Patience: how to photograph an ocean wave

Sometimes getting the perfect shot can be a little frustrating and take quite a bit of patience. Most (if not all, I’m not sure) digital cameras have a significant delay between the moment you press the shutter button until the point at which the camera responds to the command. As a result, I have a library of photos taken just after the expression, or the smile fades, or the bird flies away, or in the case of these photos, just after the wave crashes.

Photographing a wave crashing means you need to pay attention to the timing of the waves. Spend some time just watching them crash over and over. What sounds does the ocean make at each point in the wave’s lifecycle?

Then take lots of pictures trying to hit just before that perfect moment to accommodate the delay in the shutter response.

And don’t be afraid to get your feet wet.



Then the blanket your husband is wearing as a cape because he forgot to bring a coat shows up in the picture.



And the cape is still in the picture when you finally get a shot of the wave crashing.


So you reposition to get an angle that does not include an ancient airplane blanket and try to pick up the rhythm of the ocean again.


every once in a while you get a cool shot, but it may not be exactly the shot you’re trying for.


so you keep trying


Well, I got a little splash there.


Oh, that’s a little better.


And finally, I got the shot I was waiting for.


Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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