and has a repeating style / pattern (often good for photographers). Don’t be afraid to make an abstract subject the ‘hero’ of your image.

Cosy Corner sand and pine trees – low tide
Cosy Corner sand and surfers – low tide

The final shot is simply an abstract (you probably saw it coming!) showing the patterns of some sand ripples just before the tide came in. I’ve tweaked the colours in post-processing a bit to give it a point of difference. Again, not an award-winning shot but one that shows that new views of a well-known location can be literally right at your feet!

Go forth and experiment!


Sand ripples – Cosy Corner, Torquay.