The club welcomed Chris Simmons who travelled from Cornwall to show us some of his stunning, atmospheric coastal images and to explain his passion for the sea and all its moods.
Some years previously after his first Cornish family holiday, he had announced he didn't want to leave the area and promised that one day he would live there! Now 40 years later he has his dream and enjoys being surrounded by the dramatic and inspiring coastline.
An interest in photography at an early age led to a career in design and commercial photography where he used film and developed his own images. He was reluctant to change to digital until in 2009 he happened to read an article in a photo magazine showing how a DSLR and RAW could give him the just image quality he strived for.
Chris was then hooked on the amazing creative power of digital and held his first solo photographic exhibition in 2012 and has continued to establish himself as a top photographer in his field.
Chris warned that photographing so near the sea can be dangerous so always plan ahead very carefully. There are useful apps that can tell you the tide times and predicted weather in your intended location. The photographer’s ephemeris can help you accurately plan outdoor land or seascapes by showing how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth. Make sure that you have adequate protective clothing including waders and that you have a contact in case of difficulty.
The sea has infinite moods from calm reflective pools to crashing waves. The light is constantly changing so have patience and watch and wait for the right moment.
Chris showed us a range of impressive seascapes taken in fantastic UK locations. He takes great care to get true natural colour and uses filters to supress the unnatural blueness that digital cameras often give. When shooting into the sun many are surprised to see Chris using flash in daylight but he showed some examples showing the difference that the added light can make. Light is added to foreground rocks and the flash freezes the spray from the waves. Always use a diffuser and experiment to get the correct angle so that the flash does not give unwanted highlights.
Chris uses medium grade and big stoppers to extend exposure times which has the effect of making the moving water become blurred. Using a range of filters creativity Chris can achieve just the natural effect he wants.
As well as images showing the vastness of the sea and coast, Chris sometimes uses a telephoto lens to concentrate just on the crashing waves and by careful observation can capture just the optimum moment. Most images were in colour but sometimes monochrome can just give a stronger, graphic effect when portraying the power of the waves.
Chris feels he is lucky to enjoy the wonderful area he lives in and runs inspirational Cornish seascape courses for photographers. His images are also sold as fine art prints and to stock libraries.
Chris was thanked for showing the club his exciting and inspiring insight into his photographic journey. PM
Images © Chris Simmons See more images on Chris Simmons website