“Blue Surf” by Stuart Graham

I am fortunate enough to live 200 metres from the sea. Thanks to the UK’s changeable weather and a 4-5 metre tide there is plenty of scope to produce good images.

‘Blue Surf’ is one of a series of my seascapes that has kept me busy for the last year. It was shot in March, on a wet and windy morning. I enjoy the challenge of trying to produce decent images when the elements are against you. With seascapes you cannot have any preconceived ideas about what you would like the images to be: Mother Nature has plans of her own.

Shooting long exposures of between 0.5 – 3.0 seconds (mainly handheld) can give you another dimension in which to work. I can go to the beach on the dullest, flattest of mornings and create something that is not immediately visible to one’s eye. I can create motion where there is none, compose shapes unseen by the naked eye.

The human eye is a marvellous thing, able, at a glance, to differentiate between subtle shades of colour, to focus on fine detail, or distant mountains. However, it has it’s limitations. It is quick enough to follow the beat of a swan’s wing, but not that of a humming bird.

The camera will let you see all of these things, and more. The camera can free your mind to see things that you can’t. The camera allows you to see into a magical, secret world where anything is possible.

Proper camera technique is still very important. It’s a skill acquired over the years and then sometimes, purposely ignored. By breaking the rule of ‘Never shoot handheld at more than 1/30 second’, you can give the image an effective, impressionistic feel to it.
Shooting in bad weather makes you a better photographer. Whenever I leave home with my camera I’m reminded of the words said to me when i was young by a very strict studio manager, “Make sure you come back with something decent.”

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Donโ€™t be shy!

The menacing skies, and the texture in the white surf.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I would have the headland in the background more central in the frame.

Stuart Graham shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Stuart Graham, Devon, England


Equipment and Settings

Canon 5DS R + Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG
4-stop ND gel filter
f/10, 2 sec, ISO 100

Comments (28):

  1. Marco

    August 15, 2020 at 14:21

    Wow, amazing artwork

      • Jo Marshall

        September 20, 2020 at 06:15

        Interesting piece of work. May I ask what time of day it was shot?

  2. Jose Alvarez

    August 15, 2020 at 20:37

    Superior work by superior talent! Bravo!

  3. Al Griffin

    August 15, 2020 at 20:51

    It makes me feel small. It holds the power and sweep and majesty of the ocean. It conveys the mood and drama of the sea.
    In this one image the artist speaks to our place in the universe.

  4. Ray Burn

    August 15, 2020 at 21:37

    Fantastic image, well done!

    • Stuart Graham

      August 16, 2020 at 18:53

      Thank you, Susan. What a lovely thing to say.

  5. Francisco Ricarte

    August 16, 2020 at 04:05

    Stewart, congratulations on your amazing series! Your words help to frame it better!

  6. David

    August 16, 2020 at 13:06

    Excellent work. Loved reading your story, itโ€™s on the same mindset as me , never take nature for granted.

  7. Colleen Parker

    August 16, 2020 at 21:35

    Such a fan of your work, Stuart! Thank you for sharing your artist’s eye and technical expertise with us all. Every time I see one of your works, I am inspired anew to go create my own!

    • Stuart Graham

      September 7, 2020 at 12:39

      You’re very kind, Colleen. Glad to be of service.

  8. Eric ruedin

    August 21, 2020 at 10:52

    Magnifique !

  9. RogerB

    August 22, 2020 at 04:01

    Lovely photo Stuart. I have recently taken a liking to ICM photography, it is alot more challenging than you think it would be.

    • Stuart Graham

      September 7, 2020 at 12:41

      Thanks, Roger. You’re right: it sounds easy, but getting it to look good is another matter.

  10. Philip Flowers

    August 22, 2020 at 15:13

    For me, color is the dominant theme. Love the blue with the clean whites. Effective use of ICM.

    • Stuart Graham

      September 7, 2020 at 12:42

      Cheers, Philip. The colours do make the shot.

  11. David Hammond

    August 25, 2020 at 16:36

    One of my favorite images I have seen in FRAMES!

    • Stuart Graham

      September 7, 2020 at 12:43

      That’s a great thing to say. Many thanks, David.

  12. Amanda Lytton

    September 2, 2020 at 20:27

    Spellbinding. I feel so much calm just looking at this photograph. Congratulations!

  13. Stuart Graham

    September 7, 2020 at 12:43

    You’rev way too kind, Amanda. Many thanks.

  14. Glyn Jones

    September 18, 2020 at 22:41

    There is no beginning or end, just one continuous timeless moment.


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