If there’s one location that seems to always deliver great light, it’s the coast. There’s something almost magical about the quality of light there. If the weather is good and the time of day right, you’re likely to get great light. This image I shot at Formby is no exception.
Formby can be a very challenging location to photograph. For a start, the beach is completely flat and largely featureless. For interest, you need to focus your attention on the streams, gullies and sand patterns of the beach. It’s true that it has great sand dunes, but these are equally as challenging in other ways.
For me, the best time to visit this beach is for sunset as it’s facing west. Although I’m not a fan of shooting into the sun at sunset, I like the colour it produces once the sun dips below the horizon. If there’s high cloud in the sky it can produce a magical sunset and if the sky is clear you can still get great colours.
But what’s really made a difference in this shot is that the tide has turned and is on its way out. When this happens, it leaves the sand ripples filled with water. It also leaves the surface of the beach free from footprints and more importantly, wet. Wet sand acts as a huge mirror, reflecting and intensifying the light from the sky. When you can bring together a sunset/sunrise and receding tide, that’s the best time to shoot a beach.
I used a Fuji X-T3 to capture the image with Fuji 16-80 at 25mm. The camera was set to ISO160 and aperture f/14.0 giving a 1” shutter speed. Although there’s a lot of reflected light on the beach I still used a 0.9 Soft ND Grad on the sky. When I removed the grad, the beach appeared too dark, and I like to get the image looking good in camera.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.