White sand, green water and blue sky – Baltic Sea beaches are raw and cold. The subtle colour palette and a lot of empty space create perfect conditions to experiment with a simple, minimalistic photography style. The challenge is to find the object worth capturing and which isn’t too obvious. Typical photos from the Baltic Sea include sunsets, pier, beaches, shells and boats. What if your camera is already full of such photos and you experience the creative block? Try macro photography! In this post I share my ideas of objects worth shooting.
There is so much of it on the beach that we tend to ignore it. Sand on Polish beaches consists of little stones, which collectively look white or greyish, but in the sunlight turn golden and shine. They can be the main subject of the photo or play a role of neutral background with sparkly bokeh. Combine sand with the wind and you can practice photography in motion. If you want to experiment a bit more, mix wet and dry sand. They have different colours and textures, so you can create more layers in your photo.
Stones and glass
There are plenty of stones both on the beach and in the water. Colours of wet stones are more intense, which makes them look prettier. Lucky hunters can find amber or pieces of old glass covered in salt. Some of them are a bit transparent, which you can use as a filter or interesting background element. Pick stones with unique patterns or shapes to create special effects.
Typically, many people try to capture a wide-angle view of the entire see. It gives spectacular results. But close-ups of water can be also a lot of fun. All the bubbles, reflections, swimming objects… You can focus on the foam, wave patterns, water droplets. Play with the light on a sunny day for this extra pinch of magic.
Whatever lives in water, can end up on the beach. Usually, I would not like to touch algae, but when you look at them as a possible model, they become quite interesting. Although the pieces on the sand are already dry and a little bit damaged, they can still have intense green and red pigmentation. When you zoom in with your macro lens, you will notice more details of their morphology.
They are an obvious choice however, thanks to macro photography, you can discover the diversity of patterns, textures and colours. Later you can collect them and bring them home as decorative pieces or even for future photos!
You will hear characteristic songs of seagulls above your head every day. Sometimes they lose their feathers. The white ones are gentle and soft and look beautiful in combination with beige sand or blue sky. The dark or damaged ones can create a more dramatic look. On a windy day, you can easily add some movement to your photos. In combination with water droplets, you can achieve spectacular effects!
Ants, ladybirds, and even butterflies! A careful observer can spot many of them. They usually move very fast and you have to be quick and precise. Often they live on the beach unnoticed. Who knows how many die simply because humans step on them. Bees and wasps come when you eat something sweet. Because insects are so small, it seems like they are on a journey through the dunes, when they walk around.
Everyone who visits the beach leaves the signs… Footsteps usually don’t stay long. They are quickly removed either by the water, wind or other visitors. This photo was inspired by the cover of the book – Robinson Crusoe.
As soon as you bring out your camera and start the creative activity the possibilities are endless. You may encounter birds, flowers, but also nonliving objects. What are your favourite subjects to photograph on the beach? Will you try some macro photography next time?
Below you can find a gallery of photos I took on the beach in Ustka (Poland) this summer.